Can CBD help your dog get through fireworks on the 4th of July, or help your cat overcome her appetite issues? Get the skinny on how CBD can bring the chill to your little buddy.
If you’ve stepped into a pet store over the last couple of years, you’ve probably noticed that cannabidiol isn’t strictly for people anymore. Shelves are lined with calming CBD hemp chews for dogs, CBD catnip spray, and even CBD oil for pet birds.
Cannabidiol for pets is a trend that isn’t going anywhere and for good reason. Around 63% of vets report that clients regularly ask them about CBD oil for pets. Pet owners are learning firsthand about the benefits of this substance. And once we do, why wouldn’t we want to share that with our four-legged (or two-legged) companions?
Everyone knows a dog who cries for hours after hearing thunder, or a cat who hides under the bed for no reason at all. Just like CBD can calm our insecurities and fears, it might do the same for pets.
Remember when you started learning about CBD for beginners? It’s time to do it all over again and learn the lowdown on cannabidiol and animals!
How does CBD affect pets?
There isn’t much research available yet about CBD and how it affects pets, so most of what we know comes from anecdotal evidence. As of 2020, most CBD pet products are for dogs and cats. Interestingly, parrots are a big market too! Pet parrots have complex behavioral problems and deal with stress and anxiety, much like humans.
CBD’s benefits for pets may include:
- Dogs: Anecdotal reports say that CBD helps dogs get through fireworks shows, deal with separation anxiety, and stop unwanted chewing behaviors.
- Cats: CBD can help cats stop unwanted carpet scratching, self-injurious behavior (like scratching or biting), and avoidant behavior like hiding under furniture.
- Birds: Parrots that pluck their feathers, scream, or bite furniture may feel calmer after using CBD.
Does the FDA approve CBD for pets?
As of 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t explicitly approve the use of CBD for pets.
That doesn’t mean that it is ineffective, unsafe, or illegal to give to your dog. CBD is federally legal to buy and use on your pet, but it’s not legal for companies to market CBD for treating health conditions in pets.
What’s the best type of CBD for pets?
The best type of product depends on your pet, its species, and its temperament. (Try giving sublingual hemp oil to a wiggly attack cat!) There are three types of CBD:
- Full-spectrum, which contains all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis (including psychoactive delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC)
- Broad-spectrum, which contains a variety of the cannabinoids and terpenes minus THC
- Isolate, which contains pure CBD and nothing else
The ASPCA says that THC is toxic for dogs and cats, so you should avoid full-spectrum products. Choose broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate oil to avoid exposing your pets to that substance.
CURIOUS? We recommend all-natural, FOMO Bones made with CBD isolate.
It’s unclear whether other pets are sensitive to THC as well. There are avian full-spectrum hemp products on the market for pet parrots that target plucking, screaming, and other behavioral issues, but always consult with your vet before using cannabis products.
Once you decide between broad-spectrum or CBD isolate, it’s time to choose the method of use. You can find CBD products for pets that include:
- Soft gels
- Topical creams and gels
Many dog owners find that food is the best way to get CBD into their furry buddies, and CBD pet food usually takes the form of chews and treats. Cats can be a little more discerning, and you may find that you need to mix a tincture into her daily food to sneak some chill into her. For birds, a tincture is usually the way to go.
Cream and gel CBD products are great when you need a topical application, but many pets will lick topicals away unless they’re covered with a bandage. So, be extra careful with your companion—and be prepared to break out the Collar of Shame, if necessary.
How much CBD should you give pets?
CBD dosing is incredibly variable, and you should never try to guess your pet's optimal dose. Instead, always start low and move up slowly over time until you see results.
Dogs, cats, and exotic pets are much smaller than you and have metabolisms that move faster, making it easier for them to experience adverse effects from any substance, including CBD. Increasing the dose slowly (called titrating) is the safest way to figure out how much to give your pet.
If you need advice on where to start, call your vet! One study showed that dogs respond well to a CBD dose of 2 mg per kg of body weight—but that’s only one study and not a dosing guideline by any means!
How to choose the best CBD product for pets
It’s super important to choose only reputable brands when you’re buying CBD for pets! That’s because THC is toxic to cats and dogs, and some sketchy brands mislabel or fail to test their stuff. When that happens, the products can make it to the sales floor with unsafe levels of THC.
To be extra sure, look up the company that makes the product in question. You should be able to find:
- The source of their hemp
- Their licensing and certification
- Their Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for a recent batch of CBD product
If you have trouble finding any of this, or the company isn’t willing to help you get it, it’s time to bail and find a new supplier. Your pet's well-being is too important, and there are plenty of fantastic companies making pet CBD products that you can choose instead.
It’s not just Fluffy’s party—get your own Scaries on too!
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