CBD for Pets
CBD for Pets

CBD for Pets. Is it illegal in the UK?

Whilst there are potentially many benefits in using CBD for pets including; managing anxiety, stress, and pain, currently in the UK, it can only be given to pets with a prescription from a VET.

In the US, specific veterinarian-formulated CBD products have been widely available to pet owners for some time. Hopefully this will soon be the case in the UK.

On a very fundamental level, our pets are not that different from us in terms of body functions. They breathe, eat, sleep, reproduce and have emotions as we do.

Similarly, their health issues are not that different, with aliments such as flu, stomach upset, chronic pain and anxiety.

However, our pets may well be more vulnerable to medicinal side effects, and so dosage of any medication needs to be carefully and professionally monitored.

With this in mind, pet owners are now seeking more naturally sourced supplements or herbal remedies in place of heavy medicines/antibiotics to save their pets from side effects.

CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive constituent of the cannabis Sativa plant, has taken the pet world by storm due to its health benefits.

There are numerous success stories from pet owners have flooded the internet reporting their pets’ recovery from cancer, arthritis and anxiety following CBD use. (1)

So, let’s dive into the topic to explore more what health problems in pets could be better off by CBD.

Is CBD good for pets?

CBD is good for pets. Various anecdotal evidence by pet owners showed how effective CBD was for their cats and dogs. Research supported CBD for dogs and other animals to cure their anxiety, pain, arthritis, seizures and aggressive behaviour.

CBD for anxiety in dogs:

Canine anxiety, sadness and being emotional due to sound aversions, loneliness and fear of separation are not uncommon. Giving CBD to dogs is possibly the safest yet side-effect free way to calm their fears.

FACT: A study (2013) published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that up to 50% of dogs exhibit at least one fearful behaviour following exposure to intense sounds, and they could become hyperactive or stop their activities in response (2).

Studies have supported CBD’s anti-anxiety effects on humans and animals. (link this to CBD for anxiety article). It is because humans and animals possess an endocannabinoid system (ECS) on which CBD acts by an unknown mechanism to bring calming and relaxing effects.

CBD for dogs in pain

Like in humans, CBD helps relieve painful body conditions in animals too.

A study conducted by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (USA) found that giving CBD at a dose of 2 mg/kg (twice daily for a month) relieved significant pain and improved activity in dogs with osteoarthritis (3).

Dog owners have also reported success stories of how CBD cured arthritis in their dogs (4).

CBD for aggressive behaviours in dogs:

A study (2021) published in Scientific Reports found CBD use in dogs reduces aggressive behaviour toward humans (5).

CBD for seizures in dogs:

 A study (randomised control trial) published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found reduced seizure frequency in the dogs, with no behavioural side effects (6).

CBD for cats:

Cats can have CBD for anti-anxiety and pain-relieving effects. However, less information is available specifically related to CBD for cats. Nevertheless, cat owners have regarded CBD use as an effective treatment for their furry friends.

Is CBD safe for my pet?

Based on research and anecdotal evidence, CBD appears safe for pets. No major side effects were reported (when used in a small dosage) except sleepiness and stomach upset, as per PetMD (7).

However, we cannot emphasise enough to use only THC-free forms of CBD, such as Broad spectrum and isolates, as THC can be toxic for animals.

How to give CBD to pets?

CBD is available in various forms, but tablets, creams and liquid forms are more popular for pets.

Liquid forms such as CBD drops are better and could be given orally (directly) or mix it in their food.

CBD products for pets in the UK:

A variety of CBD products are available that claim to be pet friendly.

However, companies are not allowed to sell CBD with packaging labels “suitable for pets” (except for using a pet image). Hence, pets can consume human CBD products, but only with a prescription from a VET.

What would be the preferred dose of CBD for pets?

There is no definite CBD dose for pets. As human CBD products are used for animals, their dosage needs to be prescribed and adjusted based on their body weight, otherwise it would either not work or cause harmful effects in case of overdose.

Important: Giving CBD to pets without a veterinary prescription is an offence under Regulation 8 of the VMR (Veterinary Medicine Regulation) (1).

There are currently no specific CBD products for Pets approved in the UK for veterinary use.

However, human CBD products are used by adjusting the dosage for different animals by body weight. You need to get CBD prescribed by a veterinary surgeon who will advise the right dose for your pet.

Caution:

  • Do not give CBD if your pet previously suffered any side effects with CBD.
  • Do not give CBD to your pet without veterinary advice.
  • Do not give CBD more than prescribed
  • Do not give full spectrum CBD or CBD with THC, which could be toxic to animals

In Summary:

CBD has remarkable health benefits for humans as well as animals.

Research studies and anecdotal evidence revealed that CBD could be helpful against anxiety, seizures, pain, arthritis and behavioural issues in pets.

Currently, there is no pet CBD authorised in the UK, and hence only human CBD is used for pets after prescription and careful dose adjustment by the VET.

CBD isolates and broad-spectrum CBDs are only suitable for pets due to no THC, which otherwise could be harmful.


Resources:

  1. VMD statement on veterinary medicinal products containing Cannabidiol. (n.d.). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vmd-statement-on-veterinary-medicinal-products-containing-cannabidiol
  2. Blackwell, E. J., Bradshaw, J. W. S., & Casey, R. A. (2013). Fear responses to noises in domestic dogs: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear related behaviour. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 145(1-2), 15–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2012.12.004
  3. Gamble, L.-J., Boesch, J. M., Frye, C. W., Schwark, W. S., Mann, S., Wolfe, L., Brown, H., Berthelsen, E. S., & Wakshlag, J. J. (2018). Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165
  4. Coile, C., Jul 01, P., Jul 01, 2021 | 5 M., & Minutes, 2021 | 5. (n.d.). Does CBD Work for Dogs? American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/does-cbd-work-for-dogs/
  5. Corsetti, S., Borruso, S., Malandrucco, L., Spallucci, V., Maragliano, L., Perino, R., D’Agostino, P., & Natoli, E. (2021). Cannabis sativa L. may reduce aggressive behaviour towards humans in shelter dogs. Scientific Reports, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-82439-2
  6. McGrath, S., Bartner, L. R., Rao, S., Packer, R. A., & Gustafson, D. L. (2019). Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 254(11), 1301–1308. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.254.11.1301
  7. Coates, J. (n.d.). Is CBD Safe for Cats? Www.petmd.com. Retrieved August 20, 2022, from https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/cbd-safe-cats