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CBD Pet Care: Benefits, Uses, and Things to Consider

It may seem these days like you’re hearing about CBD oils and other new CBD goods that have a positive effect on health and wellness—for both humans and our dogs and cats. What is CBD pet care, and how does it work? Are they really effective, and are they safe?

It’s difficult to wade through all of the marketing jargon and discover the facts about CBD for dogs and cats. Here’s a quick guide on what all of the lingo and benefits mean, as well as some things to think about before consulting your veterinarian and shopping for goods.

What is CBD? 

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical component derived from cannabis or hemp plants that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities.

CBD has been shown in studies to interact with the endocannabinoid systems (ECS) of both people and pets, including dogs and cats. The endocannabinoid system is a unique communication network in the brain and body that regulates a variety of vital functions, including how a pet feels, moves, and responds.

CBD can be used in oils, chews, and other products to help with a variety of ailments including anxiety, relaxation, and even osteoarthritis pain relief for our pets.

Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are both types of Cannabis sativa plants. Both contain CBD, but the THC levels in hemp and marijuana differ significantly.

THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the chemical component that causes cannabis’ intoxicating effects. Hemp has less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight at the time of harvesting. However, marijuana has more than 0.3 percent THC.

Can CBD Pet Care Get My Pet High?

The non-intoxicating component of both hemp and marijuana plants is cannabidiol, or CBD. Unlike THC, if CBD doses are correctly administered, it cannot make you or your pets high.

CBD, on the other hand, has been shown to influence brain activity in pets, suggesting that it may have some of the potential advantages for dogs and cats such as lower stress and anxiety.

Never give your dog or cat an intoxicating level of THC. It’s critical to talk about dosing instructions with your veterinarian, and it’s never a good idea to test products meant for animals on yourself.

Is CBD Safe for Dogs and Cats? 

CBD products have a very low toxicity and are considered to be quite safe in both dogs and cats, according to studies. Even when given large dosages of CBD, dogs and cats did not exhibit major unfavorable effects in recent veterinary research.

Remember, CBD has no psychotropic effects and won’t make your pet high.

As more research is completed, we will learn a great deal more about the impact of long-term CBD use in pets.

Potential Benefits of CBD Pet Care

There is still much debate about CBD in the veterinary sector, since hemp-derived CBD solutions for pets are relatively new.

Hemp-derived items work in tandem with a dog’s or cat’s natural endocannabinoid system, which aids to control a number of the body’s various processes in dogs and cats.

CBD products, based on both human and veterinary studies, can help dogs in the following ways:

  • Anti-inflammatory (i.e. hypersensitivity, dermatitis)
  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in seizures and convulsions
  • Immune system support (i.e. autoimmune disease, cancer)
  • Nervous system support
  • Cardiovascular system support 
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal support

Hemp-derived CBD products for pets have also been anecdotally used. According to a 2018 poll, pet owners like hemp CBD snacks and items due to their perceived ability to treat a variety of ailments including pain, inflammation, anxiety, digestive system problems, and sleep difficulties. Several peer-reviewed research revealed that hemp-derived CBD oil improved the health of dogs with osteoarthritis.

How Do Cats and Dogs React to CBD? 

To date, significant research has yet to be completed in order to fully compare the differences between dogs’ endocannabinoid system and how it responds to phytocannabinoids (synthetic and plant-based cannabinoids), like CBD.

CB1 and CB2 are the two main types of cannabinoid receptors in a pet’s body. These receptors assist to regulate and balance a pet’s immune and central nervous system, which can have an impact on inflammation, pain, allergies, and mood.

The receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes are the three basic elements of the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoids (endogenous chemicals produced in the body of a pet on command) bind to receptors, particularly in stressful, sick, or injured situations.

Phytocannabinoids, like CBD, bind to the cannabinoid receptors in a similar manner to endocannabinoids.

Dogs have the most CB1 receptors in their brains of any species, including people. CBD appears to be absorbed and possibly eliminated faster in cats than dogs, according to a recent study. Because of this, cats must be given more CBD on a regular basis to maintain proper blood levels.

Not all pets respond to CBD in the same way. Every animal is unique, and not every dog or cat will get the same benefits from taking CBD products. Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions regarding how your pet is reacting to a certain product.

CBD Pet Care Products: Understanding the Landscape

CBD products are currently available for purchase by pet parents, and each has a unique purpose and is meant to serve a distinct function. While makers and brands vary, the following are some of the most frequent CBD product types and labeling information that would-be pet owners should be aware of.

CBD Oil for Pets

An extract (either full or broad spectrum) that has been suspended in a carrier oil is the basic ingredient of CBD oil for pets—also known as an oil tincture. MCT/coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil, and other oils are common choices.

The major benefit of CBD oil for pets is that it is administered with a precise dropper. This allows you to accurately dose your pet and adjust the dosage (up or down) as often as needed. Oil is absorbed more quickly through mucous membranes than a pill or capsule when it’s given via your pet’s mouth, as it can be swiftly delivered to the stomach and small intestine.

The two most significant drawbacks of ingesting a CBD oil tincture are the unpleasant taste of plant extract and the potential for spillage.

When giving CBD oil to your pet, we recommend putting it directly in their mouth (the ideal method) or using a treat or food to do so. Consider placing the medication on the side, up against your pet’s cheek, rather than straight on the tongue if you’re going to administer it directly into a pet’s mouth.

CBD Pet Care Treats and Chews

CBD treats and chews are a fantastic method to get CBD extract into your pet, especially if they enjoy eating goodies. These items are produced similarly to conventional CBD oils, but the final oil product is infused into a treat or chew rather than being taken as a pill.

The advantage of giving your dog or cat a CBD chew is that it is simpler to give because they are usually tasty and pets enjoy the taste. The disadvantage is that the dose cannot be finely adjusted (up or down), which isn’t as flexible as the oil tincture.

CBD Pet Care Topical Products for Pets

Another popular approach to utilize CBD products is directly rubbing the oil on your skin. CBD balms, lotions, oils, and other topical treatments are used to treat localized issues such as pains and skin problems. Because cannabinoid receptors are present in a pet’s skin, this method of application is successful.

We recommend putting a topical CBD product on a non-haired place (or shaved area) and ensuring your pet does not lick the site for at least 30 – 45 minutes while applying it to your pet.

CBD Pet Care Capsules and Pills for Pets

A capsule provides a slower release of CBD into the bloodstream, making it ideal for pets that are cautious about the taste of CBD oil or who are fussy eaters. Capsules are also popular because they work for dogs that avoid the taste of CBD oil or who have picky eating habits. They’re also great for traveling since they’re easier to  transport and store.

CBD capsules are more difficult to administer than an oil tincture, as you have to use your fingers to open the capsule and then feed it to your pet. Pills can be difficult for some animals to swallow, so we recommend breaking them into halves or quarters before giving them to your pet.

There are two disadvantages of capsule CBD for cats and dogs. When dogs take capsules, the dosage can’t be readily increased (up or down). Furthermore, because pets’ bodies don’t absorb these as readily as an oil product, they have a lower bioavailability.

Consider putting the CBD capsule directly into their mouth or making a fun treat (like pet-safe nut butter, cream cheese, or pill pocket) when giving your pet a CBD capsule.

Full-Spectrum Vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD Pet Care Products

When looking for a product for your pet, you should consider the CBD effects as well as everything else. On labels, the words “full spectrum” and “broad spectrum” indicate what other compounds are included in the items.

Hemp contains a variety of cannabinoids that can be used to treat different ailments and conditions in pets. CBD is the most common compound found in hemp plants, which are utilized to make broad-spectrum CBD pet products. THC is not present in broad-spectrum medications since it was removed during the initial extraction.

Full-spectrum CBD pet products are extracts that contain all of the chemicals naturally present in hemp, including cannabinoids (THC and CBD), terpenes, and flavonoids. Hemp-derived goods that are full-spectrum have less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, making them completely nonpsychoactive. The entourage effect occurs when all of these active components work together to provide enhanced health advantages.

When looking for CBD products, you might come across the phrase “CBD isolate.” CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, and it’s manufactured by extracting it from the plant and removing all other chemicals except for CBD. Isolate is almost always 99 percent pure. However, there is evidence to suggest that using a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum product rather than isolate therapy due to the entourage effect’s extra advantages.

What Are Terpenes?

You may also come across the terms “full-spectrum” and “broad-spectrum,” which are frequently used on CBD pet care products. Terpenes are aromatic oils found in cannabis and hemp plants that give the plant its unique aroma and flavor. Each plant species has its own set of terpenes. This profile is determined by several elements in the plant’s environment, such as humidity, temperature, light, soil quality, and more.

Terpenes have their own health benefits and can work with cannabinoids to enhance them. The terpene linalool (also present in lavender) is one example of this. When combined with CBD, it has been proven to improve anti-seizure effects.

Are CBD Products Legal for Pets?

Yes, hemp-derived CBD products are legal for pets if they contain less than 0.3 percent THC, as long as they fulfill the criteria of being derived from hemp. You don’t need a prescription to buy these items.

Hemp was previously prohibited in the United States, but the 2018 Farm Bill legalized its cultivation and provided a route for use and testing in the United States.

It’s crucial to conduct extensive research on any given product before putting it in your pet. Not every firm is made equal. Examine where your goods are sourced and ensure that the firm is a reputable one.

How to Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD

If you believe that your pet’s anxiety, arthritis, or another medical condition might be improved by CBD pet products, you should speak with your veterinarian about any alternatives that make the most sense for your dog or cat’s specific lifestyle.

However, keep in mind that studies on CBD pet care products are still in their early stages, and some veterinarians may not be allowed to talk about, advise, or dispense them.

Below are some tips to get the conversation started and help it go smoothly: 

Understand your state’s laws. Your veterinarian is restricted by the state veterinary medical board as to how much information they are permitted to provide about CBD products. Veterinarians in California, for example, are allowed to talk about cannabis but not give advice on it. There is active lobbying being done to modify certain legislation in order to allow veterinarians more latitude to talk, suggest, and perhaps dispense CBD treatments in their offices. Understanding the present state of affairs is a good place to start.

Be open and honest. Start by speaking with your veterinarian about why you want to start your pet on a CBD product. If you’ve already started a treatment, bring the goods with you so your veterinarian can evaluate them alongside you.

Share resources with your veterinarian. Certain rules prevent vets from outright discussing or suggesting CBD products to their patients. It’s frequently up to the pet parent to broach the subject with their veterinarian, and sharing resources and knowledge may be one approach to get started.

Be prepared for potential limitations. Veterinarians in each state are still developing regulations to guide them on how to work with cannabis. The veterinary medical boards in each state are still working on guidelines regarding cannabis. Due to the complicated legal landscape, some veterinarians may have little experience with the topic. However, most veterinarians are able to provide you with appropriate facts on how to minimize the potential for undesirable events if you decide to utilize a CBD pet product on your own.

How to Know a CBD Pet Care Product is Right for Your Pet

It’s critical to choose the proper CBD product for your pet depending on their specific requirements. It is a choice that necessitates research, talks with your veterinarian, and testing. Not all items are suitable for every animal, and some animals respond differently to CBD (and other cannabinoids) than others.

You already know your pet, so if you think a CBD product might be helpful, it’s worth looking into further. In addition to consulting with your veterinarian, here are some pointers to assist you in making an informed selection.

Understand your pet’s needs. Choosing the appropriate product for your pet will be determined by your pet’s overall health and wellness demands. The following are some of the most common reasons why people give their pets CBD oil. If your pet suffers from anxiety, a systemic (whole body) CBD product such as hemp oil may be an excellent option. If it’s a localized issue (like a sore elbow or a hot-spot), try topical treatments instead.

Consult others and read reviews. If you know someone who has had success using CBD for their dogs, it’s worth having a talk with them about their pet’s symptoms and which products helped and didn’t help. This is especially true for online reviews, forums, and chats, where you may look at the types of items that anecdotally helped other pets with similar problems. This will aid in the discussion with your veterinarian.

Do extensive company research. Not all CBD pet product manufacturers are created equal, as previously mentioned. Before buying a product, investigate the firm and production process behind it. Look for items produced by companies that are transparent and open about their testing procedures and methods. Learn how companies acquire their components and where they come from. Consider items that are manufactured or recommended by veterinarians with experience in CBD. Due to their nature as items that you’ll be giving to your pet, placing your faith in the company behind them is critical.

If you want to give your dog CBD, the first step is to conduct research. Click here to learn what to look for in a high-quality CBD pet care product.

Final Thoughts on CBD Pet Care

In conclusion, CBD pet care is a rapidly growing industry with great potential for animals. However, as with anything new, there is still much to learn. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any type of supplement, especially CBD.

CBD products come in many forms and concentrations, so it’s important to choose the right product for your pet’s needs. Do your research on the company behind the product and look for products that are recommended by veterinarians with experience in CBD.

When in doubt, always start with a lower concentration and increase gradually as needed. Be sure to monitor your pet closely for any changes in behavior or side effects. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your veterinarian.

With the right product and dosing, CBD can be a helpful addition to your pet’s health and wellness routine.