When our pets hurt and conventional treatments aren’t working, reaching for a cannabis product like CBD for pets seems like a logical, compassionate move. But with little hard evidence backing its effectiveness, many veterinarians still shy away from this controversial therapy. If you can’t get any real CBD product guidance from your vet and you still want to try it, we hope you’ll take these CBD shopping tips other vets have provided.
Medical marijuana is legal in about 30 states, but none have guidelines specifically for the veterinary community. Keep in mind that cannabidol, or CBD, is an extract from the cannabis plant that marijuana comes from. CBD provides pain relief, which doesn’t get a user “high” the way that another component of marijuana does, known as THC.
Despite vague laws and few guidelines for vets, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) says that nearly half of all pet parents are using CBD for pets’ health issues like cancer therapy, pain relief and anxiety.
Additionally, according to AAHA, a recent survey by Colorado State University found that over 1,000 pet parents reported CBD products were 44% more effective for a dog’s pain relief, and 41% more effective for anxiety than conventional medicines.
Why Some Vets Shy Away from Discussing CBD for Pets
But just because it seems like CBD works, should we use it? The American Veterinary Medical Association would say “Nope!” This is probably why many vets shy away from the topic. The conservative organization overseeing the veterinary profession wants everyone to remember a couple of things about cannabis products:
- Medications do not necessarily work the same in animals as they do people, which underscores the value of extensive studies showing safety and efficacy, and also the value of the FDA’s approval process for drugs used in animals.
- There are possibilities of adverse reactions, including toxicities and failure to treat the clinical condition at hand.
Despite so much anecdotal evidence and some recent university-backed CBD studies at Colorado State University and Cornell, most veterinarians still aren’t comfortable enough to give CBD a green light.
However, there are exceptions. Dr. Alex Avery of Our Pet’s Health understands that with or without evidence, CBD for pets is here to stay so it’s best to keep an open conversation going. In his excellent blog post “CBD Oil for Dogs: seizures, pain and cancer miracle cure?” the New Zealand vet courageously writes that
“CBD oil, in my opinion, has the potential to become a regular treatment recommendation for a number of really common conditions our dogs and cats suffer from.”
However, Dr. Avery still wants us to remember the importance of being cautious when deciding to give it to our pets:
Current treatments that are known to be effective should not be ignored or abandoned because of something that may (or may not) work. To do so would be to do your pet a disservice and in effect be running a bad experiment with the potential to seriously compromise their quality of life.
That said, trying CBD oil is something to consider if you have tried every other treatment option available to your pet and there are either problems with side-effects or the treatment just not working as well as you would hope.” — Read More about CBD Oil for Dogs or watch the video below:
CBD Shopping Tips to Remember
Ready to give CBD a try for your dog or cat? Dr. Avery and other pro-medical cannabis for pets vets like Dr. Gary Richter advise us all to use extreme care when buying CBD products. Always make sure you keep your pet safe and get your money’s worth by following a few key CBD shopping tips:
Know what’s in the CBD pet product. Unless you want to get your pet high as a kite and end up in the emergency room, avoid any products containing THC. Some Tripawds members have given their pets small amounts of THC in a CBD product without any issues, but why take a risk with your pet’s health?
Look for reputable brands that provide a “COA,” or certificate of analysis on request. A COA shows the company has had its product tested for CBD and THC levels. COAs also reveal any contaminants, like heavy metals or pesticides. “If an online manufacturer or a retail store doesn’t have the information, or refuses to share it, avoid the product and the retailer,” says Consumer Reports in their excellent “How to Shop for CBD” article.
Avoid the Cheapest CBD Products! Don’t buy something just because it’s cheaper than another brand. Cheaper products may be full of contaminants and may lack any helpful amounts of CBD. This is also true for any home-grown products given to you by friends or family members.
Compare Apples to Apples. For each CBD pet product you are considering, be sure you know the exact dose your pet will need for effective therapy. Different products call for different dosages. And homemade CBD products may have no dosage guidelines at all, which could delay pain relief.
In a perfect example of the inconsistencies between CBD products, a California canine rehabilitation therapist recently told us that she recommended a reputable, tested CBD product to a client, but the client balked at the price and bought a cheaper one. Later, in a side-by-side comparison of the two products, the client discovered that she needed to dose her dog with twice as much of the cheaper product in order to receive the same pain relief benefits the more expensive product provided!
We hope these tips help you help your pet enjoy good health.
Have you successfully used CBD for pets for your own Tripawd or other animal in your family? Let us know your experience below, we would love to hear your story.
Tripawds Nutrition Blog: Three Tips About Medical Cannabis for Pets
Our Pet’s Health: CBD Oil for Dogs
CBD Oil, Dogs, Cancer: Why You Haven’t Heard More About It
Consumer Reports: How to Shop for CBD
Consumer Reports: Should You Try CBD for Your Pet?
10 thoughts on “CBD For Pets Shopping Tips Our Vets Want Us to Know”
I have a small cat rescue & due to some hard knocks & a rough life as a stray before showing up in 2014 as an un-neutered adult, Buddy lives inside now as a lifetime foster. As you might imagine his desire to be outside didn’t completely disappear after bringing him in & while he does wear a calming collar (and we do take him out on a harness/leash for outdoor time), I also started giving him CBD oil around the spring of 2018 to help with stress (he tends to get more anxious to be outside when the warmer weather comes around). I was consistent with giving the oil for several months, but in the fall I had run out & wasn’t prompt in ordering more thinking “oh, he should be ok until I can order more”. Well it was only a handful of days after running out of the oil that I began to notice Buddy having difficulty with/weakness in his back-end/legs so off to the vet we went. He was diagnosed with arthritis in his back legs & we were advised to start him on baby aspirin. Being a rescue with many wonderful supporters I always post about the cats on our FB and IG pages so I did a post on Buddy after the vet appointment. Folks started commenting & there were several that mentioned that aspirin was toxic to cats so I began considering the warnings/advice that folks were posting & did some research myself. I found that while aspirin “can” be toxic it should be ok to give if you follow the correct dosage, vet instructions, & closely monitor the cat. BUT, someone else made a comment that CBD oil helps with arthritis & joint pain & that’s when the light went off & I put 2 & 2 together! I realized Buddy’s issue only began shortly after stopping the CBD oil & while I was only giving it to help with stress, he must have developed arthritis over the course of the months while he was getting the oil & it must have been helping with that as well. I promptly ordered more oil & had the delivery rushed & once I started adding it back to his food again his back-end/leg weakness resolved within no time. Buddy is the first cat I’ve given CBD oil to & after this experience I am a firm believer & have hard proof that it works both with helping to reduce stress & most definitely providing joint/arthritis pain relief in cats. We will not be running out of CBD oil again anytime soon!
Patty you are a GREAT pet parent! Thank you for all the research, for giving Buddy such a great home and for taking the time to share these details with us!
There is so much to learn about CBD and pets. We have only scratched the surface of understanding how to dose and use cannabis in its many forms. In California, just over a year ago, in response to vets discussing CBD use with pet parents, the Vet Board put out a heavy-handed statement warning vets they could be subject to enforcement actions for discussing CBD with their clients. https://www.vmb.ca.gov/laws_regs/marijuana_animals_law.pdf Recently Congress passed the Farm Bill which legalizes hemp and removed it from its status as a Schedule I drug. Hopefully this will mean vets no longer need to worry about discussing cannabis with their patients and CBD will be easier and cheaper to obtain. Hemp is defined as cannabis that has a THC content of not more than 0.3%. We have been using CBD with the Oaktown Pack for a couple of years with very good effect. We still have much to learn about dosing and the best method for giving it to the dawgs.
It’s wonderful that the OP has found relief with CBD! And hey guess what, your former Governor Moonbeam signed AB 2215 last year, which allows California vets to discuss CBD. Yesh! It’s the first step toward more CBD studies in the veterinary field, great pawgress indeed.
There are a few helpful facebook pages available,, cbd oil for pets, anecdotes on using medical cannabis,. Some say that thc kills cancer,,,, who knows? I know with osteosarcoma,,, I throw everything at it,, hence thc feco also known as rick simpson oil has been used with simon…
Simon is a lucky dog to have a dad like you, Luke. We’ll keep our fingers and paws crossed it continues to give him pain relief and maybe even help fight the cancer directly.
CBD has worked wonderfully for my cat who started having problems with throwing up after he eats. When he started doing it I wasn’t sure what to do but I remembered I had read CBD could help with it so I decided to give it a try and surprisingly it actually worked great. I guess it calms his stomach down or something? I don’t know but I’m super happy about it and I’m sure he is too!