Curious about CBD? Perhaps you’ve heard from a friend that using CBD can help ease pain, improve sleep and calm the mind. But what about giving your pet CBD? Can CBD safely offer the same potential benefits to your four-legged best friend? Is there any research that supports giving CBD to pets?
Let’s find out…
Benefits of CBD For Pets: Eases Separation Anxiety
Perhaps the two biggest potential benefits of using CBD for pets are the same ones for people: easing anxiety and pain.
Let’s first take a look at using CBD for pet anxiety…
One of the leading causes of behavioral problems in dogs is separation anxiety. As of this writing, with self-quarantine a reality during the COVID-19 pandemic, one silver lining is that rates of separation anxiety have likely plummeted. However, eventually, as things return to normal, and people resume working in offices, rates of separation anxiety will rise to pre-pandemic levels.
One study published by the RSPCA (the British equivalent of the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals) says that at least 80% of dogs find it difficult to be left alone at home. (The tricky thing is that half of dogs won’t show obvious signs like destroying furniture.)
Dogs are not, by nature, meant to be alone at home for several hours every day. Canines are sociable, pack animals.
So why not just give your dog a chew toy to cope with being home alone? The answer is that chew toys are to a dog what a toy is to a toddler: a fleeting distraction with no lasting power.
When things do get back to normal and you’ll no longer be home all day, the good news is that, thanks to CBD, you won’t have to feel guilty about leaving your pet at home alone.
Second only to pain management, anxiety was the most common condition for which veterinarians initiated conversations about CBD with their clients, according to this study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.
CBD For Pets With Behavioral Problems
In an episode of our radio show, “Understanding CBD With Max & Steven,” we featured professional dog trainer Michael J. Soler. Soler, owner of Blue Line K-9 Training School in Joppa Maryland, discusses how he successfully uses CBD to help dogs with behavioral problems, and wean them off anxiety medication. (As in humans, there is an inherent risk of side effects in treating dogs with anti-anxiety prescription drugs.)
Several research studies (like this one) show that CBD has an anti-anxiety effect. All vertebrate animals, dogs included, have an endocannabinoid system, which CBD stimulates to regulate mood, pain, and pretty much every process in the body, both in beasts and humans.
Does Research Support Using CBD For Dogs?
In the Frontiers in Veterinary Science study, 1,194 veterinarians reported that they had used CBD products in their practice for dogs. That’s slightly more than half of the 2,130 participants. According to the study authors, the areas in which veterinarians reported observing (either first-hand or via client reports) the most positive effects of using CBD included: analgesia for chronic and acute pain, anxiety, and seizure frequency or severity.
Verbatim from the study:
“When asked about potential benefits of CBD products for a variety of conditions, veterinarians reported observing that CBD was the most helpful for chronic pain (reported as very helpful by 34% and somewhat helpful by 56% of veterinarians) followed by acute pain (very helpful, 23% and somewhat helpful by 60% of veterinarians). CBD was also deemed to be helpful for reducing anxiety and seizure frequency/severity by over 75% of participants.”
As for side effects, the most prevalent one in the study on dogs was sedation. But that was only reported less than 4% of the time.
Because cannabis is still considered a Schedule I drug by the federal government (drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse), research on CBD for pets is pretty slim. However, a small study of 16 dogs with epilepsy from Colorado State University found that nearly 90% of the dogs had fewer seizures when taking CBD oil.
The study from Frontiers in Veterinary Science points to another small study, this one conducted at Cornell University, which showed that dogs treated with CBD oil experienced a clinically significant reduction in pain and an increase in activity.
How Much CBD Should I Give My Pet?
Not sure how many CBD drops you should give your pet? Use this handy chart, courtesy of Blue Line K-9 Training School.
CBD For Pets: Don’t Just Look At The Research, Talk To Pet Owners Who Have Used It
If you want to know if CBD for pets works, ask several pet owners who have used it for their four-legged best friends. Anecdotal evidence should not be discounted. If something has worked for thousands of years, such as is the case with the cannabis sativa plant and hemp, it should count for something.
All we can tell you is try a pure, full-spectrum, 3rd-party-tested, hemp-based CBD tincture for your own pet. And not just once; give it to your pet every day for a month or two. Then you can judge its efficacy. What we can tell you is that for our own pets, CBD has worked wonders. And our pets love the taste!
Pets are living longer these days. To maximize your pet’s quality of life, CBD can help.