Can Pets Have CBD Oil? A Vet Says It's Critical To Do Your Research First

About a year ago, my brother's dog Maddux was in a car accident with him. Luckily, both of them emerged entirely unharmed, but after that day, Maddux has been anxious in a number of situations that he was totally comfortable in before. My family has since been trying to find ways to calm him down, so when I came across the idea of using CBD for not just humans, but for your canine pals as well, I was totally intrigued. According to an expert, pets can have CBD oil, but there are a few things you should know before treating your pup.

Just in case you need a little reminder, according to Project CBD, CBD is short for "cannabidiol," which is a cannabis compound that doesn't get you high (unlike THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which does have those psychoactive properties). The nonprofit says CBD potentially has "significant medical benefits," particularly for conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain, arthritis, diabetes, and even depression.

Now, when it comes to the idea of treating pets with CBD, I can totally understand if you're hesitant about it. I mean, personally, I freaked out when I gave my kitten catnip for the first time because, IMO, it basically turned him into an entirely unrecognizable cat. Having said that, it's comforting to know that administering CBD oil probably won't turn your lovable fur baby into a total stoner. "Depending on the nature of the product, if it contains little or no THC, then the dog is not going to get high," Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital, told PetMD.

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According to Texas-based veterinarian John Faught, DVM, who's the chief medical officer at Firehouse Animal Health Center, there's still plenty of research that needs to be done in this field, but giving your furry companion CBD oil may have some serious benefits. "For pets at this time," he tells Elite Daily in an email, "there is at least a theoretical belief that CBD might help with seizures, anxiety, pain, appetite stimulation, and a myriad of other issues."

Of course, Faught cautions, it's definitely best to talk with your pet's vet before having them experiment with any CBD products you might come across. While you can certainly find these types of products pretty easily online, Faught says it's still not legal at this point for all vets to prescribe CBD oil. So, until the laws evolve, he says, it's extremely important to make sure there are no drug interactions and that you are getting these medications from a reputable source. "When it comes to over-the-counter supplements like CBD, there have been wide variations in products since they are not actively regulated by the FDA," Faught tells Elite Daily. If you live in one of the states that has yet to legalize recreational marijuana, PetMD recommends that pet parents consider hemp products, which have much lower doses of THC.

It's also wise to watch out for potential side effects of CBD that your fur baby might experience, says Faught. Luckily, when these side effects do happen, the veterinarian says they seem to be fairly mild. "Drowsiness and ataxia [a condition that affects muscle control and coordination of movements, per Mayo Clinic] are the only real issues we have seen," he explains.

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While Faught says researchers have yet to determine a concrete dosage recommendation, one study, published in the scientific journal Drug Metabolism and Disposition, found that, in doses under 180 milligrams, there seemed to be no consistent effect of the CBD on dogs that were treated with the cannabis compound. The researchers noted that their results might be "due to a first pass effect," meaning the CBD likely wasn't fully metabolized into the dogs' bodies, making it impossible for the cannabis to have any real effect on them.

Clearly, there's still a lot of research that needs to be done here to figure out what amounts of CBD are actually effective, not to mention safe, for pets. According to Stephen Katz, VMD, founder of Therabis, LLC, "it is absolutely critical for pet owners to do their research about a hemp product they are considering." He tells Elite Daily over email that there's a lot of variability in how different pets' bodies absorb and react to hemp oil.

With that in mind, remember that each CBD product is slightly different, so consider that when determining the best treatment for your own fur baby.