During the last decade, and especially since the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp-derived CBD, there’s been an explosion for novel CBD products on the marketplace. Convenience stores now carry multiple types of CBD oil, highly recognizable beauty brands have released CBD-infused products, and you can even make your bed with CBD bed sheets.
Amidst all these innovative products, animal lovers can now find CBD pet treats, CBD pet lotions, and other formulations of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid created specifically for our furry friends. But just how safe are these products?
CBD Benefits For Pets
Why would pet owners give their dogs or cats CBD to begin with?
CBD may come from the cannabis plant, but don’t expect it to get you or your pet stoned. Despite not having much potential as a recreational drug, preliminary studies suggest that CBD could have myriad benefits as a therapeutic and medicinal compound—for us and our four-legged friends.
As of today, the FDA has been hesitant to approve any CBD product for medicinal use (aside from the pharmaceutical-grade CBD Epidiolex used to treat certain seizure conditions). However, many consumers are already using the cannabinoid in this way, and the research we do have strongly suggests that CBD has medicinal potential.
For example, studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which could help ease joint pain caused by conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. This could be extremely useful in older, large breed dogs susceptible to joint pain as they age.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “CBD has shown therapeutic efficacy in a range of animal models of anxiety and stress, reducing both behavioral and physiological (e.g., heart rate) measures of stress and anxiety. In addition, CBD has shown efficacy in small human laboratory and clinical trials.”
These anti-anxiety effects could be used to help pets with separation anxiety or who have an intense fear of thunderstorms and firework shows.
In addition, the anticonvulsant effects that make CBD a useful treatment for seizure conditions in humans can also apply to dogs and cats.
Is It Safe To Give My Pet CBD?
In general, CBD is considered safe and non-toxic to both humans and pets. However, there are some considerations you should take before putting your pet on a CBD regimen.
First, it’s important to know that not all CBD is created equal and goes double for CBD products explicitly marketed towards pets. Because the CBD industry is widely unregulated, companies aren’t required by law to have their products lab tested.
Not only does this mean the exact amount of CBD advertised in a given product might not be correct, but that product could also contain harmful toxins like heavy metals, pesticides, and microbials. Always buy your pet’s CBD products from brands that commit to third-party lab testing.
CBD may also interact with other medications your pet is taking, so make sure to check with your vet before starting your pet on CBD.
Do I Need A Vets Prescription For CBD?
All CBD pet treats, lotions, tinctures, and capsules are sold over the counter. In fact, vets aren’t allowed to prescribe CBD to their puppy patients. Due to potential legal ramifications, you may find it difficult even to have a conversation about CBD with your vet (much to the chagrin of actual vets).
How Much CBD Should I Be Giving My Pet?
Determining the correct CBD dosage can be challenging due to the limited amount of help your veterinarian can provide. As a general rule, you should start with low doses and titrate up slowly as needed if there are no side effects like diarrhea or drowsiness. A good place to start is with one to two milligrams per every 10 lbs your pet weighs—for example, three milligrams for a 35 lb dog.
What Kind Of CBD Is Best For Pets?
The best CBD for your pet is the kind made by reputable manufacturers, who don’t add unhealthy ingredients to their CBD pet treats, and who always lab test their products. If you have any questions about a brand’s testing or manufacturing process, it’s always a good idea to reach out to someone at the company and get those questions answered before buying a product that could potentially harm your pet.