CBD For Dogs and Cats: Is It Safe? What Do You Need to Know?


For pets with a behavior problem, from separation anxiety to fear of car rides to having accidents outside the litter box, the most common potential solution is cannabidiol or CBD. However, according to a recent story in Forbes: Buyer Beware of CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient of the marijuana plant.

There three major issues:

  • Does CBD help pet parents to deal with pet behavior issues, usually anxiety related? The answer is a definite no one knows. While there’s abundant anecdotal evidence that CBD is very helpful, there’s zero scientific evidence, at least thus far that CBD truly has benefit for pets with anxiety-related behavior problems.
  • In some communities, though legalized it is somehow actually illegal for veterinarians to recommend CBD. In other places, CBD is not legal – but available, though still veterinary professionals can’t speak the about those three letters, at least they are not supposed to. There are also some veterinary professionals – even where it’s perfectly legal to discuss CBD, they just don’t want to because they don’t believe in it or believe if not discussed they maintain no legal or ethical responsibility.
  • Unregulated, not all CBD products are manufactured with the same standards. Periodically, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine tweets a warning to pet owners about unregulated CBD products, Yet, CDB is generally available – definitely pet parents receive mixed messages.

How Safe Are CBD Products?

Recent findings from Leafreport (an international group of unbiased experts founding a website to bring transparency into the CBD industry) found that 56 percent of pet CBD products that were sampled were mislabeled with inaccurate claims.

Leafreport collected a sampling of 55 pet CBD products, and found over half had inaccurate labeling, most often, incorrect levels of CBD. Out of 55 pet products that were independently tested at Las Vegas-based Canalysis Laboratories, 31 contained the wrong amounts of CBD, and many also contained no THC despite being labeled as “full-spectrum CBD,” not that offering THC to pets is a good idea. In fact, THC or the psychoactive active form of the marijuana plant may be dangerous to pets but not all consumers know this.

Also, some companies can be misleading about ingredients such as hempseed oil, which contains antioxidants and fatty acids, but no CBD.

One pet product was particularly deceptive with only about 1.5 precent of the CBD the label claimed it contained, meaning that your pets likely wouldn’t be getting amounts of the healing compound significant enough to do anything.

Dosage is also a question. Not only aren’t dogs and cats people, though dogs do have a similar endocannabinoid systems as humans and CBD is metabolized similar as in people. Still the effects of CBD on a 200-pound person is not going to be the same as in a 10-pound toy dog, which is why titration is a bit more imperative when dealing with pets. Among cats, even less is known.

Source CBD, for instance, provides a dosing calculator for humans and pets, and relies an anecdotal reports from people who claim a variety of beneficial effects on both mammals and reptiles. Repeat – anecdotal reports – but at least something.

Experts suggest starting with a small, even minuscule dose and then to working up to something more. However, human nature being what it is – some suggest more is better.

CBD is Here to Stay

The global pet CBD market is projected to witness considerable growth over the coming years of the forecast period 2018 to 2028, according to data compiled by San Francisco-based TMR Research. In Europe, researchers came to nearly the same conclusion: Data released on July 12 from Dublin, Ireland-based Research and Markets reported similar findings.

Some states in the U.S. are starting to allow specific provisions for veterinarians and medical cannabis, such as Nevada’s forward-thinking Assembly Bill 101, allowing recommendations, sponsored by Assembly member Steve Yeager. Then there’s California’s Assembly Bill No. 2215, approved in 2018, which only allows veterinarians to discuss medical cannabis treatment without fears of repercussions. California’s Assembly Bill 384 would take it a step further, allowing them to give recommendations. Oregon and Washington State Veterinary Medical Associations posted their own cautionary fact sheets for medical cannabis advice online. New York’s Assembly Bill A5172 would offer similar provisions.