Cannabidiol, often referred to as CBD, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant that does not contain THC, which prevents users from feeling any signs of intoxication. CBD is usually extracted as an oil, but it can be sold as oil-based capsules, vaporized liquid, topical creams, and extract. There are various studies underway to establish if CBD has proven health benefits, but researchers believe it may have the potential to treat a range of diseases in both humans and animals.
Multiple retailers sell CBD products for pets to treat epilepsy, calm anxieties, and control pain from conditions like osteoarthritis. If you think your pet may benefit from the use of CBD, you should look for a product that has been tested by a third party lab to ensure it contains no THC, and do plenty of research on the uses, benefits, and side effects before administering.
Uses of CBD
Research shows that CBD may effectively treat anxiety, chronic pain, irritable bowel disease, and epilepsy in humans, and more studies are being done to see if pets can have the same benefits. So far, the results are promising and may lead to more effective treatments with minimal side effects for animals.
When you use a full-spectrum CBD product, you may be able to help pets with several different ailments, such as anxiety, cognitive decline, epilepsy, and arthritis. For example, one study of 26 dogs with epilepsy showed a 33% reduction in seizure frequency after taking CBD. Another study suggests that CBD can cause a significant decrease in pain, with little to no side effects. While it may not entirely cure them, it certainly may help them lead a higher quality life.
Ways to Administer CBD to Pets
Just as CBD products come in different forms for humans, there are various ways to administer it to your pets. Each has their own advantages and may be better in some situations. A few CBD products for pets include:
- Oils that are usually placed under a pet’s tongue or are added to their food. Using oils is the best mode of administering CBD to your pets as it offers the best performance results. If you can, directly administer the CBD product to the pet instead of putting it in food.
- Capsules and chewable treats also do well when administered to a pet.
- Balms or topical creams are directly rubbed on the pet’s skin. These products’ results are not as consistent and are not the best to use.
Side Effects of Using CBD
Ensure that you are administering the appropriate dosage to avoid your pet having any side effects. Some of the side effects include:
- Dogs could be constantly thirsty because CBD can reduce saliva production.
- Many pet owners use CBD to calm their pet’s anxiety. It may result in your pet being drowsy, especially if the dosage is high.
- CBD products could also make your pet lightheaded.
How to Choose Products for Your Pet
As mentioned earlier, there are various CBD retailers, so you may not know who sells genuine products that have been well formulated and do not contain any contaminants. When buying CBD products for your pets, other than relying on online reviews, be on the lookout for products with a seal from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) or ones that assert to follow good manufacturing practices. These are often indications that a product has been made in a high-quality and clean environment using safe ingredients.
Make sure you purchase high-quality CBD products for your pet. For instance, look for organic products and ensure the CBD commodity you have purchased does not contain solvents, fungicides, or pesticides. Avoid buying cheaper products since they are more likely to contain toxic substances like heavy metals. Check the CBD product to ensure that it is free of additives.
Ensure that you give your pets CBD products for pets. CBD products meant for humans contain certain ingredients that could be toxic to your pets. Avoid giving your pets any CBD products that contain THC, as it is toxic to your pet. Purchase CBD from companies with a Certificate of Analysis (COA), as it is often an indication that their products have been lab-tested by an individual third party.
The lab results usually show the CBD and THC amount that the product contains and if it contains any contaminants. A company should share a COA on their website, and you can inquire about it if it is not on their website.
It is essential to discuss with your veterinarian the use of CBD commodities for your animal before you start administering it to them. Certain states do not permit veterinarians to recommend, prescribe, dispense, or administer CBD products to animals; however, even if they cannot recommend CBD, they can answer any concerns or questions you may have regarding the product. If your veterinarian is not well versed with CBD products, there are online platforms to find information and ask questions about CBD for pets.
While some CBD products have dosage instructions on their label, there is no particular set dosage on what is safe and effective for your pet. You should start with the smallest dose possible and monitor your pet for any changes. From there, you can increase the amount if needed. Tinctures are best to start out with, as you can easily keep track of dosage amounts.
When not in use, ensure that you store CBD products at room temperature. Extreme heat and cold could change the CBD chemical compounds, and you should discard any oil that has changed color in case it has gone bad.
Monitor the Interactions
CBD often has very few side effects when administered to your pet, but it does interact with certain drugs. Since it is metabolized in the liver, it may enhance the effects of other medications when used together. This isn’t necessarily always a negative thing; for instance, when CBD is used with anti-seizure medication, it may result in better control. However, consult a veterinarian before combining substances, and you should always monitor your pet for any changes they may exhibit once they start taking CBD.
Even if your pet doesn’t take other medication, it’s important to keep an eye out for any changes in their behavior. Animals react to substances differently, and what may calm anxiety in one pet could have the opposite effect on another.
If a pet has arthritis, you may notice their mobility begin to improve once you start administering CBD. However, some of the side effects might include excessive panting, loss of balance, dribbling urine, vomiting, and lethargy. Take your animal for a vet check-up and have them checked out if they exhibit any of these signs.
Benefits of CBD for Your Animal
Research has show that CBD may have various benefits for your pet, including the following:
Although there is still research underway to prove this, most pets have shown significant relief when administered CBD. It has anti-inflammatory properties that could calm the inflammation in your pet’s joints, relieving their pain. If your pet has arthritis, you can try giving them CBD products to reduce their pain, but make sure you are using it properly and you have gotten the go-ahead from your veterinarian.
As aforementioned, CBD products for pets can be used to calm their anxiety. You can reduce your pet’s stress levels, especially if they are often afraid and anxious. Heavy storms and fireworks tend to startle many pets, and administering CBD to them in such situations may significantly relieve their anxiety.
Increase in Appetite
More research needs to be conducted to prove this, but most pet owners who have tried CBD on their pets attest that it has improved their pet’s appetite and prevented them from having nausea. So if you have a pet that has no appetite, you could try administering CBD and see if there is an improvement in their appetite. CBD may also help regulate the peptic system of your pet.
As previously stated, it is generally safe to administer CBD to your pet. The dosage will be dependent on what you are treating and what your vet recommends. Listed below are some frequently asked questions about CBD for pets.
What are the side effects of CBD?
Once you administer CBD to your pet for the first time, some of the signs you may notice include lethargy, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and vomiting. If they have had significant ingestion of CBD, ataxia could occur. If you see any of the listed signs, there is no need to be alarmed. You can treat your pet’s diarrhea, and in the case that it has ataxia, ensure that the pet is safely confined to prevent it from incurring any injury. If you notice any signs that could indicate THC toxicity, nurse your pet, give them anti-nausea medication, and give them IV fluid support. However, it is best to consult with a professional before administering any medication.
What should you do in case of an overdose?
While most CBD products show few side effects, it is possible for your pet to experience a mild overdose. If this happens, your pet may experience dehydration and diarrhea because the ingested product pulls fluid from their body into their gastrointestinal tract. However, most cases do not require treatment. In cases where side effects are severe, it is likely due to THC being in the product. Acidosis, azotemia, hyperkalemia, hyperglycemia, and hypernatremia can occur, and you should take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. They may need to administer aggressive liquid therapy to your pet and monitor their electrolytes and hydration status.
Is CBD psychoactive?
CBD is not psychoactive. If you notice that your pet looks high, that could be an indication of the following:
- The product ingested contains both CBD and THC. Before buying a product, always read the contents to see what the product has and the concentration percentage.
- The label was incorrect and the product contains THC. That is why you must buy an independent lab-tested product since they undergo quality assurance testing.
- Your pet may have ingested something else.
What are the side-effects when CBD interacts with other medication?
CBD could potentially affect other medications that your pet could be taking. You must consult with the veterinarian about the potential side effects, especially if your pet is on medication to control seizures. The dosage of anticonvulsants may have to be adjusted. The liver metabolizes CBD, so ensure that you engage with a veterinarian before giving it to a pet that has a liver problem.
If your pet suffers from anxiety, epilepsy, or pain, CBD just might be an effective treatment. As research around CBD grows, the benefits are becoming more prevalent. However, there are several things to keep in mind before administering.
There are various CBD pet products on the market, so ensure you get authentic products for your pet that do not contain THC. Always consult with your veterinarian or an expert before you administer CBD to your animal, and always monitor your pet for any changes once you introduce these products into their system.