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Pets on Pot: The Newest Customer Base for Medical Marijuana

When Lisa Mastramico needed relief for her ailing tabby, Little Kitty, she turned to an unlikely source: marijuana.

At 12 years old, the cat had arthritis. For a long while she spent her days hiding in a closet, where Ms. Mastramico had built her a bed of plush blankets. After trying various supplements that proved ineffectual, she went to a meeting for Women Grow, an industry group for cannabis entrepreneurs.

She was not sold on the idea right away. “My concern was that it’s not my place to get my cat high,” said Ms. Mastramico, the director of a public access television network in Long Beach, Calif.

But with Little Kitty becoming increasingly isolated, it was time to give it a try. She got a medical marijuana card and purchased two edible oils made for pets and derived from cannabis that she squirts into her pet’s mouth.

Little Kitty doesn’t hide anymore. In fact, she’s more like her old self: sunbathing on the living room carpet, playing with Ms. Mastramico’s other cat, Valentina. “When I’ve given it to her, she’s never acted high: falling face-first into her food bowl, chowing down,” Ms. Mastramico said. “She comes out and socializes, wants to be in your lap, wants to be petted. It’s a very noticeable difference.”

Other animal lovers who have turned to cannabis-based products to alleviate a host of pet maladies, including seizures, inflammation, anxiety and pain, are reporting similar results. Although they have not been approved by regulators, marijuana-based treatments are being used not only for cats and dogs, but for pigs, horses and domesticated wild animals.

Maria Ellis Perez, 55, a mold inspector from Pompano Beach, Fla., gives Treatibles chews made from hemp to one of her pets, a domesticated female skunk named Ricochet. At age 12, Ricochet limps and has cataracts. At one point, she had grown so withdrawn that she refused to eat. “We thought it was her time,” Ms. Ellis Perez said.

But after a few days of nibbling hemp, Ricochet seemed more content. “She was turning her head and looking up with the good eye,” Ms. Ellis Perez said. “She showed up for breakfast.”

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved cannabis for pets, in part because there is little research showing its effectiveness. Veterinarians are not allowed to write prescriptions for the products and, in states where marijuana is illegal, are wary of discussing the idea. Last year, a proposed state law was defeated in Nevada that would have made it possible for veterinarians to prescribe cannabis to pets with chronic illnesses. Still, users swear by the products.

Cate Norton, 36, who lives in Springfield, Vt., and works at an animal rescue center, said she drives her two Rottweilers, Ruby and Leia, to a veterinarian in Hanover, N.H., where medical marijuana is permitted. “My vet would like to do it but can’t legally touch it,” she said.

Ms. Norton gives 3-year-old Leia a hemp-based product called Canna-Pet for seizures and anxiety. In the eight months of treatment, she said, “there has been a great reduction in the severity of her seizures.”

To understand the effect of cannabis on animals, it helps to know a little of the science. The cannabis plant contains dozens of cannabinoids, among them THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC has the psychoactive properties that make people feel high but are toxic to animals.

CBD, on the other hand, offers the benefits without the buzz. Industrial hemp, used to make textiles and paper, is used in pet products, too, because its THC levels are negligible.

“Dogs are very sensitive to the effects of THC,” said Steve Blauvelt, a veterinarian in Bend, Ore. With the recent legalization of marijuana in some states, more pets have ended up in veterinary hospitals panting and in distress after digging into their owners’ stashes or pilfering a pot-laced cookie from the counter.

“Most pet owners who end up bringing their animal in are in denial,” Dr. Blauvelt said. But eventually, he said, “they come clean and say their dog ate one of their brownies.”

Pallas Weber, 53, a video editor in Los Angeles, was skeptical about giving cannabis to Emmett, a 12-year-old chow-shepherd mix who got a diagnosis of bone cancer in 2012, resulting in an amputated front left leg. But the painkiller her veterinarian prescribed left him too woozy to support his 75-pound frame on his other legs.

So last June, Ms. Weber bought Emmett a cannabis-based tincture called VETCBD, which is sold at California dispensaries. Four months later, she has reduced the painkillers, and Emmett moves with some of his old swagger. She uses it for Emmett’s anxiety, too, giving him an extra dose on the Fourth of July to keep him from diving headfirst into the closet. “Fireworks really freak him out,” she said.

Stephen Katz, the New York State assemblyman who is also a veterinarian, has teamed up with the University of Pennsylvania’s school of veterinary medicine to conduct clinical trials of Therabis, a trio of hemp-based powders he created for anxiety, mobility and itching.

“I had a lot of clients who did a lot of flying,” he said. “They wanted tranquilizers so they could carry their dogs in their lap.” He worried, though, about the harsh effect of sedatives on the dogs’ cardiovascular and respiratory systems and thought his clients’ animals would benefit from hemp.

At his practice in the Bronx, he said, he treats a number of pit bulls suffering from allergies and separation anxiety. “Those dogs scratch an itch down to the bone,” he said. The products’ cost is on par with prescription drugs, he said: about $20 to $40 a month.

Pet owners in California, where medical marijuana has been legal for two decades, are at the forefront of the trend. Rachel Martin, 32, a dog trainer, uses VETCBD for a variety of her dogs’ ailments. “All of them have very complex and detailed medical issues,” she said. A Jack Russell terrier named Shadow has had multiple surgeries; Sophie, a rat terrier, had a diagnosis of cancer; and Petri, a Chihuahua-mix, suffers from fear-based anxiety.

Ms. Weber had to get a medical marijuana card to buy products for her dog Emmett. That led her to an awkward conversation with a physician who solely prescribes medical marijuana for people.

“I went to the weed doctor and said, ‘I need a card so I can get it for my dog who had cancer,’” said Ms. Weber, who said she doesn’t smoke pot or drink. “He said, ‘I don’t have a solution for that.’ So I told him I had insomnia.”

Maureen McCormick, 54, lives in Newport Beach, Calif., and was persuaded of marijuana’s benefits after relatives used cannabis products for their own aches and pains. She thought they would benefit her 14-year-old cat, Bart, who has arthritis in his front legs. “I told the doctor I had a knee that aches, and my shoulder, too,” she said. “I also said I want to use it for my cat.” She got the card in July.

Ms. McCormick is using a tincture by Treatwell, a California company that also makes edibles for humans. So far, though, she said she has not seen much progress in Bart. “It’s frustrating, because cats are more challenging than dogs,” Ms. McCormick said. She has adjusted the dose three times, working with Melinda Hayes, 39, the founder of Sweet Leaf Shoppe, a medical cannabis delivery service based in Los Angeles.

Ms. Hayes, who opened her dispensary in 2014, started working with pet owners and their animals last year after consulting with cannabis product makers. “It’s a lot of going back and forth,” she said.

She said she now aids 40 animals, and about half of her calls these days are about pet care. “I go as often as I can to meet the pet,” Ms, Hayes said. “Owners look at their loved ones through rose-colored glasses. People can verbalize their reactions. Animals cannot.”

She also gives cannabis products to her own pets: her boxer-terrier mix, Diva, who tore a ligament in her right knee; Snoop, her pitbull-Shih Tzu mix, who has allergies and anxiety; and Tug, a box turtle who suffers from disorders of the shell and the bones. Ultimately, Ms. Hayes wants to have a full-service storefront where people can take their pets for consultations and care.

“This way,” she said, “I can combine my two favorite things: dogs and pot.”

CBD Oil for Senior Pets

Is your beloved family dog going grey in the muzzle? Has your cat stopped leaping up onto the couch beside you? If we had our way, our animal companions would stay young and spry forever, but every senior pet slows down and begins to show natural signs of aging eventually. These signs can include anything from loss of mobility to serious health issues. It’s up to pet parents to consult a veterinarian and provide the right combination of preventative care and specially made products for old cats and dogs in order to keep these precious companions happy and healthy.

At Canna Companion , we’re passionate about providing you with the tools and resources you need to support your pets as they grow older. With the right care and attention, your furry friend can enjoy life well into his or her golden years! Today, we’re looking at the benefits of a hemp-based, supportive complement to your pet’s routine—CBD oil for old dogs and cats.

What is CBD Oil?

Officially known as cannabidiol, CBD is one of over 545 chemical compounds produced in the cannabis plant. These compounds are able to bind with cannabinoid receptors that in turn support the health of the endocannabinoid system . What all this means is that, in the proper form and with the proper administration, CBD supplements for older cats and dogs can allow your furry friends to enjoy the many supportive benefits of the cannabis plant!

Over 20 years of veterinary research into the proper combination of phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids led to the creation of Canna Companion and our hemp-based products . Our supplements come in capsule form or as a liquid, allowing you to choose the option that works best for your pet. When it comes to elderly cats and dogs, you may find that CBD oil is the best fit for your pet’s current lifestyle.

Canna Companion’s Whole Plant Hemp Oil is formulated specially for cats and dogs, delivering the supportive health benefits of cannabis with a carefully controlled ratio of THC to CBD. The oil is particularly helpful for aging pets who may need more immediate endocannabinoid system support, as well as for those senior dogs and cats who have trouble taking pills.

How Can CBD Oil Help My Elderly Pet?

Unlike the psychotropic compound THC , CBD does not cause the feeling of “highness” commonly associated with marijuana use. Instead, it provides access to a range of supportive benefits that can help your aging pet maintain health and quality of life.

Provides Speedy Support for the Endocannabinoid System

CBD oil is particularly helpful for pets who need more immediate endocannabinoid support than a capsule can provide. That animal might be anything from a geriatric cat that needs end of life comfort, or an increasingly nervous dog that could use some help staying calm.

Maintains GI Tract Health

Even older cats and dogs sometimes get into things they shouldn’t—and our geriatric furry friends definitely don’t have iron stomachs. While you can’t monitor your pets constantly, you can help to support their normal digestive processes with CBD oil.

Promotes “End of Life” Comfort

Your pet deserves a high quality of life no matter his age, and we’re dedicated to helping you provide just that. Our hemp oil can promote comfort and care while promoting relaxation as your pet nears the end of his life.

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Encourages a Calm Demeanor

Pets can change as they grow older, and you may notice your cat suffering from nervousness or your dog experiencing separation anxiety that wasn’t evident at a younger age. Canna Companion can help your pet stay calm in the face of situational stressors like fireworks and other loud noises.

Supports the Immune System

Just as an elderly person’s immune system isn’t as strong as a healthy young person’s, senior pets may have weaker immune systems than their younger counterparts. Coupled with regular visits to the veterinarian to catch any emerging health problems, our hemp oil can help to support your pet’s functioning immune system, maintaining existing health and happiness.

Helps Maintain Normal Joint Health

We all get creaky and achy as we grow older, and the same is true for pets. At a certain age, normal daily activity may leave them feeling sore and lethargic. Canna Companion’s Whole Plant Hemp Oil supports normal joint health and may ease the discomfort that comes from normal daily activity.

Supports Healthy Neurological Function

As pets age , their brains can change in both normal and negative ways. Canna Companion works to support the endocannabinoid system, which in turn will help to support normal neurological function in your cat or dog.

Support Your Senior Pet with Canna Companion

Your pet deserves the absolute best. We want her to enjoy as many happy years by your side as possible, which is why we invested years of veterinary research into developing hemp-based pet supplements that support the most important features of your pet’s major bodily systems. If you’re looking for high-quality supplements for old dogs and cats, you’ve come to the right place. Give us a call today—we’re happy to schedule a complimentary consultation with a licensed veterinary professional.

CBD for Pets: Should You Give Your Cat or Dog CBD oil?

As a pet owner, you are always looking for ways to keep your four-legged friends healthy, fit and super happy. So, you might be exploring CBD oil as a supplement or treatment option for your cat or dog.

That’s not surprising, because more and more people are turning to CBD oil as a natural treatment for their health problems. And it’s true that some early research studies have consistently shown that CBD may have an impact on anxiety, chronic pain, depression, insomnia, inflammation, and other health ills.

While extensive research has not been done on the efficacy and safety of CBD oil for pets, your furry friends may also stand to gain from these therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol oil.

So, should you give your dog or cat CBD oil? What are the benefits of CBD oil for pets? And what kind of pet conditions may CBD oil treat?

This explainer article takes a 360-degree look at what you need to know about CBD oil for pets, including whether it’s safe for your dog or cat. So, let’s get right to it.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil – or cannabidiol oil as it is technically known – is an extract that’s usually derived from the hemp plant or other cannabis strains. Its primary ingredient is CBD in varying concentrations, but the oil may also contain terpenes, carrier oils, other natural cannabinoids, and other manufacturer-specific additives.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 100+ active chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), which is closely related to the more potent marijuana plant (Cannabis indica).

Many people may be familiar with another popular cannabinoid, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is known to have psychoactive effects on the brain. It’s what gives you the feeling of “high” when you consume marijuana.

Unlike its intoxicating counterpart THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects, which means it won’t get your dog or cat high. In fact, CBD may help counter the psychoactive effects of THC.

So far, there are few extensive and long-term research studies that assess the safety and effects of CBD oil for pets. However, CBD action on cannabinoid receptors via the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is thought to help create a calming effect on pets. Because CBD has no intoxicating effects, it is generally considered to be safe for your four-legged friends.

For these reasons, holistic vets are recommending CBD oil to treat a broad range of canine conditions that include chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, and depression.

It’s worth noting that, to the extent, they are used at all, most CBD oil products are aimed at increasing a sense of comfort, alleviating distress, and enhancing the quality of life in dogs and cats. But it’s best that you consult with your pet’s veterinarian first.

Best Ways to Administer CBD to Your Dog or Cat

CBD for pets is available in many forms, most notably oil, tinctures, tablets, pills, chewable, topical, spray, and treats, among others.

Because most vendors sell potent CBD oils that’ll deliver faster therapeutic effects, it may not be possible to blend it into cheese and have your cat or dog chow it down. Even so, these six ways make it easier and less hassle to administer CBD to your cat or dog:

(1) Sublingual Administration

When administered sublingually, CBD will more quickly deliver its therapeutic effects for your dog or cat. This quick-acting method allows CBD to enter the pet’s bloodstream directly as it is applied under the dog’s or cat’s tongue.

Sublingual consumption works best with CBD oils and CBD tinctures that tend to have higher concentrations of cannabidiol, allowing for precise dosing for your cat or dog. In other words, the use of CBD oil enables the pet owner to consistently get the dose right.

In light of this, the sublingual application is best for treating acute conditions that require instant relief such as an anxious dog during thunderstorms.

According to a recent study by the AAHA, there’s anecdotal evidence that CBD oil tinctures offer the highest bioavailability and the best absorption rates to the dog’s bloodstream when it’s administered sublingually.

If your dog or cat is not agreeable to this method of consumption, there are other ways you can get CBD into their bloodstream.

(2) Administer Directly Insider the Pet’s Mouth (Oral Administration)

This is perhaps the easiest method for administering CBD to a dog or cat. Simply apply CBD oil or tincture directly inside the pet’s mouth. Most dogs and cats are readily agreeable to this technique.

Most CBD oil products often come in 30ml bottles, complete with a 1.5ml dropper. To determine the number of drops you need, consider the concentration of the oil (usually 350mg), intended purpose, and the weight of your pet.

Once you know the right dosage, draw up the exact amount into the dropper and place the tip inside your dog’s or cat’s mouth before squeezing out its content. Make sure you insert the dropper as far back of the pet’s mouth as possible, ensuring that you don’t gag the animal.

You can cap things off by providing your four-legged friend with their favorite treat or drink soon after oral administration. This way, you can be sure that your dog or cat will swallow the entire dose and not spit anything out.

Also, this makes the dog associate the CBD oil bottle with getting treats, which could help to ease dosing your pet.

(3) Mix CBD into Pet’s Food

Some dogs and cats won’t allow you to apply CBD oil sublingually or otherwise orally, which leaves you with fewer options. Perhaps the most effective alternative is to blend CBD into their favorite food.

This method of administration works amazingly well with wet foods, but you might have to begin with small doses and then increase it gradually. This way, your cat or dog will have ample time to get accustomed to the taste and effects of CBD.

It is not complicated. Apply a few drops of CBD oil/tincture to the pet’s food, blend it in, and let it sit for a couple of minutes so that the food flavors marry well with the rich taste of cannabidiol. From here, you can feed your cat or dog normally.

The trick is to make sure that your pet’s feeding routine stays the same. Some dog owners find it easier to mix CBD into a small amount of bone broth. Your dog won’t notice any difference thanks to the hearty taste of the broth.

Other dog owners make a peanut butter ball and place CBD somewhere in the middle. CBD tablets may be ready-made for this method of application. Depending on what your cat or dog tolerates the most, crumble the CBD pill or tablet onto rich-tasting, quality food.

(4) Add to the Pet’s Drinking Water

While this method might not deliver the best CBD bioavailability, it’s still one of the most pet-friendly ways to administer cannabidiol to your dog or cat. The challenge is that your pet might not drink the entire bowl of water in one go.

If you prefer this method, be sure to choose a time when your dog or cat is thirsty, which is usually after a walk or in the morning. Because getting the dosage right is difficult, this method is not recommended for serious pet conditions like terminal-stage cancer.

(5) Put CBD Oil on Pet Treats

If getting your cat or dog to consume CBD using the above-mentioned methods doesn’t work, this is sure to get the right results. Ideally, this should work with absorbent or porous pet treats, a property that will help soak up enough CBD oil.

The best way to do this is to pour an exact dose of CBD oil on top of the treat and let it soak for a few minutes before giving it to your dog or cat the usual way. Don’t forget that the higher the dose, the more treats you will need.

Mixing the oil into treats is a great way of administering CBD to pups, kittens, and small-size dog breeds that require a lower dose. As you might already suspect, adding a whole 1.5ml dropper of CBD oil will get the treat so soggy and unsightly that your pet might not eat it.

(6) Transdermal Application

While certain studies have shown that CBD oil tinctures have the highest absorption rates into the dog’s bloodstream, a transdermal application may be more appropriate for certain conditions like canine arthritis, fur problems, and skin issues. This delivery method works best with CBD topicals.

Available CBD topicals for pets include sprays, salves, balms, and creams that can be applied directly to the body of the cat or dog. You can rub it into the pet’s paws, fur or directly on the skin.

For all types of canine CBD topicals, check to make sure the product does not pose any health threat to your dog or cat when they eat it. If it isn’t safe or advisable for your pet to eat it by mouth, try to apply it transdermally to regions that your dog or cat won’t reach with their tongues.

Finding the Right CBD Dose for your Dog or Cat

There are several factors that each pet owner should keep in mind when deciding how much CBD to give to their dogs or cats. Here are the top considerations:

Method of Consumption

While most dog and cat parents buy CBD oil, some prefer CBD treats, capsules, and treats. As mentioned earlier, CBD oil and tinctures are fast-acting, which means your pet can feel the positive effects of cannabidiol in a matter of minutes.

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It’s important to note that CBD treats, capsules and tablets will have to pass through your dog’s gastrointestinal tract first, so they take a bit longer for the pet to feel the effects.

In some cases, it may take CBD treats between 45 minutes and 1 hour to be absorbed depending on the metabolism of your dog or cat. As such, you will need to time the dosage as needed. For instance, if your dog suffers from car-induced anxiety, you might want to get a 45-minute head start before you go on a car ride.

Your Pet’s Size and Body Weight

Naturally, a larger or heavier pet will need a higher dose than a smaller one. While there are no official CBD dosing guidelines, the rule of thumb is to give your dog or cat 0.2 mg of CBD per 1lb of their body weight.

With this in mind, dogs and cats that weigh less than 20 pounds should be given between 1mg and 5mg of CBD depending on the severity of their conditions. If you are using a dropper, you will need roughly 4-8 drops.

For dogs weighing between 20 and 50 pounds, the recommended dosage is 5-10mg of CBD daily, which translates to between 12 and 25 drops from a dropper.

For larger dog breeds weighing higher than 50 pounds, a dosage of over 15mg CBD is recommended. If you’re using a dropper, more than 20 drops should be sufficient.

The Concentration of the Product

Also called strength, concentration entails the total amount of CBD in a specific product. It’s presented in mg (milligrams).

When calculating the proper dosage for your pet, you will have to consider both the concentration of CBD and the size of the bottle.

For example, if you buy a 30-ml bottle with a concentration of 1,000mg of CBD then each serving of 1.5ml standard dropper will contain 50mg of CBD. If your dog’s condition requires 100mg, then you’ll need two full droppers.

Desired Effects

For most dogs and cats, the optimal dose depends on the severity of the condition, which often comes down to the level of discomfort, anxiety or pain they’re experiencing.

A dog with severe anxiety or chronic pain, for instance, might require a higher dose to get better, whereas a pup with milder symptoms may only need a lower dose because that’ll get the desired effects.

How Does CBD Interact With Your Pet’s Body?

Even though scientists are still investigating the specific impacts of CBD on the body of a dog or cat, here’s what is already known:

Just like humans, your dog, cat, and the vast majority of other pets have an elaborate Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

The ECS is a network of neurons, receptors, enzymes, endocannabinoids, and cellular activators especially found in the brain but that also run throughout the entire body.

The primary purpose of the ECS is to regulate a series of physiological and biological processes that include stress, inflammation, mood, pain, and anxiety, just to mention a few.

All cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, bind to or interact with receptors when they enter the body, producing several different physiological responses.

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t actually bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, which is why it doesn’t produce the euphoric or psychoactive effects linked to marijuana use.

Instead, CBD is thought to bind to and activate some receptors that comprise the dog’s and cat’s endocannabinoid system, namely serotonin, adenosine, and vanilloid. When it activates these ECS receptors, CBD helps to regulate temperature, inflammation, stress response, perception to pain, and more.

CBD has also been found to help increase the levels of dopamine in the dog’s brain, which is how it’s believed to help improve mood and reduce anxiety.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), CBD may help block the GPR55 signaling and in the process reduce the reproduction of cancer cells.

The bottom line is that CBD has no psychoactive properties, unlike THC. It interacts with your body and brain through the ECS. This helps to bring the body to a balanced state.

Overall, CBD’s interaction with the ECS makes it an excellent anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, antiemetic (it prevents nausea and vomiting), antipsychotic, painkiller, anxiolytic, and much more. All of these positive attributes depend on the concentration and bioavailability of the CBD product.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs or Cats?

Research into the safety of CBD in cats and dogs is still in its infancy. However, anecdotal evidence shows that CBD use may be generally safe for cats and dogs.

In one 2018 phase 1 study involving 30 healthy beagles, Dr. Stephanie McGrath and her colleagues at the Colorado State University found higher doses of CBD to have mild side effects, such as diarrhea and increased levels of liver enzymes.

With increasing research, the understanding of the long-term side effects of CBD in pets will become more vivid. Don’t forget that not all pets are created equal – some will react more adversely to higher CBD doses than others.

With that in mind, it makes sense to begin the dosage at the lowest recommended dosing. More importantly, CBD oils and other CBD products for pets should only be given to adult cats and dogs. If you feel you must give CBD to a puppy or kitten, it’s best to seek medical advice from a trained vet first.

From anecdotal observations and existing studies, the most common side effects of (high doses of) CBD may include diarrhea, mild drowsiness, and low energy.

In very rare cases, your dog or cat may experience worrying changes in blood pressure, excessive vomiting and nausea, dry mouth, drooling, and increased fatigue. If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, you should stop giving them CBD and visit your vet as soon as possible.

From a medical standpoint, the biggest problem is not dosing CBD appropriately for your dog or cat. You should give your pet the right dose of CBD oil for the desired effects, making sure that you aren’t accidentally overdosing your pet friend.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that whereas CBD is generally safe for dogs and cats, THC or cannabis isn’t. It is not only toxic to cats and dogs but can also cause psychotropic effects because they have more CB1 receptors than humans do.

According to Pet Poison Helpline, common symptoms of THC toxicity in dogs and cats include heavy vomiting, difficulty walking, glassed eyes, dilated pupils, lethargy, sedation, and frightened expression.

In serious cases of marijuana poisoning, your cat or dog may fall into a coma, experience seizures, tremors, excessive gas/bloating, agitation, increased anxiety, crying, deep changes in heart rate/pulse, and difficulty controlling temperatures.

These symptoms of THC toxicity may appear anytime between 5min and 12 hours after the animal is exposed to marijuana, and can last between 30mins and several days.

In this regard, pet owners should ensure that their CBD products are sourced from industrial hemp that contains less than 0.3 percent THC content.

Marijuana-sourced CBD, on the other hand, may contain between 5 percent and 20 percent THC. These levels of THC not only pose a great health risk to your pet but may also not be legal, depending on which state you reside in.

As a general rule of thumb, dogs and cats shouldn’t consume CBD products made especially for human consumption. Additives like sweeteners found in human CBD oil may be toxic to your four-legged friend. The opposite may also be true. Human should not consume CBE products designed for animals.

Bottom-line: Pure CBD products (ones that contain no THC or additives) seem to be well-tolerated and safe to dogs, cats, and other animals, as noted in this 2017 report by the WHO. It also appears that the liver is the primary organ that metabolizes CBD, so it may not be safe for a pet that has liver disease or other liver complications.

Health Benefits of Giving CBD Oil to Your Pets

As previously mentioned, only a few peer-reviewed and extensive research studies have been done to ascertain the effects of CBD on pets. They are preliminary at best and quite small, so making comprehensive claims from them is ill-advised.

Nevertheless, giving CBD oil to your dog or cat is thought to have numerous health benefits that include:

Reducing Symptoms of Canine Arthritis

Given its positive interaction with cannabinoid receptors and the ECS, CBD has been linked to anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. This can come in particularly handy for cats and dogs suffering from osteoarthritis (OA).

When your dog takes CBD, it activates cannabinoid receptors in the inflamed joints, reducing both inflammation and chronic pain associated with arthritis.

CBD also binds to and activates receptors that are known to help boost the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters that influence pain perception and mood. In this way, CBD helps alleviate pain and improve mood, especially for arthritic dogs. And there are several studies that seem to concur.

In a 2018 small clinical study published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, researchers found that giving dogs with osteoarthritis a dose of around 1mg/lb. (2mg/kg) twice daily may be linked with increased activity, improved movement, and elevated comfort.

In another crossover clinical trial carried out from 2016 through 2018, Dr. Stephanie McGrath and S. David Moche noted “promising results” in reducing pain and inflammation in dogs with OA.

More exciting, the duo found that none of the dogs with OA treated with CBD experienced adverse side effects, including diarrhea or vomiting.

Reduces Seizures in Epileptic Pets

Both cats and dogs can be afflicted by epilepsy; however, it is not as common in cats. Parents of epileptic pets know too well that seizures can be incredibly uncomfortable and distressing for their four-legged friends.

While several prescription drugs meant to curb seizures in canine exist, unfortunately, they can adversely affect their energy levels, lethargy, weight gain, and cause mood problems. Worst case scenario, these medications can lead to heart, liver or kidney failure.

Lucky for pet owners, increasing research seems to suggest that CBD may help in reducing the duration, frequency, and amount of seizures for felines and canines with epilepsy.

In one recent study conducted involving 16 epileptic dogs, Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist at CSU treated 9 participants were treated with 5 mg/kg CBD daily for a period of 12 weeks. The remaining 6 dogs with epilepsy were put on placebo treatment.

From McGrath’s observation, 89 percent of the epileptic dogs that consumed CBD saw a significant decrease in the number and frequency of seizures per day.

It might be prudent to note that while this clinical trial is a peer-reviewed study, it’s still preliminary and very small. All the same, this shows that CBD use in dogs may have a positive effect on canine epileptic seizures.

If more extensive and well-designed research shows that CBD works in treating seizures, it can be a groundbreaking discovery in improving the quality of life for epileptic dogs. The best news is that CBD doesn’t carry many adverse side effects and may be more effective than most of the drugs available today.

Impact on Anxiety in Pets

Depression and anxiety are common psychological complications that can have negative impacts on your pet’s health and well-being. This is particularly true for dogs that get too scared or anxious during car-rides, thunderstorms, and more.

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Anxiety in dogs, cats, and other pets is typically treated with vet-prescribed drugs, which can lead to a series of debilitating side effects including restlessness, agitation, drowsiness, and reduced energy levels.

Preliminary research carried out on CBD for humans has shown that it may be effective in treating anxiety.

In one 2016 study, scientists note that CBD oil may be used to safely treat anxiety in kids with PTSD. This is corroborated by another 2019 Brazilian study involving 57 male participants, showing that CBD oil may help significantly reduce anxiety.

These properties may be linked to CBD’s ability to bind to and act on neurotransmitters, receptors for serotonin, and other activators that control mood and anxiety.

Because CBD may act through the ECS in similar fashion in dogs and cats as it seems to in humans, these anxiolytic properties may be applicable to pets, too.

Otherwise put, CBD may act on cannabinoid receptors in the dog’s or cat’s ECS to induce calming effects that can do wonders for anxiety. CBD oil has also be linked to increased levels of dopamine in the dog’s brain, which can help not only regulate mood but also keep anxiety at bay.

CBD May Alleviate Symptoms Associated with Pet Cancers

Canine and feline cancers have become quite rampant, causing immense distress to pet owners.

From early research and anecdotal evidence, some scientists and holistic veterinary specialists believe that CBD oil may help reduce adverse side effects associated with cancer treatment, like chronic pain, vomiting, nausea, and lethargy. It may also help curb symptoms linked to cancer.

Accordingly, there are a few peer-reviewed animal studies that have suggested that CBD may be linked to anti-cancer properties.

These qualities could be attributed to CBD’s ability to block GPR55 signaling, which may help decrease the reproduction of cancer cells.

For instance, one such 2011 study noted that higher doses of CBD could help kill off or trigger the death of breast cancer cells.

In another mice study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, scientists found that CBD may help inhibit the spread of invasive breast cancer cells.

While the vast majority of research on the subject is in the form of animal and test-tube studies, they suggest that CBD may also work in dogs and cats. However, more conclusive studies in pets are needed before conclusions can be drawn.

Bottom line: Even though CBD has been linked to cancer-fighting properties that may help reduce symptoms related to pet cancer and cancer treatment, more studies are required to ascertain its safety and efficacy.

Appetite Stimulation in Cats and Dogs

As stated earlier, dogs and cats, like humans, have a specialized system that is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which helps regulate a broad range of physiological functions, including appetite.

As such, CBD has properties that work through the ECS to possibly induce a healthy appetite, produce calming effects, and improve mood in dogs and cats.

Is your dog or cat not eating? There are many reasons that might explain why your pet may experience loss of appetite, including cancer, tumor, pain, hip dysplasia, anxiety, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, just to mention a few.

Some cats and dogs just go through bouts where they simply don’t want to consume any food.

CBD has been linked to an improved appetite for dogs and cats that may be having a difficult time chowing down food.

By positively impacting on the ECS, CBD may also help alleviate an array of other canine and feline conditions, such as itchy, dry or irritable skin, digestive problems, muscle spasms, glaucoma, and allergies.

Side Effects of Giving CBD Oil to Your Pets

As a pet owner, you want the very best for your dog or cat. This begs the question: are there any side effects of giving CBD oil to your four-legged friend?

Increased Liver Factors: Perhaps the most noted side effect with giving CBD oil to pets is increased liver values such as enzymes. This doesn’t come as a big surprise to most vets and medical experts because the liver is responsible for breaking down drugs and toxins.

If left unchecked, prolonged elevations of liver values may lead to other health complications, but this happens rarely in dogs and cats. However, it’s best to trust your instincts and talk to your veterinarian to figure out the optimal dosage for your cat or dog to prevent liver issues.

Diarrhea and Gastrointestinal Upset: This is one of the major side effects noticed on dogs and cats using CBD. This has been seen in pets taking high doses of CBD, which may responsible for GI irritation that may eventually cause diarrhea.

If your pet friend seems to be reacting badly to CBD consumption, don’t hesitate to stop it and seek medical advice from your vet.

Dry Mouth: For reasons not yet known to scientists, CBD has shown dehydrating effects on a dog’s or cat’s mouth by decreasing saliva production. For your dog, this may manifest in the form of increased thirst and panting.

Drowsiness: Some dog and cat owners have reported that CBD may be slightly sedating for their pets. While CBD may help alleviate anxiety via the action of ECS, the same calming effects may cause slight drowsiness, particularly if your pet is using a high-dose CBD product.

Lowered Blood Pressure: Temporary drop in blood pressure and sometimes accompanied by a similar drop in pulse rate has been noticed on pets using high doses of CBD. While the decrease in blood pressure might be slight, it may cause your pet to feel a little fatigued or lightheaded.

Are There Any Risks of Giving CBD Oil to Animals?

Again, the risks, safety, and efficacy of CBD for pets have not been researched extensively and conclusively. So, it is too early to tell what risks are lurking for your cat or dog.

There are no established industry regulations and quality controls. Understandably one of the biggest concerns for dog and cat owners is the issue of quality control. The CBD market, in general, is a highly unregulated industry, and CBD for pets is no different.

First of all, the FDA has not approved or cleared any CBD for pets’ products on the market today. Even worse, they haven’t released any recommended dosing guideline and chart, which means it’s up to the owner and producers.

Giving your dog or cat too much CBD can have far-reaching consequences, causing diarrhea, lowered heartbeat, lethargy, and increased liver values. Knowing what dose is safe or toxic for your pet is still a big risk for dog and cat owners.

For this reason, you are advised to start small, watch your pet’s reaction to the dosing, and increase the dosage accordingly. More importantly, don’t forget to check with your vet before and after giving CBD oil to your pet.

It may increase the risk of developing liver complications. In one way or the other, CBD has to pass through the liver where it’s metabolized. That’s why increased liver values are some of the most noticeable side effects of giving CBD oil to your dog or cat.

If the pet is dosed inappropriately, in the long term this can elevate the risk of developing liver complications.

CBD may potentially cause adverse interactions with other medications. Liver enzymes such as CYP3A4 breaks down roughly 25 percent of all drugs, including calcium channel blockers, painkillers, anti-allergens, statins, and more.

That being said, CBD may possibly impact negatively on the metabolism of other medications. This can increase the risk of toxic buildup. As such, it’s always prudent to talk with your vet before giving CBD oils to your pets if they are on other medications.

It may increase the risk of THC toxicity. Considering that the market is not well-regulated, CBD products may contain high levels of THC, which as we’ve seen earlier is toxic to dogs and cats.

One way of reducing these risks is to only buy and use CBD products with a COA (Certificate of Analysis) slip and number. This certificate is given only when the product has undergone thorough testing and screening by a third-party laboratory to clarify its potency, source, and confirm that it contains less than 0.3 percent THC.

Summary

CBD, also technically cannabidiol, is one of the many naturally occurring active compounds called cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.

Medical research on CBD for pets is still in its infancy, but a number of anecdotal evidence, clinical trials, and studies have shown that it may help treat an array of conditions affecting dogs and cats.

Just like humans, dogs, cats and a number of other pet animals have an extensive endocannabinoid system (ECS), whose role is to regulate multiple physiological functions, including sleep, temperature, appetite, pain sensation, anxiety, depression, and more.

It’s though this impact on the ECS that CBD is thought to offer a plethora of potential therapeutic benefits.

CBD has been shown to have a positive effect when dealing with symptoms associated with pet cancer and cancer treatments. For instance, it may help deal with discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and chronic pain, all of which are often linked to cancers and tumors affecting dogs and cats.

Because of its action through the ECS, CBD may help dogs and cats suffering from a loss of appetite, especially when dealing with nausea, cancers, and more.

Thanks to its interaction with cannabinoid receptors through the ECS, CBD may possess excellent anxiolytic properties.

It may also help reduce the frequency, duration, and amount of seizures experienced by epileptic dogs, cats, and other pets.

CBD has traits that help work through the endocannabinoid system to create a sense of calm and relaxation, as well as block pain sensation and reduce inflammation. This can come in handy for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, aging joints, and other conditions.

With that in mind, there are several different ways of safely and effectively administering CBD to dogs and cats. For starters, you can apply directly to the pet’s mouth either sublingually or orally. These two delivery methods are incredibly fast-acting, with results being felt in less than 5 minutes.

Some pet owners prefer to crumble CBD products into treats, mix into their food, or apply trans-dermally.

While more research on the subject is still needed, CBD is generally safe for dogs, cats, and other pets. In fact, a 2017 WHO report showed that pure CBD seems to be well-tolerated and safe for use by many animals, including humans, dogs, and cats.

Because of quality control issues, getting the dosage right can be very problematic for most pet owners. It’s, therefore, crucial to speak with your vet before giving your dog or cat CBD.

If you aren’t careful, overdosing CBD may cause unpleasant side effects to your fury friend. Some of the most common side effects may include diarrhea, vomiting, lowered blood pressure, dry mouth, elevated liver values, and drowsiness.

The other big issue is that CBD may contain additives and THC, which is well recognized as toxic to cats, dogs, and a variety of other pets. That’s why you should only use hemp-extracted CBD oil that contains no THC (technically, it should be lower than 0.3 percent in concentration)

If you choose to give CBD to your dog or cat, be sure to consult with your veterinarian first. Moreover, begin with a small dose and carefully keep track of your dog’s negative and positive effects. From this, you can gradually increase the dose until you hit the sweet spot.