CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant.
If extracted from hemp plants, CBD is considered to be federally legal in the U.S. This legal ‘label’ applies to CBD for pets as well as for humans.
Each state has its own set of regulations that you should follow before purchasing a CBD product.
Buying the right CBD product for your pet will depend on the animal’s specific condition and the CBD usage intention.
The right CBD dosage for pets is a variable that changes for each pet, but specific standards can be followed for a successful CBD experience.
Is There a Right CBD Dosage for Pets?
It should be evident that the correct CBD dosage for pets can only and should only be determined by a licensed veterinarian.
However, veterinarians don’t have legal authorization to prescribe CBD as a drug.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “under current federal and state law, veterinarians may not administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis or its products for animals.”
Dosing instructions in CBD for pets can be confusing. Pet owners can follow specific standards, but it’s impossible to determine the correct CBD dosage for pets without a proper medical assessment.
The best way to go about it is to listen to the product label you are buying if you indeed decide to dose your pet with CBD.
Another critical safety recommendation is to start with low potency products and low-dose applications. This should give you enough time to determine your pet’s tolerance to the substance first and slowly modify it in the future if necessary.
Keeping an eye out for side effects or unwanted results is best done with a low dose for easy manipulation. Low doses involve a lesser risk of encountering side effects.
Legal regulations around CBD for pets are continually changing and evolving as the knowledge we have on cannabis-derived compounds grows. So we suggest talking to a veterinarian either way before giving your pet CBD, as they should be able to provide you with knowledgeable advice on the ‘right move.’
Types of CBD Products for Pets
CBD behaves in a reasonably similar way in humans and pets. This similarity means that the potential effects of CBD on humans replicate on pets as well.
However, the effects of CBD have yet to be clinically proven for both cases.
We can be sure that the CBD products available for both human and animal species are similar in composition and format. At least when it pertains to cats and dogs.
Most CBD product categories are shared between both types of users, and the main difference between human CBD and pet CBD products is their flavor composition.
The main product categories found in pet and human products are oils, edibles, and topicals. Perhaps the only product category not found for both is vaping products.
Not that vaping would not work on an animal, but using inhalable products on pets could be seen as controversial, and that’s something that no responsible pet owner would like to partake in.
Common CBD for pets products includes CBD-infused treats, tinctures, creams, salves, oils, and much more.
Different Ways to Administer CBD for Pets
The way to apply CBD for pets is strictly dependent on the type of product you purchase but can also be defined by what you are trying to provide relief from.
It might make more sense to provide muscular pain relief with a topical that’s applied directly onto your pet’s affected area. Say, if your dog has back pain, it sounds like the best option is using a CBD-infused muscle rub that helps the dog cope with the pain.
Suppose your dog suffers from sudden onsets of epilepsy. In that case, the application method best known for this type of symptom is undoubtedly not a muscle rub but perhaps an edible or sublingual CBD oil.
Depending on what your goals are, a higher bioavailability could prove to be helpful. A bioavailable substance is one that reaches the bloodstream faster and manifests itself in the body sooner.
These are the different ways to administer CBD in pets:
1. On Gums
This method of the application follows the same premise that sublingual CBD drops for humans follow. The recommended amount of CBD oil is placed under the lip and on the gums of your pet. This way, it is absorbed through the pores found on the mucus membrane of the gums.
This method delivers a quick onset and allows CBD to travel significantly faster to the bloodstream than any other consumption method besides vaping. This method also bypasses the breakdown that CBD would otherwise undergo if it had to pass through the digestive tract.
2. In Food or Treats
Edibles are far from the most effective way of consuming CBD, whether we’re talking about a pet or a human. They have to be filtered through the liver, subsequently metabolized, and broken down. This breakdown results in less CBD reaching the parts where the intended effects are supposed to occur.
CBD-infused dog treats (or cat treats) are the most convenient way of giving CBD to your pet. Oils and topicals risk being spit out or rubbed off, while treats are flavored, and pets usually like to eat them, as they would any other treat.
3. Inner Ears
The pores can naturally absorb some CBD products for pets under your pet’s ear flap. Usually, regular sublingual CBD oils are absorbed through the inner ear as well.
We suggest being extremely careful with this type of application and to try and steer away from it. There is an impending risk of your pet having a ruptured eardrum, and this could result in adverse side effects.
Some products advertise for it. We don’t recommend doing this, but it would be disinformation not to mention that this possibility exists.
Topical application is not practical only for muscle aches and physical pain. In some cases, topical application is used for rashes and other skin conditions as well.
Do not apply any product on an open wound. It could result in an infection.
Are There Any CBD Benefits for Pets?
The benefits that CBD could have on pets are not based on conclusive clinical results. If there are any benefits provided to your pet from CBD consumption, these are all based on anecdotal evidence.
Most of the benefits that CBD companies claim to have on pets include the exact effects of human use. Some of these are epilepsy symptom control, pain alleviation, and stress control. However, there isn't enough evidence to clinically prove these.
We can't confirm a set of benefits of CBD for pets. But the research available is promising and ongoing studies intend to ensure the long-term consequences of CBD use in veterinary medicine.
Possible Side Effects & Risks of CBD on Pets
A 2019 paper said that “Human CBD studies for epilepsy and psychiatric disorders have reported CBD-induced drug-drug interactions, hepatic abnormalities, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, and somnolence.” .
Just as CBD benefits related to human consumption are potentially replicated in animals, so are the potential side effects.
Most of the side effects attributed to CBD were often eliminated with a dose modification or a change in the regimen.
What to Look For in CBD Treats for Pets
Positive features you should be looking for on a CBD for pets product are:
1. Organic or Natural Label
2. Third-Party Lab Tested
3. Sourced from U.S.-Grown Hemp
4. A Flavor that Appeals to Your Pet
Although these are not requirements for a high-end product, finding a product that complies with all four will likely guarantee a better experience.
A licensed veterinarian determines the correct CBD dosage. This statement can be somewhat contradictory information. Because veterinarians are not legally allowed to prescribe or recommend CBD, it could be challenging to find the correct CBD intake for your pet unless you experiment with the product first.
There are various product categories available on the positive side, each with its own set of benefits and bioavailability properties. The different product categories also allow you to pick and choose between application methods; edibles, topicals, and sublingual applications are all valid options.