Have you ever wondered if cannabis can help your furry friend in some of the ways that it helps you?
CBD oil for pets is fast becoming a growing trend. With human patients benefiting from CBD’s therapeutic effects, pet owners want to know if their furry family members can also benefit from the herb. They want to see if CBD oil can relieve their pet’s symptoms.
But there are no cannabis laws for pets in Canada. Under the country’s current law, veterinarians are not authorized to recommend and prescribe CBD oil for pets, nor are they authorized to treat pets using CBD.
Pet owners may want CBD for their pets, but the veterinary community is in a bind. For now, there’s nothing they can do legally. They can’t prescribe and treat pets with CBD oil, even if they feel it’s appropriate.
So, where does this leave pet owners?
They’re left administering CBD oil on their own.
Unfortunately, we lack scientific research and studies on CBD and its effects on specific species. Despite the countless positive anecdotal stories, we still lack sufficient evidence showing CBD oil’s benefits and risks to our furry friends.
All these may change soon.
With Canada legalizing cannabis, we are now seeing a growing interest in using CBD oil for pets. In fact, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has teamed up with a group supporting cannabinoid therapy for animals, the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine.
They want Health Canada to amend their regulations and include pets. They want to push for access to CBD oil to treat sick animals. Based on anecdotal stories that CBD oil benefits pets, they also want more research studies to support these claims.
But is CBD oil really safe and effective for pets? If so, where can you buy CBD oil for pets? More importantly, how do you administer CBD oil for your pet?
Not All Cannabinoids Are Good For Pets.
The cannabis plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids. But the most-studied ones are tetrahydrocannabinol or THC as well as cannabidiol or CBD.
Now, THC is the most abundant cannabinoid found in the plant. It is also the major cannabinoid that produces psychoactive effects. This is the cannabinoid that makes you physically and mentally high.
CBD, the second-most abundant cannabinoid, doesn’t make you high. In fact, CBD is known to control THC’s psychoactive and addictive property.
Both cannabinoids produce potent therapeutic effects. They both act as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, and antidepressant compound. Both CBD and THC also produce anticancer and anti-epileptic effects. They are also known to improve appetite, control nausea and vomiting, as well as promote better sleep.
The therapeutic effects of these cannabinoids benefit us medically. They relieve numerous symptoms and allow us to function physically, emotionally, and mentally better.
Because all animals have the same endocannabinoid system as humans, it would seem that our pets will also benefit from the THC and CBD, right?
THC, according to studies, can be pretty toxic to animals. Dogs, for example, have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared to humans. This makes them more susceptible to the negative side effects of THC.
One study showed that THC-infused cannabis edibles produced marijuana toxicosis in dogs. It caused temporary coma, urinary incontinence, seizures, and disorientation. Marijuana toxicosis has even claimed the lives of two pet dogs that ingested medical-grade THC-infused butter.
According to Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, THC’s negative side effect could last for days in dogs, not just hours. Dr. Fitzgerald is a veterinarian at the VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital and a contributor to a year-long study on dogs exposed to marijuana.
Should your pet be exposed to THC-infused edibles, you need to take him to his vet immediately.
What about CBD?
CBD, as mentioned earlier, doesn’t produce psychoactive effects. Unlike THC, CBD won’t make you high. It is non-addictive as well. In fact, CBD does the opposite.
With these medicinal properties, does it make CBD then the perfect cannabinoid for pets?
Here’s what a study has to say.
Dogs with osteoarthritis were treated with hemp-derived CBD oil at 2 mg/kg and 8 mg/kg. Researchers found that those who received CBD therapy were not only more comfortable but more active as well. The researchers observed no significant adverse side effects even after being on CBD oil for a month.
CBD oil, according to the study, decreased lameness due to age-related osteoarthritis and pain. It also increased the dogs’ comfort and improved their overall activity inside their own homes.
Is CBD Oil For Pets Safe?
Here’s where the study gets even more interesting.
NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the drugs of choice for arthritic dogs. It reduces joint inflammation and controls joint pain. However, long-term use of NSAIDs contributes to gastrointestinal and kidney problems.
Now, during the study, laboratory tests were done to check the dogs’ BUN, phosphorus, as well as creatinine levels. On CBD oil, the researchers noticed no significant differences between the baseline laboratory results and on CBD therapy. On NSAID therapy, however, the dogs’ creatinine levels increased.
There had been some increase in the dogs ALP levels while on CBD oil. But without a significant concurrent increase in their ALT levels, the ALP increase was not suggestive of liver problems.
Of course, we need more studies on CBD oil for pets, especially its long-term effects. But the study’s result on CBD’s short-term effects seems very positive.
Is CBD Oil For Pets Effective?
A veterinary medical association did a survey on society’s perception of using CBD oil for pets. Interestingly, a majority of the pet owners believed that hemp-derived products helped their pets tremendously.
Here’s a quick view of the survey’s results:
- 64.3% of dog owners as well as 66% of cat owners believed that it reduced their pets’ pain.
- 50.5% of dog owners as well as 44% of cat owners believed that it improved their pets’ sleep habits.
- 49.3% of dog owners believed that it decreased their pets’ anxiety levels.
- 88.8% of pet owners believed that it is very safe.
- 62.48% of pet owners believed that it worked better than conventional treatment for pets.
There were side effects, of course. Two of the most common side effects were overactive appetite as well as sedation. However, a majority of the pet owners reported their pets experienced no significant adverse side effects on it.
The short answer is, yes, pets may benefit from CBD oil, and the majority of the veterinary community agrees. According to the survey, 61.7% of the veterinarians the pet owners go to “responded positively” to the addition of cannabinoid therapy, compared to only 7.7% that responded negatively.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
Like humans, our pets also suffer from a variety of health problems. They suffer from pain and inflammation caused by arthritic joints, sciatica, and slipped discs in the spine. As old age creeps in, they also begin to develop sleep and behavioural disorders like separation anxiety and phobias. Our pets also develop chronic diseases and illnesses like cancer and epilepsy. They also suffer from allergies and gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome.
All animals have an endocannabinoid system, and this vital biological system also reacts to the cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp. We learned that THC is toxic to pets, while CBD is not.
CBD, through its action on the animal’s endocannabinoid system, helps relieve their symptoms. Similar to humans, their endocannabinoid system also plays an integral role in modulating physiological responses. Its activation results in decreased pain and inflammation. CBD also activates the opioid receptor, a receptor that controls pain. These effects benefit pets with arthritis and muscle pain, allowing them pain-free movements.
CBD also decreases convulsions and epileptic seizures. Seizures, while it’s not known to shorten your pet’s life, do increase accident risks, especially if your pet is in an unsafe place or near dangerous objects. With CBD controlling their convulsions and seizures, these risks are reduced.
CBD calms the nerves and reduces anxiety in animals. Its anxiolytic effects can help address behavioral issues in dogs like phobias and separation anxiety.
CBD benefits pets with atopic dermatitis and skin allergies. CBD helps reduce skin inflammation and itching associated with these skin conditions.
How Do You Administer CBD Oil For Pets?
Since your veterinarian can’t recommend and prescribe CBD oil for pets in Toronto, how then do you administer CBD to your pet? What’s the best dosage and frequency?
Let’s say for example you bought a 30ml bottle containing 300mg of CBD. Then simply divide 300 by 30, giving you 10mg per one full dropper. One full standard dropper typically contains 20 drops, so 10 divided by 20 gives you 0.5mg of CBD per drop.
Now, basic dosing for dogs and cats is 1mg to 5mg per 10 pounds. So if you have a large dog weighing 100 pounds, for example, then divide 100 by 10, giving you 10. Using the basic dosing, your dog will need 10 mg for minimum dose (one full dropper or 20 drops) and 50 mg for maximum dose (five full droppers or 100 drops).
For a small dog weighing about 10 pounds, you can start him on a minimum dose of 1 mg or 2 drops or a maximum dose of 5 mg or 10 drops.
This is just an example of how you get the proper dosage for your pet. To make sure that you’re giving him the right dosage, always check the product label.
Similar to how we initially dose CBD, you need to start low and go slow. This means starting at the lowest dose possible and then slowly increasing it every five days until you find a dosage that works very well in controlling your pet’s symptoms. Should you notice some side effects, then simply reduce your pet’s dosage on his next schedule.
You can give your pet CBD oil once or twice a day, depending on his medical condition. Of note, if his anxiety and behavioural problems are related to an event (fireworks or traveling), given him CBD oil at least half an hour before the event.
As for the administration of CBD oil, you can simply put a few drops into your pet’s mouth or under his tongue. But if you’re having some difficulty with this method, then add the CBD oil drops to his food.
Where Can You Buy CBD Oil For Pets?
A quick online search will already give you some shops that sell and deliver CBD oil for pets including many popular pet stores. While it’s tempting to buy the first brand you see that provides and delivers CBD oil, you have to be a wise buyer. After all, the CBD oil is for your furry best friend, so you will want nothing but the best for them.
Below are some factors to consider when buying CBD oil for pets:
- Check if the product has been tested by a licensed and professional third party (laboratory and other accredited institutions).
- Check the ingredients and make sure it contains no THC. The product should not contain any contaminants like bacteria, mold, pesticides, and other residues and toxins as well.
- Check if the product contains instructions on proper dosage. Remember, not all CBD oil for pets are the same. The guideline above is for basic dosing only. To give your pet the proper dosage, you should always check the product label or box.
- Check if the website contains the company’s pertinent contact details. You want to be able to get in touch with them through email, phone, or chat. A reputable provider of CBD oil for pets knows their products very well. They should be able to knowledgeably answer any questions and inquiries without hesitations.
What’s the Future of CBD for Veterinary Purposes?
The future of CBD for veterinary purposes is bright and promising.
With Canada legalizing cannabis, we’re sure to see more research studies done on CBD and pets in the future. As we hear and read more stories of pets benefiting from CBD oil, the demand will only grow. As the demand for using CBD oil for pets grows, it won’t be long before we see veterinarians recommending, prescribing, and treating pets with CBD oil.