The benefits of using CBD products for your cat or dog
With nearly half of the United States legalizing recreational marijuana, and many more legalizing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products, thousand’s of people are turning to hemp and cannabinoid products as a natural remedy for several conditions, including anxiety and epilepsy. CBD isn’t just for humans, either, as increasing amounts of pet owners are using cannabinoids for their furry friends at home.
As a pet owner, you may have questions about how CBD products can help your pet, what they contain, how safe they are, and where to find them. This article will help answer some of your questions and clear away some of the misconceptions you may have, so you can make an informed decision and learn about some of the great things that cannabidiol products can do for your dog or cat.
What is cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD is an active compound found within the cannabis plant. It can be found in both marijuana and hemp, the latter of which is legal in all 50 states of America. When extracted from the hemp plant, it comes in the form of an oil, which is then processed into consumable CBD oil. Many people either consume this oil directly, or use it in skincare products, baked goods, candies, gummies and more. For pets, it can be administered as an oil, or given in a treat or chew.
How does CBD work in the body?
Cannabidiol, when ingested, travels to the nervous system, where it encounters naturally-found receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS.) These receptors produce another type of compound, called endocannabinoids, which directly influence receptors for pain, anxiety, muscle flexing, and others. These compounds will inhibit (block) these receptors. The body will then stop certain responses, such as the inflammation (pain) response, anxiety attacks, muscle spasms, and so on.
Is it safe?
Unlike THC, which is toxic to both dogs and cats, CBD is generally acknowledged as safe by veterinarians and the American Kennel Club (AKC), with a very high dosage needed to achieve any possible toxicity. Because of this, it is recommended that pet owners follow the dosage instructions on whatever product they are using.
What benefits does CBD use have in animal use?
There are multiple uses for CBD for both dogs and cats, namely its pain-reducing, calming and anxiety-reducing properties. While the effects depend on the dosage, product, and the individual animal, CBD can have many positive effects in your cat or dog.
Many pet owners dread when fireworks season rolls around, as their hearing-sensitive cats and dogs are terrified by the loud noises going off day and night. In fact, the day after the Fourth of July is considered one of the busiest ones for animal shelters, as they take in hundreds of lost pets who escape from their homes in fear. While there are sedative ‘Puppy Prozac’ options available, many of these medications require a visit to the vet and have major, long-lasting sedative effects that can knock out your pet for a day or longer.
If your cat or dog has a nervous disposition or suffers from separation anxiety, a dose of CBD can help calm their nerves and reduce stress for everything from car rides to vet visits to loud noises. CBD has been proven to reduce anxiety in rats, and anecdotal evidence shows that CBD oil, when administered to a dog about to take a flight, reduced anxiety and hyperactive behavior. Breeds that are chronically hyperactive, anxious or stressed, such as Border Collies, Parson’s Russell Terriers, Siamese cats or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can also benefit from CBD.
For an animal recovering from surgery or an injury, or that has a chronic condition that causes pain, CBD can act as a natural painkiller and inflammation reducer. In a double-blind study performed by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, owners reported reduced pain responses and increased activity levels from dogs suffering from chronic pain who were administered CBD oil daily. CBD can also help reduce surgery recovery time after you take them to be spayed or neutered.
For many pet owners, an epilepsy diagnosis can be devastating. Watching your beloved pet spasm and convulse on the floor is a terrible feeling, especially when there’s little you can do about it. Epilepsy medications can also have a range of unpleasant side effects and may not be effective in your dog or cat. However, CBD oil has been proven to help reduce the incidences of epilepsy seizures in dogs, as well as reduce symptoms of the condition overall, according to a study by Colorado State University. For dogs predisposed to muscle tremors, such as Bulldogs and Labradors, CBD can help reduce trembling as well.
For many pets, a car ride, a boat trip, or simply switching locations can induce vomiting and nausea, either from motion sickness or from stress. Not only is this worrying for a pet owner, finding a pile of cat barf on the living room carpet in the morning is nobody’s idea of fun. Studies have shown, however, that CBD has an anti-emetic effect in both humans and other animals reducing the symptoms of retching and vomiting by blocking the stomach and nervous system receptors that induce these issues. CBD has also been recommended by vets for cats with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and pancreatitis. For animals with nausea due to stress, CBD has a double-punch effect of both reducing anxiety and helping relieve nausea at the same time.
With the average housepet’s lifespan increasing, many animals are encountering several of the same age-related issues that elderly humans do. With arthritis increasing over 312% since 2012 in some counties, this debilitating condition can be a major concern for a pet owner. Fortunately, studies have shown a dramatic reduction in arthritis-related pain and inflammation in rats when the animals were administered CBD oil. A study conducted by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine shows that administering even as little as 2ml of CBD twice a day can reduce symptoms and increase comfort levels in osteoarthritic dogs, without the drowsiness and side-effects of NSAIDs, which are one of the most common arthritis medications for dogs.
CBD is increasingly being embraced for its tumor and cancer fighting and prevention capabilities. CBD has been shown in studies to help reduce cancer viability, increase the body’s ability to track down and kill cancer
Won’t CBD get my dog or cat stoned?
Not at all! CBD, while an active compound in cannabis, is not the same as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is famous for its psychoactive effects, AKA the ‘stoner’ effect. While THC does have certain medical benefits for some conditions, its use even for therapeutic reasons is still hotly contested in many states. It is also derived mainly from marijuana, which is still illegal in several states.
CBD, on the other hand, is derived mainly the hemp plant, and has little to no psychoactive effects, and is used for a variety of medical conditions, including inflammation and anxiety.
Is CBD legal to give to animals in my state?
As long as the CBD is derived from hemp, which is different from marijuana, it is legal to use in all 50 states.
How do I bring up CBD products to my vet?
While CBD is generally recognized as safe and beneficial for dogs and cats to ingest, it’s still a good idea to mention that you are using CBD products to your veterinarian, so they can keep it on file, mention any interactions it may have with other medications, or point you to other resources. Bring the product that you are giving to your pet to the vet’s office next time you have a visit. Mention the effects that it has on your animal, how often you give them a dose, and how it has benefited you as a pet owner. More and more veterinarians are embracing CBD products due to their safety and their beneficial effects on animals, and mentioning these positive effects can help them form a better understanding of how it can help the animals they treat.
While veterinarians cannot legally prescribe CBD as of yet, many can point you in the right direction or give you more information on its effects in you pet.
Where can I get CBD products for my pet?
Many pharmacies, pet stores, animal feed stores