CBD & Pets

Common Uses of CBD for Companion Animals

Pet owners, particularly people who use CBD themselves with good results, want their cherished companions to receive the same CBD benefits as humans. Based largely on anecdotal reports—but mostly reports that are universally positive and support CBD as an effective treatment—pet owners are purchasing CBD oil or CBD products specifically created for pet use.

Some of the most common conditions people use CBD for cats and dogs are separation anxiety, fear from thunderstorms or loud noises, as well as relief from pain, arthritis, and inflammation. There also are valid reasons to use hemp for skin conditions and infections. It turns out that many of the same reasons humans consume CBD also apply to their pets.

Pet Testimonials

The Evidence

While research in the veterinary community about CBD uses and benefits is ongoing, there have already been some significant findings and promising results from research that indicates this cannabinoid may have a valuable and promising future for use on animals.

Research conducted at Cornell University has been widely publicized in a number of publications and other media. The finding of this study indicates great potential for treating dogs with arthritis with CBD. Other research conducted at Colorado State University as a pilot study to explore the potential benefits of CBD for treating arthritis in dogs has resulted in similar, promising results.

The Colorado study also has seen widespread coverage in the media, and has been the subject of numerous articles. While the evidence supporting the effectiveness of CBD on dogs is largely anecdotal at this time, research with more clinical parameters will no doubt shed additional light on how CBD may benefit man’s best friend.

The Conditions

Medical cannabis is able to treat specific conditions in animals and these could include:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative joint disorders
  • Limping
  • Arthritis
  • Poor appetite
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Stress
  • Insomnia

You should not take the administration of medical cannabis for your pet casually. This is especially true in dogs since they are more sensitive to such medication, more than other animals. Remember, your pet is unable to speak to describe their symptoms. You have to be careful. It is important to see a vet first to get the proper diagnosis.

There has been proven incidences from pet owners that medical cannabis has been instrumental in helping their sick pets. The ailments range from skin cancer to simple vomiting. Medical marijuana could serve to help the pet regain its appetite or soothe the stomach in the case of vomiting. 

Administering cannabis tincture is one way of helping a sick animal to feel better. With medical cannabis, there is even hope for sick or aging pets, improving their quality of life and in some cases, even extending their lives. Additionally, since these stories are not isolated, other pet owners can feel more hopeful.

The First Step

Since our companion animals enrich our lives so much and become literally parts of our families, you want the very best for them. A prudent first step before administering CBD to your dog or cat is to have a discussion with your pet’s veterinarian—or a veterinarian with a progressive approach to holistic medicine.

Document some of the most compelling reason why you think CBD will help your pet. Write some notes you can refer to about specific incidents that support your desire to try CBD. Perhaps your dog gets such severe separation anxiety that it destroyed your leather couch when you went to work one day—an event you probably won’t need notes to remember.

Thunderstorms are a terrorizing experience for many animals, so if your pets shake uncontrollably with fear, and your cat goes under the bed or your dogs goes to the far end of your walk-in closet when a storm is brewing, you probably have enough compelling reasons to get buy-in from your vet for a CBD regimen. While you don’t need a prescription form a veterinarian to obtain CBD for your pet, your vet should know about your plans for Fluffy or Fido. If for no other reason, keeping your vet in the loop may provide compelling reason for him or her to recommend CBD for other canine and feline patients.

Ways to Provide CBD to Your Pet

The process of dosing your pet with CBD is usually very simple and easy, with no stress for the pet. Most people simply administer one to three drops (depending on the size of the pet) of CBD oil or tincture into the mouths of their pets, without the pets reacting in a negative manner. There should be no struggle, and if worse comes to worse, you can put the drops on a favorite food treat.

Some people prefer to provide CBD to their pets in a treat form that’s very pleasing for the animal. There also are CBD treats specifically created for dogs, as well as cats. Dogs love the beef and liver flavored treats and look forward to eating them. And even the most finicky cat will enjoy the tuna flavor of feline CBD treats. The makers of these products not only know the range of benefits CBD can provide to pets but also ensure that the CBD treats are palatable and enjoyable for them.

A Guide to Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency

The Receptors

Medical cannabis has been used on dogs, cats and horses primarily to treat their conditions. And, it has been found that medical cannabis provides relief to sick pets. The same cannabinoid receptors found in humans are also found in animals. When medical cannabis is administered, it locks with the cannabinoids in the body and creates a positive response. There are two cannainoid receptors. One is CB1 and the other CB2. In dogs, CB1 is usually found in the brain, but also in the hair follicles and salivary glands. CB2 receptors are found on the skin, vital organs, nervous system and immune system.

In all these cases, you can administer medical cannabis by mouth or topically to get the best effect. THC is the cannabinoid that provokes a mind-altering response. So, if you are considering medical cannabis for your pet, it is best to use one with less THC.

The Do’s and Dont’s of Using
CBD For Your Beloved Pet

What To DO

What Not To DO


While in humans, we have a range of ways we can utilize the sacred plant for its benefits, a “CSU study showed orally administered CBD was absorbed better than CBD applied transdermally, although transdermal application does show significant absorption.”

Due to oral ingestion showing to be more absorbent than topicals, the commonly advocated way to share with your pet is through a treat form, such as kibble, or rather through an oil or similar application.


With more and more patients wanting to include their family pet on a wellness protocol alongside their own, it is no wonder why many have turned their sites towards the sacred plant in hopes of what it may offer.

In a study sharing the impact of CBD, there was a noteworthy response showing “while the placebo group and the low CBD group showed no improvement, by the end of the one month period, the group of dogs who took higher doses of CBD or used CBD in a liposomal formulation saw significant improvement in their mobility and quality of life.”

This particular research observed canines that had osteoarthritis, yet was able to show that “almost every dog saw significant improvement in their conditions, in regards to reduced pain and increased ability to move around. And the dogs seemed happier and were able to do more.”

Additionally shared by another researcher, “for clinicians who have incorporated CBD into their treatment plans, it is proving to be a useful adjunct in managing many common pet ailments, especially in geriatric pets.”


Research has shared that an animal’s weight, medical history, and current medical protocol will impact how much or how little is needed or how well CBD may work for their needs.

Most specifically, understanding any potential drug to drug interaction. Research and experts share “the list of affected drugs includes, but is not limited to, certain anti-seizure medications and several classes of antibiotics and cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs.

So it is critically important for people to seek the advice of their human or pet health professional before using these substances on their animals. Anecdotally, dosing with cannabinoids has not been found to alter phenobarbital serum levels”.


Research looking at dogs, in this particular case, “reported to have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared with humans and it has been suggested that they may be more susceptible to the toxic effects than are humans.”

Due to this, keeping doses at a minimum will allow for potential benefits without putting your pet in harm’s way.

Another composite of a few studies indicated an average dosing scale that they have witnessed to be a good place to work up to (know as titrating up) or use as an average indicator:

  • Micro Dose (0.1 mg/kg): Anxiety, fear, stress, behavioral issues, mild pain, muscle tension
  • Medium Dose (0.2 – 0.5 mg/kg): Osteoarthritis, moderate pain, muscle spasms
  • High dose (0.5-1.0 mg/kg) — moderate to severe pain, neurogenic pain, degenerative myelopathy, tremors, idiopathic epilepsy, diabetes regulation, IBD
  • Ultra Dose (1.0-5.0 mg/kg) — refractory epilepsy, anti-neoplastic, refractory pain, hospice care


Luckily this piece of information is becoming more commonly known. As we briefly mentioned above, there are a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain of canines that cause a higher potential of intoxication.

Research further emphasizes that they have a “high number of CB1 receptors in their cerebellum, making them highly susceptible to THC effects — a big health risk for dogs that accidentally ingest their human’s medical or recreational marijuana “edibles” or bud.

While THC is not toxic to dogs, subsequent severe ataxia and dissociation make them susceptible to secondary dangers, such as falling or aspiration pneumonia.”


While we have plenty of similarities to our animal friends, there are ultimately various ways we are also very different.

One of these differences is the way our digestion process works compared to that of our pets. Many of the oils, additives, and more common human-based applications are not digestible or absorbent in their systems.

For instance, the common carrier oil in many human-based oil applications is MCT oil. While MCT oil can benefit the overall energy and mental health of dogs, it can also cause digestive irritation, allergic reaction, and further cause digestion issues at higher doses.

Due to these potential adversities, most vets prefer creating products utilizing easily absorbed and more beneficial carrier oils, such as cod liver oil or salmon oil.


As with the thousands of research papers, articles, studies, and more, it is clear that the whole plant can offer a great deal more than that of any isolate.

It improves results overall through the entourage effect (the synergy that occurs between the molecules found in the sacred plant) and brings about side benefits while eliminating the potential for adverse side effects.

Final Thoughts

You want the very best for your pet, CBD is a natural way to provide relief for a variety of physical and mental conditions. If you believe your pet has an identifiable condition that CBD may help, have a discussion with your veterinarian about the possible benefits of CBD. Once your pet receives it, you will very likely see an improvement.

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