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CBD for Pet Weight Loss: Does Cannabidiol Suppress Appetite in Cats and Dogs?

According to anecdotal evidence, CBD can help cats and dogs maintain healthy weight and appetite, boost metabolism, and regulate blood sugar levels.  Clinical and veterinary studies are limited, but what we do know is CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent of hemp or marijuana can help humans and animal test subjects lose weight. 

Is the chemical safe for pets, and what effect does it have on obese dogs or cats? Below is what pet parents need to know.

Quick take: Can CBD help cats and dogs lose weight?

  • Animal studies say that CBD can help animals maintain healthy body weight.
  • CBD does not cause a high in humans or animals. 
  • The side effects of CBD on animals and humans are mild and go away if use is discontinued.
  • At high doses, CBD has a sedative effect on animals.
  • At extremely high doses, CBD may cause liver problems in cats or dogs.

What is CBD, and does it suppress appetite in dogs?

An animal study published in the National Library of Medicine concluded that, 

Male Wistar rats (260 ± 20 g at start of study) received intraperitoneal injections of CBD at doses of 2.5 and 5mg/kg/day for 14 consecutive days and body weight gains were monitored. Both doses of CBD produced a significant decrease in body weight gain, with the effect produced by 5mg/kg being more pronounced.”

The study implies that CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent of hemp or marijuana, may have uses in weight regulation in animals. As mentioned, we already know that CBD can help humans lose weight. 

What about THC?

THC/tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive chemical in weed that causes a high. When consumed, it also increases appetite. CBD’s effect on consumption in animals or humans is dose-dependent. At low doses, the chemical has a stimulating effect and may increase appetite. At high doses, it is sedative, meaning it may cause fatigue or put you or your dog to sleep. 

As a mild appetite-suppressing agent, CBD can help dogs lose weight. But before we get to that, we must ask.

How do I know if my dog is overweight, and how do I use CBD to help it lose weight?

For pet owners, it is vital to realize that excessive fat is bad for their dogs. Obesity in dogs will impact not only longevity, but also puts your dog at risk of developing conditions including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. 

Is my dog obese?

You know that your dog is obese if:

  • The stomach swings or hangs. Look at your dog from the side. If the abdomen is at the same level as the chest or if the stomach sags or swings, your dog is obese. 
  • Constant fatigue, disinterest in movement, or constant panting.
  • A larger rounder face.
  • Rounded stomach
  • Needing help to climb a stair or to complete low-effort tasks.

Depending on the breed, it can be difficult to tell if your dog is obese or simply lazy. Consequently, the easiest way to tell if a dog is fat is to weigh it. Meaning, if you are unsure, you should take the dog to a vet for weighing.

What effect does obesity have on dogs?

Being overweight will impact your dog’s quality of life in the following ways.

  • Lack of exercise can trigger stress, anxiety, and depression. 
  • Pain from discomfort, joints, or pressure sores. 
  • Decreased energy and limited mobility
  • Respiratory issues.
  • Excess weight can make grooming difficult.

How does CBD help dogs lose weight?

Currently, there are few studies on the effects of CBD on weight loss in dogs. 

Researchers found that through interactions with CB2/Cannabinoid receptors, CBD can help the endocannabinoid system maintain a “healthy balance.”

The endocannabinoid system in man and beast is a complex system of cells that regulates food intake, lipid synthesis, emotional processing, memory, and immune responses. 

There are a few studies that claim that CBD can help regulate appetite in dogs. But anecdotal evidence supports this claim.

What causes obesity in dogs?

Before you begin CBD treatment, you must understand the underlying cause. In dogs, obesity may be triggered by factors including:

Excessive eating

According to vets, you should feed your dog at least two times a day or once every twelve hours. How much you feed the dog depends on the breed and size. 

The problem with allowing constant access to food for dogs is dogs have an unhealthy habit of consuming anything you put in front of them. Consequently, to avoid overfeeding your dog, regulate portion sizes and minimize access to food. 

How to control your dog’s eating habits:

  • Introduce CBD to its diet. CBD is a mild appetite suppressant at low doses. 
  • Separate your dogs during feeding time. Dogs eat faster in the company of other dogs because they see feeding as competition.
  • Water down wet foods. Helps to slow down eating

Avoid junk or fattening foods

Unhealthy fats and sugars have the same effect on humans and pets, meaning they can make you or your pet gain weight. Because of that, you should consider giving your pet healthy meals.

Is my cat overweight? How to tell and how CBD helps weight management in felines

Is it too much fur, or is my cat overweight? It can be hard to tell because the appropriate weight range for a cat is dependent on breed and size. Some breeds are naturally larger, and some are smaller. 

Consequently, if you are unsure if your cat is overweight, you should weigh it or get an opinion from a vet. 

That said.

Some signs that your cat is chubbier than he or she should be are:

A layer of fat covering the ribs

In healthy cats, you can feel the ribs with your hands by applying gentle pressure. A layer of fat over the ribs is an indicator that your cat is overweight.

Other indicators that your cat is overweight include:

  • View from above. Does the cat appear ovular with no waist? If so, the cat could be overweight.
  • View from the side. Does the stomach hang low? Does it swing side to side during movement?

Why is it important for cats to maintain a healthy weight?

Obesity in cats is problematic in that it may trigger several conditions that may lower its mortality. In felines, obesity has been linked to risks including:

  • Osteoarthritis and joint degeneration.
  • High blood pressure and heart disease. 
  • Urinary bladder stones. 
  • Overheating.

What happens if you give an overweight cat CBD?

Just like in humans and canines, CBD’s effect on cats is dose-dependent. At low doses, CBD is a mild appetite-suppressant and stimulant, and at high doses, the compound acts as a sedative. 

The benefit of regular consumption of CBD by obese cats include:

Better digestion and appetite 

A sudden change of food, stress, digestive problems, or an underlying illness may cause a cat to gain weight. Illnesses that may trigger a weight problem in cats include:

  • Stress and anxiety may cause a cat to eat less or more than usual. Increased consumption will trigger weight gain. CBD can help relieve stress and anxiety in humans and cats. The consequence of that will be fewer occurrences of stress eating. 
  • Arthritis is a painful condition that may prevent your cat from getting enough exercise. Coupled with increased stress eating, the cat may gain unhealthy weight. For arthritis, the effect of CBD consumption is twofold. (1)  CBD will relieve pain, stress, and anxiety. (2) CBD can help relieve inflammation. 
  • Spaying and neutering. Neutered felines do not require as much food as un-neutered cats. Because of that, your cat may gain weight after the procedure. Consumption regulation coupled with CBD intake may help the cat maintain a healthy weight.

Unhealthy weight in cats may also be a consequence of medication. Consequently, if your cat is on medication, you should consult with a vet before giving it CBD. 

How to help your cat lose weight using CBD

Weight gain is usually a problem triggered by overconsumption. Regular intake of CBD may help to suppress the cat’s appetite, and the increased energy will make your cat more active. That way, the feline will get more exercise. 

That said. Veterinarians recommend that you do the following to keep your cat’s weight within healthy limits:

  • Regulate portions. Just like dogs, cats will eat if they have access to food. By limiting access to food and following the recommended portion sizes, you can help keep your cat healthy.
  • Feed your cat healthy foods. 
  • Keep the cat healthy by investing in toys or other items that your cat enjoys playing with. For indoor cats, cat towers and making the home cat-friendly may encourage exercise. 

How do I get my cat or dog to eat CBD?

Getting a cat or dog to swallow pills can be challenging. The easiest way to administer CBD to pets is by applying the recommended dose to food or placing CBD oil under the tongue. 

To prevent overconsumption of CBD, prevent food sharing or feed the animals in separate rooms.