Thinking about CBD for your pet? Talk to your vet first

Thinking about CBD for your pet? Talk to your vet first - Vetster

Cannabidiol (CBD) — the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana — is all the rage right now. Have a backache? Smooth on some CBD cream. Your head hurts? Try a CBD gummy. Dry, chapped lips? CBD-infused lip balm to the rescue! It seems like every concern has a CBD solution. Legalization of CBD products has helped it become pretty commonplace as a home remedy.

People swear by CBD so fiercely that they’ve started to use it with their pets, as well. But before you jump on that bandwagon, it’s important to talk to your Vetster vet. CBD in animals has not been thoroughly studied, and there are some things you need to know before dosing your pet.

Is CBD safe for pets?

The short answer is, we don’t know for sure. The medical benefits of CBD in pets has yet to be scientifically proven, and it’s possible that any product you’re giving your pet could be harmful because of other ingredients like xylitol or THC contamination. We don’t have widespread scientific evidence that shows the correct dosage, or the proper ingestion method. It’s also practically impossible at this point to know if the CBD product you’ve purchased actually has CBD in it, due to lack of regulations on the chemical and their manufacture. There’s a lot to consider.

“The way the body responds to CBD isn't fully understood in people yet, let alone in the different species of animals,” says Vetster veterinarian Dr. Jo Myers. “We're just getting started when it comes to learning the answers to questions like this. It takes a lot of time to do the types of scientific studies that are the only way to gather the necessary evidence to answer questions like this, and studies like this were illegal until recently.”

Is CBD for pets legal?

Though CBD is legal in every state, Canada, and the UK, some areas have caveats to the laws and some have different regulations. Dr. Jo notes that she’s able to speak about CBD because it’s fully legal to produce and sell in her home state, Colorado. But she says 14 states have murky laws that make it more difficult and restricted. Even finding a veterinarian to speak about the topic was difficult because of all the rules. Your vet will have more information about what’s legal and not in your state for your pets, but it helps to familiarize yourself with the laws around the world beforehand.

Does CBD for pets work?

Again, another short answer for this one: We don’t know for sure. Quality control for CBD is pretty lacking across the board, so we can’t really know the full CBD content or THC content of many products. Until we do, it’s likely best to avoid using it for pets without seeking the guidance of a veterinarian.

“We still don't know everything we need to know about CBD, including its safety profile in different species of pets,” says Dr. Jo. “Many CBD products that have been on the market and are popular appear to be safe because we're not flooded with reports of these products making animals sick (at least if they're free from toxins), but keep in mind that we don't even know if there's any CBD in these products or if they actually contain what the label claims.”

And as goes for everything, a lack of reporting on the negative side effects doesn’t mean they don’t happen, nor does it mean that the product is useful.

Veterinarians are just as eager to learn more about CBD for pets as pet parents are, but until the bulk of the scientific research is done, make sure you’re checking with your vet before giving your pet anything CBD-related, including pet-specific CBD products already on the market.

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.
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