CBD For Pets – What is the Evidence?

16th September 2019

Alongside the small, brown bottles of CBD oils; yellow, oil-filled capsules; and clean white pots of CBD skincare, CBD pet treats are becoming more common. Some pet owners swear by giving their pets CBD, but should you try it with your furry friend?

Many owners have given their pets CBD in the hope that it will alleviate pain and anxiety. It is commonly used to manage arthritis or calm pets when there are fireworks.

It is easy to find anecdotal evidence on the internet that supports the use of CBD on your pets. Owners have been extremely vocal about the effects they have experienced when using the Cannabis derivative. However, there has been little scientific research to support this.

One small study in the US showed that CBD was effective in decreasing pain in dogs with osteoarthritis. Researchers found that after treatment, dogs showed a decrease in pain and an increase in activity. Another carried out by American veterinarian, Stephanie Mcgrath, found that CBD had the potential to reduce seizures in epileptic dogs.

The studies also showed that there were no observable side effects to the CBD treatment. This being said, it was found that there was often an increase in the liver enzyme alkaline phosphate. A significantly high level of this enzyme can lead to liver disease. However, McGrath found that none of the dogs’ livers were failing.

Veterinarian Stephanie McGrath, said:

“If CBD works, then I think it would hit the mark of being both effective and not carrying a lot of side effects. [However], I would definitely be a little concerned about giving CBD to a dog that has known liver issues,”

The legality of CBD pet products is somewhat of a grey area in the UK, with confusion over whether the same rules of human supplements apply. However, there are currently none available on the market which have accreditation from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

The VMD stated, last year, that any CBD products administered to animals as medicine, or with a view of “restoring, correcting, or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action or to making a medical diagnosis.”

The important thing to remember if you are thinking of giving CBD to your pet is awareness of quality control. Always ensure that you know exactly what is in the product, and do not give your pets anything that was only made for humans.

Some ingredients used in human products can be toxic to animals. Ingredients such as THC (another Cannabinoid), and Xylitol (an artificial sweetener) can be harmful to your pets.

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