CBD for pets

CBD Dosing For Pets

With CBD use growing rapidly in the United States and many people are finding relief from it, it has caused some to wonder if CBD oil might be good for pets as well. Some may find the idea odd at first, but others swear by it, and there is starting to be solid research stating the benefits that come from using CBD oil for dogs, cats and even horses.


Why Use CBD Oil for Pets?

There are many reasons why you would want to use CBD oil for your pet, just as there are many reasons why you’d consider the use of CBD oil for yourself. CBD has a wide range of uses-cases in relation to health and wellness reasons, including the potential to aid conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and more.. Many people with pets have begun looking into CBD oil use for pain and inflammation reasons because veterinarian-prescribed medications can be costly and come with a variety of unwanted side effects. Other people use CBD for their pets to help calm them on particularly stressful occasions, such as during travel or when fireworks are going off in the neighborhood.

There is still a lot of research that needs to be done to determine all of the ways that CBD may benefit animals, but many consumers have found relief in using CBD for the little furry loved ones in their life. If you are someone who is interested in more natural alternatives to prescription medications for your pets, then CBD might be worth looking into further. 

One study was done by Dr. Joseph Wakshlag of Cornell University and published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Titled “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs,” the study looked at the effects of a hemp-based cannabidiol product to treat pain from arthritis in dogs. More than 80% of the dogs in the study saw a significant decrease in pain and improved mobility. 

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How Does CBD Oil Work, and Can it Work for Pets?

CBD is a cannabinoid, a compound that is found in the cannabis plant. There are over 100 known cannabinoids, with the two most prevalent being CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound in marijuana that is most commonly known for producing a psychoactive high, but in hemp-based CBD oil there is less than 0.3% THC. 

Cannabinoids work by their effects on the endocannabinoid system, which is a biological system in which neurotransmitters bind to cannabinoid receptors (CBRs). The endocannabinoid system may be involved in regulating physiological and cognitive processes including everything from pregnancy and fertility to the immune system to pain sensation to mood and memory. And the key thing here is that the endocannabinoid system is present in all mammals, not just humans. Dogs, cats, horses, and other animals all have endocannabinoid systems. It is believed that they may operate somewhat differently  - particularly that different animals have different amounts of CBRs - but all of them respond to the effects of CBD. 


What Dose of CBD Should I Give My Dog?

Choosing the correct dose of CBD for your dog can be a tricky thing, for two main reasons. First, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. And second, because not all CBD manufacturers have the same available strengths of CBD oil. Not to mention, the dosage depends on what type of condition you’re trying to help your dog with. So, the truth is that there is no standard guideline that applies to all dogs. The best we can give are approximations and, just as you would do with yourself trying CBD for the first time, start low and work your way up.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you should consult your veterinarian before you ever begin a CBD regimen with your dog or any pet for that matter. Many vets will have worked with CBD before and have very good advice that can help you and your dog adjust to the CBD treatment. 

Next, you need to take into account your dog’s activity level and health conditions. A very energetic dog with a high metabolism could probably take a higher dose of CBD than a dog that spends most of its day sedentary. 

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How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

Again, you should start small and work your way up. But here is general guidance on how much CBD is typically used for dogs.

A great starting point is roughly 2mg of CBD per every 10 pounds of weight. For example, a dog that weighs 50 pounds should start with a dose of about 10mg or less. It is always best to start lower and gradually increase the dose overtime, as needed. 

One of the main side effects of CBD use in dogs is an upset stomach; however, this usually only lasts a few days while your dog is getting used to metabolizing the CBD oil. They may additionally experience an increase in thirst, so be sure to make sure they have easy access to water. 

The CBD oil can be put in the dog’s mouth through the dropper or, if the dog doesn’t like that, it can also be mixed in with their food. Additionally, there are also many different types of CBD dog treats and chews on the market that may make administering CBD much easier. 

What Dose of CBD Should I Give My Cat?

Cats also have an endocannabinoid system, just like dogs and humans, so CBD may also help them with conditions like chronic pain, arthritis, and anxiety. While the Cornell University study mentioned above only referred to dogs, there was another study done on cats which showed that, while not definitively effective, it is at least as safe for cats as it is for dogs. However, that study further showed that CBD is absorbed differently in cats than it is in dogs, and therefore the dosing of CBD oil in cats will need to follow a different formula than that of their canine friends. 

The suggested  dose of CBD for cats is 2mg to 4mg of CBD per 10 pounds of weight. Note that this is a slightly higher dose than that of dogs, and that is because of the differences in the cat and dog endocannabinoid systems. Cats don’t have as many cannabinoid receptors as dogs, so they typically need a stronger dose. 

It takes about 15-45 minutes for the CBD to reach its full effect, and that effect can last for up to six hours. All of this, however, will depend on the breed, the activity level, and the health of the cat.

CBD for cats

What Dose of CBD Should I Give My Horse?

Yes, horses have endocannabinoid systems too! However, much less research has gone into the study of cannabinoids with horses, so while these are general guidelines, make sure that you talk to your veterinarian before starting your horse on any CBD oil. 

Dosing CBD for horses can vary widely due to the fact that horses come in a variety of sizes and their activity level may vary tremendously. Because there are very few studies done on CBD use for horses, it is hard to recommend exactly how to dose; therefore, the recommendation to start low and gradually increase holds true. Some general guidelines are as follows: miniature horses average about 25mg - 50mg of CBD, full-sized horses average about 75mg to 170mg of CBD and large breeds of horses may average closer to 120mg to 200mg of CBD.

It is also worth noting that if you are using your horse in competitions, horses are drug tested, and the United States Equestrian Foundation stated in 2019 that positive test results for cannabinoids will be in violation of competition regulations.s. These tests will test for natural cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids and other cannabimimetics and will all result in violations. 

CBD for horses


While there is still much that we don’t know about the effects of CBD oil on pets and other animals, we do know that all mammals have endocannabinoid systems that have receptors for cannabinoids.  Additionally, we know that at least one study has shown great promise in treating dogs for pain, and another study shows that CBD is as healthy for cats as it is for dogs. For now, the best pathway forward is to do your best with the information you have, to start small and work your way up to a stronger dose, and to be cautiously optimistic.

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