What You Need To Know Before Giving Your Pet CBD

In recent years, CBD and its beneficial effects on humans and animals have been the center of many researchers’ attention. CBD has proved to be an effective drug for many conditions through experiments.

Moreover, the legalization of CBD for dogs and other animals for medical purposes is also underway in many regions. CBD has shown promising results in improving Alzheimer’s. This discovery has led scientists to delve deeper into the effects of CBD.

The effects of CBD on animals are being discovered through research. You may have questions, like:

  • Can I give my dog CBD? 
  • Is CBD for pets really safe for animal consumption? 
  • If it is, then what are the safe doses? 
  • What does CBD do inside my pet’s body?

Here are some things you should know before giving your pet CBD:

What Is CBD

Cannabidiol is part of the cannabinoid family, a class of chemical compounds naturally found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps the body maintain homeostasis. 

How Is It Administered In Animals?

There are three different delivery methods — a capsule, an oil, and a cream. The effects of the way CBD moved through the bodies of healthy dogs were tested.

It was found the oil had the best pharmacokinetic profile out of the three specific formulations they tested.

Furthermore, this meant it reached the highest concentration in the blood, stayed in the bloodstream the longest, and performed the most consistently across the different dogs. Additionally, the capsule also performed well, but the cream less so.

How Does CBD Affect The Animal Brain?

A major part of the research of the effects of cannabinoids on the brain is based on animal studies.

Cannabinoids reduce reactivity to acute painful stimuli in laboratory animals. In rodents, cannabinoids reduced the responsiveness to pain induced through various stimuli, including thermal, mechanical, and chemical stimuli.

Cannabinoids are also effective in rodent models of chronic pain.

Chronic administration of cannabinoids to animals results in; tolerance to many of the acute effects of THC. These include memory disruption, decreased locomotion, hypothermia, neuroendocrine effects, and analgesia.

Behavioral and Brain stimulation studies have shown that THC can be rewarding to animals. These rewarding effects are highly dose-dependent. 

Symptoms observed in the animals were mild. Contrary to those observed by the effects of opiates or benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium).

What Are The Risks?

Pet owners are increasingly seeking out CBD for their furry family members.

In a survey conducted this year by the Veterinary Information Network, an online community of veterinarians, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said patients asked them about cannabis at least once a month.

Fueled mainly by anecdotal reports, people turn to CBD to help manage pain, arthritis, seizures, and other health problems in their pets.

A growing crop of CBD products marketed for pets — including tinctures, capsules, and chew treats — has burst onto the market to meet consumer demand.

However, there’s even less research for those uses in animals than there is for humans. And while studies suggest CBD doesn’t pose a risk of addiction and generally causes few side effects, there are some risks.

Is It Worth The Risk?

That largely depends on an individual’s situation and choice. Nevertheless, some important things to consider before making a choice are as follows:

  • Have realistic expectations: CBD’s effectiveness is still a gray area in studies. For clarity about actual results, further experiments and studies need to be done. Pet owners should keep that in mind.
  • Talk to your vet: The only person who can determine if it’s necessary to go towards such a risk is your vet. Not to mention, professional advice with relation to drug usage is mandatory.
  • Be careful when choosing products: Many CBD products available in the market contain other ingredients as well. It is important to look out for anything that might be toxic to your pet.
  • Keep a look put for side effects: There is little doubt that CBD affects the brain. Hence, owners should be wary of side effects after administering any CBD-containing products.
  • Give a safe dosage: This is a key point to ensure your pet’s well-being. Discuss and set out an optimal dose for your pet. Make sure to start gradually.
  • Store the products with care: CBD-containing products are susceptible to degradation. Therefore, heating and extreme cold may concur changes in their chemical composition. Hence, it is important to store them accordingly.

What Does Research Say

A 2018 study found that CBD can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. Following year, McGrath published a study showing CBD may help reduce the number of seizures experienced by epileptic dogs.

Although well-designed and peer-reviewed studies have been, they’re still small and very preliminary. 

The long-term effects of CBD on pets are unknown. Furthermore, the FDA has not yet approved CBD for pets. Consequently, vets and pet owners should be aware of the ever-changing rules and take a calculated risk.

Is it Safe

Animals appear to tolerate CBD well in their pure state, according to a 2017 World Health Organization report.

However, both subsequent 2018 canine studies mentioned above noted an increase in the liver enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP) during CBD treatment. 

Moreover, due to the repercussions and liver issues use of CBD for pets must be avoided. CBD metabolizes in the liver and may cause harm.

Another thing to be cautious of is quality control. Certificate of Analysis (COA) must be preferred.

Before using CBD-containing products, one must confirm that the usage is legal.

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An Example Clinical Trial

Science Daily shared a clinical trial conducted at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Lead neurologist McGrath claims to have observed promising results of CBD on dogs with epilepsy.

Consideration was only of the short-term effects. In 89 percent of the dogs who received CBD had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.

THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, is 0.3 percent or less in the hemp plant.

Besides, it was analyzed to find the correlation between the amount of CBD in blood to the degree of seizure. This observation is vital for future dosage adjustments.


Undoubtedly, the current findings indicate that CBD is beneficial for animals. However, these studies are preliminary and small-scaled. A deeper, larger experiment to uncover the mysterious effects of CBD should be conducted.

Pet owners who are thinking of administering CBD products should think carefully. Vets should know the legal issues related to CBD and make a prescription at their own risk.

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