Pets and CBD: What You Should Know
CBD can help pets much like it can help people. It can have a calming effect on mood, promote joint and tissue function, and support the immune system overall. This is especially significant because our pets can’t tell us what they feel, so we have to interpret their behavior. Barking, chewing and mess-making are some of the pet behaviors we perceive as quirkiness or even naughtiness, but more often than not, something else is happening.
According to Dr. Keith Weingardt, DVM, CVA, it’s usually related to physical or mental health that’s out of balance. Weingardt has spent the past decade learning how CBD and other cannabinoids support wellness in pets and recommend the use of hemp-based extracts for his patients.
“When we feel our pet may have problems that are interfering with their quality of life, perhaps anxiety or inflammation that would be related to aging, it’s a good time to explore the benefits of hemp and CBD,” says Dr. Weingardt, a holistic veterinarian and herbalist practicing in Portland, Oregon. “Scientific research into how CBD affects animals is just beginning and has yet to reach conclusions, but it is showing promise,” he says.
Our full line of CBD pet products includes pet tinctures and dog treats with all the functional ingredients that provide a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals. Here are some things to consider when starting your good boy or good girl on CBD pet products.
How CBD works in cats and dogs
It’s very similar to how it works in people. “We have more understanding of how CBD and other cannabinoids work in dogs than cats because of research, as well as the way we relate to cats and their behavior,” Weingardt says.
In general, pets seem to show a positive response to CBD. “I can say from my years of working with animals in my practice and experience with my own pets that CBD can help with a variety of issues. Current research supports a connection in helping arthritic pets and I almost always suggest it,” said Dr. Weingardt.
Pets have an endocannabinoid system just like people
It is well-established that all mammals respond to CBD and other cannabinoids via the endocannabinoid system (ECS), just like humans.
The ECS is a complex network of receptors, internal neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids), and receptor proteins found throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Cannabinoids are made by the body and also produced in plants. Plant cannabinoids, including CBD, trigger the ECS to balance bodily functions like immunity, the central nervous system and others.
“We have an ECS for a reason and when we have imbalances within our body, they can manifest in multiple ways that we see alleviated with CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp,” Weingardt says.
Is it safe to give my pet CBD?
Although several studies are now underway, the effects of CBD in dogs have not been researched conclusively. Depending on which product or brand you buy, there can be huge differences in ingredients and potency.
Although pets generally can have CBD products intended for humans and vice-versa, there are two important caveats: Pets shouldn’t have anything that could get them high or have serving sizes larger than recommended for their species or weight.
The federal limit on THC is 0.3 percent, generally considered the threshold for potential intoxication, or the famous marijuana high. Any plant or product with more than 0.3 percent THC is considered marijuana and is not recommended for pets. Look for products listing precise amounts of CBD and any other cannabinoids or other ingredients.
CBD can improve mobility, appetite and mood
Weingardt says CBD is not a panacea, but a number of his patients have benefited from it. One patient with uncontrolled seizures, even on maximum serving sizes of anti-seizure prescription medication, experienced a reduction in frequency and severity of seizures. It can also help pets regain an appetite, which is so critical on the path to healing.
In other instances, Weingardt’s patients who depended on an anti-inflammatory medication experienced improvement, which was observed as better mobility and increased energy.
Weingardt recommends CBD and other hemp products generally to support pets as they age.
Introducing your pet to CBD tinctures and treats
Start small. An important key to introducing CBD to an animal—human or four-legged—is to start with a serving size smaller than what may be recommended on the package. After several days, you can gradually increase the amount as needed.
“CBD and other hemp products seem safe for many of my patients, as long as you introduce it in small amounts and avoid THC,” Weingardt says.
“If there is going to be a negative reaction, it’s best to give a smaller serving and adjust accordingly,” he says, recommending a serving of .25 mg per kilogram of pet weight.
For example, a 9 mg introductory serving is a good place to start for an 80-pound black Lab. If the product is a Lazarus Naturals pet tincture that contains 20 mg per 1 ml, or one dropperful, this would be half of one dropper.
If you want to be more conservative, feel free to start at an even smaller amount—0.125 mg per kilogram of pet weight.
“Whichever amount you choose to start with, administer it consistently for several days. See how your pet responds and then increase accordingly,” he says.
In addition to serving size, you’ll also want to think about the type of product to choose for your pet. The two most popular options are tincture and treats.
Neither treats nor tinctures are necessarily better than the other, although each may offer benefits that make it better for your pet and its needs.
Tinctures, for instance, are nearly free of calories so you can give your pet higher amounts of CBD. Tinctures also may be added to your pet’s favorite treat such as avocado or canned tuna, as well as their regular food.
Treats are appealing right from the package and they typically offer CBD in smaller amounts than serving sizes recommended for tinctures. If your pet gets the benefits of CBD in smaller amounts, treats are a great option. Our pet products are thoughtfully formulated with functional ingredients to support animals experiencing the effects of aging, such as inflammation and cognitive decline.
“Pets have senility just like humans and go through a similar neurodegeneration as we do,” he says. “It manifests itself in the same ways—grey hair, backs that are sore and weak, sore knees, getting up to go to the bathroom in the night. Anything we can do to support that is helpful,” he says.
Tips on using pet tinctures
A pet tincture can be easily mixed into your pet’s food or applied to a treat. When a tincture is mixed with their food, it passes through the digestive system and the liver. It will take longer to see the effects (up to 1-2 hours), but they tend to last longer (typically 6-8 hours).
Treats are so easy
CBD dog treats are an easy way to introduce your dog to CBD. Follow the serving recommendations based on the weight of your dog. In addition to CBD, our dog treats formulations that support vitality, mobility and digestion. When your dog eats a treat, the CBD passes through the digestive system and liver. It may take 1-2 hours to see any effects but they tend to last longer (typically 6-8 hours). If you don’t see the desired results, gradually increase the serving size. It can take up to a week to start seeing the benefits.
How do I choose the right serving size?
You can use the guide on the label as a starting point, but every pet will react differently so there will be some trial-and-error. First decide whether you want to give CBD to your pet daily for general wellness or if you will use it only in specific situations, such as when the fireworks go off on the Fourth of July. Start off low and watch your pet carefully. If you don’t see the desired results, gradually increase the serving size. It can take up to a week to start seeing the benefits, so it helps to be patient.
Will my pet get high from CBD?
Nope. CBD doesn’t get humans or pets high because it comes from hemp, which legally must have THC (the compound in marijuana that gets you high) levels below 0.3%. However, if you still have concerns about how your pet might react to these trace amounts, we offer a THC-free tincture as part of our pet product line.
Can my pet have too much CBD?
The legalization of hemp is recent, so there is insufficient research to determine toxic levels for CBD. That said, there hasn’t been a single recorded case of a fatal serving size of CBD in animals or humans to date. Anecdotally, people most commonly report sleepiness and dry mouth when they (or their pets) have taken a large serving, and this can be avoided by starting with small amounts and gradually increasing the serving size. Always check with your veterinarian first if your pet is on any other medications, or if you’re worried about serving size. CBD products have specific serving sizes, usually based on pet weight.
CBD + functional ingredients work better together
Our many pet tinctures and treats are formulated with functional ingredients to support cognition, mobility and vitality as well as having a calming effect on mood. Our CBD dog treats, for example, are formulated with Alaskan salmon oil, organic turmeric, pumpkin and much more.
Always buy from a reputable CBD company
Our pet products are carefully formulated with functional ingredients to support cognition, digestion and a healthy inflammation response. Everything we make is grown and processed in one place to maintain the highest quality. Here are some important things to consider:
- Look for pure natural ingredients. Choose CBD that is free of toxins such as pesticides, herbicides or heavy metals, and unnatural additives. You should also verify that the product actually contains the amount of CBD that it says it does.
- Ask for the independent lab test results, otherwise known as a Certificate of Analysis or COA. Reputable companies post these on their websites for any customer to see. Our COA is posted on our website under the “Test Results” tab. Find the batch number on each individual product page and compare it to what you’ve purchased.
- Choose American-grown hemp. Only buy CBD that has been made from hemp grown in the USA. Some companies use hemp from other countries that don’t have the same standards and regulations we do in the US. Even better, buy from companies that grow their own hemp, as we do at Lazarus Naturals.
- Look for the Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) certification. This means the products were produced in a facility that has been audited by a third-party for adherence to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards. Those standards ensure that the company is not cutting corners and producing safe, consistent, and effective products. Any reputable CBD company will be forthright about whether or not they are certified.