As humans continue to enjoy the benefits of CBD in record numbers, using it for everyday aches and pains, stress and anxiety, more people are asking: Is it okay to give to my pet? CBD manufacturers and retailers are beginning to roll out CBD products specifically for animals, and people are beginning to wonder if CBD for pets might be just the thing to help calm down an over-anxious dog. And now, as people are beginning to return to work after at-home isolation, dogs may be facing separation anxiety, and will need a little something extra to cope.
In fact, gentle treats to promote calmness in pets is nothing new to the market, with a wide variety of products. If your pet gets scared while people are shooting off fireworks on the Fourth of July, you’ve probably looked into these. Depending on the manufacturer, these types of anxiety treats may contain natural herbs like valerian root or chamomile, melatonin, or more recently, CBD oil.
It is not absolutely necessary to visit your vet before giving your four-legged best friend one of these over-the-counter calming treats, although if your pet’s anxiety is extreme, a visit is probably in order. Also, if you are planning a highly stressful event, such as a long trip or a plane ride, your vet may be able to help with a prescription medication specifically for that event, which may be more effective than the over-the-counter calming treats.
Although CBD-based calming treats for pets are widely available, the FDA has not yet issued any approvals or guidance for this type of use. And while human studies on the use of CBD have been published, few studies on CBD in animals have been done. In one 2018 study, CBD oil was given to dogs with osteoarthritis, and 80 percent of dogs treated with CBD showed some improvement in both pain and mobility. Another study in 2019 showed that CBD, in addition to seizure medication, was more effective in treating dogs which suffered from seizures than being treated with the seizure medication alone. A survey of veterinarians however, showed that about 63 percent of all veterinarians were asked about CBD for pets.
A Cornell University study did show scientifically that at least one CBD formula delivered significant pain relief to dogs with osteoarthritis, with no observable side effects. This study showed that dogs suffering from arthritis pain did get relief and were able to increase their physical activity when treated with CBD oil.
Keep in mind, if you do want to treat your pet’s anxiety with CBD, that at least most dogs are a lot smaller than humans, and they will need a smaller dose. The 2018 study showed an effective dose to be 2mg per kg of weight. Every dog will respond differently though, so as with humans, it’s best to start with a smaller dose, monitor reactions, and increase the dosage slowly if needed.
Also keep in mind there is a big difference between CBD and THC. Although both are cannabinoids, THC is psychoactive – and although you as a human may make the choice for yourself to indulge, your dog can’t make that decision. The ASPCA also lists THC as a toxic substance for dogs and cats, and it could have negative effects – so no, you dog won’t enjoy getting stoned. Don’t try it. Your dog will have a very different experience than you would, and it could be dangerous.
The question is also often posed as to whether you should give your dog CBD oil you use for yourself, or stick to the products specifically marketed for dogs? The answer is no, according to most veterinarians. Although CBD is still CBD, whether it’s in a dog biscuit or a strawberry-flavored gummy bear, CBD oil for humans is often highly concentrated. Dosage in pets, which require smaller amounts, could be problematic, and it’s best to stick with CBD products that are especially formulated for pets.
CBD in small quantities is very different from THC, and has been commonly used with positive results in pets, with many pet owners reporting that CBD has proven useful for anxiety and pain, loss of appetite and noise phobia.