CBD for Dogs and Cats
CBD can help your fur friends feel better, soothing anxiety, easing pain, reducing swollen joints, and more.
CBD for dogs and cats is the same natural product we humans use. As with CBD for humans, CBD for our pets is made from 2 non-toxic ingredients, cannabidiol (CBD) and a carrier oil, such as MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil.
CBD for pet care and wellness
Because they have an endocannabinoid system, CBD works for cats and dogs in many of the same ways as it does for us. The ECS is a cell signaling system that helps their bodies maintain balance (homeostasis). CBD reacts with the CB receptors, CB1 and CB2, to fight conditions that result in inflammation, anxiety, nausea, and more.
CB1 receptors are mostly in the body’s central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune and digestive systems. CBD research into how CBD affects the receptors and improves functionality and homeostasis is increasing. Because the ECS works the same way in all mammals, it’s reasonable to suppose that our cats and dogs can derive the same wellness benefits of homeostasis.
An effective analgesic for your four-legged family member
Animal studies have shown that CBD is a powerful analgesic, and that can translate to pain relief for both cats and dogs.
CBD helps with pain because of its analgesic properties. It helps promote increased anandamide levels, a neurochemical that reduces pain signaling in the brain by suppressing systemic absorption of anandamide.
CBD also reacts with the vanilloid receptor to decrease pain sensation occurring in sensory neurons called nociceptors. Chemical, mechanical, or thermal stimulation of these specialized nerve cells initiates signals that follow a chain of nerve fibers and the spinal cord, ultimately ending in the brain. CBD can decrease perceived pain levels by activating and desensitizing the vanilloid receptors.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties are good for cats and dogs
If you have an elderly pet, it will come as no surprise that cats and dogs suffer a high incidence of arthritis and joint pain. Sixty-one percent of cats aged 6 and older have arthritis in at least one joint. As many as 20% of dogs similarly suffer from arthritis, a number that also rises as dogs age. Arthritis and joint pain can lead to decreased energy, mobility, and reduced quality of life for our pets.
CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory that can decrease joint pain by relieving inflammation and prevent the spread of inflammation. Researchers have also found that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties make it useful for a wide variety of pet health conditions.
Inflammation is a major source of pain for many dogs and cats that suffer from chronic conditions. Inflammation is usually treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Sadly, NSAIDs in cats and dogs have raised safety concerns with their side effects on liver and kidney function and gastrointestinal issues. Long-term NSAID use can result in renal failure and death.
Research has shown CBD is effective against arthritis inflammation. It is so effective that it can possibly slow disease progression through the prevention of nerve damage caused by inflammation.
CBD for pet anxiety
It’s well known that dogs can suffer from anxiety. Common forms are separation, noise, and travel anxiety. Signs of canine anxiety include persistent barking, inappropriate urination and defecation, aggression, compulsive chewing, and tremors.
Cats can also be afflicted with anxiety and stress. Feline anxiety often shows up as new destructive behaviors, such as clawing furniture and curtains or compulsive grooming. An anxious cat may avoid the litter tray, meow excessively, or hide.
Even though the exact mechanism isn’t clear, study after study shows that CBD helps relieve anxiety and reduce the troublesome symptoms of stress and anxiety in cats and dogs. Researchers theorize that CBD may work similarly to traditional anti-anxiolytics by temporarily increasing the feel-good biochemical serotonin in the brain. Increased serotonin levels soothe our fur friends’ anxiety and fear.
Even though the causes of our pets’ anxiety may be different from ours, it all amounts to the same thing: stress. And, like us, CBD can soothe those feelings in our cats and dogs.
CBD to treat seizures in canines and kitties
It may come as a surprise, but dogs and cats do suffer from seizures and epilepsy. Researchers believe that seizures are caused by the rapid and uncontrolled firing of neurons in the brain. Studies suggest CBD helps to regulate the neurons and so prevent the onset of seizures. CBD’s mild side effects, compared to traditional anti-seizure drugs, make it an excellent alternative treatment.
The American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation published its study results into CBD for canine seizures. Although it was a small study, researchers found 89% of the dogs that received CBD had less frequent episodes compared to the placebo group. Although there is limited research into feline seizures, another study noted CBD’s anti-seizure and anti-epileptic potential.
CBD may slow your pet’s tumor growth
Cancer and malignant tumors are common in dogs and cats. The usual treatment is to try to slow the tumor’s growth through chemotherapy. Like their owners, cats and dogs undergoing chemo experience vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, and fatigue or lethargy.
Increasingly, researchers are exploring CBD’s anti-cancer benefits that include slowed tumor growth and spread, as well as shrinking tumor size. An Italian study showed CBD slowed the development, spread, and growth of tumors in rats with colon cancer. Researchers at Complutense University in Madrid found that CBD, with other cannabinoids, intensified chemotherapy’s effect through increased chemotherapy agents’ absorption. At the same time, CBD protected healthy cells.
What is the right CBD dosage for your pet?
For general health and wellness, calculate 0.25 mg CBD per pound of body weight. As an example, if your cat weighs 10 lbs., multiply 10 x 0.25 to arrive at a dose of 2.5 mg of CBD 1 – 2 times daily.
To treat health conditions, increase to 0.5 mg per pound. Again, for a 10-pound cat, the math is 10 x 0.5 = 5 mg.
If you are using CBD to treat a health condition, such as pain and inflammation, you can give your pet 5 mg of CBD every 8 hours or as needed. For anxiety, give your pet a dose about 30 minutes before the triggering event (fireworks, separation, or traveling).
Never, under any circumstances, give THC to your cat or dog—it’s toxic.
If you are thinking about using CBD for your cat or dog, be aware that CBD can affect certain medications. Talk to your vet about whether or not you can safely give CBD to your pet.