CBD oil for dogs, cats and other animals. Can I give CBD to my pet?
It isn’t just us humans that can benefit from the various healing, nourishing properties of Cannabinoids. The animals we keep share some of the same internal systems as we do, and therefore can take part in receiving many of the same restorative benefits.
Although CBD is completely legal, as it stands in the UK, no companies are allowed to sell CBD products that are made specifically for pets. This is due to its legal classification as a ‘veterinary medicine’ for animals. For the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate) stance on CBD please click here. CBD products sold at LVL12 are sold only as nutritional food supplements for adult humans over 18 years of age. This article is purely for education purposes only. Always consult your veterinarian if you are concerned with supplementing your pet’s diet.
The Endocannabinoid system (ECS)
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a newly discovered physiological system that was uncovered in the 1990’s. Every animal on earth is thought to have an ECS, and it is part of our most primal physiology. The most primitive animal found to express cannabinoid receptors is the sea-squirts, an animal which evolved over 600 million years ago. Cannabinoids have been a part of our evolution and are necessary to survival.
Experts are still working hard to fully understand the complexity and importance of the endocannabinoid system, but so far it appears that it is responsible for regulating a host of functions and processes, some of which include:
- Reproduction & fertility
- Inflammation and immune responses
- Chronic Pain
- Cardiovascular functioning
How does this affect my pet?
These bodily functions all contribute to homeostasis. Homeostasis refers to the stability and balance of your bodies internal environment. Any outside force such as pain from injuries or fevers can throw off the bodies homeostasis. When this happens your endocannabinoid system fires up to help return your body to its optimum state of being.
Your body produces it’s own series of cannabinoids. Even if you do not use cannabis your ECS is still active. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and can help to restore the balance, or homeostasis, that your body needs.
Your dog, cat or other pets also have an ECS. If they have been under the weather or are showing signs of pain, it may be due to an imbalance in their own endocannabinoid system.
What animal health problems can CBD treat?
There is still no definitive scientific research data on the use of CBD to treat pets and other animals illnesses. There is, however, a wealth of anecdotal evidence from pet owners suggesting that CBD has helped with pain relief and the control of seizures.
Dr. Jerry Klein, a Chief Veterinary Officer, states that CBD is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use.
The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is currently sponsoring a study to evaluate the use of CBD is treatment resistant epileptic dogs. They hope that this will be the first study to gain scientific data on the use of CBD oil for dogs with this condition. (1)
How do I give my pet CBD?
CBD products come in various shapes and sizes. Tincture oils are known as the best way for humans to take CBD and this is also true for animals. The best way is to get the oil straight on to your pets tongue. If they struggle, you can always try dripping a few drops on to a fat based treat (peanut butter is perfect) and feed them that.
For best results, we recommend shaking the bottle before use due to possible separation of the cannabinoids from the carrier oil. Normally 2-3 drops max. should be enough, but we will cover more on dosage in the next paragraph.
If you decide to give your pet a CBD oil that is designed for humans, you should be aware of the other ingredients mixed in to your product. Most CBD oils are blended with MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides). MCT oil is derived from coconut oil and has been shown to have its own range of health benefits, including increased alertness and mental energy.
Dogs, especially senior dogs, can also benefit from the MCT oil, although adding too much to your dogs diet is not recommended. (2) MCT oil is a fatty acid and could add extra unwanted calories to your pet’s diet. Using a couple of drops should be nothing to worry about but always ask your veterinarian if you are at all concerned.
Are there any risks of giving CBD oil to my pet?
CBD, unlike THC, has no psychoactive properties. Do not worry about your pet getting ‘stoned’. While CBD is generally well received by humans and animals alike, there can always be risks when supplementing yours or your pet’s diet. While there is no scientific data on the side effects of giving CBD to your pet, there are potential side effects based on how CBD can affect humans:
- Dry mouth: Research has shown that CBD can decrease saliva production. For dogs, this would manifest as an increased thirst.
- Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. Even though the drop is small, it might create a brief feeling of light-headedness.
- Drowsiness: Dog owners have used CBD to treat anxiety. The calming effect of CBD can also cause slight drowsiness, especially when using higher doses.
There are currently no approved dosage guides for giving CBD to your pet, so we do not know what size of a dosage would be considered toxic. The general rule of thumb in the CBD community is to start low and slow. Start with 1-2 drops 1-2 times per day and monitor your pet’s reaction to the dosage. You can find a human dosage chart based on weight in our “What is CBD?” page. You can tailor this to suit your needs. There are also dosage calculators available. Click here for a CBD dosage calculator for pets.
How do I pick a quality CBD product to give to my pet?
If you or your veterinarian have now decided to would like to try CBD oil as a treatment for your dogs, cats or other pets then there are a couple of things you should know and be aware of before you decide to make a purchase:
- Buy as a tincture or liquid. These are the best way to administer the CBD to your pet by simply dropping the oil on to their tongue. This also makes it easier to monitor your pet’s dosage drop by drop.
- Check the lab reports. With the rise in popularity of CBD, many companies are trying to cash in by supplying sub par products. All reputable manufacturers should be able to provide you with a certificate of analysis. This will confirm the amount of CBD and other cannabinoids present in the product. This will also confirm the absence of any pesticides, fungicides, heavy metals and solvents that may be left over from cultivation and extraction.
All of the products sold at LVL12 have been subject to lab testing and can be viewed at any time. For more information on what to look for when buying a CBD product, check out our blog “Which CBD to buy?” for a full breakdown of different products and how to dissect the label and various terms.
The internet is brimming with stories of pet owners who’ve seen CBD give their beloved animal a new lease of life. This is especially true in older dogs that are starting to lose their mobility and becoming frustrated with pain. We understand that pets are family members and you only want the best for them. We highly recommend consulting with your veterinary before adding CBD to your pet’s diet.
Humans have formed symbiotic relationships with animals since the dawn of time and share many things in common. Our endocannabinoid system is part of our common ancestry. It is one of the earliest and most primal systems that developed in animals. Ours and our pet’s bodies produce their own cannabinoids that bind to receptors in the brain and all throughout the body to help keep the body in a state of homeostasis. Sometimes this system doesn’t work at full capacity or can itself be out of balance. CBD shows promise in regulating the system, keeping the body and mind in it’s preferred state of harmonious balance.
We hope this article has shed some light and provided an insight into the benefits of cannabinoids for pets and animals. We urge you to do more research and listen to other pet owners who have had their own experiences. Humans and animals are different and must be treated individually. Just because one thing works for one, does not necessarily mean it will work for the other. If your dogs or cats start to show any adverse effects for any reason after trying CBD oil then it is important that you stop the dosage immediately and contact your vet.
Many of us here at LVL12 are pet owners and all of us are animal lovers. We all know the lengths we would go to to keep our pets healthy and happy. CBD can help you stay calm, focussed, content, well rested and free from pain. The chances are your dog or cat would experience the same effects.
It isn’t just us humans that can benefit from the…
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