CBD Oil for Dogs: What to Know

These days, you can find cannabidiol (CBD) products pretty much everywhere. The trendy ingredient is a natural compound found in marijuana and hemp. CBD by itself doesn’t cause a “high,” but research suggests it might help with insomnia (problems falling or staying asleep) and anxiety, along with other medical conditions.

CBD’s popularity has many dog owners turning to it as an alternative treatment. Of course, you want to do everything you can to help your pet. But does CBD really work? And is it safe? Here’s what you need to know.

Potential Benefits

Currently, you can find CDB products for your dog in the form of oils and treats. There’s not a lot of research or a formal study to back up the claims on its uses and benefits. Evidence is mostly anecdotal, or unscientific. Experts aren’t sure how much of the CBD is actually affecting the dog’s body or if it’s just being removed. More research is needed.

But some dog owners think CBD oil can be used to:

  • Ease inflammation
  • Soothe nausea
  • Stimulate appetite
  • Ease pain
  • Control seizures
  • Boost heart health
  • Lower anxiety

One small study looked at how CBD affects dogs with epilepsy. Most of the dogs given CBD oil from a hemp plant had seizures less often after 12 weeks. All dogs were given their usual epilepsy drugs during the clinical trial.

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Risks

There’s limited information on CBD’s side effects and risks when used in dogs. Experts don’t yet know proper dosages or what amounts can be toxic.

So far, the FDA has approved only one CBD-based prescription drug to treat seizures in humans. Based on some of the side effects humans have had, here’s what to watch out for:

Dry mouth. It may temporarily limit the amount of saliva, or spit, your dog makes. They may be very thirsty.

Low blood pressure. CBD can cause a sudden temporary drop in blood pressure for humans. While a drop of CBD may seem small, it may cause lightheadedness for your dog.

Drowsiness. Its calming effects may make your dog sleepy if you give them a lot.

Fertility problems. Some studies found this in male animals exposed to CBD.

Always check with a veterinarian first if you’re thinking about giving your dog CBD.

Is It Legal?

Laws around CBD can be confusing. It’s illegal to market CBD as a dietary supplement for humans or add it to food. The FDA is cracking down on companies that do so.

In many states, veterinarians aren’t allowed to recommend it for pets or give any kind of dosing information.

Experts say more research, regulation, and standard practices are needed before CBD can be safely given to dogs and other pets.

WebMD Veterinary Reference Reviewed by Vanessa Farner, DVM on March 26, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

Colorado State University: “Results from CBD clinical trial to assess efficacy on seizure frequency in dogs ‘encouraging,’” “CBD clinical trial seeks dogs with epilepsy.”

American Kennel Club: “CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know.”

American Veterinary Medical Association: “Cannabis use and pets.”

Oklahoma State University: “The Use of CBD in Dogs and Cats.”

FDA: “What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD,” “FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD),” “FDA Warns Companies Illegally Selling CBD Products.”

Harvard Health: “Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.”

Frontiers in Veterinary Science: “US Veterinarians' Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions.”

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