For many pet owners, our pets are another treasured family member, and we want to care for their health just as carefully as we do our own. So with the booming popularity of CBD oil for humans, it’s not surprising that people want to give their pets CBD too.
But what’s the difference between pet CBD and human CBD? And is it safe to give human CBD to your pets?
While the primary active ingredient is the same in both human and pet CBD, there are some key differences between the two. That said, the benefits and uses of CBD may be the same for pets and humans alike.
The Basics: What Is CBD?
It may surprise you that CBD seems to interact similarly in human and pet bodies. To understand why, let’s start with the basics of what CBD is:
- CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol
- CBD comes from plants in the cannabis family
- Hemp-derived CBD doesn’t contain enough THC to create the high that’s usually associated with cannabis1
CBD and other cannabinoids activate a network of cellular receptors in our bodies known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.2
What’s remarkable is that all mammals have an endocannabinoid system. This means that CBD may create the same effects for our pets that it does in our own bodies.3
What Does the ECS Do?
The ECS is involved with an astounding variety of functions in our bodies, including regulating sleep, mood, appetite, immune response, and neurological activities like learning and memory.2
When CBD binds to ECS receptors, it can affect our bodies in a variety of ways. This is why people turn to CBD for a range of health concerns like stress management, digestive issues, and discomfort.2
Pet CBD Vs. Human CBD: Similarities and Differences
Both pet CBD and human CBD are derived from the same natural source: the leaves, stems, and flowers of the hemp plant. The differences between products intended for pets and those made for humans are in the other ingredients added for flavor, texture, fragrance, and so on.
Can I Give My Pet Human CBD?
If CBD oil is the same no matter the product, why not give your pet the same CBD oil you use?
There are several important reasons to stick with human CBD products for you and pet CBD products for Fido. Let’s take a closer look:
- Safety – Many edible CBD products for humans include additives that may not be safe for pets. Some even include xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs and cats.3 It’s safest to buy CBD that’s made for pets to be sure that all the ingredients are safe for your four-legged friends.
- Flavor – While it’s not a safety concern, CBD products for humans and pets will be flavored differently. While human CBD-infused products like gummies are typically fruit-flavored, pet CBD treats are often mixed with meaty ingredients. (And you probably don’t want to end your night munching on Rex’s bacon-flavored CBD treat.)
- Usage – When you buy a product specifically for use in pets, the label should tell you exactly how it’s intended to be used for animals. Always follow the guidance on the package. A CBD oil formulated for humans may be a different concentration than one formulated for pets, so it’s not safe to assume that your pup should get the same number of CBD drops as you.
How Can CBD Help Your Pet?
While research on the use of CBD for pets is still a developing field, pet parents have been using CBD for dogs, cats, and other companion animals for years. Many view it as a natural and affordable way to improve the quality of life for their pets.
Health concerns that pet owners turn to CBD for help with include:4
- Joint stiffness and joint pain
- Nervousness, such as reactions to travel, thunderstorms, or fireworks
- Gut health
- Stomach discomfort
- Eye health
- General physical discomfort
Is CBD Safe for Pets?
In general, CBD is safe and well-tolerated in mammals. Research in pets is still limited, but studies have generally found that pet owners report no side effects or minimal effects, such as drowsiness or mild diarrhea.5
How CBD affects cats and dogs varies from pet to pet, and you should always be careful when giving your pet a new dietary supplement or food. Start slow, and observe carefully for any signs of stomach upset or other side effects such as lethargy.5
Additionally, always let your vet know if your pet is using CBD. It may interact with certain medications your pet is already taking.6 If you have specific questions about using CBD for your pet, always consult with your veterinarian.
The Intricacies: CBD and Your Pet
How you use CBD with your pet will vary depending on the animal’s size, species, and other factors such as age and condition. It will also depend on the type of CBD product you’re using.
Let’s take a closer look at how you might choose to use CBD with your pet.
How Much CBD Should You Give Your Pet?
Depending on the product, the specific method for administering it to your pet will vary. Always follow the guidelines on the label. These guidelines are usually based on weight, so be sure to weigh your pet before beginning use to be confident you’re giving the right amount.
Tip: Do regular weigh-ins. Senior pets and pets who aren’t feeling well often lose weight rapidly, so check their weight frequently to ensure you administer the correct CBD dosage.
How Soon Will CBD Work?
According to the Innovative Veterinary Care Journal, the effects of CBD for easing discomfort or calming nervousness should be apparent within a few days. Monitor your pet closely, and adjust the CBD dosage after three to five days as you observe how your pet reacts. Pay special attention to:4
- Energy – Pay attention to their activity level. Do they seem more comfortable and playful?
- Illness – Watch for signs of stomach upset, such as loose stools or vomiting. Consult your vet if you see signs of lethargy or digestive upset.
How To Choose A CBD Product for Your Pet
How do you choose the best one with so many CBD products on the market for pets? Here are a few key tips to keep in mind:
- Opt for organic – As a plant-derived product, it’s essential to look for CBD that does not contain pesticides, fungicides, or other harmful chemicals used in the growing process.
- Look for the entourage effect – Choose CBD products formulated with other substances naturally occurring in hemp plants, known as terpenes and flavonoids. CBD appears to be much more effective when it works in harmony with these compounds, rather than in CBD isolate form.7
- Don’t confuse CBD and THC – THC, another active molecule in cannabis, should not be given to pets. The CBD product you choose should specify that it contains either no detectable THC or only trace amounts.
- Look at CBD labels – The manufacturer should provide specific data about how its products are formulated and processed, and the exact amount of CBD their product contains. One study found that some CBD products contained less CBD than they claimed, so it’s crucial to choose a reputable company that provides specific data.8
CBD Capsules, Liquid, or Treats?
CBD for pets comes in various forms and is administered in different ways. You may want to try different forms to find what works best for your pet. CBD products for pets include:
- Biscuits and other treats
- Liquid CBD drops to be administered by mouth
Each form of CBD has its advantages and disadvantages. Your pet’s preferences and the ease with which they take medications will affect which form works best for them. Let’s take a closer look at each CBD form:
- Liquid CBD oil – CBD oil products work quickly and may be easier to give to pets than capsules if your furry friend has a poor appetite. Oil also metabolizes rapidly, so it can be given multiple times daily, depending on the label specifications.
- Treats and biscuits – Treats and biscuits are super tasty and easy to administer to hungry pets. They’re typically available in multiple meaty or nutty flavors.
- Capsules – CBD capsules can be opened to mix the contents into food or given whole in a pill pocket. The contents can also be mixed into water and administered via a dropper.
Pamper Your Pet With Canna-Pet
Our four-legged family members bring us joy every day. Seeing them feeling unwell is one of the hardest parts of pet ownership, and you always want to do everything you can to make them feel better. When you want natural help for discomfort, joint health, nervousness, or other health issues that keep your pet from feeling their best, reach for Canna-Pet.
Canna-Pet offers treats, capsules, and oils formulated with CBD for cats and dogs that are organic, free of common allergens and preservatives, and sourced safely and reliably. Pet owners across the country use CBD for dog anxiety, cat anxiety, joint health, digestive support, and more. Give Canna-Pet to your pets with confidence, knowing they’re receiving the same high-quality ingredients you would want for yourself. Shop CBD pet products with Canna-Pet today.
- Mayo Clinic. What Are the Benefits Of CBD — And Is It Safe To Use? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700
- Harvard Health Publishing. The Endocannabinoid System: Essential and Mysterious. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-essential-and-mysterious-202108112569
- American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Xylitol: The Sweetener That Is Not So Sweet for Pets. https://www.aspca.org/news/xylitol-sweetener-not-so-sweet-pets
- Innovative Veterinary Care Journal. CBD for Cats and Dogs. https://ivcjournal.com/cbd/
- Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full
- American Kennel Club. Does CBD Work for Dogs? https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/does-cbd-work-for-dogs/
- Frontiers in Plant Science. The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334252/
- American Medical Association. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.11909
- Animals. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090686
- Colorado State University. Preliminary Data From CBD Clinical Trials ‘Promising.’ https://cvmbs.source.colostate.edu/preliminary-data-from-cbd-clinical-trials-promising/
- Frontiers in Veterinary Science. US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00338/full