CBD products are one of the fastest-growing sectors in the pet industry. As a result, a large number of owners are coming into contact with CBD oil for dogs and cannabis extracts for the first time.
With so many newcomers, and so much information out there to absorb, it can be hard to get clear on exactly what CBD is and how it can support dogs’ health and wellbeing.
To help, here are answers to 15 of the most common questions owners have about CBD for dogs:
- What is CBD?
CBD is the shortened name for Cannabidiol, which is a substance extracted from cannabis plants.
Cannabidiol is a safe, non-psychoactive compound that belongs to a group of substances called cannabinoids. There are over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, each affecting the body in a slightly different way.
In dogs, CBD has a calming, soothing effect. This occurs because CBD binds to receptors responsible for triggering pain, stress, and inflammatory responses.
- Is pet CBD the same as human CBD?
CBD itself is the same in any product, whether it’s designed for humans or dogs. However, the levels of CBD and other cannabinoids found in products can differ dramatically depending on the type of cannabis plant they were extracted from, and their intended use.
Human CBD products are often extracted from marijuana strains of cannabis, while pet CBD is almost always extracted from hemp strains of the plant. Marijuana tends to be far more potent and intoxicating than hemp.
Pet CBD products have been formulated specifically for pets, making them the safest and likely most effective option.
- Can dogs take human CBD?
Because the combinations and levels of cannabinoids in human CBD products can be very different from those designed for dogs, it’s generally not recommended for dogs to consume human CBD.
This is especially true if human CBD contains significant amounts of THC, which is the cannabinoid primarily responsible for causing a ‘high’ when inhaled or eaten.
Dogs shouldn’t consume THC and can have serious adverse reactions if they do. These effects can range from lethargy and confusion to seizures and liver damage.
The THC content of CBD for dogs usually ranges from 0-0.3%, which is unanimously considered safe at the correct dosages.
- Will my dog get high on CBD?
Almost all pet CBD is made from hemp plants that contain tiny levels of the cannabinoid THC.
Because THC is the cannabinoid that causes cannabis’ trademark intoxicating effect, dogs cannot become high through taking pet CBD.
Even if a CBD product contains small traces of THC (up to 0.3%) this is not considered sufficient to cause a psychoactive effect.
- Is CBD safe for dogs?
Through numerous scientific studies and extensive use by real owners and dogs, it’s been shown that CBD is a highly safe supplement, with a side effect profile that’s more favorable than many well-known traditional medications.
Tests on the level at which CBD becomes intoxicating to animals, dogs included, have shown that owners would need to far exceed dosage guidelines. Even consuming a whole bottle of CBD oil would be unlikely to cause an overdose in dogs.
There are no known lethal overdoses in dogs who have consumed pet CBD correctly made from hemp plants.
- Does CBD have any side effects?
The vast majority of dogs who supplement with CBD products won’t experience any side effects. However, some minor unwanted effects are known to occur in some dogs.
The most common side effects of CBD oil in dogs include drowsiness and drooling. Less common side effects include nausea and diarrhea. Even less commonly, dogs may vomit or display ataxia (a lack of coordination).
- Why do owners give their dogs CBD?
Because it’s an anti-inflammatory, the most common uses for CBD in dogs are related to inflammatory-based conditions. These include canine anxiety, canine arthritis, and seizures.
Owners generally use CBD to treat their dog’s anxiety issues in two ways.
One way is the direct treatment of phobias and reactions to high-stress situations. CBD is known to have a calming, soothing effect on dogs reacting to fear triggers such as fireworks, thunder, unfamiliar surroundings, and specific phobias such as children, water, or vets.
The second way in which owners commonly use CBD to treat canine anxiety is to help dogs overcome phases of separation anxiety. This is when dogs are unable to spend even short periods alone without their owner.
In these situations, CBD supplementation may make dogs more susceptible to help training techniques, such as crate training.
Owners use CBD to manage and improve their dogs’ pain levels and mobility when suffering from arthritis.
Like arthritis in humans, canine arthritis can significantly impact the mobility of major joints, by causing painful swelling and inflammation. CBD oil for dogs with arthritis has been shown in studies to decrease swelling and inflammation, allowing the joints to regain more of their function.
Seizures are a common canine condition, and many dogs suffer from regular, unpredictable fits and convulsions.
As many seizure medications come with unwanted side effects, owners are turning to CBD for a more sensitive way to reduce the frequency and intensity of their dogs’ fits.
- Is there any scientific evidence in favor of pet CBD?
CBD for dogs is still a relatively new form of supplement and hasn’t yet been officially sanctioned by government bodies like the FDA.
Part of this lack of official regulation is due to the smaller number of scientific studies on CBD currently available.
Even though there aren’t many studies specifically looking at the effects of CBD on dogs, those that have been published are highly encouraging. Results appear to be similar to studies testing CBD on humans, with the extract causing reductions in stress and pain for subjects with anxiety, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
- Do some dogs respond better to CBD than others?
Every dog is different, and every CBD product is made from a different strain of hemp plant, containing varying levels of cannabinoids. All these factors mean that CBD can be more or less effective for different dogs.
Many owners have found that what works for friends and their pets may not work for their own pup, and vice versa. Dogs may only respond to a particular brand CBD that includes higher levels of certain cannabinoids.
- Is CBD legal in the US?
When pet CBD is made from industrial hemp and contains 0% THC, it’s legal to sell, buy, and possess at all levels in all 50 states.
Pet CBD made from industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC is also federally legal, thanks to amendments to the 2018 Farm Bill. However, a minority of states, such as Idaho, prohibit even those trace amounts of the high-causing cannabinoid.
- Do vets ever prescribe CBD?
Because CBD sits within the world of natural supplements rather than the world of pharmaceutical medicine, vets won’t be handing out prescriptions for CBD anytime soon. A lack of FDA regulation also means that many vets also won’t recommend CBD to owners in a professional capacity.
As the medical marijuana revolution in human practice shows, however, things can quickly change, and a large number of physicians are very open to the benefits of cannabis extracts.
Depending on the personal views and experiences of a vet, they may already be open to discussing CBD, and many owners have been turned onto supplementation through their vets.
- Is it OK to buy CBD online?
Pet CBD products are becoming more widely available every year, with several large grocery stores, pharmacies, and pet suppliers now carrying CBD products.
A large number of CBD products are also sold online, which offers and convenient way to owners to shop. Buying CBD online is reliable and safe, as long as consumers buy products from reliable retailers.
This means buying directly from brands and trusted industry sites. CBD should be bought from Amazon.com, as the company doesn’t officially allow cannabis products to be sold on its marketplace.
- Can my dog take CBD alongside other medications?
Owners of dogs currently taking other forms of medication should always contact their vet when considering any new form of supplementation.
CBD is thought to pair well with other treatments and is used by many dogs with ongoing conditions. However, there are no official guidelines on using CBD alongside other medications, and some suggest that consuming CBD with other drugs can put pressure on the liver.
- What is full-spectrum CBD?
One of the most common ways that CBD products for dogs are categorized is by spectrum. CBD spectrum refers to the diversity of cannabinoids besides CBD that are captured in an extraction.
The three types of the spectrum are: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate. All three types of CBD are considered safe for dogs.
A full-spectrum CBD extraction is one where the entire range of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant is captured in the finished product. This is likely to mean an extract is made mostly of CBD, but will also contain cannabinoids like CBN, CBC, and CBG, as well as traces of THC under 0.3%.
Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum, except that manufacturers remove a selection of the cannabinoids, often including the traces of THC.
- What is isolate CBD?
Unlike full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD, Isolate CBD products should contain only CBD and no other cannabinoids. In these products, the extraction is intensively processed to create a highly pure CBD powder, which is then infused into oils, balms, and treats.
All types of CBD are considered safe and beneficial to dogs. However, many experts prefer full-spectrum CBD products, as they contain the widest diversity of cannabis compounds.