If you’re a pet owner, you’re probably attuned to your pet’s moods—when they’re happy, you’re happy. And when they’re anxious, it can be hard to watch your beloved four-legged become an animal you hardly recognize.
Not being able to calm pet anxiety can be upsetting and stressful, and as many of us head back to work after being home with them for so long, our pets may begin exhibiting behaviors tied to separation anxiety and other stressors. If you’re concerned about anxiety in your pet, hope may be within reach.
CBD for pets is gaining in popularity in helping to manage stress and anxiety. Read on for what you need to know.
How CBD works in pets
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive, naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the hemp plant, a type of Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids work within our bodies’ endocannabinoid system, which helps to govern the body’s critical functions and helps the body achieve homeostasis, or balance.
Much like CBD’s myriad effects on the human body, it is thought that CBD works within the bodies of dogs and cats to help achieve a more balanced state, from quelling anxiety to helping alleviate pain and discomfort.
Can CBD help anxiety in pets?
The passage of the Farm Bill in 2018 has meant that CBD is finally being studied for its benefits on humans, but this recent development also means that scientists have a long way to go before giving CBD the green light to be used to treat animals. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD for use in pets, so much of the information surrounding benefits to animals is anecdotal.
Still, many pet owners are quick to evangelize the positive impacts of full spectrum CBD oil to help quell stress and anxiety in their pets. According to the American Kennel Club, “While there’s no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, there’s anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, as well as helping to control seizures."
And, according to AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, “CBD is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use.”
Chief veterinary officer for scientific affairs and public policy at the American Veterinary Medical Association, Gail Golab tells the Washington Post, “‘It’s not that we don’t see potential in these products, because we do. It’s that we want their potential to be demonstrated through FDA approval and we want to make sure that owners can be confident that what they’re giving their animal is something that’s actually going to help them.’”
The hope is, with further study, that CBD will be scientifically proven to be beneficial to pets—including those suffering from anxiety and even epilepsy.
In fact, according to an article published in February 2021, the AKC Canine Foundation (CHF) is “sponsoring a study through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. The CHF hopes that this will be the first study to gain scientific data on the use of CBD in dogs with this condition.”
How should CBD be used in pets?
“As with anything you give your beloved pets, consulting your vet should be the first step you take in helping to alleviate their anxiety or other symptoms,” notes Sarah Mirsini, founder of MASK CBD Skincare.
“If your vet gives the green light for you to try hemp-derived CBD for your pet, we suggest a broad spectrum CBD tincture that’s undergone third party testing for purity and efficacy, like this trusted one from Iremia CBD. Always start with a small dosage, and keep in touch with your vet about your pet’s progress. And never give your pet products that contain THC, which can be detrimental to their health.”
Despite cautioning that pet owners go slow with CBD, Mirsini remains optimistic about its benefits to pets.
“While CBD is still being studied for its impacts on pet health—particularly in dogs and cats—we have many customers who swear it’s improved their pets’ stress and anxiety levels, joint pain and inflammation. We are looking forward to the day when the FDA conducts its research and we have sound scientific evidence to back up what we’re hearing firsthand from our fellow pet owners—that CBD works on pets.”