A Comprehensive Guide to CBD For Pets: Is It Healthy?

A Comprehensive Guide to CBD For Pets: Is It Healthy?

Published by Katie Thomas on Apr 19, 2021

Like how mothers are protective over their newborn children, the same can be said about every proud pet parent. They would do whatever it takes to make sure their fur babies are both physically and mentally healthy. Nowadays, you can do that with the help of CBD products for pets. Due to its rising popularity among humans and the potential to help reduce pain and anxiety, more work went into developing CBD so that it would be safe for animals to take too. After all, if CBD can help people relax while also reducing stress, surely it could work for pets too, right?

Just because the popular new health trend might be beneficial for humans, it doesn’t mean you can give your pets the same stuff and expect similar results. A lot of research has gone into making pet CBD safe to use so that your cat or dog can get the health benefits that come with it. Today, you can see there are quite a few options of CBD for pets in the form of hemp-based supplements.

Research has shown how cannabinoid receptors interact with the endocannabinoid system and the phytocannabinoids. There have also been various studies on how CBD can help reduce seizure disorders, cancer, chronic neuropathic pain, anxiousness, and more. Keep reading this guide to know everything you need to before using CBD on your pets.

How Does CBD for Pets Work?

Over the years, vets and pet parents alike have discovered through research the different benefits of cannabidiol in treating numerous health conditions in pets. Pets that suffer from a range of medical conditions like pain, inflammation, seizures, cancer, and digestive issues have found some relief with the use of CBD as a natural supplement.

Cannabidiol offers plenty of antioxidant properties that can help prevent cancer, reduce the side effects of chemo and radiation, treat tumors, manage pain, and more. Having said that, it’s important to choose the optimum form of administration to get the best bioavailability, whether that’s thought edibles, capsules, tinctures, or even patches.

It’s always recommended to consult your vet before choosing any CBD supplement to help with a specific health condition. You should also take this time to discuss the dosage and efficacy of CBD oil for your pet’s health condition.

Usually, CBD oil is packed with important minerals like iron, zinc, and magnesium. These are all beneficial minerals for pets as zinc is good for coat and skincare in pets.

Additionally, CBD contains elastin and collagen, which results in a nice, glossy coat. It’s also full of antioxidants and provides vitamins A, E, and C, which are useful against free-radicals from pollution.

What to Know if You Want to Give CBD to Your Pet?

At no point should you ever give your pet an intoxicating amount of THC. That’s the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives people a “high” feeling. Pets will definitely not enjoy THC in the same way humans might, and it can be extremely dangerous for them. But is CBD safe? Yes, but sadly, that’s all you’ll hear from vets about the subject about the best information you’ll get out of most vets.

CBD becomes a legal quagmire for people who want to study or recommend it as a medicine for pets. Luckily, there are a few studies that have promising and encouraging results. So far, the FDA has only approved one CBD-containing drug known as Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures. This means that veterinarians can only prescribe Epidiolex to their animal patients. A veterinarian technician specialist said, “Since this CBD stuff on the market is considered an animal supplement, you don’t need a prescription for it. You need to do your own research on its ingredients and aware of any false medical claims.”

What Conditions Does CBD Treat in Pets?

Giving your pet CBD has been reported to reduce the effects of the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Noise phobia
  • Pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Inflammation
  • Epilepsy

There are many stories online where pet owners have given their furry friends CBD treats and reported similar effects. However, as there is a lack of published studies for animals, it makes it harder to separate the real facts from the purely anecdotal evidence.

What to Watch Out for If You Give Your Pets CBD

If you’ve talked to your vet and you’re ready to give CBD to your pets, here are some things that you should keep in mind before doing so:

a)  Keep the CBD Safely Hidden

Dogs are great at finding things, so if their inquisitive nature leads them to your stash of CBD or other marijuana, they will probably eat more than what is safe for them. You don’t want your dog to eat more than the recommended amount of CBD dog biscuits. Make sure you keep your CBD treats — and definitely any THC products — out of your dog’s reach, preferably in a locked container.

b)  Keep CBD Separate From Regular Treats

Even though CBD lacks the psychedelic kick that THC has, you should still be careful with how much you give your pet. You need to make sure that no guest or child unwittingly gives your pet an abnormal amount of treats. It helps to keep the CBD treats separated from your regular treats. It’s also advised to let people know if and when it’s okay to give your pet one.

What Are the Risks of Using CBD for Pets?

While there have not been any major reports of side effects unless someone uses ridiculously high dosages for a long period of time, any side effects that may occur won’t be life-threatening.

Your pet might have a few unpleasant moments, like loose stool or gastrointestinal upset. Your pet might start to feel lethargic after consuming a CBD treat. However, it’s best to stick to isolate CBD products instead of full-spectrum CBD products that contain THC.

You should also know that CBD products might change how the liver metabolizes other drugs, and this can potentially cause harmful side effects if your cat or dog is also taking anti-seizure drugs or pain medications. This is something you should always remember if you're looking to use CBD to help your pet’s epilepsy or arthritis. Alternatively, it could cause them to feel even more lethargic. However, if your pet has liver failure, you must definitely avoid all CBD products. CBD has shown signs of increasing the liver enzyme levels in animals, which means it might inflame or injure liver cells.

These potential side effects and drug interactions just go to show how crucial it is to consult and notify your vet prior to beginning any CBD supplement routine. This will help you make sure you’re not doing more harm than good.

Possible Side Effects of CBD in Pets

As mentioned earlier, there are a few side effects you can expect from giving your pet CBD products. At regular doses, the potential side effects of CBD on pets are considered relatively minor. The common ones are:

Dry Mouth

Studies have shown that CBD intake can greatly affect the production of saliva. Many people have reported experiencing a dry mouth after consuming CBD. For dogs, this type of side effect of CBD would simply manifest as an increased need to drink water.


Just like in humans, CBD can be used to treat anxiety and panic in pets. It provides a very calming effect on them, but one of the side effects of CBD for pets is that this effect can also lead to feeling slightly drowsy when high doses of CBD are consumed.

Lowers Blood Pressure

It’s said that high doses of CBD can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure for pets. Although the drop is small, it might cause a short feeling of light-headedness. Just make sure you’re there for your pet when you administer a dose.

Increased Parkinson Disease Tremors

Some people have reported that giving your pet large doses of CBD can worsen the tremors experienced with Parkinson’s disease.

Inhibition Of Drug Metabolism

The production of some liver enzymes can be inhibited if high doses of CBD are consumed. This interferes with the metabolism of some drugs and can be one of the potential side effects of CBD for pets. If your pet is on other medications, it’s advised to talk to your vet before giving your pet CBD oil.

CBD Dosing For Pets

It’s recommended to always begin at the lowest dose and then work up to the suggested dose slowly. By doing this, you can limit the chances of your pet experiencing any adverse reactions. When using pet CBD products, the first thing you should do is visit your veterinarian for a complete diagnosis. Discuss with them how CBD can be beneficial for your pet. For understanding purposes, you can use this for reference:

  • Start with the lowest possible dose to prevent any adverse reactions.
  • Make sure you use only pet CBD products that don’t contain any THC.
  • The calculated dose should be divided so the dose can be had twice a day.
  • Doses up to 5 mg/kg/day have been recommended for serious seizure cases.

If you have difficulties finding the appropriate dose for your pet, and for some reason, you can’t weigh them, you can just visit your veterinarian to get their correct weight.

A CBD dosage is based on your cat’s or dog’s weight, so you will need to convert your pet’s weight from pounds to kilograms. You can do this by dividing the weight in pounds by 2.2 = 5 kg. Multiply the mg’s in the dose to the number of kg in weight. If the dose is 0.2 mg/kg, you would have to multiply 5 kg by 0.2 = 1mg.

What to Look for In a CBD Product for Pets

Just a reminder: Since CBD pet products are not regulated by the FDA, you’ll have to do some digging on your own in order to find out what ingredients they contain. One of the main things to look for is the company’s Certificate of Analysis. You can find it online, and it’ll show the exact amount of CBD content, if there is any THC or heavy metals (like lead, mercury, and arsenic that’s found in the soil the hemp grew in), and any pathogens like E.Coli and salmonella (which might have transferred from the organic fertilizers used) that are in the product.

If the levels for harmful substances exceed the legal limit or the CBD concentrations listed in the certificate don’t match what's advertised on the bottle, then you should avoid buying that product. Make it a habit to steer clear of pet CBD products that make any medical claims on the labels or advertisements. Statements like “This product will cure epilepsy or cancer” are the types of false claims that need to be avoided.

Apart from the safety of CBD for pets, it’s better to just give your pet a CBD treat or mix a tincture with their food, which, according to research, has the best absorption rate and efficacy.


With the increasing popularity of CBD as a natural supplement for both pets and people, it has proven time and time again to be beneficial in natural healing and treating inflammation and pain. There’s a reason why CBD products are all the rage right now, but in order to get the best CBD pet products, you have to put in the time and effort.

If you desire to use CBD oil for pets, don’t hesitate to talk to your vet. They will be receptive to your questions regardless of their opinion of this subject. If it’s legal and legitimate, then it’s worth the effort needed to explore all its possibilities. Your vet can help you find the right reasons for treatment and the appropriate products to use. They are equipped and knowledgeable to help you in case any other variables arise as you move forward. CBD oil for pets can actually work wonders, but as always, it’s better to do things with the help of medical oversight.