Cannabidiol is a substance derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. You may know it as one of its more common names: marijuana or hemp. It occurs naturally and comes in various forms, such as CBD oil or edibles. 

People use it to experience a sense of well-being or calmness. It can help to enhance mental clarity, relaxation, and feeling more at ease. However, research on CBD oil for dogs, cats, and other animals is still up and coming.

You can give CBD oil to your pet to help them feel relaxed and more comfortable. How does this work? Is it safe to use? What is the correct dosage? In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about CBD for pets. 

CBD Oil and Pets

CBD for Pets Research

Not only is CBD oil safe for dogs and cats, but it can also help increase comfort and activity in animals with chronic conditions. People are becoming increasingly aware of the many benefits of cannabidiol, including easing symptoms for dogs with osteoarthritis or skin allergies

There are many methods by which dogs and cats can ingest cannabidiol, which we will go over later in this article. 

It's vital to consider the dosage if you are considering using it for your dog or cat. The FDA does not regulate the manufacturing and selling of CBD products, so there is no universal dosage. However, when dosing your animal, you must consider things such as:

  • Your pet's weight

  • Their physical condition

  • Digestion

  • What they ate that day

  • Type of CBD you're giving them

When giving animals CBD oil, most people only consider their weight. Your pet's weight is a good starting point for dosing them. 

CBD Oil for Dogs

There are several ways to use CBD oil for dogs. Dogs can benefit from taking cannabidiol for several reasons, including:

  • Helping to control seizures

  • Supporting a healthy inflammatory response

  • Calming distress

  • Easing nausea

  • Stimulating the appetite

  • Supporting treatment in osteoarthritic dogs

  • And more!

A general guideline is to fall within the range of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. A 70-lb dog, therefore, could receive anywhere from 7-35mg of CBD a day. The larger the dog, the more product they will need.

CBD Oil for Cats

The benefits of using CBD oil for cats are similar to the ones for dogs. Cats can enjoy support for bodily discomfort or inflammatory responses. Also, many people use it to help their felines de-stress.

The dosage for cats is slightly more than the dosage for dogs: Give your cat 2-4mg of cannabidiol per 10lbs of body weight.

Cats don't have as many cannabinoid receptors as dogs, so they need more to feel the same effects of CBD. For cats with ongoing medical issues, give them about 4mg per 10lbs of body weight. 

General Guidelines for CBD Oil for Dogs and Cats

For dogs and cats, the general rules are the same:

  • The heavier the dog or cat, the more they'll need.

  • The more intense the symptoms, the more the pet will need.

  • Start small (on the low end of the recommended dosage) and work your way up in milligrams.

  • It takes about 15-45 minutes for the full effects of CBD to kick in, and it lasts for about 4-6 hours.

Cannabis and CBD Science for Dogs

Cannabis and CBD Science for Dogs

There is a lot of information out there about CBD products and dogs. Here, we've condensed the most vital info for easy reading.

What's the Difference Between CBD Oil for Humans and CBD for Pets?

There is little to no difference between cannabidiol for humans and dogs. Indeed, humans can take pet CBD oil. Typically, the only differences are in the labeling and the flavors.

The taste is not appealing to most dogs and cats. Therefore, many cat and dog food manufacturers make CBD oil more enticing with flavors. When marketed to humans, the products will have flavors such as tangerine and mint.

Dog and cat CBD oil will have flavors such as tuna or chicken. Humans can also ingest it using various forms, such as vaporization (thanks to CO2 extraction), while dogs and cats cannot.

Besides flavoring, human dietary supplements also have different labeling requirements than animal supplements. The labels may differ or contain additional information, but the product development itself is typically identical. Therefore, you can give your animal the CBD you would take yourself.

Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil

Cannabis, hemp, and marijuana are not interchangeable terms. The Cannabis sativa plant has two primary species: hemp and marijuana. Both contain cannabidiol, but marijuana contains high levels of THC compared to hemp.

Hemp products have low THC levels and must have less than 0.3% to be legal in the United States. It is why most CBD products come from hemp plants.

However, hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same things. Hemp oil contains little to no cannabidiol content, while CBD oil does. Manufacturers make hemp oil by cold-pressing hemp seeds into culinary oil. They make CBD oil by extracting the cannabidiol from the different parts of the hemp plant. 

Hemp oil is rich in omegas. Therefore, it is more of a dietary supplement than CBD. Dogs and cats can take both. So if you are trying to decide between hemp oil vs. CBD oil for dogs, your decision will depend on the dog or cat's needs. 

CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum

If you've been researching for a while, you may have heard people talking about the differences between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil

CBD isolate is the pure form of the substance. It has no other cannabis plant compounds and typically comes from hemp plants. It can calm various issues, but you may need more to get the desired results. 

Full-spectrum CBD oil is an extract that contains other compounds of the cannabis plant. Full-spectrum CBD products contain essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. They may also contain up to 0.3% THC (but it still does not have psychoactive effects).

CBD Oil and Pets Research

Human and animal bodies produce endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters bind to the body's cannabinoid receptors. Enzymes in the body break down the cannabinoids. Then, the endocannabinoids in them look to bind to receptors. 

Most researchers believe that cannabidiol does not attach itself to the receptors but instead influences them to behave differently. The effects of CBD oil in dogs show it can help calm nerves, support the immune system, and ease joint discomfort, among other benefits.

Although most cannabis research focuses on humans, scientists, and veterinarians are still studying the various ways to use CBD for dogs, cats, and other animals.

Usage of CBD in Pets

cat and dog using cbd

There is not much of a track record of research with pets and CBD. However, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence attesting to how it can improve your dog or cat's life. Numerous pet owners have shared success stories of their dog or cat showing improved mobility, less seizure frequency, and better life quality. 

These studies give valuable insight into CBD's potential for pets. More studies are needed to determine the safety and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol. However, the extant studies and anecdotal evidence provide enough data to suggest that it is beneficial for dogs and cats. 

Here are a few benefits that may come with the use of CBD for dogs and cats.

General Immune System

Research in humans has shown that cannabidiol can act as a modulator for the immune system rather than a boosting or suppressing agent. In layperson's terms, it means that giving your dog CBD products help support their immune system health.

Joints and Mobility

Cannabidiol has known benefits as an anti-inflammatory. Typically, veterinarians will prescribe opioids for pain management. However, using CBD for dogs and cats can offer more holistic products for your dog or cat.

Neurological and Brain Function

A clinical trial on senior dogs suggested that cannabidiol protects the brain from cell death caused by toxins and free radicals.

Skin and Allergies

CBD can also help your dog with their allergies. The cannabinoids help regulate bodily systems, which keeps their more severe allergy symptoms at bay.

Recent Studies on CBD Usage with Pets

Not many scientists or veterinarians have conducted research on the safety and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol for dogs and cats. There are a few exceptions:

  • One study from 2018 showed it improved symptoms in dogs with osteoarthritis. 

  • Another small study from 2019 conducted a clinical trial and reported reduced seizure frequency in dogs. 

Research in human trials is minimal, and in pets, it is even more scarce. However, anecdotal evidence has shed a lot of light on this area. 

Research on using cannabidiol with pets is ongoing, despite the lack of regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. It's best to stay up-to-date with the latest information to ensure you're informed about the products you give your pets.

How to Choose a CBD Product

How to Choose a CBD Product

There are plenty of CBD products that you can choose for your companion animals. Ultimately, all you want to do is make sure they get a high-quality, safe product that will help your dog or cat feel their best. 

Here are some factors to consider when purchasing these products for your dog or cat.

  • Hemp source — Make sure that your products are from high-quality hemp. 

  • Brand reputation — When you purchase any product, make sure it is from a reputable and honest brand. 

  • Price value — Pet owners shouldn't cheap out on your dog CBD.

  • Lab testing — The most trustworthy brands will provide the lab testing results for their cannabis products. 

  • THC concentration — CBD for dogs should have less than 0.3% THC. THC can be toxic to pets, so only purchase products that you're 100% sure have no or less than 0.3% THC for the safety of your pet.

Different Forms of CBD for Pets

There are several ways you can give your dog or cat cannabidiol. Three of the most common methods are chews/bites, oils, and creams.

CBD dog chews contain small, pre-measured amounts of cannabidiol. These dog snacks often have tasty flavors that your cat or dog can enjoy, such as tuna or chicken. 

CBD oil for dogs and cats usually comes in the form of a tincture. You put a few drops directly in your pet's mouth with a dropper. Usually, giving your dog or cat the dropper at mealtime works best.

Finally, you can apply a cream for cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs. These creams calm discomfort in the joints. All you must do is smooth the cream onto the affected area and wait for it to start working.

CBD for Pets Regulations

While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized cannabidiol across the country, there isn't a lot of regulation on these products for animals or humans in the United States. The only stipulation from the Food and Drug Administration is that the product must come from hemp and contain less than 0.3% THC.

The lack of regulation means there is a lot of variability in products. Research each brand before purchasing, and contact a veterinarian with any questions you may have.

Our Final Thoughts

Research on the use of cannabidiol for dogs and cats is still in its infancy. However, more veterinarians and pet owners are waking up to its benefits. It can help dogs and cats ease various symptoms of discomfort, feel greater calm, and ultimately live better lives. 

The Food and Drug Administration does not currently regulate cannabidiol. Therefore, you want to research products, check the lab results, and talk to veterinarians if you have any questions. Verify the dosage and use according to your pet's weight and needs, and choose a reliable company to use. 

As long as you choose brands that are safe and proven trustworthy, your dog or cat can benefit from the benefits. Then, they can live healthier and happier lives. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CBD safe for pets?

CBD is safe for dogs and other pets. It can help ease discomfort in dogs with osteoarthritis and allergies.

What are the uses for CBD?

You can use CBD oil to ease symptoms related to joint discomfort, allergies, and immune system health.

How do I know which CBD product is right for my pet?

Research many brands and types of products, so you know the entire market. Then, choose the products that meet the criteria we stated above.