CBD is everywhere. As the stigma surrounding cannabis and hemp decreases, more and more people begin to use this compound for its health and wellness benefits. It has proven to be a reliable source of help for many people suffering with pain, trouble sleeping, appetite, and overall mood. But in recent years, a new trend has emerged: CBD for pets. Many animal lovers have realized that the same benefits CBD provides for humans can also have a positive effect on their furry friends. However, because we still haven’t figured out how to speak to our pets (though let’s hope we can soon)  many wonder whether these products actually work.

Labrador Dog

CBD 101 

Before we discuss how CBD can be used for your pet, we need to understand what it is. CBD is one of many naturally occurring compounds in the many species of cannabis plant. Its cousin, THC, is known for producing the typical high associated with smoking marijuana. But CBD does not produce this high. Instead, it provides many health benefits for people with issues ranging from arthritis to loss of appetite to insomnia. Most CBD that you see in stores is made from hemp, not marijuana. Hemp is a classification of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC. Hemp is high in CBD, however. CBD has become known as the miracle compound within cannabis. There is a lot of research surrounding CBD and its potential for treating even more serious health conditions in humans.

Many incredible success stories have emerged regarding CBD. This has led to people considering the same treatment for their animals. Dogs and cats can experience many of the same health problems that people have taken to treating with CBD.  Animals can have arthritis, anxiety issues and loss of appetite. Many other reported benefits are associated with use of CBD as well, such as cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects and anti-inflammatory effects. But the question still remains: does it really work for our pets?

The Research

Research on the effects of CBD for pets is just beginning to emerge.  One major clinical trial has been announced which is funded by the American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation in partnership with Colorado State University. This study is to look at the effects of CBD on dogs with epilepsy.  Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in dogs, and it has proven difficult to treat with other medications.  Researchers hope that CBD will prove to be a solution.

Cannabinoid Receptors

All mammals have an endocannabinoid system. This is the system within our bodies that the cannabinoids in cannabis attach to. This is what makes CBD effective on humans. Dogs and cats, naturally, also have these systems. But they have been found to have higher amounts of cannabinoid receptors. And this could mean that our pets feel the effects of these compounds more than us.

First Hand Accounts

There are many great stories out there about the changes owners have seen in their pets when they use CBD. And many vets are beginning to speak out about the potential benefits it can have. In fact, there is actually a well respected vet for the North Shore Animal League that explains the effect he has seen on his own dog. He says that his pet gets a little spooked at night when it gets dark. But after giving him CBD, he “seems to just go to sleep.”

I can speak from first-hand experience. It works. My dog gets very anxious during thunderstorms or any celebration that includes fireworks. He tucks his tail and ears down and begins to shake uncontrollably. He also constantly wants to be held and cannot seem to get comfortable. I usually try to anticipate the storms or parties and give him a drop or two of CBD oil with a piece of meat or cheese and it does the trick. If I give it to him early enough, the shaking and nervousness don’t come on at all and he tends to just curl up on the couch and rest. However, I wouldn’t endorse anyone to just go for it without first understanding the effects it can have on yourself.


Dogs and cats should not ingest the same amount of CBD as you do. They are much smaller, and as stated earlier, they may be more susceptible to the effects. This is why it is important to understand the effects CBD has on yourself before giving your pet any. Also, CBD products come in a variety of concentrations and doses. So, make sure to discuss your intended use with someone at the store you purchase the product. Some reputable retailers provide detailed information on CBD dosing for pets.

Does CBD work for pets?

There is no denying that CBD can have an effect on your pet. The most important part is to ensure you find good quality CBD and give your friend the right amount of it. Again, research is just beginning for  CBD on pets, but with one Google search, you’ll see some of the ways it has helped many pet owners feel better about their animal. Even professional vets are beginning to see the upside of CBD and have gone so far as to try it on their own pets. However, the FDA has still not adopted it as an approved medication so there is no official dosing chart to follow or product that has been vetted by the administration. 

If your furry friend suffers from one of the common ailments that CBD has proven itself effective against in humans, it may be worth the shot. Some vets are open to discussing CBD as a treatment for your animal, and that’s exactly where you should start.