Disclaimer: As always with something new, consult your veterinarian about using CBD before trying it with your pet, and remember, start with a lower dose and scale up gradually based on the results. Just as people react differently to CBD so can pets, so it is important to keep a close eye on how your animal responds.
There's no greater feeling than coming home after a long day's work and having your furry little friends wagging their tails at the door!
Are we alone here? We certainly don't think so!
Speaking from experience, there's a few more concerning moments than when you find out your pet is sick. As with any pet owner, we would do absolutely anything to improve our friend's health and overall quality of life.
Traditionally, prescription drugs are considered the first line of defense against pets experiencing pain and sickness; the challenge, however, is there is typically a long list of unwanted side effects - side effects that are, unfortunately, often equally as dangerous as the original illness.
There has to be a better way!
A new, natural alternative has recently surfaced at center stage, showing promising results as a better, natural, more healthy alternative treatment.
If you guessed CBD, you're right!
Over the past several years since initial legalization, CBD therapies for pets has increased significantly across the board as pet owners look for treatments of everything from arthritis to various cancers.
In this article we are going to go through everything you need to know about buying CBD for your furry little friends:
- What is CBD?
- What benefits does CBD have for your pets, including your cats and dogs?
- What pet ailments can CBD be used to treat or improve?
- What research has been done on CBD with pets?
- What types of CBD products should I buy?
- What are the best CBD brands and products for pets?
You need to consult your veterinarian before giving CBD to your pets!
*Also, please note that it is illegal to buy pet-specific CBD in the UK, without explicit advice from a licensed veterinarian.* We're hoping this might change soon, but we'll keep you posted!
What is CBD?
Before we explore how CBD can benefit your pet, it is important to understand what it is and where it comes from
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in the Cannabis plant. Cannabis plants can be split up into different types, including hemp and marijuana, which differ in size, appearance, and stature. Types of cannabis also vary based on their molecular composition, like how much CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is contained in the plant. As we will explore further in this article, THC is toxic to pets, and therefore all products that we will recommend (and nearly all products on the market for pets) derive their CBD from Hemp. This is done to avoid cross-contamination with THC, and other cannabinoids that are potentially dangerous to pets.
Despite this difference in structure, both THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system. This is why many of the benefits can be attained from consuming both compounds; targeting, inflammation, soreness, and nausea. Although the scientific study of CBD and THC are in their infancy, some initial research has shown that THC, by binding with CB1 receptors, aggravates psychotic symptoms. Similar to people, cats and dogs both have an endocannabinoid system and CB1 receptors making the way THC and CBD react with the body, quite similar to ours.
To delve deeper into the differences between CBD, THC, Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana, have a look at this article we published a few weeks back!
Benefits and Side Effects
There are a variety of ailments in pets that CBD has been proven to improve. Important to note, we are not claiming that CBD is a one-stop cure for any major diseases; however, it certainly has been shown to both drastically improve side effects, and potentially reduce the likelihood of disease development.
Despite the lack of concrete research linking CBD with the improvement of these conditions and diseases, these statistics from Brightfield Group show a staggering rate of adoption:
- 48% of pet CBD buyers stop using prescriptions for their pets once they try CBD.
- The industry grew by 946% in 2019.
- 64% of consumers buy pet CBD to reduce overall levels of anxiety or stress for their pets. The ailments pet parents are looking to address in their animal mirrors the human conditions that consumers often turn to CBD to combat, including joint pain, anxiety, and seizure relief.
- The pet CBD market is estimated to grow to $1.7 billion by 2025, driven primarily by broad consumer appeal and the high probability of more mass pet retail chains, supercenters, and product manufacturers entering the industry in 2020.
- 74% of current pet CBD consumers have discussed Pet CBD with their veterinarian, and 80% received an enthusiastic response during the conversation with their vet.
The data clearly shows pet owners who are CBD consumers are adamant about having their pets try CBD as a non-pharmaceutical option, favoring natural remedies. What is even more interesting is that CBD has been tested to treat such a wide variety of ailments:
Pain, Mobility, and Arthritis
Pain is a common side effect of many different ailments, and sicknesses your pet can experience. One of the most common of these is arthritis. As a dog ages, the muscle, cartilage, and ligament tissue in their joints begin to deteriorate. This is particularly true in older and larger dogs, this leads to pain and mobility issues and can become quite severe without treatment. Traditionally, a dog in this situation would be administered a pain killer, but that is set to change with CBD.
The well-documented anti-inflammatory properties in CBD target swollen joints and can potentially reduce arthritis in pets. In fact, researchers at Cornell University have found that dogs taking CBD for arthritis showed an increase in activity and a decrease in pain.
Seizures, Anxiety, and Appetite
Another prevalent ailment in dogs is chronic anxiety. Among other side effects, dogs with anxiety are more likely to bite, bark, and exhibit unpredictable behavior. It also puts more stress on your pet's cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, which can lead to an early passing via heart failure. According to a leading veterinary doctor, Dr. Klein, CBD has a significant anti-anxiety impact.
Anxiety can also present itself in many different ways:
- Noise Phobia
- Separation Anxiety
- Appetite Loss
- Antisocial Behavior
In severe cases, anxiety can lead to seizures.
There are a variety of causes for this, including liver disease, strokes, and electrolyte issues. Anecdotally, CBD has been shown to control
seizure episodes in dogs. A 2016 study done by Dr. McGrath
on dogs with epilepsy found that 89% of dogs who were given CBD showed a reduction in the frequency of seizures. This is an exciting demonstration of what CBD may be able to do for dogs in the future. Many dogs also lose their appetite when feeling sick or anxious. CBD has been shown to increase appetite in some dogs.
As with any new potential treatment method, the full list of possible side effects is unknown. However, through anecdotal reports, there has been a common set that has shown up:
- Dry Mouth: If your dog is drinking more water than usual, this is most likely the result of a dry mouth.
- Drowsiness: CBD can cause pets to experience lowered activity levels and abnormally lethargic behavior.
- Lowered Blood Pressure: When dogs have been given larger doses of CBD (25+ mg), there have been observed cases of a decrease in blood pressure, sometimes leading to dizziness and lethargic behavior.
- Loss of Appetite: The way CBD impacts a dog's appetite is unpredictable. Some owners have observed decreased consumptions from their pets while taking CBD. This can be a concern with pets who are already underweight.
Very little formal research has been done to corroborate the anecdotal evidence linking CBD with various health benefits. This is why the American Kennel Club, an American association for dog owners founded 135 years ago, is sponsoring a study through their Canine Health Foundation. In partnership with the Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the CHF will test treatment-resistant dogs with epilepsy to determine whether CBD is effective. CHF aims to be the first scientific study that generates real data on whether CBD is a potential treatment for dogs with epilepsy.
As the demand for CBD pet products continues to rise, there will be an aligned interest between CBD companies, researchers, and consumers to conduct the appropriate studies to determine CBD's effectiveness. For now, it is essential to always consult a veterinarian before giving CBD to your pet.
It is also important to note that although CBD is legal for human consumption in the UK, it is, unfortunately, illegal to give CBD to pets. The reason for this is unclear. Veterinary Medicines Directorate advised that the sale of CBD be made illegal for pets, which has been definitive. The Extract explains that 'because CBD is now considered a veterinary medicine, it is regulated for sale in general use for pets without requiring to see a veterinary specialist first.'
Picking a Product
Our friends at MarijuanaDoctors.com have created an easy to follow infographic that walks through all the critical components of selecting CBD products for your pet.
There have been numerous reports and positive feedback on the benefits of CBD topicals for skin conditions and irritants for pets.
For example, according to Consumer Reports, And Powers, Vice Chairman of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, credits CBD for easing his dog's distress. We stress the importance of gradual dosing, starting with a smaller amount, observing, seeing how your pet responds, and increasing the dose accordingly. Remember, it is imperative to check with your vet about the legalities of these products in your respective jurisdiction. If you are in Europe and outside the UK, we suggest checking Elements of Green's extensive Pet CBD Product offerings to see if you can find the right fit for you and your pet.
Sadie the Pirate
Take Sadie the Pirate for example, how could you not love Sadie? She’s a fun-loving active dog, and our Elements of Green mascot.
But we were all devastated when she came down with a nasty batch of psoriasis on her tummy:
She just wanted to bundle up in her blankets all day from the discomfort.
But when we started rubbing CBD oil on her stomach, you can see the results below:
It cleared up after a couple of weeks of use! Now she’s all happy again, co-piloting through life
Sadie is just one example. There are thousands more.
THC, as discussed earlier, is dangerous for pets to consume. Many consumers want to know that their pet is not going to consume any THC while taking CBD. In general, brands will explicitly inform consumers of THC-free products. It is essential to double-check all labeling to keep your furry little friend safe.
CBD Products for Pets
Below you can find two CBD products for pets that have received overwhelmingly positive reviews, on top of our vast selection of CBD products for our pets found HERE.
This is Endoca’s pure and THC free CBD product specifically designed for dogs. This product helps support joint health, promotes reduced anxiety, and promote general wellbeing. Endoca’s Cannabidiol (CBD) rich formula is a fine powder that can be easily added to your dog’s everyday routine. The best part about this product is that it mixes with your dog’s food and is 100% natural and non-GMO.
One of the best parts about this product is Natural Dutch Healing incorporates salmon oil into the formula, making it much more flavorful for your pet, and easier to administer. The tincture is convenient and easily included in food and water.