As CBD oil becomes increasingly popular as a treatment for a plethora of human conditions, it’s no wonder people turn to it as a treatment for their 4 legged friends. But is CBD for pets safe?
In fact, a year ago an article in Veterinarian’s Money Digest listed the use of CBD Pet Treats as one of the three trends projected to shape pet care in 2019.1
Quoting a study from the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, alternative therapies – involving CBD and hemp-based products, were one of three new trends in pet health care. The others included the use of smart technology in managing pet lives and diets which mimic human choices.
The study indicated out of 1,000 dog and cat owners, of those who tried alternative therapies themselves, 74 percent used it for their pets as well. The reasons, according to those surveyed, ranged from a general health plan, care for an older pet, specific behavioral conditions, or temporary relief following surgery or a flight.
Behind the label
A majority of CBD (cannabidiol) oil is made from hemp, not marijuana. Regardless, the oil does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or the substance in marijuana associated with the “high” or psychotropic attributes of marijuana. Many humans use it to treat nausea, anxiety, inflammation, pain, and convulsions, among other things.2
Going to the dogs (and cats)
Research in using CBD oil in pets is new – much like their human counterparts. Studies conducted by officials with Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, as well Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, indicate pets may benefit from the oil.3
Stephanie McGrath, D.V.M., a veterinarian and assistant professor of neurology at Colorado State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, conducted one of the first studies in 2016 examining how CBD oil is metabolized by dogs – and if the compound “poses any immediate health threats.”
She later expanded her research into two clinical trials, one involving dogs with epilepsy, and another concerning dogs with osteoarthritis. An article with Consumer Reports indicates McGrath’s preliminary results are encouraging.4
“I feel really comfortable at this point, given all of our clinical trials and our initial research, that it’s a safe product,” McGrath is quoted in the article. “But the jury’s still out on whether I’m totally convinced about its effectiveness.”5
What to use
The Michelson Found Animals Foundation recommends pet owners turning to CBD oil as a treatment method consider several aspects of the product including examining labels,
- Know what you’re getting: Check for the Certificate of Analysis or COA which indicates the quality of the CBD source and include information like potency, solvents, microbial analysis, and if testing has been done for pesticides or heavy metals.
- Know where it’s grown: The foundation recommends sticking to crops grown in Kentucky, Oregon, and Colorado.
- Quality counts: Don’t skip on quality. It may cost more, but it involves your pet’s health.6
Most researchers recommend using oils or tinctures, rather than gummies for pets – unless they are specifically designed for pets. This is because gummies made for human consumption may contain artificial sweeteners or other items that are harmful for pets.
Pet owners may want to consult with their primary veterinarian before administrating CBD oil, as it could interact with medication previously prescribed.7
Additionally like humans, pets can have side effects such as dry mouth – manifesting in an increased thirst; lowered blood pressure – a feeling of light-headedness, and drowsiness – especially when using higher dosages.8
In her initial studies, McGrath began dosing dogs at 2.5mg per kilogram twice per day. She has since doubled the dose in her latest trials. Other vets recommend starting at 1 mg per 10 pounds of body weight twice a day. With the general consensus being to start with a low dose and monitoring pets’ reactions before increasing the dosage.9
So is CBD OIL the right treatment for a pet? Ultimately, like in humans, it is left up to the consumer and his/her doctor – or in this case, the pet owner and the veterinarian.
1 Carrozza, Amanda (2018, Nov. 5). 3 trends that will shape pet care in 2019. Veterinarian’s Money Digest. Retrieved from https://www.vmdtoday.com/news/3-trends-that-will-shape-pet-care-in-2019.
2 Casey, Shannon (Undated). CBD for pets. Michelson Found Animals. Retrieved from https://www.foundanimals.org/cbd-for-pets-how-to-make-sure-youre-giving-your-pet-the-good-stuff.
3 Peachman, Rachel Rabkin (2019, April 11). Should you try CBD for your pets. Consumer Reports. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/should-you-try-cbd-for-your-pet/.
6 Casey, Shannon (Undated). CBD for pets. Michelson Found Animals. Retrieved from https://www.foundanimals.org/cbd-for-pets-how-to-make-sure-youre-giving-your-pet-the-good-stuff.
7 Semigran, Aly. (Undated) Cannabis Oil for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know. PetMD. Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/cannabis-oil-dogs-everything-you-need-know.
8 Kriss, Randa (2019, Feb. 05). CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need To Know. AKC. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/.
9 Peachman, Rachel Rabkin (2019, April 11). Should you try CBD for your pets. Consumer Reports. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/should-you-try-cbd-for-your-pet/.