Hot Topic: Is CBD Oil Safe For My Pet?

Hot Topic: Is CBD Oil Safe For My Pet?

The substance CBD (short for Cannabidiol, an active ingredient found in cannabis plants) has recently gained the attention to treat symptoms like anxiety, and chronic pain. CBD, which is often sold as an oil, acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance, targeting various pathways to increase a sense of ease in the body. It is used by patients who have nerve pain, epilepsy, and chronic kidney disease. It is also being marketed as a wellness product to help with inflammation and insomnia in humans. It is natural to wonder if its therapeutic effects can be useful to our pets who may be experiencing anxiety and chronic pain.

Unfortunately, there are not many controlled studies that have been done to understand the therapeutic uses of CBD in treating pets. Cornell University conducted a study to understand use of hemp-derived CBD oil for pain relief in dogs. There was a significant decrease in pain reported and an increased activity of dogs. Importantly, there were no significant increases in nitrogen, phosphorus or creatine in blood urea— thus, the kidneys are not put under more pressure while the dogs used CBD oil.

When it comes to chronic kidney disease (CKD), CBD has been used safely in cats with minimal side effects, to treat constipation, diarrhea, and bacterial infections. In dogs it has shown to help lack of appetite, decreasing blood pressure and vomiting. This is especially important because too often, CKD is caught in dogs and cats too late, because our pets are very good at hiding their symptoms, and a diagnosis requires a series of costly tests done by our vets. Thankfully, Kidney-Chek can be used by cat and dog parents to check if their pets are quietly suffering through kidney disease at home, and get their pets help right away.

Read more about Kidney-Chek, where to buy it, and stay up to date on Kidney Health for cats and dogs on our blog, Instagram, and FacebookRead more about the use of CBD to treat CKD in dogs, and cats.

CBD substances are prescribed by some veterinarians to treat osteoarthritis (a pro-inflammatory disorder), and it has started to gain traction for being a possible pain reliever in pets. According to veterinarian Dr. Karen Joy Goldberg, CBD oil has become more common for pet-parents to try to treat observed anxiety and anxious behaviors in their pets.

Read more about clinical research done on CBD use for animals with osteoarthritis, and  seizure conditions.

However, there are no Health-Canada approved CBD medications and vets cannot legally prescribe CBD oils in Canada. Veterinarians and pet parents are looking forward to more controlled and science-based studies to prove the safety and efficacy of CBD as a method of symptom management. There have been some clinical studies approved to test the use of CBD in pets, which will hopefully lead to the approval for prescription-based CBD medications for pets by Health Canada.

Read more about regulation of CBD oil in the US and Canada

Currently, the marketing of cannabis as a lifestyle or supplement for humans is affecting the way pet parents see it, implying that it can be used as a therapeutic for their pets. It is important to remember that our pet’s physiology is very different from ours, and substances affect them differently—for instance, chocolate is harmless to humans in moderation but is often lethal to dogs in small quantities. This remains true, perhaps to a higher degree, for a medicinal, active substance like CBD oil. It can be derived from many sources like hemp seeds and cannabis plants, which changes the way the product interacts with the body. Other considerations like modes (oral, topical, etc.) and frequency (once/twice a day) of administration, can change the way our pets react to the CBD. These specifications can be confusing and overwhelming for pet parents and inadvertently could lead to adverse effects for their pets.

If you think your pet can benefit from CBD oil, we recommend that you do as much personal research as possible from multiple, reputed sources. Talk to your vet to understand how it will affect your pet in particular. The interaction of cats and dogs with CBD are different, for instance, cats absorb CBD more slowly than dogs, so their dose may need to be lower or less frequent. Since we can’t ask our pets how they are feeling while taking the medication, it is important to keep an extra close eye on them when trying a new medication. We should also make sure to ask about how to scout the right source of CBD and the best way to introduce your pet to CBD. Buy CBD oil from trusted and high-quality sources and make sure you can obtain analysis of the oil. It is most important to stay informed about the fast-changing science and regulations for CBD use in animals to make sure your pet can receive care safely and effectively!


Kidney damage is not reversible, so the best thing you can do for your pet is preventative screening! Add more happy and healthy years to your pet’s life by using Kidney-Chek, a saliva urea test that pet parents can use between vet visits to screen their cat and dog’s kidney health from home in just 2 minutes! Check if your pet is at high-risk for kidney disease here!

Be sure to check out all our blogs, where we report new and important information about new and evolving topics about pet health and tips to be the best pet-parent to your furry baby!

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