CBD for Pets

Like with any other pet wellness trend, there is a lot of discussion going on online in regards to CBD oil for pets. You obviously want to do what benefits your pet the most, which brings up the question: What should I know about CBD oil?

Table of Contents

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is one of the compounds present in hemp and cannabis. Dr Klein states that it is important to keep in mind the fact that CBD often doesn’t contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive properties of marijuana. As a matter of fact, a majority of CBD products are sourced from hemp and not marijuana.

How Does CBD Affect Pets?

At the moment, there is no official study on the effects of CBD on pets. However, scientists have confirmed that cannabinoids usually interact with the endocannabinoid receptors found in the peripheral and central nervous systems. This interaction helps to maintain balance within the body and ensure that it is in a normal healthy state.

Why Use CBD for Pets?

CBD is, in most cases, considered a beneficial therapy for a wide range of conditions such as seizures, anxiety, arthritis, pain management, and even cancer. While there isn’t enough research on the use of CBD in the treatment of these conditions, there are different levels of scientific evidence for each case.


Since CBD uses the same metabolic pathways as anti-inflammatory drugs, it is easy to see why it would be used to treat various inflammatory conditions (any condition that ends with -itis is an inflammatory condition).

In pets, osteoarthritis, which is usually abbreviated as arthritis, is one of the most prevalent inflammatory condition.

One in four pets will suffer from arthritis in the course of life. It has been further estimated that nearly 60% of pets will show some extent of the disease.

According to research, CBD can offer great pain relief to pets suffering from arthritis if administered two times a day in the right doses.


Theoretically, the anti-inflammatory benefits that CBD provides to pets with arthritis can also be provided to pets with other kinds of inflammatory pain, particularly those with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).

Initial studies conducted on people have indicated that products containing a mix of both THC and CBD are much more effective at providing pain relief than when either drug is administered on its own. However, this type of study has not yet been conducted on pets, hence, THC shouldn’t be given to them.


When it comes to the use of CBD on people, treatment of seizures is perhaps the most researched application. However, not enough research has been done on pets. In pets, seizures are usually caused by a wide range of underlying conditions.

When it comes to idiopathic epilepsy, in particular, some studies have shown that CBD can be helpful in reducing the frequency of seizures in these pets. But for these benefits to be seen, the pets the CBD has to be given together with traditional anti-seizure medications.


As with seizures, the term “cancer’ is a collective term that includes a wide range of specific complications, with each having its own set of useful treatments.

In humans, research has been done on the potential use of CBD in cancer patients, both in the direct treatment of the tumour(s) and also in the treatment of secondary symptoms of cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy. The application of CBD on pets with cancer has been under-researched.

However, it has been suggested that pets can still benefit from the anti-nausea effects of CBD experienced in people undergoing chemotherapy as these benefits have also been seen in rats and ferrets.


Probably the most widespread misconception about CBD is that it can help to manage anxiety in pets. This is often attributed to the fact that, theoretically, CBD can help to indirectly reduce anxiety caused by pain and inflammation as CBD itself, helps to reduce pain and inflammation.

However, since CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties, it lacks the ability to directly treat anxiety in pets as is seen with medications such as Prozac. The application of CBD in the treatment of anxiety for pets requires more extensive research just like with many conditions.

What Should I Know When Buying?

There are a number of things that you need to take into account when buying CBD oil in case you and your veterinarian decide to try CBD as a treatment option for your dog. You’ll definitely want to choose high-quality CBD for you to achieve better results as not all oils are the same.

Search for organic. In case the CBD oil isn’t organic, make sure that it doesn’t contain fungicides, pesticides, or solvents.
Do not price shop. Expect a higher cost for higher quality and purity. The issue with going for cheaper options is the fact that they are likely to contain toxic materials such as heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides. You have to ensure that your CBD oil doesn’t have any additives.

Get the analysis. There should be a certificate from the manufacturer indicating the amount of CBD present in the product. Most CBD products contain only tiny amounts of CBD. You also need to ensure that is very little or no THC present in the product.

Purchase CBD as a liquid. You can shop for dog treats made with CBD, however, the best way to administer CBD is in the form of oils or tincture. That way, you will be able to change your dog’s dosage drop by drop.

How Much CBD Can You Give pets?

While various topical treatments are available, CBD is often administered orally to pets, and it is essential to ensure that you give the correct dosage. Dr Ritcher suggests that just like with any medication, success is greatly dependent on the dosage.

Studies conducted on the application of CBD in dogs suffering from arthritis or seizures typically use a dosage ranging from 2-8mg/kg, with many papers preferring the lower side of the estimate (approximately 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight), twice daily.

This particular dosage has been found to be not only safe but also quite effective for precisely the conditions researched – seizures and arthritis. Further research is required in order to determine the necessary CBD dosages to treat other conditions.

One major issue when trying to appropriately dose pets with CBD is that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that a lot of CBD products don’t actually contain any CBD and if any, it is very little.

Epidiolex, which is the only cannabinoid product that is FDA-approved, could, in theory, be prescribed by a veterinarian for epilepsy in pets, but this would probably be prohibitive in terms of cost. However, since this product is FDA-approved, its CBD content would be accurate as opposed to many other CBD products found on the market.

Risks of Using CBD Oil for Pets

There has been little research on the risks of using CBD for pets. The FDA hasn’t approved CBD and hasn’t provided a dosing chart. Hence, we are currently not aware of the amount of dosage that would be toxic. All kinds of medications or supplements carry the risks of a reaction. Therefore, whenever you are giving something new to your dog, it is always recommended to start out with little amounts and then closely monitor the effects. Also, always consult your veterinarian first.

Possible Side Effects of CBD in pets

Although there is are no scientific findings on the side effects of CBD usage for pets, likely side effects exist based on how the human body reacts to CBD. To reduce the potential side effects, ensure that you follow the right dosage.

Dry Mouth

According to research, CBD has the potential to reduce the production of saliva. In pets, this would be exhibited through increased thirst.

Lowered Blood Pressure

Large doses of CBD have been found to lead to reduced blood pressure. While the drop is small, it can create a slight feeling of light-headedness.


Dog owners used CBD in anxiety treatment. Due to the calming effect of CBD, it can cause drowsiness particularly if administered in large doses.

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