Updated: Aug 15, 2020
By now, most of you have heard of the many benefits of CBD and how it can help us humans with a wide range of ailments and health concerns. Stress, anxiety, depression, pain and inflammation doesn't just affect humans; it affects our pets too. That is why CBD is continuing to grow in popularity with us wellness junkies as well as our four-legged friends. Many of you have questions about the safety of CBD for pets and for good reason. If you are like me, anything that goes into my babies' mouths or on their skin is 100% momma-approved, organic & natural. So, I took a deep dive into researching the benefits, quality, and possible contraindications of CBD for pets.
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of over 113 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is extracted from the cannabis (or hemp) plant, but unlike marijuana, it is not psychoactive (meaning it isn't mood altering). This makes it safe to give to your pets, as CBD has no known toxicity level and therefore no potential for overdose.
However, it is still important to do your research and use CBD derived from hemp plants that contain little-to-no THC (less than 0.3% by dry weight to be exact), because hemp-based CBD is non-psychotropic and completely safe for your pet.
5 CBD Health Benefits for Pets
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body – which is found in all mammals – including humans and pets. The ECS is responsible for an impressive variety of functions in the brain and throughout the body, from emotions to mood, behavior and memory (just to name a few).
Interestingly enough, many ailments have been attributed to CECD, or Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency, which is a condition that can benefit from the use of CBD.
Since the ECS in animals is so similar to that in humans, it makes sense that CBD can help with many issues that our pets may have.
1. Decrease Inflammation
Studies have found that CBD may possess anti-inflammatory properties. This is because CBD activates the receptors responsible for the immune system response that reduces inflammation.
Through lowering inflammation, CBD may help with issues that are caused by chronic inflammation like arthritis or irritable bowel disease. For older pets specifically, CBD can be a great alternative to relieving pain and discomfort caused by inflammation.
2. Relieve Anxiety + Stress
Similar to humans, pets can suffer from anxiety (an example of common causes for pets is separation anxiety, travel anxiety, thunderstorms or loud noises). This anxiety can manifest in recognizable tendencies like excessive barking, destructive behavior, shaking, or marking.
Research shows that CBD can possibly help with a variety of mental conditions including anxiety, and studies have found that it does so by potentially increasing the levels of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical that counteracts anxiety.
Thus, CBD possesses the power to help your pet by soothing the signs of anxiety and, in turn, reducing these anxiety or stress-induced tendencies.
3. Pain Management
As we discussed in the introduction, CBD works with the ECS, which directly correlates to pain and the ability to manage pain. One of the benefits recognized early on in CBD research is its highly effective potential to alleviate the properties of pain.
One way CBD reduces the presence of pain is by enhancing the effects of the inhibitory receptors in the central nervous system that are responsible for the perception of pain.
The result creates an effective, natural pain reliever for your pet.
4. Powerful Anti-Nausea
Pets can experience nausea or vomiting from a variety of factors including medications, aging, specific health conditions, or even chemotherapy. These symptoms can result in loss of appetite, dehydration, weight loss, and fatigue. CBD has been shown to help control nausea and the vomiting reflex. It may also stimulate appetite and 5-HT1A receptors that can help reduce anxiety (see #2).
While there are prescription medications that can also help, many have negative side effects which is why CBD makes a great natural alternative for pets.
5. Aging and Mobility
As our pets age, they often develop age-related issues and discomforts, from decreased mobility to arthritis and a general decline in agility and energy levels.
Since CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is largely responsible for balance within the body, it makes sense that CBD can support homeostasis and general well-being in your pet. CBD has also been found to support cardiovascular health.
Due to these factors, many pet owners opt for giving their pets CBD as a regular supplement for wellness. In addition, studies show that CBD could help reduce the signs of pain and inflammation caused by arthritis (a common age-related issue in pets).
This combined with its pain-relieving properties (see #3) makes CBD a great option to support aging pets and their mobility.
Overview of the Benefits of CBD for Pets
Muscle & Joint Support
Sprain/Strain and Ligament Repair
Increased Mobility and Energy in Older Pets
Stress and Anxiety Support
Calming Aid for Travel Anxiety, Thunderstorms & Separation Anxiety
Excessive Barking and Aggression
Lack of Appetite and Stomach Issues
Skin Allergy Support - Hot Spots, Dry Patches & Allergies
Pain and Inflammation
Boosts Immune Function
Important Details to Know About CBD for Your Pet
While CBD has no psychoactive properties, dosing for the plant-based compound will be entirely specific to each person and pet as it can affect each body differently.
With any other daily supplement, it’s important to give your pets the proper dosage and start them off slow.