As you probably know, CBD offers many health benefits for humans, including easing anxiety, improving the mood, and keeping an overall healthy body. With more and more people becoming familiar with CBD’s benefits, some are exploring how CBD can affect our pets, mainly dogs and cats.
While many have claimed to have successfully given their pets CBD, this is a topic that is still hazy as to whether or not it is something you should do. Here’s what we know:
Pets have an Endocannabinoid System, Too
All humans have an enodcannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, within the body and between all of the different systems. When something is out of balance, such as when you’re hungry or feeling depressed, your ECS stimulates a response that sends endocannabinoids to certain receptors. These receptors, called the CB1 and CB2 receptors, trigger responses in the necessary systems to restore balance, such as sending you the signal to eat or increasing your serotonin levels. To learn more about how your ECS works and how CBD interacts with it, click here.
Just like humans, all mammals, including dogs and cats, have an endocannabinoid system, too! They also have CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout their bodies to stimulate responses and restore balance within the body. Animals trigger these responses in the same way humans do: with the natural endocannabinoids that their bodies make.
Also like humans, our pets can experience an edocannabinoid deficiency, which can lead to a lack of homeostasis within the body and the development of health conditions. As a result, pets can experience mental and physical health problems such as chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, seizures, and more.
If your pet experiences some of these or other medical conditions, CBD may be something you can try. Because plant-derived cannabinoids, including CBD, are so similar to the endocannabinoids that our pets’ bodies create, CBD can help stimulate your pet’s ECS to work properly, restore homeostasis, and alleviate health conditions.
Cautions To Take When Giving Your Pet CBD
While many people have tried giving CBD products to their pets and have found success, it is very important to note that there are minimal studies that show how CBD actually effects animals. As a result, there are several things you should be mindful of when giving your pet CBD:
- Before giving your pet any amount of CBD, consult with your veterinarian to ensure that CBD will not interfere with any medical regimens your pet may have.
- Use only high-quality and pure CBD products. There are no regulations for CBD products for pets, so be cautious that your product is free of contaminants. To do this, check for products that:
- Have a seal from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC).
- Come from companies that use third-party testing and provide the test results and/or Certificate of Analysis.
- Come from companies that have good manufacturing processes. Typically, companies who ensure that their products are free of pesticides, herbicides, contaminants, etc. will have products that cost a bit more.
- Do no contain additional ingredients, such as grapeseed oil or xylitol. Many of these added products can be harmful to animals.
- Be cautious about using CBD products that contain THC. Many experts say that pets should not consume any amount of THC, which means that you will need to use a completely THC-free product. Others say minimal amounts of THC may be okay, but it is best not to experiment with using products that have THC until further studies are completed.
- Marijuana has been known to be toxic to some animals, so make sure that the CBD products you use specifically come from hemp plants.
Finding the Right Dosage For Your Pet
When humans try to find the right dosage of CBD for themselves, it’s best to start at a low dosage and work your way up until you find the amount that gives you the results you want. The same goes for pets.
The generally accepted rule for animal CBD doses is to give your pet 1mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight, up to two times a day. Some veterinarians, however, may recommend that you start with a lower dosage. Plus, the limited number of studies make it difficult to know what dosages are toxic for animals, so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian first.
Pets are much smaller than humans, so they never need a large dosage. A great way to keep your pet’s dosage small and adjust them in small increments is to use CBD oil with a dropper. This allows you to adjust your pet’s dosage by a single drop, which, albeit small, could be the just the right amount of change your pet needs to experience the full benefits of CBD.
While pets generally need only a small dosage of CBD, giving your pet too much CBD will not cause them to overdose. However, too much CBD can prevent your pet from experiencing the positive effects of CBD. Just remember, it’s better to start low and increase slowly.
Does CBD Have Side Effects For Pets?
CBD generally has minimal to no side effects for both humans and animals. Everyone and every pet will respond differently, so it is possible that your pet may experience drowsiness, dry mouth, or lowered blood pressure after consuming CBD. Some animals may experience slightly more severe side effects, including anxiety, vomiting, or a change in appetite.
After giving your pet a dose of CBD, it’s best to keep an eye on them for a few hours, especially after their first dose. If your pet experiences any side effects, you may want to reduce their dosage.
CBD can be a great source of relief for pets who experience a wide range of health conditions. However, until larger and further studies are completed about how CBD affects pets, it is best to use caution and always consult with your veterinarian first. We want the best for our furry friends!