Though there isn’t enough research to support being safer than traditional medicine, one key selling point for many people is that CBD has little to no negative side effects for dogs. Many show improvement with their conditions in as little as a few weeks.
One word of caution: because it appears to be metabolized in the liver – similarly to humans – some vets caution against giving CBD to dogs with known liver issues.
Why Give Your Dog CBD?
A good rule to follow is that your dog should experience some relief from their symptoms. Start small, and work up to a larger dose if needed.
If you decide to give your dog CBD, it’s important to know how much you should give. Like any new health supplement, food or medication, introduce it slowly. If needed, you can carefully increase the dosage.
CBD comes in many of the same forms for pets as they do for humans. For example, you can feed:
Again, it’s too early to tell. A 2018 study found that CBD can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis and the following year McGrath published a study showing CBD may help reduce the number of seizures experienced by epileptic dogs. But although these studies were well-designed and peer-reviewed, they’re still small and very preliminary.
McGrath and other researchers nationwide are currently conducting larger studies on CBD’s effectiveness in treating osteoarthritis in dogs and cats, epilepsy in dogs and post-operative pain, but it will be a while before the results are published. Until more is known, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian before giving your animal CBD.
When McGrath started studying CBD in 2016, one of her first studies analyzed how three different delivery methods — a capsule, an oil and a cream — affected the way CBD moved through the bodies of healthy dogs.
How does CBD work in animals?
Dried hemp leaves, like those shown here, naturally contain higher levels of CBD than other varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant.
Legally, CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC, which should be safe for animals. But there’s no reason to take chances. Whenever possible, stick to CBD pet care products that contain 0.0% THC and be on the lookout for symptoms of THC poisoning such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, restlessness and trouble standing.
When shopping for CBD pet care products, look for companies that support research and will provide a certificate of analysis, or COA, for every batch they sell.
Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images