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CBD Oil for Pets: What You Should Know

Have you heard the hype about CBD oil and its use for pets? If you spend any time on the internet, then you most likely have heard about CBD oil for pets, and you may be wondering what it is and if it actually works in dogs and cats. With a little research, you’ll find that while the benefits of CBD in humans is fairly well established, the science in dogs and cats is lacking. However, research is starting to be published with promising results.

What Is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring compound derived from hemp. Science has identified more than 140 naturally occurring cannabinoids, and these compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system in humans and animals—including your pets.

Cannabinoid receptors function to maintain homeostasis (a stable environment) in the body, and they are located throughout the body and brain. These receptors are involved in everything from pain, mood and anxiety to appetite, inflammation and immunity. CBD found in hemp can help stimulate these receptors.

What Is CBD Oil Used For?

In humans, CBD has been shown to help with anxiety, inflammation, nausea, mental disorders, chronic pain, mood disorders and seizures, and it is neuroprotective at higher doses. At lower doses, CBD promotes health through antioxidant properties. For example, in humans, CBD is a more effective antioxidant for the brain than vitamin C or E, and it can help with acne.

In pets, much of the evidence proving the efficacy of CBD oil is anecdotal, with most of the claims suggesting it helps treat pain.

CBD Oil for Pets: Helpful or Hype?

There are some recent studies that indicate giving pets CBD oil is helpful in certain circumstances.

Dr. Joe Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR, associate professor and section chief of nutrition at Cornell University’s veterinary school in Ithaca, New York, recently completed a study showing that CBD oil does help dogs with chronic pain from osteoarthritis; the results of the study indicated that there was a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity for the dogs participating in the study.

There also are plans to study the effect of CBD oil in cats with chronic pain, acute pain in dogs, behavioral issues in dogs and concurrent use of CBD oil with chemotherapy in canine cancer patients. Cornell also has a CBD safety study in cats that almost is completed.

Another study, conducted by Colorado State University’s veterinary school and published in June, found that CBD oil helps dogs suffering from epilepsy. In my practice, I have clients that use CBD oil to control seizures in their dogs. One canine patient in particular could not tolerate the side effects of the conventional drugs we prescribed to control his seizures and continued to have seizures while on the medication. The client chose to stop the seizure medications and started giving CBD oil instead. At a follow-up appointment, the client said his pet was seizure-free and doing very well without the prescription medications and by just taking the CBD oil.

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But again, at the moment, much of the evidence in support of CBD oil for pets is anecdotal.

Dr. Fred Metzger, DVM, MRCVS, DABVP, owner of Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, reports that more than 100 dogs at his hospital are being given CBD oil for chronic pain with osteoarthritis, and his team is witnessing positive results.

“It’s nice because you see results faster than with traditional joint chews with glucosamine and chondroitin in them,” Dr. Metzger says. “Typically, dogs are feeling better within a week, versus the month that it takes with traditional joint supplements. The results have been pretty dramatic—dogs that were literally going to be euthanized because of chronic pain and inability to move are enjoying improved quality of life again. It’s not a cure, but it helps.”

Pet parents have also seen what pet CBD oil can do for their four-legged companion.

Alicia H. from Simi Valley, California, gives her 10-year-old Golden Retriever, Maverick, CBD oil for chronic pain from lymphoma and arthritis.

“Maverick was diagnosed with lymphoma 2 years ago and was not expected to make it 6 months,” Alicia says. “Between the cancer and terrible arthritis in his back, my beautiful boy wasn’t eating and stopped playing fetch.”

After doing some research, she began giving Maverick CBD oil to help relieve his pain.

“I began to see my boy come back,” Alicia says. “I am happy to say we are going on 2 years to the vet’s disbelief and he is back to eating and playing as he always had … My family truly believes he is doing as well as he is because of the CBD and we will recommend it to all in a similar position.”

Lauren F. from Queens, New York, also gives her dog, Jay, CBD oil for pain relief.

“Jay was hit by a car when he was 4 months old and has metal pins in his right hind leg,” Lauren says.

Some days his leg would bother him so much that he wouldn’t want to play, she adds. Jay took some medications for pain relief but had to stop because he was allergic to some of the ingredients in the medicine. They tried physical therapy and other treatments that the vet recommended, but nothing seemed to help improve his overall wellness. On top of that, he was dealing with severe separation anxiety.

For Jay, CBD oil seemed to be the best solution.

“CBD did not sedate Jay, but brought him back to normal,” Lauren says. “It has been a true miracle for his health and my sanity.”

Pet CBD Oil vs. Marijuana

A common misconception is that CBD oil is derived from marijuana and can get your pet high. This is a myth. CBD oil comes from industrial hemp. While CBD oil for pets may contain trace amounts of THC (the compound in marijuana that gives the intoxicated feeling), it is not enough to cause any mental changes.

Before trying any CBD oil pet product, I recommended checking the label to make sure it is THC free because THC is toxic to dogs. Better safe than sorry!

Giving Your Pet CBD Oil

Many companies now make CBD products for pets, so you can choose from several forms, including oils, chews and treats. CBD is considered safe with few, if any, side effects, though some animals may experience upset stomach.

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Check with your veterinarian for an appropriate starter serving when introducing CBD oil to your pet.

By: Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM
Dr. Sarah Wooten is a practicing veterinarian, certified veterinary journalist, author, speaker, landlord, tea tavern owner, mom and warrior goddess. When it is time to play, she can be found either skiing in Colorado, diving a coral reef, or triathlon training with Team LC.

Customer Reviews

Ok, I honestly never, ever write reviews . With that being said, I have a beautiful 9 year old rescue pittie mix, Britta. We always joke because of how she shakes and pants (constantly) that she’s a Spazoid. It’s actually sad. She has unbelievable anxiety from being abused. She has terrible separation Ok, I honestly never, ever write reviews . With that being said, I have a beautiful 9 year old rescue pittie mix, Britta. We always joke because of how she shakes and pants (constantly) that she’s a Spazoid. It’s actually sad. She has unbelievable anxiety from being abused. She has terrible separation anxiety and shakes almost all day, everyday. You know a storm is coming before the news does. She chewed through a door (a solid door!) on the 4th of July. I have been using these drops for 6 days. Today we are having terrible storms and she isn’t even shaking. She’s sleeping! She’s happy and content. I’m beyond mind blown. She’s 40 pounds and I’m giving 3 doses (2/3 dropper) daily. Thank you so much! … more

Most Helpful Critical Review

Not for my dogs

By Jgrin on Mar 7, 2020

My dog loved it but it didnt calm her down at all. It actually made things worse. She’s a pit with some anxiety and this made her crazy. I would give it to my older dog who might benefit from it but my pit would be jealous and the 2 would end up fighting over it. Waisted a lot of money on it.

76 Reviews

Showing 1-10 of 76 Reviews

Increases appetite

By Skip on Jul 13, 2020

Our Old rescue was not liking to eat. Gave him some CBD oil & he’s like a new dog.

Mind Blown!

By Lori on Jul 10, 2020

Ok, I honestly never, ever write reviews . With that being said, I have a beautiful 9 year old rescue pittie mix, Britta. We always joke because of how she shakes and pants (constantly) that she’s a Spazoid. It’s actually sad. She has unbelievable anxiety from being abused. She has terrible separation anxiety and shakes almost all day, everyday. You know a storm is coming before the news does. She chewed through a door (a solid door!) on the 4th of July. I have been using these drops for 6 days. Today we are having terrible storms and she isn’t even shaking. She’s sleeping! She’s happy and content. I’m beyond mind blown. She’s 40 pounds and I’m giving 3 doses (2/3 dropper) daily. Thank you Ok, I honestly never, ever write reviews . With that being said, I have a beautiful 9 year old rescue pittie mix, Britta. We always joke because of how she shakes and pants (constantly) that she’s a Spazoid. It’s actually sad. She has unbelievable anxiety from being abused. She has terrible separation anxiety and shakes almost all day, everyday. You know a storm is coming before the news does. She chewed through a door (a solid door!) on the 4th of July. I have been using these drops for 6 days. Today we are having terrible storms and she isn’t even shaking. She’s sleeping! She’s happy and content. I’m beyond mind blown. She’s 40 pounds and I’m giving 3 doses (2/3 dropper) daily. Thank you so much! … more

Won’t eat without it now!

By marcy on Jul 7, 2020

My dog is a 2 1/2 yr old high strung high anxiety rescue. Vet suggested hemp before pharmaceuticals. It’s helped her immensely and she loves it right out of the dropper. Started at a low dosage and work up as needed.

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Works good

By Newman on Jun 28, 2020

Was a little leary about getting it for my Shitzu, he’s 11 years old. He is very anxious so he licks all the time. After the first dose i saw a changd in him. He is a different dog! No more licking!

cat is scared of thunder storms

By maddy on Jun 11, 2020

my lil baby is scared of thunderstorms and would freak out whenever we were in one, with just two drops of this, within 30-45 mins she’s asleep and calm and will lay with me and wears off completely about 2 hours max

really helping

By pepper on Jun 4, 2020

I am on bottle number 4 of this and Pepper is doing much better. I recommend to friends and family regularly. I also give him ProLabs joint supplements which have lots Of great ingredients. This is better than stronger oils I have used. And he loves the flavor.

Good product

By HappyMom2 on May 9, 2020

Our senior dog has arthritis issues and this product works fantastic to relieve his pain and anxiety helps with his mobility also.

How to get a relaxing dog

By TonkaTuxie on May 8, 2020

I have a dog that was diagnosed with cancer with a lot of energy and a good appetite, my baby is eleven and this product helps her relax and I don’t hear her whine or wimp when she moves, Thank you for giving us more time with each other.

Easy to use

By Luna on Apr 30, 2020

All 3 of my dogs have enjoyed this hemp oil without any fuss. It was super easy to distribute onto their food. When they saw me add to their food, they all became very excited as if it were a nice treat for them! I can’t say they were overly relaxed but it did help them chill out just a bit more. I will definitely be using this for one of my pups this summer camping trips for her separation anxiety.

Helping My oldtime fur baby to feel better

By 1boxcxll on Apr 29, 2020

I have only been using this product a week once a day mixed with his soft food, it really seems to be helping his old bones and inflammation.

Customer Reviews

On the suggestion of a friend, I thought I would try treating my cat’s anxiety with CBD oil before resorting to prescription meds. So far so good! He doesn’t fight taking it and it seems to just take the edge off for him – we’ll see what happens when I return to the office (COVID-19) and if he is okay On the suggestion of a friend, I thought I would try treating my cat’s anxiety with CBD oil before resorting to prescription meds. So far so good! He doesn’t fight taking it and it seems to just take the edge off for him – we’ll see what happens when I return to the office (COVID-19) and if he is okay with the daily separation. … more

Most Helpful Critical Review

Not Helpful

By Teri on Jun 30, 2020

I got this to hopefully calm my cats down. One is aggressive towards the other and the reviews I read made me hopeful. However, this is not the case at all. I am disappointed.

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