Date Modified: August 18th, 2020
As CBD rapidly evolves as an industry, additional studies are being conducted by scientists to learn more about what makes each compound in hemp so unique. Now, we know that pets can consume CBD just like us and that their bodies process it in practically an identical manner. Therefore, unsurprisingly, the CBD pet market is booming.
But what exactly is CBD for pets? What makes CBD-infused pet products so different from the ones that are marketed toward humans? How does one even begin their pet on a CBD regimen? In this article, we answer each of these questions.
What Exactly is CBD for Pets?
Is it the same variety of compounds that we take as CBD consumers ourselves? The answer, quite simply, is yes. CBD-infused pet products contain the same hemp-derived compounds consumed by humans. However, CBD pet products have unique formulations designed specifically for pets.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Science has taught us that every mammal has what’s called an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This unique internal system utilizes self-produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) to help the body maintain a constant state of homeostasis. It achieves this via specialized cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body.
Endocannabinoid receptors help regulate crucial bodily processes, such as mood, temperature, inflammation levels, pain, and so much more. If the body struggles to produce a sufficient number of cannabinoids, any number of these bodily processes could potentially be negatively effective.
Consuming phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids originating in plants) could potentially give the endocannabinoid system an additional boost. CBD is just one of the many phytocannabinoids naturally produced by the hemp plant. Hemp is additionally saturated with terpenes, which may have other applications.
Types of CBD Pet Products
Now, you’re probably wondering what types of CBD products are out there for cats and dogs. Below are some of the most popular options available on the market today.
- Treats: CBD-infused treats are edibles explicitly formulated for cats and dogs.
- Oils: CBD-infused pet oils are highly versatile, as they can be applied topically, as a tincture, or ingested. Oils can easily be mixed in with your pet’s food or administered sublingually (under the tongue).
- Topicals: CBD-infused topicals for pets are most often available in spray form, as this helps the formula absorb beneath the fur. Topical sprays are great for localized issues as the compounds in hemp absorb through the skin quickly, and can even reach the muscle and joint tissue beneath.
How To Choose the Right CBD Product for Your Pet?
So, now that you know what’s out there, it’s time to walk you through the process of getting them started on a routine. First, you need to know how to select the right product for your specific pet.
Tip #1: Ask Your Vet
The first thing to do is to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet will want to know if you’re administering CBD to your pet, and may even be able to make suggestions explicitly catered to your pet.
Tip #2: Stick to Pet-Specific Products
Obviously, when choosing a CBD product for your pet, make sure that the product was specially formulated for them. Do not give your pet a CBD product intended for human consumption only.
Tip #3: Keep Your Pet’s Size and Breed in Mind
Choosing the right milligram strength is vital, as this determines how much of the compound your pet is receiving per dose. CBD pet companies typically state on the label which milligram strength is right based upon the size of your pet.
Tip #4: Determine Why You’re Giving Your Pet CBD
Also, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind when giving your pet CBD. Is there something specific that you’re trying to achieve, or are you just interested in potentially maintaining their health?
Tip #5: Keep Your Pet’s Preferences in Mind
Inside knowledge of your pet before choosing a product is key. For instance, if you know that they are a picky eater, you may want to choose a product that has a robust meaty flavor to mask the natural flavor of hemp.
Other Factors to Consider
These must also be considered before purchasing a CBD product for your cat or dog. This way, you’ll cover everything that’s required to give them the best experience possible.
Factor #1: Lab Results
The first and most important thing to look for is the presence of lab results. CBD companies prove their legitimacy by making lab results accessible on their websites. These lab results come from an unbiased third party. Legitimate companies have their batches of hemp tested for purity, potency, chemical composition, and overall quality. By being able to read these lab results as a consumer, you can rest easy knowing that the CBD product you’re about to buy is the real deal.
Factor #2: Pet-Friendly Ingredients
Always read the list of ingredients on the back of a CBD product. For one thing, you want to make sure all parts are pet-friendly and non-toxic to cats and dogs. You also want to make sure that, if your pet has any particular sensitivities or allergies, you avoid those ingredients altogether. A CBD pet company should always clearly print their list of ingredients on the product’s label. If you have further questions, you can always contact the company yourself.
Factor #3: Proper Milligram Strength
The key to having a successful CBD experience is choosing the right potency. The milligram strength refers to the amount of CBD within the product by the milligram. Pets naturally need lower amounts of CBD than we do because their bodies are smaller than ours. But, exactly how many milligrams is right for them?
Any legitimate CBD pet company will state on the label which milligram strength is right for particular body weights. This is because a pet’s weight largely determines how many milligrams of CBD should be consumed each day for the best possible results. Again, if necessary, you can always contact the company if you’re still unsure.
Factor 4: A Clear Breakdown of Proper Dosage Levels
Next, you want to look for information about dosing on the product’s label. They should clearly state how much make up a single dose, the maximum number of recommended doses per day, and when you can increase the dose as desired.
Factor #5: The Right Delivery Method for Your Pet
Another thing that you want to take into consideration is which type of CBD product is best suited for your pet’s individual needs. CBD pet products are available in a variety of formats, with the most popular being hemp-infused treats. CBD oils can also be administered as tinctures or mixed into food, as well as in topical products such as sprays.
You may feel that one type of delivery method works best for the particular goal you’re trying to accomplish for your pet. Also, you may know that your pet is a picky eater, and so a meat-flavored treat is the best way to get them to take their daily dose.
Factor #6: Pricing
Now, let’s talk about price. We all have a budget, and CBD can get pricey for some. Clearly, you want to make sure that you don’t overspend on CBD unnecessarily. Some companies do overprice their products, assuming that the consumer doesn’t know any better. But, on a similar note, you don’t want to give your pet the cheapest CBD that you can find simply because of the price tag.
Cheap CBD is cheap for a reason – it contains low levels of CBD that simply won’t give you the results that you’re looking for. Even worse, they can contain questionable additives and impurities that you don’t want your pet consuming regularly.
Factor #7: Positive Reviews or References
It’s always helpful to have access to positive reviews or references before settling on a particular product. Given the unregulated nature of the CBD industry, it’s incredibly beneficial to learn about other people’s experiences with certain pet CBD brands. Additionally, your veterinarian may be able to refer you to a particular company or product based on their understanding of your pet’s unique body, as well as their specific needs.
How to Give CBD to Your Dog, Cat, or Pet
Now, let’s talk about beginning a regular CBD regimen.
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Supplies: Pet CBD Product
These steps are key:
- Start with Suggested Dose
We suggest starting with the recommended dose for a couple of weeks. Afterward, you can decide if you wish to increase (or even decrease) dose strength.
- Monitor Your Pet
Always closely monitor your pet whenever you add anything new to their daily regimen.
- Be Consistent
Consistency is vital, as CBD seems to function best with long-term use.
- Keep Your Veterinarian Informed
Let your vet know of any possible changes as your pet adjusts to their new CBD routine.
Knowledge is CBD Pet Power
Today, it’s easier than ever to find a variety of CBD products specially formulated for your pet. So, if you wish to begin your pet on a CBD regimen, we urge you to speak with your veterinarian to determine a routine that best suits them.
Joshua Willard (Freelance CBD Content Writer/Editor
*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.