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Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs? What We Know (and Don’t) in 2024

“Is CBD oil safe for dogs, cats and other pets?” Customers ask us this all the time, so we thought it was time to bust some myths around CBD oil for pets and whether it is suitable for your furry friends. We recently shared a post about CBD and cats. In today’s post, we’ll be focusing on dogs and striving to answer this burning question: is CBD oil safe for dogs and should I be using it for my pet?

Pets can bring immense joy into our lives and are beloved members of millions of families across America and the world. The companionship of an animal such as a dog or a cat can transform a house into a home and has been shown to have numerous benefits for mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Dogs, known for their loyalty and unconditional love, create a unique bond with their humans. Coming home to a wagging tail and excited barks can uplift you on even the most challenging days. It is only natural, then, that you want to give your canine companion the absolute best life you can. In pursuit of optimal health and happiness for their beloved pets, many owners are turning to complementary treatments and supplements, including CBD.

Is CBD oil safe for dogs? Should you be using it for you pet? Read on to find out.

Is CBD oil safe for dogs? We separate the myths from the facts

What Exactly Is CBD?

First and foremost, CBD and marijuana are not the same thing. They both come from the family of cannabis plants, specifically the cannabis Sativa plant, and both contain compounds called cannabinoids. However, legal CBD is derived from the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant.

The main difference between hemp and marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound with mind-altering effects that causes the “high” associated with cannabis usage. CBD derived from hemp contains little to no THC and must contain less than 0.3% to be legal in the US.

If you’ve tried CBD yourself, you might know that it can have all kinds of benefits. Potential benefits of CBD oil include lowering stress levels, helping skin, reducing pain and inflammation, and boosting overall wellbeing. As a pet owner, you might be wondering whether your pet can also benefit from CBD. So is CBD safe for dogs? Let’s look at what we know so far about dogs and CBD.

Findings of Dr. Stephanie McGrath (Epilepsy)

Research on CBD for animals, and CBD for dogs specifically, is sparse. However, we owe a lot of what we do know so far to Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a star among vets in CBD research.

Dr. McGrath ran clinical trials on dogs with epilepsy and found that the cannabinoid in CBD oil reduced seizure frequency in 89% of the dogs tested. This was a small study (9 dogs were given CBD while 7 in the control group were given a placebo.) Is CBD safe for dogs based on these findings? We cannot necessarily draw that conclusion at this stage. However, Dr. McGrath’s findings are still potentially significant.

Pain Relief

There have been some studies on the effects of CBD on the physical health of dogs, specifically dogs with osteoarthritis.

One study on pharmacokinetics by Frontiers in Veterinary Science gave 16 dogs with arthritis cannabinoids through dosages of 2mg CBD per kilogram of body weight, twice every day. After four weeks, they found that CBD oil helped increase comfort and activity levels in these dogs. This isn’t surprising, given CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

But is CBD oil safe for dogs based on these findings? Maybe, but it’s not quite that simple.

If you need more evidence of CBD’s benefits, check out this study on rats, which found that CBD slowed nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. The study also suggests that CBD may prevent the degeneration of joints that causes arthritis.

Digestive Issues

If your dog refuses to eat or has problems with their digestion, then some believe that CBD may help stimulate their appetite, causing weight gain. It may also help to prevent vomiting and nausea.

The National Cancer Institute conducted a study on animals (though it did not specify the species) and found that cannabinoids boosted their appetite. The organization believes that the explanation for this lies in the nervous system and how it interacts with CBD, possibly stimulating the reward center of the brain. However, more species-specific studies are needed before we can draw firm conclusions on the use of CBD for digestive issues in dogs.

CBD Side Effects in Dogs

Even though there is currently little research into the side effects of CBD oil for dogs, we can extrapolate some potentially useful information based on what we know about CBD’s side effects on humans. Remember, though, that dog and human physiology are very different. Always consult your vet if you are considering using CBD for your pet.

CBD is commonly taken for relaxation and anxiety treatment. It may relax the muscles, which can cause drowsiness and even slightly decrease blood pressure, especially if taken in higher doses than recommended.

Some studies have also shown that CBD oil decreases saliva production in dogs, so your dog may appear more thirsty than usual.

The Verdict: Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

There are few studies on the effect of CBD on dogs, cats, and other animals. We know that CBD contains cannabinoids that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which may assist in regulating various bodily processes. This, in turn, may help with issues such as anxiety.

According to pet charity Blue Cross, “There has been no evidence that CBD is toxic to dogs, but there is currently a lack of knowledge surrounding the correct dose and how CBD interacts with other medications.” There are also no official dosing guidelines for animals. In other words, exercise caution, only use products specifically designed and sold for dogs, and always seek veterinary advice before giving CBD to your pet.

If In Doubt, Consult a Vet!

If you take nothing else away from this article on the question of is CBD oil safe for dogs, please remember this: always, always ask your vet.

It’s important to note that CBD might have harmful side effects for your dog if taken alongside certain other medications. If you’re unsure about whether CBD is safe for your dog or about any conflicts between CBD and any medication your pet already takes, seek professional advice.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs? Final Thoughts

To recap, there is little evidence that CBD is dangerous to dogs. Some believe that CBD can help your pet with various issues, from digestion problems to seizures. Research indicates that CBD may also relieve pain for animals with arthritis and similar conditions. However, research in this area is very limited and the full effects of CBD on dogs are not yet understood. Therefore, be cautious and seek veterinary advice before you give any CBD products to your pet.

Did we satisfactorily answer the question: is CBD oil safe for dogs and other pets? Please let us know if you have any other questions!

About the Writer

Jeremy L.

Jeremy is a graduate student from Virginia and is currently pursuing a Masters in Journalism. His passion is exploring sub and counter culturalism with the goal of identifying future trends before they become mainstream. It was this kind of research that exposed Jeremy to CBD and ultimately allowed us to partner together given his expertise in the fields of nootropics and cannabinoids.
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