Can Our Pets Take CBD? A Guide to CBD, Dogs & Cats

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CBD for pets
If you’re already taking CBD, then you’re probably already aware of the physical benefits of CBD for anxiety, depression, pain, and other health issues.

But what about our pets?

Is it safe to give them CBD? Are the health benefits for pets similar to humans? What can CBD treat or alleviate in animals? Is CBD oil best, or are other methods of application better?

Let’s look at the research and what we already know about CBD for pets. Medical marijuana for… dogs? Is it safe?

Like with humans, CBD won’t get your furry four-legged friends high. Because most CBD oil for pets is derived from hemp oil, it shouldn’t be toxic, which means that your pet won’t overdose on CBD.

So that’s good.

At this point, you might be wondering, “Where did we get the idea to connect the benefits of CBD on humans to using CBD on animals anyway?”

The endocannabinoid receptors in humans and animals are actually quite similar—most of the research on the effects of cannabinoids on the brain actually comes from studies on animals. And even though there are obviously differences between human and animal brains, “every biologically active substance exerts its effects at the cellular and molecular levels, and the evidence has shown that this is remarkably consistent among mammals, even those as different in body and mind as rats and humans.” (National Academy of Sciences)

More research needs to be done, of course, but this is reassuring for pet parents who are concerned about dangerous side effects of CBD on dogs and cats. So far, based on anecdotal evidence and preliminary research, CBD seems to have tangible benefits—or at the very least, is safe—for animals.

Benefits of CBD for Pets

As a refresher, here are just a few problems—both psychological and physical—in humans that CBD can alleviate:

  • Fearfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Pain
  • Bacterial infections
  • Skin problems
  • Cancer
  • Nausea

Although there isn’t a lot of research yet on CBD oil for animals, there are many stories of owners who have turned to CBD because of the ineffectiveness (and negative side effects) of traditional medication.

Riley, a 16-year-old labrador retriever, was experiencing chronic pain from arthritis. CBD came to the rescue.


Miles, another labrador retriever, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his quality of life was quickly getting worse: no energy, no appetite. Again, cannabis was used as an alternative to the prescribed tramadol.

There are many other stories like this about the health benefits of CBD oil for pets. And not only can CBD be equally (or more) effective for treating the conditions listed above, the bonus is that it doesn’t have a lot of the (sometimes life-threatening) side effects that traditional drugs and medicine tend to have on animals.

According to Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of a pet cannabis company in California, “[medical cannabis] doesn’t damage the kidney, liver, or GI tract. The dogs aren’t high or sedated.”

How To Use CBD for Pets

The most important thing to remember is to make sure of two things: that you have the right dose of CBD (check that it’s CBD and not THC) for your pet—and that there aren’t any other ingredients that might be toxic to dogs or cats.

Chocolate, coffee, raisins, and other dog-unfriendly foods should never be fed to your dog—whether or not they contain CBD or medicinal cannabis. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients.” says Dr. Gary Richter, the medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital.

If you’re considering taking a look at CBD oil (ideally hemp-based) for pets, here are a few things to remember:

Check with your vet. While CBD is generally safe, it can affect how certain medications interact with your pet’s body. Always, always check with a professional first to make sure that the CBD won’t negatively impact how your dog or cat ingests other drugs.

Start slow. When your vet gives you the go-ahead, then you can look at options like CBD hemp oil for pets. Yes, a delicious treat is important, but remember, dosing is crucial. Always start small: 1 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight is pretty standard, but ask your vet to be safe.

Stay with your pet. At the end of the day, CBD is a relatively new type of alternative medicine for dogs and cats, and there’s a certain level of risk associated, even if it’s low. Stay with your pet for a few hours (2 or 3) after giving them CBD oil or CBD treats and monitor how they’re responding to it.

Guide to the Best CBD for Dogs and Cats

Even though CBD for pets in Canada is still relatively new, it’s not too hard to find readily accessible online dispensaries with good reviews (for example, BudExpress Now has a good selection of cannabis-based dog treats).

Regardless of where you’re looking in your search for the best CBD oil for your dog or cat, here’s a quick guide to help you narrow your choices down.

Make sure it’s organic. If it isn’t, the CBD oil probably contains pesticides, fungicides, or solvents—none of which belong in your fur-child.

Get an analysis. Make sure the dispensary can provide a lab test that shows how much CBD is actually in the product. There are a lot of CBD hemp oils out there that have only a tiny amount of CBD. No matter what their marketing says, they should be able to give you a certificate of analysis—and it should show high levels of CBD and little to no THC.

Look for quality. CBD oil isn’t cheap. We’re just going to come right out and say it. When you buy a CBD oil that’s of a high quality and purity, and that’s lab-tested, it will probably cost you more. In the end though, it’s worth it to have a product that’s additive-free and actually contains, you know, CBD.

What form of CBD is best for pets?

You have options: CBD oil, CBD pills, CBD tinctures—they all have their perks and downsides. For example, it’s a little harder to dose with CBD pills for dogs, unless you make the capsules yourself and know exactly how much CBD is in there. Choose one that works for you and your pet.


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