How to use CBD for pets – A complete guide

Cannabidiol (CBD) is trending in the health & wellness industry nowadays, so a lot of people started using CBD for pets. This might come as a surprise, but veterinary professionals around the world have been using CBD oil for pets long before the chemical became popular. You might be wondering how a cannabis-derived compound could help your furry companion. Let’s take a look at how CBD could help improve your furbaby’s wellbeing, and see how you could convince your pet to take it.

What is CBD?

CBD is one of the major cannabinoids commonly found in the Cannabis sativa plant.

You might be aware that marijuana can produce some health benefits. Well, those health benefits, along with the high associated with marijuana consumption are produced by different cannabinoids.

CBD is the cannabinoid responsible for many of those health benefits, but it does not produce any psychoactive effects. Simply put, CBD improves your wellbeing without getting you high. And the good thing is, CBD can help pets as well as humans.

From videos, tv shows and articles, we can find a mountain of content related to identifying and finding ways to battle our anxiety. Not only can we find a lot of really helpful advice on how to deal with our own mental illnesses, but we have also managed to remove the stigma behind these illnesses as well; transforming them from something laughable to a matter to be taken seriously. One of the new ways people have been trying to help battle their depression is through the usage of CBD. Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the Marijuana plant, this chemical is useful in a multitude of ways, but one of its most popular uses is how it helps reduce anxiety. Providing less side-effects than traditional prescription medications, CBD is quickly becoming the most popular method in dealing with mental illness. Below we’ll explore the most common forms of anxiety and depression, how CBD actually works with our bodies and then how we can use CBD products to help us with our anxieties.

Benefits of CBD for pets

Now, we won’t explain how CBD produces its effects. You can find out more about that in our CBD for beginners article (insert link to CBD for beginners). Let’s see how CBD could help your furry companion.

1. CBD reduces pet anxiety

You might believe anxiety is a human emotion. What would a cat or a dog be anxious about, right? Well, if you ever watched a dog during a thunderstorm, you know that dogs can get anxious. And cats are no different. Cat parents often complain that their meowing friends get anxious or even scared when they approach the vet’s office.

According to an article published in 2003, separation anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorders diagnosed in both dogs and cats. Your pets miss you so much when you’re gone that they get anxious.

Well, CBD oil helps with anxiety. According to a study presented in 2010, using CBD can reduce anxiety. But here’s the thing. Taking a single dose of CBD might not be helpful in the long run. According to a 2006 study, taking CBD for a long time can be an effective treatment for anxiety.

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2. CBD helps with chronic pain in pets

Most elderly pets suffer from osteoarthritis, a chronic disease that causes constant pain and restricts your pet’s movement. You might notice that your old dog doesn’t enjoy long walks any longer or that your pussycat doesn’t jump as high or as frequently as she used to.

Well, you could blame osteoarthritis for that. According to a 2018 study done in the UK, up to 69% of older dogs suffer from osteoarthritis. And old cats fare no better. According to a study published in 2018, up to 67.4% of old cats suffer from the disease.

One of the downsides of traditional treatments for osteoarthritis is that long-term administration might cause unwanted secondary effects, such as digestive problems. So, pet parents and veterinarians started looking for alternative treatments.  

And CBD was exactly what they were looking for. According to a 2018 study, using CBD for dogs can help with osteoarthritis pain. The study revealed that CBD oil treatment can significantly decrease pain and increase the physical activity of dogs.

In addition, the study mentions that owners didn’t report any side effects during the treatment, making it a great alternative to conventional treatment.

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3. CBD reduces inflammation

CBD helps with chronic pain by reducing inflammation. But the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD can also be helpful for other chronic conditions besides pain.

Chronic inflammation increases the production of inflammatory cytokines, which can sometimes lead to allergies or autoimmune diseases. CBD inhibits the production of these cytokines, which decreases the risk of your pet developing an autoimmune disease.

A study showed that using CBD for cats can help them fight cancer cells. However, this study is preliminary and far from conclusive.

4. CBD helps with vomiting

According to a 2012 study, CBD helps with pet nausea and vomiting. In addition, the same study shows that CBD improved the appetite of sickly pets.

This might be very helpful if your furry companion is going through demanding treatment protocols such as chemotherapy.

5. CBD might protect your pet’s brain

Just like humans, cats and dogs suffer from a multitude of neurological diseases. As your pet grows older, he or she starts losing brain cells at an accelerated rate, which can sometimes lead to neurological decline.

CBD acts as a powerful antioxidant in the mammal body, so it can protect your pet’s brain from the damaging effects of aging.

6. CBD helps with pet epilepsy

According to a study published in May 2019, CBD can help pets suffering from epilepsy. The study showed that CBD treatment reduced the frequency of seizures in dogs. 89% of the dogs who were treated with CBD suffered fewer seizures.

The study also revealed that there was a positive correlation between the level of CBD in the dogs’ blood and the seizure reduction. Dogs with a higher CBD concentration in their bloodstream experienced fewer seizures.

What’s the bottom line? Well, the study concluded that CBD could be an effective alternative to pet seizure medicine currently available on the market.

How can you give CBD to your pet?

You might be wondering how you can convince your pet to take CBD. Well, these tips should help.

  • Mix CBD with food – You should be able to trick your dog into eating CBD if you mix CBD oil or CBD pills with his or her favorite food. Pour the CBD oil on pet food capable of absorbing it (such as kibbles) or mix the CBD pill with canned wet food and wait for your dog to eat it.
  • Direct administration – Cats are fussy eaters and they usually avoid eating pills or eating kibbles soaked in CBD products. That’s why you might find it easier to administer CBD to cats directly. Make sure you prepare the CBD pill or the dropper of CBD oil for cats before you grab your furbaby, and have some treats close at hand. Give your meowing friend the treat after administering the CBD to make him or her less reluctant to take the CBD next time.
  • CBD pet treats – Giving your pet CBD-infused pet treats is probably the easiest way of administering CBD to pets. Besides the easy administration, the CBD pet chews are also a good option because each chew contains a certain dosage of CBD.Using CBD dog treats for anxiety can also be effective for reward-based training. Giving your dog a CBD-infused dog treat every time he performs a command successfully will encourage him to repeat that action.

    However, the main downside of using CBD pet treats is that they’re usually more expensive than using CBD oil for dogs.

CBD dosage for pets

Here’s the kicker. CBD is a relatively new chemical compound, so it doesn’t have a regulated dose yet. However, most animal studies (including the ones you read about in this article) use a dosage of 2 – 2.5 mg/kg. Some studies used doses of up to 8 mg/kg, but you should start with a low dosage.

The recommended CBD dosages for dogs vary between 2 – 5 mg/kg. The recommended starting dosage of CBD for cats is 2 mg/kg.  Gradually increase the dosage if you don’t notice any improvements in your pet’s wellbeing.

Keep in mind that a single dose of CBD doesn’t produce spectacular effects, so use the same dosage for several days before increasing it, if necessary.

Final Thoughts

Giving your pet CBD should improve his or her wellbeing. Multiple studies confirm that CBD is safe and useful for pets, so you can include it in your furry companion’s diet to improve his or her day-to-day life.  

Here’s the deal. CBD might seem like the perfect choice for your pet, but you shouldn’t use it as treatment without consulting with a veterinary professional. CBD has been used in veterinary medicine for some time now, so you should consult with your veterinarian before including it in your pet’s diet.

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