If you live with a furry friend, you probably are familiar with their stressors. Maybe they get nervous before long drives, with loud sounds like fireworks, or when you have guests over. Or perhaps your pet is experiencing physical discomfort.
And if so, can CBD help relieve mental and physical stress for your pet the same way it can for us? Is CBD safe for pets? Let’s get into it with The Brothers Apothecary!
How Can CBD Help My Pet?
If you are familiar with CBD, you may know that this plant cannabinoid works within the body thanks to the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (the ECS) is an internal networking system that helps regulate body function and maintain internal balance by using naturally produced endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors (CB receptors).
But did you know that all animals have endocannabinoid systems just like humans do? While there are differences, your furry friend has their own ECS that relies on cannabinoids to respond to stress and discomfort.
While more research is needed to understand precisely how CBD works within the ECS of different animals, current evidence suggests that CBD can provide similar benefits for our pets as it can for us.
What Animals Can Safely Take CBD?
When it comes to CBD use in pets, the majority of existing research focuses on the effects in dogs. A smaller number of studies have looked at the effects of CBD on cats.
Current research suggests that both animals can safely take CBD and experience its benefits.
We wouldn’t recommend giving CBD to a type of animal that hasn’t been well researched without a specific recommendation from your vet. But, with more and more research going into CBD, we are hopeful that we will soon have more information on the potential for CBD to support even more of our furry friends and their needs!
What Are the Benefits of CBD for Pets?
CBD can benefit our pets the same way they benefit us: by helping to relieve mental and physical stress or discomfort.
Minimize Stress and Tension
Studies in humans and in mice suggest that CBD can lower stress and nervousness by working with endocannabinoids and CB receptors in the brain and positively affecting serotonin levels.
While more research is needed on pets, current evidence suggests that CBD can have similar calming effects on dogs and cats.
CBD has naturally soothing properties that can reduce swelling and relieve physical discomfort. Recent studies suggest that CBD can help relieve discomfort associated with osteoarthritis in dogs.
Are There Any Risks of Giving Pets CBD?
In low doses, CBD is considered extremely safe and well-tolerated by pets. However, we are still in early stages of CBD research in animals, which means some unknowns to be cautious of.
CBD is metabolized in the liver, and some research found that CBD may lead to heightened levels of the liver enzyme alkaline phosphatase in dogs.
While this doesn’t appear to affect liver function or be cause for concern in most pets, researchers say CBD may not be the best choice for dogs with known liver issues, or dogs taking another form of medication that is metabolized in the liver.
Quality control is also extremely important when it comes to giving CBD to your beloved pet.
High quantities of THC can be toxic to pets, so you want to make sure any product you use has little to no THC content. The federally legal limit of 0.3% THC content in full-spectrum CBD products is safe for pets, but you want to make sure you only use trusted manufactures who are transparent with their third-party lab testing results.
Third-party testing ensures that the ingredients on the label accurately reflect what is inside, and that all doses are correctly labeled. If third-party test results show that a product contains 0.3% or less THC, you can trust that that is accurate.
What Kind of CBD Should I Give My Pet?
Pet CBD comes in oils, topicals, and capsules like CBD products for humans. You can even get CBD-infused treats!
We recommend starting with a CBD oil, as the dropper makes it easy to measure and control the dose. Studies also suggest that CBD oil is better absorbed by pets than other forms of CBD.
It is best to find products specifically made for pets, but oils made for humans should be okay as long as you check the label to ensure there are no ingredients that can be harmful to your pet, such as artificial sweetener, high concentrations of THC, or essential oils.
CBD oils for pets often contain natural flavors that make it more enjoyable for your furry friend. Our Calming K9 Oil, for instance, has a peanut butter flavor your pup will thank you for!
If giving CBD to a feline friend, you may have to be a bit pickier about the carrier oil used. Cats can’t process the fatty acids found in plants as well as humans and dogs can, so products using coconut or hemp oil may not be right for your cat.
Instead, many cat CBD products use fish oil to help your cat better digest the oil. If you are using a plant-based oil for your cat, just make sure to keep the doses low to avoid upsetting their stomach!
You can mix CBD oils directly into your pets food, or create your own made-with-love treats for them to enjoy (check out some of our favorite Brothers recipes for calming cat and dog treats for inspiration)!
How Much CBD Should I Give My Pet?
There are a few factors to consider when it comes to determining the right dose for your pet.
What Factors Determine the Right Dose?
Your pet’s size, weight, and the reason for giving them CBD all play a role in finding the best dose for them.
CBD Dose For Dogs
For dogs, one to two milligrams of CBD per ten pounds of body weight is a good starting place, and you can work up from there based on their needs. If CBD is being used for a more severe issue, you’ll likely need a higher dose of CBD for your pup to feel the desired effects.
Up to 5 mg of CBD is considered safe for small dogs, while medium dogs can take 10 milligrams of CBD, and large dogs can take 16 milligrams.
CBD Dose For Cats
For cats, you’ll likely need two to four mg of CBD per ten pounds of body weight, as cats have less CB receptors than dogs do. You’ll still want to start on the low side and slowly add more each day as needed until you can see that your pet seems more comfortable.
Always check with your veterinarian before you start your dog on a new supplement, especially if your pet is already on prescription medications.
How Long Does Pet CBD Take To Work?
Typically CBD will kick in within 30 minutes to 60 minutes. If your pet is not seeming more relaxed or content after an hour or two, you can try giving them another small dose, but do not exceed the recommended dose for your pet.
How Long Do the Effects of CBD Last for Pets?
The effects of CBD typically last anywhere between four and twelve hours, depending on the amount taken, size, and activity level.
Do Vets Recommend CBD for Pets?
While many states prevent vets from prescribing or recommending CBD, more vets are acknowledging the benefits of CBD for pets as more promising research becomes available. If you have any concerns or questions about using CBD for your pet, you must always check in with your vet.
Are There Any Side Effects of CBD for Pets?
The potential side effects of CBD in pets are essentially the same as those for humans: drowsiness, diarrhea, and appetite changes. Like in humans, CBD side effects in pets are often mild and resolve on their own.
Side effects are also more commonly reported when taken in high doses, so make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dose for your sized pet, and always put any CBD treats that aren’t being used away where your pet can’t get to it, to avoid the risk of them having one (or plenty) too many.
How Does CBD Make Animals Feel?
CBD should help your pet feel calmer, more relaxed, and more comfortable! Pet owners can often spot a difference in their pet’s behavior or comfort level within an hour of taking CBD.
The Bottom Line
CBD can help your beloved pup or cat feel calmer, comfortable, and less stressed. For high-quality, organic, and third-party tested CBD products that your pets (and you!) are sure to love, check out our shop at The Brothers Apothecary!