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CBD has captured the attention of humans worldwide, but can it help your four-legged friend? It’s no secret that pet owners are always on the lookout for new ways to help their furry companions enjoy the highest quality of life possible.

From giving them treats to recognizing when it’s time for a vet visit, a good pet owner is always in tune with the wants and needs of their fur-baby. Because CBD is a natural, plant-derived supplement, it’s an appealing treatment option for a wide variety of conditions from nervousness to nausea and sleeping issues.

But is CBD legitimate and safe? And what kind of CBD products are available for animals? Read on to learn the answers to these common questions and more.

CBD Pet Oil and Treats: What’s the Difference?

As you shop around for CBD products for your pet, you’re going to see both CBD oils and CBD-infused pet treats. If you’re wondering which to choose, it’s a matter of preference.

CBD oil for pets is usually the same as CBD oil for humans. However, these oils are specially formulated to ensure that they don’t contain any ingredients such as flavorings or colorings that could be potentially harmful to an animal, and that includes THC.

According to PetMD, THC toxicity can be dangerous to animals, so it’s important that you only use CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC.

CBD pet treats typically use the same CBD oil but in a pre-made, edible snack. Some people prefer treats because they’re convenient; however, finding the right dose can be difficult. CBD oil allows for more precise dosing. Of course, you can always break up the treats for a smaller dose, but some pet owners prefer seeing the exact amount they’re giving their pet.

So, if your pet is a picky eater, you might want to opt for CBD oil. That way you can use more creative ways to give your dog medicine. If your pet is ready and willing to eat anything you offer, you may enjoy the convenience of pre-made pet treats. They’re both the same supplement, just in different formats.

Besides considering how you will administer the CBD product, you should also consider how pets absorb CBD. CBD treats are absorbed through the digestive tract, so it’s a great option if you plan on including CBD as part of their long-term diet plan.

If you’re hoping to achieve faster, more powerful results, you may want to give your pet CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue). The CBD is absorbed through your pet’s mucosal system, so the effects will come on quicker and stronger.

Does CBD Actually Work?

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As long as you only buy legitimate CBD from reputable manufacturers, research suggests that CBD can be an effective treatment for certain conditions. For example, according to Forbes, Dr. Joe Wakshlag of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine published a study that showed that CBD helped dogs suffering from osteoarthritis and multi-joint pain.

During the study, researchers focused on 16 dogs that had osteoarthritis and multi-joint pain. For four weeks, every 12 hours, some of the dogs were given CBD oil and others were given a placebo. The researchers monitored the dogs’ mobility and activity to determine their level of pain.

After the study, 80% of the dogs showed “significant improvement in pain levels and quality of life” without discernible side-effects.

Of course, not all pet owners are planning on using CBD to treat physical pain. Some of them are just looking for a way to reduce nervousness, nausea, or sleeplessness, for example. While research is still being done, as of 2019, there’s plenty of scientific and anecdotal evidence that CBD works for humans, so it makes sense that it would also work for pets. Here’s why:

Pets Have Endocannabinoid Systems Too

In many ways, animals aren’t so different from humans. In order to understand why CBD can be a legitimate treatment for pets, you need to understand why CBD works for humans. It all comes down to the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system that’s located throughout your nervous system and brain. The ECS is responsible for regulating several essential functions and maintaining homeostasis in your body. Your ECS directly affects your appetite, sleep, mood, pain, and so much more.

The ECS has receptors that respond to cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Ever wonder why people get sleepy or hungry after smoking marijuana? It’s because those compounds are stimulating receptors in the ECS. CBD also stimulates those receptors. For instance, if you’re feeling anxious or stressed, CBD may signal to your ECS that your mind needs to calm down.

It’s not just humans—nearly every living creature has an ECS. Just like people, animals respond to cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. That’s why many of the same benefits CBD enthusiasts enjoy also apply to pets.

What Can CBD Do?

While scientists are still researching the effects of CBD in both humans and animals, evidence suggests that CBD may offer the following benefits to pets:

Boost immune system
Reduce inflammation
Relieve pain
Calm anxiety
Reduce the risk of seizures
Improve appetite
Help sleeplessness

Talk to Your Vet First

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The American Kennel Club advises that you should always check with your veterinarian before giving your pet CBD (or any other new supplement or medicine). This is especially important if your pet is taking other medications or if there’s an existing health condition.

If your vet decides it’s a good idea, the best approach is to give the animal a small dose to start, and then increase it in small increments as needed. This is important because there’s no FDA-approved dosing recommendation, as of 2019.

Getting Started

If CBD seems like the right choice for your furry companion, it’s crucial that you only buy pet-specific CBD products from reputable brands.

Because CBD is unregulated, there are a lot of fake (and even potentially dangerous) products on the market. CBD is safe, but only if you buy genuine CBD. Always look for products that are independently lab tested and have the certificates to prove it. As long as you do your homework, CBD can be a wonderful addition to your pet’s life, and in turn, yours.

About the Author
Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion and fitness.

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