How much do you know about CBD for pets? Ever since becoming legal in all 50 states, CBD has become the subject of a lot of attention. CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of the compounds found in marijuana, but most of the CBD products sold today are made from hemp instead.
CBD is different from THC, making it a good choice for alternative uses like treating pets. But before giving your pets any kind of alternative treatments, it is essential to know what these products do and how to dose them correctly.
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CBD Dosage Calculators for Pets
Pets can vary greatly in weight and size, not to mention species. Learn about the many potential uses of CBD oil for pets and what you need to know before giving it a try. Use our CBD calculator to figure out the right dosage.
Please consult your doctor before taking CBD or a vet before giving CBD to your pets. CBD is not approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement. Our articles and calculator on CBD are for information purposes only. Learn more about the FDA's stance on CBD.
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What Is CBD?
CBD is one of the many compounds found in both marijuana and hemp. While THC is responsible for the best-known effects that come from weed, CBD has been shown in some studies to have more of a pain-relieving effect without the noticeable high.
However, the FDA has not approved CBD oil on its own as a treatment for any particular condition for either humans or animals. Only minimal scientific research has been done to establish the effects of CBD, but many of them involved animal trials that give some insight into the potential of the compound for pets in particular.
The Farm Bill of 2018 established that CBD extracted from hemp plants with less than 0.3% THC is legal to buy and own on the federal level. However, each state and county can still set restrictions on who’s allowed to buy it and how much they can have.
Many people aren’t aware of that and assume that CBD is equally legal everywhere. Check for local restrictions or talk to your vet before assuming it’s available and legal for you to administer to your pet. It’s not legal for any CBD products to make any concrete medical claims, even if they’re only for pets.
CBD vs. THC for Pets
Both CBD and THC compounds are cannabinoids, chemicals that scientists believe protect plants from insects or sun damage. It is a common misconception that THC is the only psychoactive compound in marijuana or that CBD is not psychoactive.
Is CBD Safe for Pets?
With little scientific evidence on the effects or side effects of CBD, it’s hard to say if it’s a good idea to try or not. However, the animal studies on CBD that have been completed show few negative side effects.
There is one FDA-approved CBD-based treatment that veterinarians can prescribe for seizures in pets, Epidiolex. This establishes that CBD is at least safe to try for cats and dogs in the suggested dosages, even if it is an off-label supplement use.
When to Consider Giving CBD to Your Pets
So if CBD is generally considered safe for pets and it’s available as a supplement, when should it be used? It is not a cure-all treatment for every condition, despite what some marketing materials for the products may claim. There are some very specific situations where cats and dogs may benefit from taking a CBD oil for pets or treats containing it. Some of these conditions may include:
- Arthritis and similar joint pain conditions, especially in dogs, which is supported by a 2018 study
- Epilepsy and other seizure disorders, which have been studied by Colorado State University in clinical trials
- Anxiety, although this use has some of the lowest scientific evidence supporting it due to a lack of long-term research into CBD in general
There are anecdotal reports from pet owners across the web of other potential uses for CBD for pets. However, pet owners should tread with caution and try out conservative doses before assuming CBD will work for any particular animal ailment. CBD could always cause a pet to become less active or lower their appetite, which may be the opposite effect you’re looking for from the supplement.
CBD Dosing for Pets
CBD dosages are recommended by weight for pets. The amount per lb varies between species as well, with cats needing a different ratio than dogs. CBD content is generally listed by the milligrams, making it easy to keep track of dosage regardless of whether you are using an oil or treats containing it.
The dosages are listed as a range here. Start with the lowest amount listed and try raising the amount if your pet responds well with no negative side effects. Don’t use more than the maximum amount listed for the weight of your pet.
Daily Dosage of CBD for Cats
- 4 lbs — 1 mg to 2 mg
- 5 lbs — 1.25 mg to 2.5 mg
- 6 lbs — 1.5 mg to 3 mg
- 7 lbs — 1.75 to 3.5 mg
- 8 lbs — 2 mg to 4 mg
- 9 lbs — 2.25 mg to 4.5 mg
- 10 lbs — 2.5 to 5 mg
- Above 10 lbs — .25 to .5 mg for every additional lb of body weight
CBD for Dogs
- 5 to 10 lbs — 2.5 mg to 9 mg
- 10 to 20 lbs — 4.5 mg to 18 mg
- 20 to 30 lbs — 9 mg to 27 mg
- 30 to 40 lbs — 13 mg to 36 mg
- 40 to 50 lbs — 18 mg to 45 mg
- 50 to 60 lbs — 22 mg to 54 mg
- 60 to 70 lbs — 27 mg to 63 mg
- 70 to 80 lbs — 31 mg to 72 mg
- Above 80 lbs — 1 to 2 mg per 2.2 lbs of body weight
Which Forms of CBD Oil for Pets Are Easiest to Apply?
Of course, you’ll need to actually get your pet to consume the CBD oil to gain any potential benefits. There are many options for application, ranging from oils you will need to give them by mouth to tasty treats and topical drops.
Treats are the easiest, but they can lose potency over time and are harder to store than oils. Your pet may resist your attempts to give them a pure CBD oil for pets by mouth, so look for a flavored variety. Topical products have not been shown to work for pets, so stick to products they consume.
Vets can’t make recommendations for CBD products in many states other than the official FDA-approved treatment for epilepsy. You should still discuss your plans with your vet to ensure your pet’s other conditions or medications have no chance for a negative interaction. With care and attention to your pet’s individual reaction to CBD, you should be able to safely give it a try.
CBD Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before taking CBD or a vet before giving CBD to your pets. Not all CBD products are approved by the FDA. Our articles and calculator on CBD are for information purposes only. Learn more about the FDA’s stance on CBD.