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CBD for Pets: Why Would you Give your Cat or Dog Cannabidiol?

At low or recommended doses, CBD is safe for cats and dogs. But why would you give your pet cannabidiol? Like humans, pets can benefit plenty from the consumption of cannabidiol. But there are warnings all pet owners should be aware of.

Your biggest concern should be dosage because, according to research, CBD may cause liver problems in some pets at high doses. 

Quick take: Should you give CBD to pets?

  • CBD may cause liver damage at extremely high doses. 
  • Cannabidiol can be used to relieve pain and anxiety in pets.
  • The side effects of CBD on pets are mild.
  • CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning your pet will not experience a high. 
  • Consult with a veterinarian before giving your pet CBD or other supplement.
  • Hemp derived CBD is legal on the federal level. 

Why would you give your pet CBD?

If your cat or dog has epilepsy, regular consumption of CBD may reduce the occurrence of seizures and protect the brain from further damage. That is according to anecdotal evidence. Animal trials have shown that CBD offers the following benefits to cats and dogs.

  • Pain reduction. 
  • CBD has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • CBD may support the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
  • Reduced seizures in epileptic cats and dogs. 
  • Stress, depression, and anxiety relief. 

What is CBD, and is it safe for pets?

CBD or cannabidiol is an extract of hemp or marijuana that does not cause a high in humans or pets. THC is the chemical that causes a high in cannabis. What you need to remember is that CBD is legal on the federal level, and THC is not. The federal definition of CBD is cannabidiol products that contain less than 0.3% THC. 

CBD is commonly used in the management of pain or inflammation anywhere on the body. The side effects in humans  and pets are mild. 

CBD for epileptic dogs: Is CBD safer than prescribed medicines?

The issue with prescribed medicines for epileptic dogs is some may cause intolerable side effects, including wobbliness, sedation, frequent urination, increased thirst, and appetite changes.

That is not to say that you should abandon treatment. Vets recommend that you use CBD as a complementary treatment for epilepsy. 

Can CBD be toxic to dogs?

There are conflicting studies, some of which claim that CBD may damage the liver at extremely high doses, but the long-term effects CBD has on animals requires more research. What we do know is -from studies and anecdotal evidence- CBD is safe for dogs at recommended doses. 

If a dog consumes more than the recommended dose, it may trigger mild side effects, including fatigue, diarrhea, or vomiting. In other words, CBD will not kill your beloved companion. 

Just like humans, if your dog has epilepsy, CBD treatment should begin as early as possible. That way, you can avoid further damage to the brain. 

What are the early signs of epilepsy in dogs?

In dogs, epilepsy can be a consequence of several factors, including poisoning, kidney/liver disease, diabetes, anemia, head injury, and, in some cases, cancer. 

The animal may exhibit symptoms including:

  • Twitching muscles
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tongue chewing
  • Drooling 
  • Foaming at the mouth 
  • Paddling motion while lying on its side

The symptoms may last a few seconds, depending on the damage to the brain. If your dog has a seizure, you should:

  • Keep it away from stairs or elevated positions to avoid injury. 
  • Avoid grabbing the tongue because it may lead to involuntary biting. 
  • Cushion the head to avoid head injury. 
  • Cool the dog using a wet towel if it develops hyperthermia.
  • Call a vet. 
Can CBD cure seizures in dogs?

In humans, CBD can lower the occurrence of seizures in persons living with epilepsy by as much as 80%. The same is true with canines. An animal study published in the National Library of Medicine concluded that, quote:

“Although a significant reduction in seizure frequency was achieved for dogs in the CBD group, the proportion of responders was similar between groups.”

More research is needed, but what we do know is, CBD can reduce seizure occurrence in dogs, and the side effects are mild. But it is recommended that you consult with a vet before giving your dog CBD. 

Can CBD be toxic to cats?

Just like dogs, and humans, CBD is safe for cats, according to owners and the majority of veterinarians. But more research is needed to find any potential warnings. Why would you give your cat CBD?

In cats, CBD is useful in the treatment and management of pain, inflammation, and seizures. 

According to vets, CBD may also be used in the treatment or management of:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma. 

What are the early signs of epilepsy in cats?

In cats, seizures may be a sign of epilepsy or other causes, including stroke, tumors/cancer, meningitis, diabetes, liver failure, poisoning, or head trauma. Signs that your cat is having a seizure include;

  • Loss of consciousness/collapsing.
  • Drooling/salivating.
  • Violent convulsions or shaking. 
  • Twitching facial muscles.
  • Loss of bowel control. 

A seizure may last a few minutes, and recovery may take longer. Consequently, it is advisable to contact a vet to find the underlying cause. Treatment of seizures in cats involves the use of medicines that may cause side effects, including drooling, incoordination, sedation, and lethargy. 

When exposed to CBD, cats may experience side effects, including diarrhea, lethargy, and vomiting. The side effects are mild and go away if you discontinue use. 

Can too much CBD oil hurt a cat?

Too much CBD may affect a cat’s balance/coordination -it may cause diarrhea, and can increase sensitivity. Consequently, it is advisable to keep the dosage within tolerable limits. We recommend following dosage instructions provided by a vet.

Remember, the effects of CBD are dose-dependent, meaning you do not want to give your cat too much or too little. 

CBD products for pets: what is the best CBD for cats and dogs with seizures?

Getting your cat or dog to take medicine can be a challenge. But CBD comes in a wide variety of products that can make that effort easier. We recommend:

Sublingual placement of CBD oil

Also known as tinctures, you may place a few drops of CBD on or under your cat’s/dog’s tongue. Unlike pills, oils are easier to use when dosing pets. To control dosage, you should use measured droppers.

How does it get absorbed?

Just like humans, pets have mucous membranes in the mouth that absorb the oil. Meaning the animal does not have to swallow. 

However, the earthy taste of CBD can be an issue with some pets.

 What to remember 

  • CBD may or may not contain carrier oils. Your pet could be allergic to some carrier oils, so start with low doses and check your pet’s reaction.
  • Do not place the oil directly on the tongue, instead place a few drops to the side. 

CBD for inflammation, injury, and skin issues

If your pet has a rash, suffers an injury, or has skin issues. You may apply CBD oil directly to the affected area. You may also add a few drops to prescribed topical creams or medicines.

Because of cannabinoid receptors found on the pet’s skin, topical application may also relieve internal pain and inflammation

CBD gummies and other consumables

If your cat or dog likes sweets, you may give it gummies or other consumables. To avoid an overdose, keep the sweets out of reach and check their potency. 

The tradeoff of giving your cat or dog CBD consumables is you may not have full control over dosage. 

We recommend following manufacturer or veterinarian recommendations. 

Is it illegal to give your pet CBD in the US?

Because of limited research, the FDA recommends that you do not use CBD on pets. However, CBD is now legal across the country because of 2018’s farm bill.

Animal studies and anecdotal evidence say that CBD is safe for humans and pets. But it is recommended that you keep the dosage low or as recommended by a vet.