CBD For Pets: Understanding the Benefits, Precautions, and Side Effects
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CBD For Pets: Understanding the Benefits, Precautions, and Side Effects

The endocannabinoid system that is found in humans is also found in animals. Mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish have the same cannabinoid receptors as us which allows them to respond to the benefits of CBD in much the same way. Many serious illnesses in humans can be treated or helped with CBD and this is no different for pet-related diseases and disorders.

Is CBD Dangerous for Pets?

You may be aware that marijuana can be very harmful to dogs and other animals so it might seem like CBD should be kept aware from your pets. THC and CBD are two of the cannabinoids found in marijuana and while THC is toxic to animals, CBD is not. CBD also has no psychoactive properties so it is not capable of intoxicating your pets, or getting them high.

(See:What’s the Difference Between CBD and THC?)

Any dangers associated with giving CBD to pets will come from giving them contaminated products. CBD production is not regulated so not all products are subjected to the same level of quality control. It’s very important to read reviews, examine labels, and understand what’s in the product you’re buying. You get what you pay for, so be aware that the cheaper products are likely the lower quality ones. You can even discuss options with your vet if they are familiar with CBD products for pets.

Precautions and Side Effects

CBD can affect other medications your pet is taking so be sure to talk to your vet about possible drug interactions or other health concerns. While CBD cannot cause a fatal overdose, it can cause side effects such as sedation or changes in appetite. In the first few weeks of giving your pets CBD, or when adjusting their dosage, stay with them to watch for any negative reactions and to make sure they’re alright.

Reasons to Give CBD to Pets

Pets can suffer from many of the same conditions and diseases that afflict humans. They feel pain and can experience intense emotions just as we do. CBD can treat many of the same issues in pets as it does in us. It can be incredibly effective for use in treating anxiety and elevating moods which makes it helpful for pets with separation anxiety, noise phobias, stress, or depression.

CBD reduces inflammation and can be very helpful with pain management. It can be used to relieve pain associated with cancer, arthritis, joint pain, and any number of other diseases your pet may be suffering from. It can also help with nausea and various gastrointestinal issues. Many of the epilepsy medications for dogs can have unwanted side effects but using CBD to treat seizures can be both safer and more effective.

This article from the American Animal Hospital Association talks about the beneficial effects of CBD treatment for dogs with arthritis and cancer. Significant improvement was seen in 80%-90% of the dogs they treated with CBD with no side effects. The article goes on to discuss the various CBD trials being done with dogs, cats, horses monkeys, and birds.

Understanding What You’re Buying

When shopping for a CBD oil or treat for your pets, make sure you read what’s in the product and understand exactly what it is you’re giving to your pets. Some products may actually contain very little CBD, such as a hemp seed extract, so make sure the amount of CBD contained in the bottle is indicated. Choosing the cheapest brands will likely get you a low quality product made with unsafe extraction methods and may possibly contain harmful impurities and toxins. Buying CBD made with CO2 extraction methods may be a little more expensive but it will give you the safest, highest quality products.

THC is toxic to pets so it is very important to make sure the oil or treat you are giving them contains under 0.3% of THC, or preferably none. You can buy CBD products made exclusively for pets that comes in the form of tinctures or treats. While pets can also have the CBD oil intended for humans, it’s very important to ensure it does not contain THC and to be aware of how much CBD is in the dose they’re receiving. Sticking to pet-exclusive formulas of CBD will make it easier to give them the correct amounts and ensure the product will be safe for them.

How Much CBD Should You Give Your Pets?

It can be difficult to determine how much CBD is the right amount for any individual, even for humans. It’s best to start your pets off with very small amounts and slowly increase the dose every few days or a week at a time. Bigger animals would tolerate higher levels of CBD so you can start with about 1 mg of CBD once or twice daily for every 10lbs your animal weighs. Stay with your pets and pay attention to their behaviour in order to properly assess if their dose needs to be adjusted.

Different Types of CBD for Pets

You can get CBD for pets in the form of treats or oils. Using an oil allows you to precisely customize the exact amount you’re giving them and adjust as needed. Treats are a much easier and tastier way to give your pets CBD but you will have less control over their dose.

CBD for pets can come in a variety of formulas which are intended to treat many different ailments. You can get formulas for anxiety, pain, joint problems, or for elderly animals. CBD has different effects when taken in different amounts so while one formulation may be intended for a specific issue, you’ll still need to be aware of how much CBD your pet is ingesting and how they respond after taking it.

How Quickly Will CBD Take Effect

The amount of time it takes for CBD to affect your pets depends on a few factors. When CBD is swallowed with treats or food, it can take about 30-90 minutes to see the results. If an oil is absorbed under the tongue and around the gums, results can be expected within 20-40 minutes. The symptoms being treated can affect this as well. If you are treating your pets for anxiety you should see results after the first dose reaches their bloodstream. Pets with chronic pain may not receive full relief until a few weeks after being treated with CBD.

Pets and humans may get the same types of diseases, suffer from similar symptoms, and have the same endocannabinoid receptors, but we’re still very different. Don’t expect that everything that works for you is going to work the same way for your pets. Discuss options with your vet if your pets is experiencing any medical issues. You don’t need veterinarian approval to give CBD to your pets but if they’re familiar with its benefits they may possess valuable insight regarding your pet’s specific symptoms and needs.

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