Using CBD to treat various ailments has been a growing wellness trend in human health for years. But what about pets? Some common reasons for using CBD, like reducing anxiety symptoms or relieving chronic pain, can apply to dogs and cats, too. That has many pet parents wondering: is CBD a good option for their furry friends? Unfortunately, the answer to that question isn’t entirely straightforward. Here’s what we know—and don’t know—about CBD and pets.
Benefits associated with CBD
In humans, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to help the body maintain balance. Since dogs and cats (and all mammals, for that matter) also have endocannabinoid systems, the theory is that they experience the same effects of CBD as humans. The benefits associated with CBD use include:
- Improved sleep and relief from anxiety
- Increased mobility and reduction in chronic pain for those suffering from arthritis
- Reduction in seizures for those diagnosed with epilepsy
However, research on the effectiveness—or risks—of CBD in pets is limited. Nevertheless, early findings and anecdotal stories from pet parents and veterinarians show promising signs that CBD could be another tool in the toolbox for managing certain conditions in dogs and cats. And a 2017 World Health Organization (WHO) report found that pets tolerate CBD in its natural form well.
What to look for in CBD products
The FDA does not regulate CBD products, so the quality and consistency can vary across brands. There are also no standard dosage guidelines for pets. That can make choosing the right product for your pet tricky. However, the following are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
- When shopping for CBD products, look for reputable brands that certify the amount of CBD their products contain.
- Avoid products that contain pesticides or other potentially harmful substances.
- CBD products can be made with or without THC (the compound that has psychoactive properties). THC is toxic to dogs and cats. And while the maximum amount of THC allowed in CBD products (.3%) is generally regarded as safe for pets, it’s best to choose products containing no THC.
- Finding the correct dosage may take some trial and error. Using CBD oil (versus treats or chews) makes it easier to start slow and ramp up the amount you give your pet.
When considering new treatments or products for your pet’s health, we recommend always talking with your veterinarian. And this time is no exception. However, because CBD is not approved at a federal level and laws around its sale vary by state, your veterinarian may be limited in the advice they can give.