If you’ve visited a Seattle Dispensary in the last year or so, no doubt you have come across an entire section dedicated to the health of our city’s pets.
CBD has taken the world by storm in recent years. There isn’t a product out there that hasn’t been infused with the goodness of hemp.
You can buy CBD bath bombs, CBD shampoo, CBD energy drinks, and of course – CBD for your pet.
For millions of Americans, our pets are part of our family. We love them and cherish them as if they were our own children. Their health and wellbeing are always at the top of mind, and we’d do anything to make them as happy and comfortable as possible.
But what is driving this CBD craze, and how can CBD help your pets? Let’s take a closer look.
Explaining the pet CBD dispensary craze
What is CBD?
Let’s start right at the beginning.
CBD is short for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a naturally occurring plant compound found in cannabis plants. In fact, it’s found in many other sources and is even produced naturally inside the bodies of the vast majority of animals alive on planet earth.
Most of the CBD you see on your local Seattle dispensary shelves is made from hemp, a sister of the cannabis plant. High concentrations of CBD collect in the flowers of the hemp plant. The flowers are stripped from the plant, and the CBD is extracted by one of many different methods.
Will CBD get my pet high?
Short answer: no.
The long answer takes a bit more digging around into the roots of cannabis and hemp (not literally).
Yes, CBD products are made from hemp, a sister of the cannabis plant, and CBD can be extracted from cannabis itself. But CBD, cannabidiol, does not produce any psychoactive effects on its own.
Another plant compound, THC, causes the ‘high’ feeling associated with cannabis. Hemp is used to produce CBD products because it naturally has a low THC level.
CBD products are typically divided into three subcategories:
- Isolate – CBD Isolate is pure CBD. Everything else is stripped away.
- Broad Spectrum – This has everything from the hemp plant remaining, including numerous other compounds related to CBD, but no THC
- Full Spectrum – Everything from the hemp plant is left in; Terpenes, essential oils, THC, plant compounds, and even the THC. Usually, the THC levels are less than 3%, not enough to get you high.
As you can see, there is not enough THC in any CBD products to get you or your pets high. Full-spectrum has trace amounts, not enough to have an effect, but perhaps enough for it to show up in your bloodstream if tested. Just make sure your pet avoids the drug test days at the office.
How does CBD affect pets?
As I mentioned earlier, every animal on the planet has a system in their bodies that naturally produces CBD. This system is called the endocannabinoid system (we’ll just call it the ECS).
CBD and THC react directly with this system and produce the different effects and benefits of the cannabis plant. While there are yet to be any formal clinical studies into the ECS and the impact of CBD on pets, there is strong evidence that ECS in humans plays a role in balancing many vital systems in the body.
- Pain reception
Humans take CBD to help them sleep, reduce pain and inflammation, control stress and anxiety and promote a healthy appetite.
There is strong scientific evidence to support the benefits of CBD in humans, and the assumption is that it works the same way for pets. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from pet owners and vets that CBD can have a huge benefit for pets suffering from conditions related to the above.
What conditions can CBD treat in pets?
Any pet owner will tell your their pets have distinct personalities and characters, as well as specific fears and worries.
Dog owners will know exactly what causes anxiety in their pets. It can be other dogs, visitors, loud noises, or a whole range of other factors. For some, this may mean a few minutes of hiding between our legs. But for other more severe cases, it can mean hours of fear that manifest as bad behavior such as going to the toilet inside, constantly barking, or destroying the house and garden.
Anxiety and stress are some of the main reasons humans take CBD, and many dog owners have found CBD has had a great effect in reducing the anxiety in their furry friends. Dogs who couldn’t be walked for fear of loud traffic or other dogs at the park have become confident and calm in a matter of weeks.
Dogs are pack animals by nature. Their nearest natural relative is the wolf. Wolves are strong when they’re in numbers, but alone, they are vulnerable.
It’s no wonder that 20% of owners report separation anxiety in their pooches. Oftentimes owners leave their pets when they go to work, and come back to find the dog has destroyed the couch or ripped a whole pack of toilet roll to shreds.
It’s easy to dismiss this behavior as that of a normal, naughty dog. But it’s often the symptom of anxiety at being left alone for hours on end. Other dogs will cry when their owner is in the next room and will scratch at the bedroom door for hours if they’re put to sleep in a separate room.
Clinical evidence suggests that CBD is effective in reducing stress and self-consciousness in humans, and these same benefits are thought to affect our pets.
Our pets are territorial and protective of their owners and their homes.
This instinct can be a great natural burglar alarm and makes us feel that little bit safer whenever they are around. But on the flip side, this trait can cause us sleepless nights when our cats and dogs are alert to every single sound and movement going on outside.
Millions of humans around the world take CBD to help them switch off and drift into a deep, rejuvenating sleep, and it’s becoming a popular and natural way to get pets to settle down into an all-night sleep.
One of the most painful parts of sharing your life with a cat or dog is the inevitability that you’ll outlive them. We watch them grow from babies into adults and fade into old age as time catches up with them.
Cats and dogs can provide great companionship even in their older years, but nobody wants their companions to suffer as their bodies begin to decline.
CBD offers great relief to many sufferers of chronic pain, stiff joints, and aching muscles. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and regulates the way in which we feel pain. Many pet owners are now using CBD to treat their aging dogs and cats.
Finding a CBD brand for my pet
Finding a reliable CBD brand nowadays can be a tricky business. A lot of businesses have tried to make a quick buck from the CBD trend, selling products that contain little or no actual CBD, and tricking people with unclear packaging.
Here are a few tips to help you find the right product for your pet.
1. Always shop dispensary
You’ve probably seen CBD products in your local supermarket or corner store. While it’s not necessarily the case that every CBD product in the supermarket is low-quality, buying from dispensaries is always a safer bet.
Dispensary owners know the market, and they know CBD. They take time selecting CBD brands that meet the highest standards.
2. Don’t be tricked on price
It’s easy to be lured in by a low price and convince yourself that the competitors are simply overcharging. If something feels too good to be true – it probably is. It’s always worth paying a premium price to ensure you’re getting the best possible product for your pets.
3. Look for Lab test results
The gold standard in the CBD industry is independent lab testing. The best CBD producers out there pay the extra to have every batch of their product lab tested to find the exact ingredients and verify the exact percentage of CBD.
Any business that is shying away from lab testing their products and making the results easy to find for consumers probably has something to hide.
The results can be found on the packaging or on the company website. If you can’t find them, it’s probably best to avoid them.
4. Human CBD or Pet CBD?
A lot of dispensaries now stock CBD products specifically designed for pets. But CBD is CBD. The only difference is the carrier (oil, cream, food).
If you’re using CBD isolate oil, for example, the only extra ingredient is the oil it’s suspended in. Be sure to check the packaging for any possible allergens or substances that don’t agree with your pet.
If it’s good enough for us, it’s good enough for our pets. Organic CBD oil is always a healthier option. Free from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
How to give your pets CBD
The great thing about CBD is how simple it is to administer, for both humans and animals.
I always recommend buying CBD in liquid form, rather than pet treats that are infused with CBD. Liquid CBD gives you much tighter control on the exact dosage and allows you to change the dosage simply and easily (more on dosage in a sec).
Simply drop the desired amount onto your pet’s food. If your pet has a habit of not eating all of its food, give him or her a smaller amount you know they will finish and add the CBD, before giving them the rest of their food.
There are no hard and fast rules, but most experts advise starting with 1-2mg of CBD a day for every ten pounds of body weight. A few different factors come into play here, from the breed of your pet to its diet, to the condition you’re treating.
If you feel like your pet needs a higher dosage, always increase slowly, by 1-2mg a day, and monitor for any signs of improvement. Side effects/risks
Another beauty of CBD is that is it incredibly low risk (especially when compared to synthetic pharmaceuticals). If dosed correctly, there are no side effects in the vast majority of cases.
However, there are some mild side effects you should watch out for just in case.
- Dehydration – CBD is sometimes known to cause a dry mouth and dehydration. It’s nothing to be alarmed about, and it’s nothing a drink of water won’t cure. As always, ensure your pet has access to clean water at all times.
- Drowsiness – CBD is known to bring about a calm and relaxed state in humans as well as animals. Sometimes this can manifest itself as drowsiness and lethargy. Don’t be alarmed, your pet will sleep it off and be back to itself in a few hours. If you notice your CBD is often causing drowsiness in your pet, it’s probably a good idea to lower the dosage.
- Dizziness/Nausea – A high dose of CBD can cause nausea in humans and animals alike. If your pet is put off its food or looks a bit delicate on its feet, chances are you’ve given them too high a dose.
All in all, CBD is a great way to bring relief to our four-legged friends. Remember to always find a reputable brand, and consult your vet about any long-term conditions your pet may have.