If you’re one of the 1 in 7 people in the United States who use cannabidiol, chances are you’ve wondered about giving it to your pet. But before you do that, you’ll want to understand more about how CBD works for pets and some necessary safety precautions to keep in mind.
Dogs and cats, just like humans, have an endocannabinoid system that regulates the body’s functions and homeostasis. So when a pet is experiencing aches and pains, restlessness, seizures, or other issues, people turn to phytocannabinoids such as CBD, which could help reduce some of these symptoms.
Talking to Your Veterinarian About Cannabis
We always recommend talking to your healthcare practitioner about using CBD, especially if you take any medications or have underlying conditions. However, veterinarians have a different set of laws to contend with, making these discussions more difficult.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved CBD, which means they’re not allowed to recommend it. More than that, the laws are not entirely clear regarding pets and CBD, so most veterinarians won’t discuss it for fear of having their license revoked. In fact, the only state that allows veterinarians to discuss (not recommend) CBD for pets is California.
Is CBD Safe for Pets?
Your biggest concern is likely whether or not CBD is safe for pets. Most of the information regarding the potential benefits for pets is anecdotal. While very few peer-reviewed studies are available, Cornell University and Colorado State University have published articles that reviewed cannabidiol and its efficacy in treating osteoarthritis and epilepsy, respectively.
The ASPCA states that CBD can help anxiety for dogs and recommends a broad-spectrum CBD formula. They also recommend seeking out a product that utilizes third-party lab testing to ensure dosage and quality. Many products on the market make false claims and could contain toxins. Without FDA oversight, the products could contain toxins that might harm your pet.
Be sure to check the ingredients label as well for artificial ingredients and flavors. Artificial sweeteners such as xylitol can be fatal to animals. Ideally, the CBD will only contain a carrier oil, CBD, and essential oils for flavor (be sure to check the safety of individual essential oils).
CBD Dosage for Pets
No official CBD dosage for pets has been established, but the resources we studied recommend starting with your pet’s weight. This chart is a great resource to get started. We all know that pets’ appetites for new things can be unpredictable, so begin by dropping the CBD tincture on food. If your pet is incredibly discerning, you may find that rubbing it on the skin is the way to go.
We recommend starting with a lower dose, then slowly adding more until you’ve reached the amount specified on the dosage calculator you’re using. If your pet is acting too lethargic, reduce the amount.
If you suspect an overdose or your pet gets into the CBD when you’re not looking, be sure to call your vet or the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center right away.
So many pet owners have turned to CBD to help their pets with various symptoms and conditions, and we hope that in the future, more rigorous studies can be conducted to determine best practices. In the meantime, focus on quality and ensure that the products you use undergo rigorous third-party lab testing.
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