You've heard of CBD. I know you have. It's all over the news, on the shelves of your local stores, and being talked about all over social media. But it's still a mystery, right?
With the increased popularity and availability of CBD, pet parents just like you are wondering if this natural health option could be beneficial for your furry family members. But what is CBD and how does it work? Let’s explore some basic answers to these questions, as well as how CBD can help keep your dog or cat healthy and happy.
More and more pet parents are searching for cleaner, more holistic products for their wellness. This includes higher quality foods and supplements that keep them active, energetic, and comfortable. We're learning more about the nasty side effects of expensive pharmaceutical prescriptions and if you're like me, you don't like what you're learning. That's why more pet parents are learning about natural supplements like CBD and how it has many benefits that may keep your pet in tip-top shape.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound derived from the hemp plant. There are over 300 compounds found in hemp and many have therapeutic benefits for both people and pets alike. CBD and CBDA are two of the most beneficial compounds in the hemp plant. Recent research has suggested that CBD and other compounds may support pets with high stress levels, inflammation, and pain.
What does CBD do for pets?
CBD can be a great natural option to help pets cope with various physical and emotional states. It may have potential benefits such as managing anxiety, relieving aches, and reducing inflammation. Research is still ongoing for other benefits. If you search the internet and social media, you'll find thousands of comments from pet parents touting its praises and attributing CBD to helping their dog or cat feel and live better in a number of ways. Every pet is different and their responses to CBD may differ as well. As always, it's important to consult with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about CBD before administering any CBD product or supplement to your pet.
How CBD works in dogs and cats
Research suggests that CBD works in dogs and cats (and other animals!) by interacting with their endocannabinoid system, or ECS. This recently discovered system is responsible for maintaining the normal balance of bodily systems that control inflammation, digestion, mood, and immunity. CBD can help support this system by latching on to receptors in the body and helping to regulate those functions. In short, it helps your pet feel normal. The experience is more like returning to a 'neutral' state with an absence of discomfort. That's why CBD is generally safe for daily use and typically doesn't have side effects. It does not get them "high", as there is no psychoactive property in CBD.
How much CBD should I give my pet?
There's no exact answer to this as each pet is different and has their own unique needs. A pet feeling mild stress will require less than a pet with significant health conditions. As a guideline, we recommend starting with less than the stated dosage and increasing the amount until you find the amount that helps your pet be in a more comfortable state. Example: You can start them on a few drops every other day and see how they respond. If you find they need more relief, then increase a bit and see how they respond to the increase. Continue doing this until you've found their sweet spot.
The generally accepted range is 1-5 mg of CBD per every 10 pounds your pet weighs. So a 50 pound dog would get 5 to 25mg of CBD per day. However, as pet parent, you can choose to give more or less CBD as your pet shows need. We suggest splitting the dosage into two servings throughout the day. So if the recommended dose is 20mg per your pet's weight, then give 10mg in the morning and 10mg in the evening.
Is CBD oil safe for dogs and cats?
Yes! Research suggests that CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated by dogs and cats. Your pet will not get high or loopy. In fact, studies show there are very few side effects of CBD in pets. Based on research, dogs are more responsive to CBD than cats due to them having more bodily receptors (ECS). This means dogs can have greater benefit at lower doses of CBD than cats. Each dog may respond differently to CBD. Some may show sensitivities to CBD including lethargy, increased thirst, or loose stools. These side effects are often short-lived and mild. Your pet cannot overdose on CBD so simply reduce the dose and frequency until your pet adapts.
It's also important to make sure you're using hemp-derived CBD products specifically designed for pets. Though hemp derived CBD is the same for people and pets, the flavorings or additives in human CBD can be harmful to pets. Start with a small dose and gradually increase it as needed. With the right approach, CBD can be a great way to support your pet's wellbeing.
Note: Most animal studies on CBD have been done with dogs, so there is much research to be done to determine the effects of CBD on cats but it has been shown anecdotally to be beneficial in treating a range of issues such as inflammation, pain and anxiety.
What you should know about CBD potency
You'll notice that CBD can come in a variety of potencies or strengths. The potency you see on the packaging generally refers to the strength of the total contents. So a 750mg CBD oil potency means that there are 750mg of CBD in the entire bottle.
For example, here's the amount of CBD in our Homescape products:
How do I give CBD to my dog or cat?
Pet CBD comes in a variety of types: oil, edible treats/cookies, and topicals. We suggest oil as it's the most versatile and often the most economical. Using CBD oil allows you to give the exact amount that your pet needs:
For powders like our Mussel Mobility Complete, you can mix it directly into their meal or mix it with warm water to make a delicious seafood broth/gravy to pour over their meals.
How to choose the best CBD for your dog
There are a few things you should look for when buying CBD for your pet:
Human-grade, natural and organically-grown in the USA. This ensures that the hemp was grown under the cleanest and best quality conditions at farms that do not use pesticides or fungicides. To be clear, we mean human-grade FOR PETS. Organically grown or certified organic is the highest standard in the U.S. Under these standards, hemp is grown naturally and cleanly without man-made and environmental impurities.
Limited ingredients. Your pet doesn't need a laundry list of ingredients and "flavors" in their supplements. Have you ever thought about how they make "bacon flavor"? It's either real bacon or it's not. And if it's in your pet's CBD oil, then it's not real bacon. You should look for hemp CBD extract and a carrier oil (hemp seed oil and MCT oil are the most common carrier oils.)The addition of any extra ingredients, artificial flavors, and preservatives exposes your pet to possible allergens. Keeping to just the minimum ingredients allows you to know exactly what your pet is responding to.
Full spectrum. Full spectrum indicates that the CBD still contains all of its naturally occurring compounds and molecules. They work together to create a more effective CBD product through what is known as "the entourage effect".
Using a full-spectrum product is like eating a whole orange versus drinking a glass of orange juice. The whole orange has more natural vitamins and minerals than just the juice, which has been processed. Full-spectrum is the whole orange.
You might see 'Broad Spectrum' and 'Isolate' CBD oils too. They have been processed to have some compounds removed. Broad and Isolate are the orange juice. Still healthy, but not as whole, rich, or nutritious. Makes sense, right?
Lab-tested by a third party laboratory. This test, called the Certificate of Analysis (COA), is a detailed report of the potency, THC levels, and any contaminants in the CBD. A reputable CBD brand will always have their CBD test results readily available and most likely posted on their website by batch. Understanding the COA is important when choosing a product for your pet. The potency testing should ensure that it contains less than 0.3% THC (the federal legal limit) and also confirm that it has the potency of CBD you are paying for. If you bought 750mg CBD, the test results should show at least 750mg. It may show more. But it should NEVER show less than the amount on the bottle.
The COA should also indicate that the CBD is free from toxins, heavy metals, and solvents. Only the most reputable and transparent companies perform these additional tests due to the added cost. Even if the product is not organic, these test will assure you are getting a safe product and makes the organic designation less important. Testing may be the most important aspect of selecting a product next to picking the dose for your pet.
Positive reviews and brand reputation. To get a fuller picture of how they care about pets, you should read reviews to learn what other pet parents are saying about the CBD you're considering. You should also be able to learn about the company and other products they offer beyond CBD.
So go ahead and get your pet started on CBD!
Whether your pet is dealing with persistent health issues or just needs an extra boost of energy for daily activities, adding hemp-derived CBD into their routine may be beneficial for both you and your pet. You should notice a change in your pet fairly quickly if it's working. Cats are harder to read, but dogs don't fake anything. If they're feeling better, you will know it!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is CBD legal?
Yes. In 2018, the U.S. Congress passed the federal Farm Bill which legalized hemp-derived CBD with THC levels below 0.3%. Some states may have passed their own laws that prohibit CBD from being sold or shipped there. Please check your state's regulations for the most up-to-date information.
Can I talk to my veterinarian about CBD?
Yes. Whenever you are considering adding any supplements to your pet's regimen, you should first speak with your veterinarian. Be aware that when it comes to CBD, most veterinarians are legally prohibited from recommending or discussing it, regardless of their personal knowledge or feelings about CBD. This is due to their veterinary regulatory organizations and some state laws. Legalized CBD is still new, so be aware that that very few veterinary schools teach about the use of it as a therapy. If you do plan to speak with your vet about the use of CBD, it would be best to come prepared with your own knowledge to help forward the conversation.
Can my pet get high or overdose on CBD?
No. CBD does not have psychoactive properties, so your pet can not get high or altered. There is also no concern with overdosing. There is no known toxic or lethal dose even at extremely high potencies. If your pet experiences any side effects of CBD, they are likely to be mild and similar to lethargy, dry mouth, or loose stool and they should pass quickly.
What types of pet supplements should I consider for my pet in addition to CBD?
Supplements benefit both people and pets for the same reasons: important nutrition may be missing from the diet and supplements can help with the natural course of aging.
CBD isn't part of a nutrition profile, it is more like a biological tool to help their body heal now and stay healthy later. You may first want to consider improving their diet and exercise, which often leads to a massive improvement in their health. And as you make these changes, there are many things that can be supplemented to boost dietary deficiencies that will make a big difference in the short term.
Our pets are aging much faster than we are, so they can start showing signs of slowing down, mobility issues, and discomfort much sooner than we would like. In order to ward off some of these concerns, we recommend looking into supplements that support overall health and wellbeing include probiotics (to aid digestion), omega 3 fatty acids (for heart and brain health), natural glucosamine (for mobility and joint support), and turmeric (for inflammation and immune system wellness).
Homescape Pets has a high quality selection of effective natural pet supplements that might be just what your pet needs. ( A prevention mindset can help avoid or diminish many health issues pet will experience in their lives so starting a healthy diet and supplements early in life may do the trick. Learn what you can about your pet's breed and you will have a good starting point with regard to health concerns. Start them early and you can get ahead of issues that might arise. Happy supplementing!