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A recent surge in the use of CBD products for wellness has got people to thinking, “Could this also benefit my pet”? In short, yes, CBD potentially could have some great benefits for pets! So what is CBD for pets?

CBD is a molecule called a cannabinoid that comes from the cannabis plant. There are other cannabinoids, the most popular being THC. This is the cannabinoid that produces the feeling of being “high”. THC is strongly not recommended for dogs as it is toxic. The two types of cannabis, marijuana and hemp, have very different chemical make ups.

Hemp is rich in CBD and has low levels of THC (legally it must be below 0.3%) while marijuana is the inverse. All CBD products on the market, unless purchased in a medical shop, are legally to be made using CBD extracted from the hemp plant. CBD, unlike THC, is nontoxic and “well tolerated with a good safety profile”, as told in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report on CBD.

CBD and other cannabinoids interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a regulatory system in charge of keeping all of the body’s interconnected systems in a stable, balanced state known as homeostasis. Everything from mood to appetite to sleep to focus and more is controlled in part by the ECS.

Pictured here, Hudson, a 95lb German Shepherd mix, is enjoying a CBD for pets with 2mg CBD dog chews. This helps Hudson calm down in large groups and even helps his nausea during car rides. Hudson even prefers CBD for pets to other anti-anxiety meds when going to difficult places such as the vet. The drowsiness that can occur as a side effect of some anti-anxiety drugs can possibly be avoided with the use of CBD as an alternative.

Hudson is not alone in the doggy world! Many pets (dogs, cats, mice, ferrets, etc.) can benefit in one way or another from CBD use. Here are eight (8) reasons why you may consider giving your beloved pet some CBD wellness.

Here are eight reasons how CBD for pets could be beneficial:

  1. Calm Phobias
    • Studies looking into how CBD for pets can alleviate some of your pets phobias is unfortunately lacking, but user testimonies are vast! CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system for any animal with a vertebrae the same way it does for humans.
  2. Reduce Anxiety
    • Anxiety for pets can be the cause of genetics, a lack of socialization, bad memories or a bad history, or even if they feel trapped. Many pets feel anxiety when separated from their owners. The symptoms of anxiety are obvious if you know what to look for. They can include:
      • Panting
      • Pacing
      • Flat Ears
      • Tucked Tail
      • Hiding
      • Trembles
      • Whimpering
      • Over licking
      • Diarrhea
      • Chewing
    • CBD use may be able to help with many if not all of the symptoms of anxiety. Many pet owners find CBD for pets to be calming for their pets, therefore reducing many of the anxiety symptoms. CBD has also been shown to reduce the causes of anxiety within the body (Nardi, et al). By interacting with the ECS, CBD has been shown to interact with the serotonin receptor (Blessing, et al). Serotonin, sometimes called the ‘happy chemical’, is a chemical which has major implications on mood, anxiety, stress, and depression.
  3. Regulate Sleep
    • Regulating sleep is one of the top reasons pet owners give their pets (and themselves!) quality CBD products. The lack of sleep can occur for one reason or another. It could be pain from something like arthritis or even anxiety. It was shown above how CBD can alleviate symptoms and causes of anxiety. It will be shown below how CBD can greatly reduce inflammation and therefore pain.
    • Several studies have pointed to CBD having a “calming effect” and that it does not interfere with the sleep cycle of healthy patients. Additionally, CBD was found to potentially increase the length of your snooze and even make it easier to fall asleep (Chagas, et al). It seems that a dose of CBD can help get your furry best friend settled down and ready for bed when you are ready yourself.
  4. Decrease Aggression
    • Dogs and even cats can show signs of aggression for one of many reasons. Pets might feel the need to assert dominance, protect their food, protect their owner, or they might just be scared. The aforementioned calming effects of CBD can be hugely positive in correcting an aggressive pet’s behavior. In addition, The ECS has been shown to play a role in mood as a result of anti-anxiety properties (Patel, Hillard). CBD’s interaction with the ECS can potentially have positive effects on an aggressive pet’s mood and level of calmness.
  5. Reduce Inflammation
    • Maybe your pet has arthritis or hip dysplasia, or maybe they are just getting up there in the years. Regardless of why, many pets deal with inflammation during their lives. Inflammation can make walking difficult and cause pain and even affect sleep. To treat inflammation, many turn to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti inflammatories). But with NSAIDs come the side effects like loss of appetite and diarrhea.
    • CBD has become increasingly popular as an alternative to NSAIDs and the research backs it up! By inhibiting the production of proinflammatory molecules in the body, and aiding in the build up of AEA (anandamide, a cannabinoid found within the body that has anti-inflammatory properties) and T-regulatory cells (another anti-inflammatory molecule), CBD has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory properties (Verde, et al) (Nagarkatti, et al). Providing your beloved pet with CBD might just be what they need to live a more comfortable life.
  6. Relieve Pain
    • We never want to see our pets in pain. Sometimes we might not even know they are in pain. Pain can come from one of a million things, but the signs of pain are consistent. They include, but are not limited to:
      • Panting
      • Whimpering
      • Not Wanting To Be A Pet
      • Limping
      • Behavioral Changes
      • Sleep Changes
    • Pain can be treated using painkillers, but these come with undesirable side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and vitamin deficiencies. Although appropriate for use in many cases of pain, it has been shown that CBD can cause a significant decrease in pain. Additionally, owners reported no adverse side effects from using CBD to treat their pets pain (Gamble, et al).
  7. Improve Appetite and Decrease Nausea
    • We all know how marijuana can cause “munchies” and cause the user to be excessively hungry. This feeling of hunger is attributed to the cannabinoid, THC. CBD does not directly affect levels of hunger like THC might. Instead it can help with appetite indirectly by alleviating some issues that may be what is holding your pet back from eating. These causes could be anxiety, pain, and overactivity, all of which can be aided with CBD use. When it comes to keeping the food down, CBD might be of use yet again! CBD can help decrease nausea through interaction with the aforementioned serotonin receptor (5-HT1A) (Parket, et al). Decreasing anxiety is another way CBD may help keep nausea and vomiting in check. No more throw ups during car rides!
  8. Decrease Medications
    • All the medications someone might give their pet to deal with anxiety, nausea, pain, inflammation, etc., might have alternatives in CBD. As shown above, CBD for pets can help to do the job many of these medications do, but without the unwanted side effects. It is always suggested you speak with your vet before making any medication changes.

Choosing the Best CBD For Pets Product and Dosing

So how do you choose which CBD for pets product to give your pet? And how much should you give them? The answer to both of these questions relies on the owner doing proper research. When looking for quality CBD for pets, you first want to find a company who you can trust and who is responsive. You should also be able to easily find or obtain the most recent lab tested results for the products you are interested in. On these lab results, you want to make sure the levels of CBD are what is advertised, and that the levels of THC are below the legal limit of 0.3%.

Once you have found a product you want to use, the question of dosing comes into play. There are many factors that go into proper dosing including age, weight, sex, metabolism, and severity of the infliction. To find the perfect dose for your beloved pet, we suggest you start with a low dose, about 0.5mg per 10lbs. If you feel that your pet needs a higher dose after about 6-8 hours, you can increase the dose. Take note of how your pet reacts to each particular dose. For example, the 95lbs German Sherpard mix from the beginning of this post takes between 6mg and 15mg of CBD for pets.

CBD for pets infograph

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