CBD for Pets: What to Know Before Giving Your Dog or Cat CBD Products

by Erin Hiatt
Dog taking CBD Tincture

No one wants to see their beloved, four-legged and furry family members suffering from any ailment that humans get, like arthritis or anxiety. Humans, however, have the advantage of opposable thumbs. They can get online or drive to the dispensary to purchase CBD, shown to be an effective compound for all kinds of conditions from sleeplessness to common aches and pains. And humans are loving on the non intoxicating compound; the CBD market was valued at $2.8 billion in 2020. 

It’s true that pets often struggle with the same ailments humans do, and pet owners have made a logical leap; if CBD works for me, it will probably work for Buddy and Kitty, too. Though research on pets and CBD is limited, pet parents seem to be on the right track. Accordingly, the CBD for pets market is on an upward trajectory. Valued at $27.7 million in 2019, it is expected to grow by an eye-popping 40.3 percent from 2020-2027. 

Despite cannabis’ growing acceptance and legalization, the plant remains a Schedule I substance federally, so veterinarians, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “…may not administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis or its products to animals.” So if a pet owner wants to add CBD to their pets wellness regimen, they’re on their own. 

But never fear, we’ve got the skinny on some of the most common burning questions about pets and CBD. Let’s dig in. 

Can CBD Get My Pet High?

The large majority of pet CBD products are made from hemp-derived CBD, meaning that it must contain less than 0.3 percent THC – a very small amount and very unlikely to get your pet high no matter their size. Because it’s made from hemp (federally legal, unlike cannabis with THC), you can buy it anywhere in the U.S.

In some legal cannabis states, you can purchase cannabis-derived pet CBD, with the caveat that it may contain more than 0.3 and may contain small amounts of THC in addition to CBD and other cannabinoids. 

If THC is in the mix, make sure you dose correctly so your pet doesn’t get stoned. Keep an eye out for signs such as lethargy drool, vomiting, being off-kilter, twitching, and dilated pupils (this scenario is much more likely to happen if your pet gets into your personal stash). 

Regardless of whether your pet CBD of choice is derived from hemp or cannabis, it’s always best to stick with reputable pet CBD companies like VET CBD and companies like them that use U.S. grown cannabis and test their products for cannabinoids, toxins, impurities, and can show you a third-party Certificate of Analysis. 

Dosing and Consistency: How Much CBD Do I Give My Dog or Cat?

To get the best results, CBD should be dosed correctly and given consistently. However, just like humans and CBD, dosing can be tricky. Every pet’s dosing will be different, but a good starting place is to consider how much your pet weighs and the severity of the condition you want to treat. 

A good rule of thumb for both dogs and cats is to give 1-2 milligrams of CBD for every pound of weight. Expect it to take about 30-45 minutes for the effects to kick-in, and wear off in 4-8 hours. 

How Pet CBD Can Help

The available research studying the effects of CBD on pets is very limited. What research has found so far is that CBD has helped dogs with epilepsy, osteoarthritis, anxiety related to loud noises, and may help alleviate aggressive behavior (there is little to no research on cats). 

But the anecdotes from happy pet owners are piling up: CBD has helped their pets with pain, loss of appetite, inflammation, and anxiety.  

With pets, what you see is what you get. Since they don’t experience the placebo effect, they’re either responding to CBD or not. It’s up to you as the conscientious pet owner to keep tabs on their energy, appetite, and overall mood with CBD on board. 

Is it Safe to Give Human CBD to Pets?

Technically, you could, but it’s not a great idea since those products are intended to be dosed for humans. They may also contain flavorings or ingredients that can be dangerous for your pet, like xylitol and alcohol. Plus, pet CBD comes in all shapes and sizes, from tinctures, to treats, to chews that are formulated with pet palates and pet-safe ingredients in mind. 

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