By Katie King

Does your doggo get nervous in the car? Does he have separation anxiety, or is he just a spaz all the time, even if you throw his tennis ball until he almost dies? Having a stressed out pet is no fun. We love our pets, but sometimes they can be a little much.

CBD can be used to treat a variety of ailments and issues in domesticated cats and dogs. From anxiety to arthritis, CBD can help your pet live a pain-free, anxiety-free life.

Can CBD and Cannabis Benefit Pets?

More and more anecdotal and scientific evidence points to the ability of certain components in CBD to ease common pet ailments such as:

  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Stress and anxiety including separation anxiety
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cancer

Why is CBD Ok for Pets When THC Isn’t?

Undoubtedly, you’ve already heard that CBD is now available for dogs and cats. “But isn’t marijuana bad for dogs?” you might ask. It’s true that ingesting marijuana plants or edibles can harm your dog; THC is toxic to dogs and can make them very sick. However, CBD is non-toxic and safe for pets. To explain, let’s first look at what CBD and THC actually mean.

THC and CBD are the most prominent active cannabinoids in marijuana. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that give us those common “high” feelings and effects like increased appetite, relaxation, pain relief, and so on. THC also provides us with the classic “foggy head” syndrome that we associate with things like couch lock or the ability to play Skyrim for four hours without blinking. CBD gives us lots of therapeutic effects without that distracting high feeling — it is non-psychoactive — making it a great choice for medical marijuana patients, and for pets. Marijuana pet treats are made with only CBD, making them safe and effective for use by your furry friends.

When Should You Give CBD To Your Pet?

It’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian before starting your pet on any new medications. While there are pharmaceutical drugs that can help take the edge off for Fido, these can have dangerous side effects. Your vet probably won’t be able to prescribe CBD for your pet, but she should be able to tell you whether it could be beneficial and how it might interact with any existing medication. 

Depending on your location, CBD might be available in your local dispensary or pet store, or you may have to order it online. When shopping for CBD pet products, look for manufacturers that have a seal of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council, to ensure the product you purchase is made with safe, quality ingredients in a clean environment. These labels can be found either on the product packaging or on the manufacturer website. You’ll also want to look for a Certificate of Analysis, which will tell you how much CBD and THC a product contains; quality CBD products will have a THC content of less than 0.3%, and you should avoid buying anything with a higher THC content.

Administering Pet CBD

CBD for pets commonly comes in three forms:

  1. Tinctures: This is a liquid form of concentrated CBD that will come in a small bottle with an eye dropper. Simply place a few drops onto your pet’s food to medicate them.
    P
    ros: Mixes easily with food; no added food intake to interfere with a strict diet.
    Cons: Not pre-measured, you will need to consistently note the amount given.
  2. Capsules: Essentially CBD in a pill form, you can give these to your dog as you would any orally ingestible pill.
    Pros: Pre-dosed capsules so you know exactly how much you are administering.
    Cons: As anyone who has a dog knows, getting your dog to swallow a pill is no easy feat.
  3. Dog Treats: Basically edibles for dogs. Usually, baked snacks that are pre-dosed with CBD.
    Pros: Pre-dosed; dogs love treats, so getting Sparky to eat it is easy peasey.
    Cons: Rufus will love ’em and might try to help himself, so be sure to keep them out of reach. Overdosing on anything isn’t good.

When giving your dog CBD, expect to wait 15 to 30 minutes for it to take effect. If you’re getting ready to hit the road or know those 4th of July fireworks are starting soon, make sure your pet is medicated beforehand to reduce his stress as much as possible.

Since there are currently very few studies on CBD use for pets, the most common question is “does it work?” The overwhelming anecdotal evidence suggests that yes, CBD does work. Pet parents report calmer, happier dogs, older dogs that express fewer pain symptoms and have more energy, fearful dogs that are relaxed and confident. CBD can be used to treat ongoing issues or new ones when they arise.

A Personal Experience

As a dog mom, I can offer my own piece of anecdotal evidence. My Australian Shepherd turned 10 years old last year, and I noticed he was starting to slow down on hikes. He still loves to jump in the car to go on an adventure but has to be lifted into the back seat on the drive home. After trying some joint supplements and pain relievers with no real, noticeable benefits, I decided to try the pet CBD tincture offered at my local pet supply store.

After about two weeks of giving him a few drops every morning, I noticed that he had considerably more energy on our daily walks and that he wasn’t lagging on the trails anymore. The CBD treatments definitely seemed to put the spring back in his step.

If you’re a pet owner at your wits end with a crazy pup, or wanting to maintain a better quality of life for your senior dog, check out CBD for pets. This affordable and accessible supplement could change both of your lives for the better. Learn more about CBD for your pets at Veterinarycannabis.org.

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