The US is a nation of pet lovers. There are around 90 million dogs, and 58 million cats being cared for in the states today. To try and quantify how much the average pet owner loves their companions, you only need to look at the annual expenditure on them.
When Covid hit, many more people stayed at home with their pets than usual. In 2020, $99 billion was spent on pets in the US according to Britannica. Perhaps more surprising though is that 11% of dog owners plus 8% of cat owners were spending some of that money on CBD for pets.
There is not only a growing trend for pet owners to share their CBD beliefs with their pets, but suppliers are making pet-centric products, especially for this market.
But, is it wise to give CBD oil to a dog or a cat, and what benefits can it bring? Is it even considered safe for a dog to ingest CBD?
Why would you want to give your pets CBD?
Pets can suffer from numerous physical ailments, and mental health issues just as their owners can. The reasons for giving CBD oil to pets are actually very similar to why humans decide to try oils, tinctures, and gummies; to relieve symptoms of a particular condition.
The top cause for a pet owner to try CBD oil on their dog or cat is anxiety and stress. 46% of pet owners who give CBD to their animals said they did so to relieve anxiety and reduce symptoms of stress.
The other reasons for CBD use in pets are as follows:
- Pain relief – 25%
- Cancer – 7%
- Seizures – 7%
- Digestive – 4%
- Other reasons – 57%
Respondents were allowed to select more than one reason for the use of CBD oil for their pets. Out of all the respondents to this survey by Woof Whiskers, 86% said they saw positive results.
The average spend by a dog owner on CBD was $42 a month, and the market for this area is growing rapidly. In 2018, the CBD for pets market was worth just $32 million. Just 12 months later it grew to $400 million. Once Covid arrived and people were spending more time with their dogs and cats, the market rose again to $629 million by the end of 2021.
Many different products are now on the market including chews and tinctures. Some tinctures such as Calm Down Buddy are designed for calming pets and are blended with terpenes to reduce stress.
Why do pets get anxious and stressed?
All animals can get stressed or anxious but it is perhaps most obvious in cats and dogs as people spend more time around them. The symptoms are perhaps more noticeable because of this.
Dogs can suffer from anxiety for a few reasons. The main types of anxiety in dogs are these:
- Separation anxiety
- Age-related anxiety
- Fear-related anxiety
Separation anxiety is perhaps the most common type with around 14% of all dogs being affected by this disorder to some degree. It manifests itself when the dog is left alone or is left with strangers.
Age-related anxiety can stem from cognitive functions breaking down as the dog gets older. This can lead to confusion and then anxiety.
Fear-related anxiety is commonly seen when a dog experiences a new situation. This could be traveling in a car for the first time, or when it meets other dogs or people. Dogs can also have genuine phobias and common ones include storms.
In humans, anxiety can affect relationships, and in pets, it is the same. Pets suffering from anxiety can pull away from their owners, bark constantly, become aggressive, and bite.
It is for these reasons that many pet lovers are now trying CBD oil as a way to manage symptoms of anxiety, and help their dog or cat find calmness.
What type of CBD products should you give your pet?
There are different forms of CBD for dogs but liquid is the best option. It is easy to digest and to administer. The dosage can be controlled easily too. Oils or tinctures are the best options, and it is preferable to buy one that is specifically aimed at pets.
Avoid any nasty additives. This means either purchasing an organic CBD oil or avoiding ones containing fungicides and other additives such as pesticides. A simple way to do this is to avoid purchasing cheap CBD oils. Buy a quality product for your pet as you would for yourself.
You may know how to relax your body and mind from anxiety but your dog doesn’t. If you want to help them with their symptoms then buy a good CBD oil that isn’t filled with unhealthy additives.
Is it safe and legal to use CBD on a pet?
It should be fine to give CBD to your pet but to be on the safe side, products that are specifically catering to dogs and cats should be used. As for the legality of CBD for pets, this is okay too, but there are some gray areas.
You won’t be able to ask your vet for advice on CBD or to administer it. It is illegal for vets to use CBD products to treat animals. They are also not supposed to get into discussions surrounding cannabis or CBD with pet owners either.
While the use of CBD for pets is deemed to be largely safe, there may be some side effects.
These typically include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Dry mouth
CBD can also cause vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea in some cases. To avoid side effects, a low dosage should be used.
Things to be aware of when giving CBD to your pet
The FDA has so far not given approval to any dog or cat CBD products. There is therefore no regulation surrounding the CBD for the pet sector.
This is a good reason why only high-quality CBD oils and those specifically blended for pets should be used. Another reason to use pet CBD oil only is to avoid THC.
THC is toxic for cats and dogs even in low dosages, so it should be avoided completely. Look for labels that show 0% THC when purchasing pet CBD oil.
THC poisoning can last for 24 hours as dogs cannot process the compound in the same way humans can, and it can be very unpleasant for animals to cope with and can result in a coma. The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center reported that in 2019 there was a 765% rise in calls concerning pets that had ingested marijuana. As these products become increasingly legalized, there is some added responsibility for the users.
Although there isn’t enough scientific evidence to confidently state that CBD oil will reduce symptoms of anxiety in dogs, there are studies that have proven positive results. The majority of pet owners using CBD oil on their dogs have reported that they have witnessed positive changes in their animals.
Terpenes have been proven to reduce stress in animals and pets. A quality CBD blended with terpenes could help to relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress. This could then result in a happier pet able to cope in stressful situations. It may also result in a closer bond between you and your dog or perhaps a cat.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.