Is CBD Harmful to Pets? CBD products for dogs and cats are becoming increasingly popular. CBD is being used to treat anxiety in pets and as a pain reliever for some conditions, and CBD and hemp products have begun to appear in pet retailers. But, before you get on the CBD bandwagon, keep in mind that this does not always imply that CBD is safe for pets.

CBD has been legal on a federal level in both the United States and Canada since 2018. But you should check your local laws for any restrictions. Even more essential, before giving your pet any treatment, including CBD oils, sprays, or treats, always consult with your veterinarian.

Despite this, recent views on CBD for dogs are mixed. It’s critical to understand what CBD pet products are and what scientific research has revealed in order to make the best selection.

What exactly is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 chemical components found in the cannabis plant known as “cannabinoids.” CBD has been proven to have some physiological effects in humans, despite being non-psychoactive (i.e., it won’t get you “high”). CBD supporters claim that it can assist with everything from sleep and anxiety disorders to more complex health issues including diabetes, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. It is also believed to help with nausea and pain alleviation.

CBD products are permitted in the United States and Canada if they contain less than 0.3 percent THC. There may be further local restrictions. However, veterinarians are not allowed to prescribe CBD.  There are some restrictions on its use in animals.

The Difference Between CBD and THC

You’ve definitely heard of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, as the principal psychoactive chemical found in cannabis plants. THC and CBD are the two most common cannabinoids. Their molecular structures are very similar. However, it’s vital to note that there are two types of cannabis plants: hemp and marijuana. Although both plants contain CBD, marijuana has a high THC content, whereas hemp has little to none.

Is CBD Safe for dogs and cats?

While CBD is widely thought to be harmless, the truth is more of a murky area. CBD pet supplements, like other herbal supplements, are mainly unregulated and have not been approved as medical therapy.

Additionally, anyone considering providing CBD to their cat or dog should be aware that THC is hazardous to animals. As a result, all CBD pet treats and supplements should include as little THC as possible.

But what about that gray zone?

Over the past five years, the Pet Poison Helpline has experienced a 48 percent spike in marijuana cases. The Helpline, on the other hand, does not differentiate between THC and CBD-related situations.

Meanwhile, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) claims that CBD products “appear to offer therapeutic potential” in the treatment of pain and illnesses like epilepsy and osteoarthritis in pets. Although cautions that scientific evidence is still inadequate. The AVMA also claimed in a 2020 veterinarian report on cannabis that edibles were a common source of pet harmful responses. Non-cannabis items like chocolate and raisins, however, could also be to blame.

CBD use in pets has been studied scientifically.

CBD has been demonstrated to lessen nervous behaviors in mice and people in multiple studies, but what about dogs and cats? Though anxiety is the most prevalent cause for administering CBD to pets, this is mostly based on anecdotal data.

CBD may have little effect in lowering a dog’s nervous behavior, according to a study released in September 2020. The controlled study, conducted by experts from the University of Kentucky and Lincoln Memorial University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, looked at a group of dogs (of various breeds) and their reactions to fireworks noises before and after they were given CBD. While the CBD-treated group had lower stress-hormone levels than the control group, there was a minimal behavioral difference when the firework noises were introduced.

People who have dogs or cats should be aware that their pets may react to CBD in different ways. Dogs absorb and metabolize CBD faster than cats, according to a veterinary study published in October 2019. While there were few behavioral changes and the CBD-laced snacks were judged to be quite safe for both groups, some of the cats had negative reactions such as vomiting and shaking of the head. Few more studies on the efficacy or impact of CBD use in dogs have been conducted as of January 2022. More research is needed to identify exactly how CBD affects both dogs and cats, particularly in the long run.

CBD regulations for dogs and cats

CBD products are legal in North America on a federal level, but many states and territories have their own limitations on distribution and possession. The FDA presently advises against using CBD in animals due to the few research data available. It’s also worth noting that CBD is now banned in the United States as a pet food ingredient.

Similarly, Canada has its own CBD and pet legislation. While some hemp-based pet health products are permitted, there are no recognized CBD prescriptions for animals at this time. It’s also against the law to sell CBD pet food, though there are a few exceptions. Despite this, neither Health Canada nor the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association now recommends giving CBD to pets.

Veterinarians in both nations are prohibited from recommending or dispensing CBD. They can only advise pet owners on its use and any potential hazards associated with CBD products.

How to keep your CBD pet treats safe

It is ultimately up to you and your veterinarian to decide whether or not to provide CBD to your pet. While doctors are unable to prescribe CBD, it is a good idea to discuss any CBD products with your pet’s veterinarian to ensure that the contents are safe.

Keep in mind that perspectives on CBD vary widely, even among veterinary medical professionals. As a precaution, you may want to obtain a second opinion. And, as a reminder, always check with your local government to see whether any CBD oils, pet tinctures, or CBD treats are restricted. You should also make a note of the nearest emergency animal hospitals as a precaution.

If you do decide to give CBD to your pet (with prior veterinary approval, of course), always start with the lowest advised dosage and monitor your pet’s reaction for the next several hours. Never offer your pet any CBD that is designed for human use, and keep all THC-containing items away from your pet.

In conclusion

Many pet owners administer CBD to their pets in the hopes of reducing anxiety in dogs and cats. While pet CBD may aid by lowering stress hormones, current research has yet to prove that it will genuinely help your pet feel calm or reduce nervous behavior. It’s also worth remembering that determining the true quantity of THC or CBD in any oral supplement, oil, or other CBD pet product can be difficult, if not impossible.

The good news is that today’s pet owners have a variety of pet anxiety therapies to choose from. There are a variety of FDA-approved prescription drugs for pet anxiety, as well as some natural therapies for pet anxiety. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss what might be the best option for your pet.