The Ultimate Guide to CBD Pet Products

Jason Mueller

August 23rd, 2017


Pedigree dog outdoors on a sunny summer day.

Decades of study show irrefutable proof that cannabis has medicinal properties. While case studies pile up of cancer-afflicted patients curing themselves with cannabis-based oils, it is obvious why veterinarians became interested in potential healing benefits of cannabis for dogs and cats. As dogs and cats both have an endocannabinoid system capable of processing CBD and THC, it is possible to administer cannabis-based medicines to pets, given proper veterinarian instruction and recommendation. CBD products for pets are widely available and legal in many States, available in a variety of forms for a wide breadth of ailments, and their benefits weighed against their risks prove CBD medicine for pets to be effective and safe.

Legal Status of CBD Pet Products

According to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), all cannabis-based products are still illegal in the eyes of the Federal government, yet many States have enacted statewide legislation legalizing cannabis as medicine. In March, 2015, Nevada Senator, Tick Segerblom introduced SB 372, which would have let vets issue MMJ cards to pets if both the pet owner and their vet believed cannabis could help treat the pet. This legislation did not pass, but it was the first instance of legislation specifically concerning CBD products for pets.

Despite there being no laws specifically protecting the right to treat pets with cannabis, in California, it is actually illegal for vets to prescribe or recommend cannabis-based products for pets. “Our hands really are tied,” Ken Pawlowski once stated on record, while acting as the President of the California Veterinary Medical Association. Any vet recommending cannabis for pets in CA will risk losing their veterinary license, so be aware of this law prior to asking your vet to potentially risk their practice.

Types of CBD Medicine for Pets

A variety of types of CBD medicine are manufactured specifically for pets and each has benefits for different illnesses. The main types of cannabis-based medicine for pets include:

• CBD Oil Extracts
• Tinctures
• CBD Topical Ointments
• Edibles

Most important to identify, are hemp-derived CBD products marketed as medicine for pets, as they are often modern day snake oil. Hemp, the male variety of the cannabis plant, has very low percentages of CBD and THC. Female plants have been bred for the quality of high CBD levels over time, and the best medicine is always made from the female cannabis plant. Beware of companies that market their hemp-derived CBD oil as having curative properties – the most medicinally sound extracts and whole-plant medicines will not be extracted from hemp.

That being said, transportation, production, and processing of hemp into extracts are all much easier for companies as any active THC in a product makes it a Schedule I drug.
While CBD oil extracts are potent and effective for anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and cancer treating properties, sometimes whole-plant medicine is recommended, which is where edibles come in handy. They offer a broader scope of cannabinoids. Tinctures are often less potent than oil, but are easily added to water. Skin illnesses such as eczema are best addressed locally with topical ointments. Depending on the condition of your pet, any or all of these treatments may be recommended, on a schedule according to your vet.

Effects of CBD on Animals

CBD entered the mainstream scene of medical treatments on the tongues of everyone for its lack of psychoactive properties. While THC medicines will inevitably cause effects of intoxication synonymous with “being high”, even high doses of CBD reportedly have few side effects on pets. Most commonly, a CBD “overdose” would result in drowsiness for a few hours and nothing more. More intense side effects that have been reported include itchiness and rare cases of vomiting. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, stop using the CBD product in question and consult your vet. Often times, a simple adjustment to daily dose will eliminate these symptoms of overconsumption. According to research, dogs process CBD slightly differently than humans – their cannabinoid receptors form loose connections with CBD, but they “stick” much longer than they do in humans. This has led scientists to believe that the benefits of CBD treatment are longer-lasting in dogs than in humans.

Benefits and Risks of CBD

Every medical treatment has benefits and risks, but CBD treatment for pets has an attractive risk to reward ratio. For example: symptoms of over-consumption of CBD in pets include mild vomiting and excessive itching at worst. In cases of anxiety in pets, such as during fireworks displays, some vets prescribe Xanax for pets, (in doses appropriate for their weight, of course). CBD is non-toxic in comparison to Xanax, yet proven to cause calming effects in pets. At best, there have been anecdotal cases of pet owners treating their pets’ cancer with cannabis-based medicines effectively (see here). While these results cannot be promised for every case, given the low risks associated with CBD treatment of pets, cannabis treatments are often tried as a last result, after traditional treatments have run their course and failed.

Reputable CBD Pet Brands

With the enormous market potential in the cannabis industry right now, it can be difficult to sort through which brands are giving you the best medicine for your money. Hemp-derived CBD products without any active THC are more easily manufactured and transported, but extracts from female plants are always best. Some brands that have been proven reputable include:

Populum: This company offers a 30 day risk-free trial as well as higher extraction purity than their competitors, (~80% concentration). They are based locally in the US, headquartered out of Colorado.

Delta Botanicals: Also based in Colorado, Delta Botanicals offers a variety of flavors for their CBD oil line, including an unflavored version ideal for mixing with water.

CBDFX: Based in Europe, CBDFX once only offered vaporization products, but now offers flavored shots and capsules of CBD oil. In cases where pets refuse to drink water treated with CBD oil, capsules can be an effective solution.

Bluebird Botanicals: Also based in Europe, Bluebird Botanicals offers tinctures and topical ointment CBD products. They offer a money-back guarantee and their products have no distinct flavor.


Q) Will CBD products get my pet(s) “high”?
A) No. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis that has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anti-tumor properties. Even in cases of “overdose”, the most common symptom a pet will experience is drowsiness.

Q: Is CBD legal?

A) According to Federal law, CBD products are derivatives of cannabis, making them schedule I drugs. Loopholes have allowed manufacturing and transportation of CBD products across most States, provided there is no active THC. This hasn’t stopped the DEA and FDA from working to undermine the CBD industry. However, in most States with legislation allowing cannabis for medical or recreational purposes, CBD can be legally administered to pets. In CA, however, vets can actually lose their licenses for recommending cannabis for pets.

Q: What is the best brand of CBD product for my pet?

A) There are many reputable CBD products on the market like Populum or CBDFX, but the best brand of CBD product for your pet will depend on your pet’s ailment and the best type of medicine to address it. Always, the best medicine will be extracted from female cannabis plants.

Q) What dosage of CBD should I give my pet?

A) The answer to this question is variable, depending on the type of CBD medicine you’re administering and the illness that you are treating. Most CBD products will include dosage instructions on their packaging, so find products specifically made for pets rather than using CBD products meant for humans on your pets. This will help address dosage because medicines for pets are often mixed into base solutions to dillute the CBD enough to be effective for smaller animals than humans.

Q)  Where is the best place to find CBD products for my pet?

A)  As most States have ambiguous or no laws at all regarding cannabis-based medicine for pets, many retail purveyors of pet supplies like PetCo or PetSmart will not carry CBD products, even in States where cannabis is legal.  By far, the best way to get CBD medicine for pets is online, directly from the manufacturers.  Most companies offer several shipping options, and provided there is no active THC in the product you need, there are no concerns about seizure of your product along the way.

Jason Mueller

About Jason Mueller

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