From anxiety to arthritis, our pets suffer from a lot of the same ailments that afflict humans. Pets are part of the family and they deserve the same love, attention, and care as everyone else in the family. Cannabis provides an option for keeping pets healthy and happy.
How CBD Can Help
All of CBD’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antitumoral, and neuroprotective qualities seem to work just as well for pets as they do for humans. Giving CBD to pets can be as easy as taking it yourself—using CBD tincture dropped into food or CBD-containing treats available. With a daily supplement, you may be able to prevent and treat various conditions that affect our furry friends.
Whether your pet has a skittish temperament, reacts to specific triggers such as thunder or fireworks, or suffers from full-blown anxiety, CBD may help calm it. This may be especially good news for pets that suffer from separation anxiety, which can be extremely difficult for the pet and heartbreaking to watch.
Small animals can experience epilepsy and are typically given anti-seizure meds such as phenobarbital and Kappra (generic: levetiracetam). The medications are effective, but come with a cost—often compromising liver function. CBD is a neuroprotectant and has demonstrated effectiveness in mitigating seizures in humans. In fact, the FDA recently approved a CBD pharmaceutical for specific seizure disorders for humans. Keep in mind, however, that epilepsy is complicated to treat. CBD does not always work, and what works one day may not work on another day. Sometimes holistic veterinarians integrate CBD with anti-seizure meds. This underscores the importance of working with an animal healthcare practitioner who is competent in cannabis medicine.
Watching an animal in pain can be difficult—to say the least. When it comes to pain, CBD works for pets in a similar manner that it does for humans. It can affect pain receptors, decreasing the animal’s feelings of pain. As a powerful anti-inflammatory, CBD can reduce chronic pain from inflamed joints in older animals. Because CBD can also balance mood and calm anxiety, which are related to pain perception, this cannabinoid can be doubly helpful in relieving pain.
BATTLE INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE
If you have ever had a pet with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you know that it is no fun for anyone. Not only does your pet feel terrible, but you may need to get intimately familiar with groomers and carpet-cleaning devices. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD can target the underlying cause of IBD, and reducing inflammation in the gut can relieve the unpleasant symptoms.
CALM CHRONIC INFLAMMATION
Between aging and breed-specific health issues, one of the most common conditions that pets have is joint pain. Because CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory, it can be used to ease the pain associated with aging joints. CBD can also be helpful for pancreatitis, which frequently afflicts cats and can be fatal. The inflammation triggered by allergies, which pets experience too, can be calmed by CBD to relieve itching and irritation.
Do Not Share Your CBD
It is important to use pet-specific CBD products to avoid exposing animals to contra-indicated ingredients—stuff they are not supposed to eat. Several foods that humans tolerate and love, such as grapes, raisins, garlic, and, of course, chocolate, are toxic to our four-legged friends. In addition to ingredients, the concentration of CBD tinctures for humans is not always appropriate for animals. With small pets such as cats, the correct concentration is super-critical.
MITIGATE DEGENERATIVE DISORDERS
Senior pets can fall victim to the same senility and nerve issues that affect humans. Proven to be neuroprotective, CBD may be able to keep your old friend feeling like a spring chicken for longer.
Choosing a Pet-Specific CBD Product
Many animal lovers treat their pets better than they treat themselves. How about hitting the fast food drive-through for dinner while serving your pet top-of-line pet food—sound familiar? When choosing a product for your pet, make sure you purchase high-quality CBD that is free of artificial ingredients and additives, and is third-party tested and specifically made for pets. See Be Smart about CBD.
Here are a few guidelines for finding a safe and effective CBD product just for your pet:
- GO ORGANIC. Select organic CBD, as well as organic ingredients in edibles. No pesticides or chemicals for your companion!
- CHOOSE TINCTURES FOR HIGHER DOSES. Oil tinctures are easy to dose and administer to your pet in food or directly into the mouth. If your animal is dealing with a specific condition, CBD oil may be preferable. When using CBD as medicine for pets, be sure to keep track of dosage and use a high-quality CBD oil. Treats and chews work well for moderate pain or mild anxiety.
- AVOID UNNECESSARY INGREDIENTS. Added sugar is not good for either humans or their pets. Stick with wholesome, pet-friendly ingredients without the sweeteners and fillers.
- INVEST IN QUALITY. Make certain you buy a high-quality product. You may end up paying more in vet bills than you save on sub-par CBD tincture.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Be cautious with cannabis products for pets. Sometimes animals develop urinary tract infections, IBD, and constipation from the use of whole plant CBD products. This may be due to the high plant wax and fat content of the hemp plant and the extraction methods used. Hemp-derived CBD may be used sparingly, not in large doses. CBD derived from the marijuana plant does not appear to have the same side effects, although drowsiness has been reported among some animals after CBD administration.
Dogs have a high number of endocannabinoid receptors in certain parts of the brain, increasing their sensitivity to THC-containing cannabis products. If dogs are exposed to too much THC, they may demonstrate symptoms of static ataxia, which is a neurological dysfunction that produces loss of coordination and other issues. Be sure to consult a holistic veterinarian if you believe that your pet may benefit from cannabis.
At a Glance
- Pets can reap some of the same benefits from CBD that humans can.
- Conditions in which CBD may benefit pets include anxiety, epilepsy, chronic pain, arthritis, chronic inflammation, digestive issues, and degenerative disorders.
- Choose products that are organic, lab tested, and easy to measure, and avoid added sugars and other unnecessary ingredients.
- Use products made specifically for pets and follow the “start low, go slow” dosing motto.
- When treating a pet with a serious condition, be sure to carefully administer CBD oil by tracking dosage under the supervision of a holistic veterinarian.