CBD for Pets – Benefits and Risks
The CBD market is already huge as it is. People in the U.S. and not only have discovered the perks of the cannabinoid and have established a routine that involves CBD in various forms. But the hemp-derived compound is not only used by humans. Actually, more and more individuals are starting to consider CBD for their furry friends.
If you browse the CBD product section on any hemp-based online shop, you might stumble upon a special pet product category. Now, this might confuse you. After all, why would pets need CBD?
CBD can have numerous benefits for pets, but it can also have a negative impact if you are not careful, or you administer high amounts. Is CBD safe for pets and if it is, how can it help your four-legged friends?
Let’s dive into the world of CBD products for pets and find out what their benefits and risks are.
Why Is CBD for Pets Becoming So Popular?
CBD has already become a big part of people’s lives. In the U.S., one-third of the population has used CBD according to a Single Care survey from 2020, with at least 64% of the adults declaring that they were familiar with the compound and the products that contain CBD. 
People are not the only ones who use CBD, as pets are now starting to enjoy the cannabinoid’s benefits. But what exactly sparked the growth of the CBD market for pets?
Well, one of the reasons why there are now so many CBD products for pets is that there are more pet owners today. More than 11.4 million houses have taken in a new pet.
Around 9 million dogs have been taken into U.S. households since the pandemic has begun, while 5 million cats joined U.S. families. 
But that’s not all – the rise in CBD products for pets also occurred due to pet owners looking for more natural options when it comes to pet medications. CBD products are more natural and are considered less risky.
And since CBD is known to bring various benefits to the table, people also want their four-legged friends to enjoy these advantages. After all, who wouldn’t want to share the best things in the world with the furry buddy who is always there when you need it the most?
Is CBD Safe for Pets?
Now, here is the real question regarding CBD for pets: is it safe?
According to studies, CBD has mostly been safe for both cats and dogs. CBD is not intoxicating, so there are no worries about the pet potentially getting high. Also, CBD has been shown to cause no severe side effects in pets that used it, even when the quantity was larger. 
Although it is generally safe, there might also be some risks associated with giving CBD to pets suffering from certain health issues. For instance, canine studies from 2018 have shown that the subjects that were given CBD experienced a liver enzyme alkaline phosphatase increase. CBD, like any other substance, is metabolized by the liver. So, if the animal is already getting different medications, you might want to refrain from giving it CBD. 
Types of CBD Products for Pets
Shops provide you with a wide range of products to choose from. Not only that, but you can also find items made for certain purposes. Here are some of the CBD products you can buy for your furry friends:
· CBD Pills and Capsules
CBD capsules contain CBD oil inside. Thus, they are a great way for pets to enjoy CBD’s benefits even though they hate the taste of the oil. Sometimes, simply mixing oil into their food doesn’t work well, as not all dogs or cats are fans of the taste. Your pet may even be quite picky, which could be an issue if you try to give them this type of oil.
Therefore, capsules are not only less messy, but they also ensure that your four-legged friend will get to enjoy CBD without having the taste ruin the experience. You can administer these capsules by adding them to the pet’s favorite treat or by simply placing them into their mouth.
Although convenient, the capsules have some cons too. First of all, they are absorbed more hardly by the pet’s body. Secondly, it is harder to adjust the dose with capsules.
· CBD Oils
CBD oils are some of the most common types of CBD products. Oils or tinctures are easy to add to anyone’s routine – even if we are talking about pets.
The oil comes with a dropper that lets you use as much as necessary for your little friend. The dose can be added under the pet’s tongue or simply in their mouth. Another thing you can do is add it to their food or a treat. The latter might be the easier option, though.
Oils with droppers are great because they allow you to measure how much CBD your pet ingests. This way, you will never go over the board with the amounts.
As mentioned before, in some cases, oils might not be suitable for pets as they might not enjoy the taste. In such situations, you can simply rely on pills and capsules.
· CBD Topical Products
Pets that suffer from skin conditions or aches can be treated using CBD topicals. This is a very popular way to take advantage of CBD products, and it is quite effective when it comes to pets.
The animal’s skin has cannabinoid receptors, so it should react very well to the cream. Dogs and most animals have cannabinoid receptors that work very similarly to ours. 
Ideally, the area you wish to apply the topical on should be shaved beforehand. This is the best way to make sure the cream or lotion is effective. Also, the pet should not be allowed to lick the area for at least 30-40 minutes.
· CBD Chews and Treats
Lastly, specialized shops have also added CBD chews and treats, which are a fun way to introduce your little friend to CBD.
Dogs and cats love treats, so they will not hesitate to eat them – making it very easy to provide your pet with the perks of CBD. On top of that, you’ll make your furry friend happy, and what’s better than seeing your dog’s wagging tail?
The only drawback when it comes to chews and treats is that it is hard to adjust the dose with them as you do with tinctures, for example.
Benefits of CBD for Pets
How can CBD help your pet? As you already know, CBD can improve your life through its various advantages, but do pets get to enjoy the same benefits? You must know what your four-legged friend can get from ingesting products containing certain amounts of the cannabinoid.
Let’s take a look at some of the discovered benefits of CBD for pets:
- Reducing Seizures – According to statistics, up to 2% of dogs will experience a seizure in their life. On top of that, there are epileptic dogs that deal with seizures regularly.  According to a 2019 study, CBD products can help decrease the number of seizures that dogs experience. Although more research must be conducted to determine how efficient the compound is for epileptic dogs, results are promising so far.
- Comfort Increase – Dogs with osteoarthritis can also benefit from CBD treatments. A 2018 study has revealed that activity and comfort in dogs suffering from this condition can be increased.
- Inflammation Relief – CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and pets suffering from inflammation can experience relief after using CBD products. A study from the 2020 Pain journal has discovered that through its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can improve mobility in pets that suffer from osteoarthritis. 
- Stress and Anxiety Relief – Even our beloved pets are sometimes prone to anxiety and stress. Fortunately, CBD can be used to relieve these feelings, and might even improve your pet’s sleep.
- Gastrointestinal Support – Another benefit of CBD for pets is that it can provide them with gastrointestinal support. The cannabinoid can reduce nausea and ease bowel disorder symptoms that certain animals might deal with.
Risks of Giving CBD to Pets
Just like CBD products can lead to so many positive effects for pets, there could also be complications. In some cases, giving a pet various CBD products can be risky. The side effects may be influenced by the pet’s health condition, the amount of CBD given to the pet, and the strength of the CBD.
Here are some of the side effects that a pet might deal with because of taking CBD products:
- Drowsiness – When a pet gets higher CBD amounts, it might start feeling drowsy. Whereas experiencing relaxation is good in pets that go through stress and anxiety, it’s not good when this relaxation goes overboard. It might cause your furry friend to become sleepy at all times and lose all the energy it once had.
- Dry Mouth – Another side effect that pets might experience after taking CBD products is dry mouth. At first glance, this does not seem that serious, but it can affect the cat or dog’s teeth. Without saliva, bacteria cannot be flushed from the pet’s mouth, which can lead to dental issues in the long run. 
- Stomach Issues – If you give your pet too much CBD, it might lead to stomach problems. Sure, CBD can be used to help with gastrointestinal issues, but that doesn’t mean the opposite isn’t true when the amount administered is not suitable. The issues might include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or cramps.
- Dizziness – Giving your pet CBD can sometimes lower its blood pressure, which in return can lead to dizziness. This is more serious than it sounds, as your little pet might end up getting injured. Besides, low blood pressure is unhealthy and might lead to further problems.
Establishing the Right CBD Dose for Your Pet
It can be challenging to find the perfect CBD dose for your cat or dog, but you should take your time and not rush or test your pet’s behavior with high amounts of CBD. You should know what CBD dose is too much for the animal, so you prevent administering unsafe amounts.
If you want to find the right dosage, here is what you should do:
- Start small. Go for the lowest dose you can find and if the pet is okay with it, slowly increase the amount
- Do not carelessly mix different CBD products
- After noticing any CBD benefits, do not rush to increase the amount or strength
- Bear in mind that just because certain amounts work with some pets, it doesn’t mean the same amount will be suitable for yours. All pets are unique and should be treated differently.
The Bottom Line
CBD is widely available for pets. You can get oil tinctures, topicals, capsules, and pet treats with CBD in them, and each product can help your furry friend in some way. CBD can provide gastrointestinal support, decrease anxiety, reduce seizures, diminish inflammation, and reduce seizures in your pet.
However, some side effects might appear too, particularly when the animal has certain health issues or when the CBD amount is not appropriate.
Make sure to shop around for the best CBD product for your pet, but also to adjust the dose accordingly to avoid any risks.
7. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy