December 14, 2021 8 min read

You've heard of CBD and all the wonderful things it can potentially do for you, but can it bring the same benefits to your pets? The answer is yes, there may be some benefits to using CBD for pets because all mammals have an Endocannabinoid System that interacts with natural hemp cannabinoids.

A bottle of golden, human grade CBD oil for pets

Just like in humans, an imbalance within the endocannabinoid system can be the root cause of various symptoms, and CBD may help to shift the system back into balance. Veterinarians and pet parents alike are enthused by the possibility of a natural remedy that may help manage a pet's anxiety, pain, and more.

Luckily, much of the research regarding CBD's benefits involves animal trials, so we actually know a good bit about the benefits of CBD for animals. Here's what you should know:

Table of Contents
What is CBD?
CBD Benefits for Pets
Is CBD Safe for Pets?
What are the Risks of Using CBD for Pets?
Will CBD Cause My Pet to Get High?
How Much CBD Should I Give My Pet?
What Forms of CBD are Available for Pets?
Are Human CBD Products Safe for Pets?
Human Grade CBD for Pets is Best
How Can I Tell If CBD is Working for My Pet
Conclusion: Should You Give CBD to Pets?
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Preliminary research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) could help to manage various symptoms in household pets, like anxiety, pain, and seizures, but more research is needed to fully understand the benefits.
  • You should consult your veterinarian before using CBD for pets to discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks.
  • If you decide to use CBD for your pets, make sure to look for a high-quality product that’s free of pesticides, heavy metals, other contaminants, and problematic ingredients like artificial sweeteners.

What is CBD?

CBD is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that can be naturally found in legal hemp material. Although CBD doesn't get you high like traditional THC products, the cannabinoid's structure allows it to interact with endocannabinoid receptors (neuroreceptors) within the mammal's Endocannabinoid System.

After it is extracted from the hemp plant, CBD concentrate can be used to make a variety of different CBD products that are targeted towards pets, like CBD oil or CBD pet treats. In other words, it's easier than ever to get your pet to take CBD in the correct dosage or via tasty, mess-free dosing options. The question is, what benefits can you expect to see after giving your pet a CBD dose?

Here's what research has to say about the benefits of CBD for pets:

Exploring CBD's Benefits in Animal Trials

Before we start, we want to point out that much of the research that exists regarding the benefits of CBD involves animal trials, but that does not necessarily mean that the intention of the research was to understand the benefits of CBD for household pets.

A woman preparing to giver her kitten a dose of CBD

When you see other sources discuss this topic, they may claim that there is very little evidence regarding the benefits of CBD for pets. This is technically true simply because household pets like dogs and cats were not the subject of the research. However, the results from animal trials involving mice and other rodents may very well help us understand what to expect when using CBD for household pets. Here's what that research says:

Pain

Various research efforts have found that CBD may play a role in lowering inflammation and reducing pain signaling in the body. One study found that regular daily doses of CBD helped to control pain caused by osteoarthritis in dogs. In general, research has found that CBD could be useful for many different types of pain, likely because the Endocannabinoid System plays an important role in creating sensations of pain.

Anxiety

The endocannabinoid System may also play a role in the regulation of anxiety behaviors, and some sources even label CBD as an “anxiolytic” substance, meaning it treats anxiety. Of course, more research is needed to fully understand how CBD could work for anxiety, but one study found that CBD helped to reduce aggressive behaviors induced by anxiety in shelter dogs.

Seizures

One of the most well-researched areas of CBD’s benefits is its ability to help reduce or eliminate seizures caused by various seizure disorders. In fact, the only CBD-based medication (Epidiolex) that currently has FDA approval is designed to treat a severe form of childhood epilepsy. If your pet suffers from seizures, there’s no reason that CBD cannot provide these same benefits. Epidiolex is available only for human patients by prescription, but a high-quality CBD oil product may provide these same anticonvulsant benefits (with a veterinarian’s assistance).

Is CBD Safe for Pets?

First and foremost we want to point out that CBD is not FDA approved for use in animals. In other words, while there may be benefits, you can't get a prescription for CBD from your veterinarian. That means that if you decide to try CBD for your pet, you'll be responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of the product you buy.

With that said, CBD has a relatively sound safety profile. In general, there have been no reports of CBD leading to death or severe reaction in pets. Because CBD is not psychoactive, there's no need to worry about the adverse reactions linked to using THC (a psychoactive product) for pets.

The primary threat behind using CBD for pets is that the hemp industry is still scarcely regulated. In other words, you'll need to take special care to make sure that you buy a high quality, safe CBD product. In most cases, that means you should look for a product that's made from U.S. grown hemp, third party tested, and free of contaminants like pesticides and residual solvents.

What are the Risks of Using CBD for Pets?

From what research tells us, the side effects experienced by animals after taking CBD are similar to those experienced by humans. Side effects from CBD are rare and usually mild. The most common side effects related to CBD use include changes to appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea. In many cases, adverse effects are linked to taking doses that are too high.

Generally, the side effects of CBD are temporary and non-threatening. You may just want to keep a close eye on your pet if they experience any of the mild side effects listed above. You should also discontinue using CBD. You can restart with smaller doses under a veterinarian’s guidance after the mild side effects have gone away.

Will CBD Cause My Pet to Get High?

Nope! CBD is not psychoactive and does not interact with the parts of the Endocannabinoid System that incite psychoactivity. CBD will not get your pet high.

However, some products contain trace amounts of THC, usually less than 0.3% or less to comply with federal laws. This type of CBD is called “full spectrum” CBD oil and it’s thought to be even more effective than pure CBD, known as CBD isolate. This is because of something known as the “entourage effect,” a phenomenon where cannabinoids have a synergistic reaction with each other that provides boosted effects.

In rare cases, full-spectrum CBD products could induce a high because of these trace amounts of THC. However, this is only likely to happen when the CBD oil is given in very high doses, and this is not something to worry about when CBD is given in regular doses.

How Much CBD Should I Give My Pet?

There’s no exact rule to how much CBD your pet may need, and the exact dosage may depend on things like your pet’s weight, health condition, metabolism, and more. The best way to find a dosage routine is to start with small doses and increase the dosage incrementally over time until your pet seems to experience relief. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s CBD dosage, or read “How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog?”

What Forms of CBD Are Available for Pets?

CBD pet treats shaped as small dog bones

There are many different CBD products on the market that may be suitable for pets, ranging from oral oils to treats and even skin care products. However, CBD oil is often considered to be the most useful and versatile dosing option.

With an oil-based product, like a CBD Pet Tincture, you can easily measure the oil in small increments, which means you can easily increase or decrease your pet’s dose as needed. A Tincture can be dropped into the pet's mouth directly, added to a treat, mixed into peanut butter or wet pet food, or added to virtually any of your pet’s favorite snacks.

Are Human CBD Products Safe for Pets?

As we mentioned, there are many different CBD pet products on the market, many of which have some gimmicky marketing tricks attached. The truth is, you don’t need a special product for your pet. Nearly any CBD made for humans will do the job so long as the product is well made and free of additives.

Keep in mind that some CBD products made for humans contain sweeteners and flavors. You’ll want to find a plain oil if you plan to use a human CBD product for your pets. Still, there may be a benefit to choosing formulations specifically designed for dogs and cats.

Human Grade CBD for Pets is Best

At Vida Optima, we offer a CBD Pet Tincture that’s made according to the same safety and quality standards as our human-grade ingredients. In fact, it’s basically the same product, but without any flavor additives, sweeteners, or other ingredients that aren’t essential to the efficacy of the natural formula.

Because it is formulated for pets, however, it’s specifically designed to make small doses possible. With a potent CBD oil tincture, even one that contains ingredients that are safe for pets, it can be hard to measure a pet-sized dose. With our CBD Pet Tincture, you can easily measure a small dose perfect for pets of any size. Each 1 mL dropper full contains 5 mg of hemp CBD oil.

How Can I Tell If CBD is Working for My Pet?

Our pets can’t exactly tell us how they feel or what’s going on, but you still may be able to watch for cues to help you understand whether or not CBD is bringing any benefit to your pet. Just like you can tell when your pet is anxious or in pain, you should be able to tell when that pain resolves or when your pet is feeling calm. If these effects come an hour or two after a CBD oil dose, then you may have your answer.

For some pets, the benefits may not be apparent right away. The Endocannabinoid System is a regulatory system, and some experts believe that CBD works best when used daily in order to give the body a chance to fully regulate. Read more about the reasons you should take CBD daily, and be sure to give your pet a few days or even a week before you decide whether or not CBD is working as you’d hoped.

Conclusion: Should You Give CBD to Your Pet?

The bottom line is that CBD may provide a wide array of different health benefits that apply to dogs, cats, and even other house pets. All mammals have an Endocannabinoid System and may therefore benefit from regular CBD doses. Still, there is more research to be done and you should consult your veterinarian when trying to decide if CBD is right for your pet.

If you and your veterinarian decide that CBD is a good option, look for a high-quality, lab-tested CBD product that’s made using safe manufacturing processes and premium hemp material. You’ll also want to avoid various ingredients that pop up in some CBD formulations, like artificial sweeteners and essential oils.

To skip the footwork and buy premium, pet-safe CBD today, check out our Vida Paws CBD Pet Tincture.

Resources

  1. “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of daily cannabidiol for the treatment of canine osteoarthritis pain” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32345916/
  2. “Research shows pain relieving effects of CBD”https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210423130221.htm
  3. “Cannabis sativa L. may reduce aggressive behaviour towards humans in shelter dogs” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-82439-2
  4. “Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6514832/

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