As the use of products containing cannabinoids becomes more widespread and popular for a variety of afflictions, it’s natural that CBD oil usage would enter the world of pet care. CBD products are now thought to help people, as well as pets, with many ailments, and, while few veterinary studies have been completed compared with human studies, more information is uncovered daily. Studies have been performed on CBD usage in pets for everything from its effect on epilepsy to osteoarthritis pain. With the vast amount of information—some of which is based on opinion and hearsay—determining how to safely use CBD oil in your pet can be difficult. Let’s clear up any confusion you may have about CBD oil usage in pets.   

What is CBD oil for pets?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants, CBD has been shown to have many benefits, without the euphoric high and other negative side effects in pets. CBD works to stimulate the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is an interconnected chain of receptors located in the brain, nervous system, glands, and organs. By stimulating the endocannabinoid system, the immune system is regulated, promoting healing and wellness. Expanding research shows CBD oil is a natural, effective treatment for a growing list of medical and behavioral issues in pets. 

What can CBD oil be used for in pets?

CBD oil has many applications to help battle ailments in pets, as in people, and is most commonly used to help manage the following conditions:

  • Pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Anxiety

Since more research is being conducted on CBD usage in pets, this list will continue to grow. 

What are the side effects of CBD oil in pets?

As with any product you give your pet, side effects can occur. However, most CBD products are generally relatively safe, provided they contain less than 0.3% THC. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than other animals or people, so are much more sensitive to products containing THC. With pets who are sensitive to the minute THC levels found in CBD products, or who experience an overdose, the following adverse side effects may be seen:

  • Sedation or drowsiness
  • Ataxia or wobbling when walking
  • Loose stool or diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors

When using CBD oil in your pet, stick with the prescribed dosage, and use only CBD products. Avoid using medical marijuana in pets, since the high THC level will send your pet to the emergency room with THC toxicity. Edible products intended for people can also pose a threat to your pet, since many edibles contain the sweetener xylitol, which can cause rapid liver failure in dogs. In addition to products geared toward human use, toxic contaminants in poorly produced products can be dangerous to pets. 

How to choose a quality CBD oil product

Many manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon to cash in on CBD products’ popularity, but not all companies produce safe, quality products. When searching for a high quality CBD oil for your pet, consider the following:

  • The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) is taking the lead on trying to regulate the safety of cannabis and hemp products, so reputable products bear their quality seal. 
  • Choose a full-plant extract for maximum benefit. With 500 compounds found in the cannabis plant, they work together to create a synergistic effect, known as the entourage effect. This effect makes full-spectrum or full-plant extracts more effective than CBD isolates.
  • Check for third-party laboratory reports. Lab results should tell you how much CBD and THC is in the product, the terpenes in the product and their concentrations, and the product’s safety. A certificate of analysis is crucial for indicating potency, per-dosing unit, all ingredients, and the presence of mycotoxins, metals, or pesticides. Always look for a certificate of analysis before purchasing any CBD oil product for your pet. 

Beware low-cost products, as they are likely poorer in quality, and no laboratory testing was performed to ensure their safety. 

As with any supplements or medications, talk to your Mill Creek Animal Hospital veterinarian before starting your furry pal on a new product. Give us a call to schedule your pet’s appointment, to determine if CBD oil is contraindicated for their condition.