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The basics

CBD for Pets — The Basics



CBD for pets– a hot topic right now!!

Why is CBD for pets so popular?  It is a natural product that has been proven to…


CBD for pets

Gaps in our knowledge

CBD for Pets– What We Know, What We Don’t.



  • CBD acts on the body’s endocannabinoid receptor system.
  • Within the endocannabinoid system, there are two types of receptors: CB1 and CB2.
  • Most CB1 receptors are found in the brain and CNS.  They control coordination, appetite, mood, etc.
  • Most CB2 receptors are found in the body’s immune system, joints, and muscle.
  • THC binds to the CB1 receptors, which explains why marijuana alters our perceptions.
  • CBD affects just the CB2 receptors, helping normalize inflammation and reduce pain.




  • WHAT’S THE BEST DOSE?  Current dosing recommendations range from 1-4 mg per lb body weight.
    • EDIBLE PRODUCTS ONLY RESULT IN 4-20% ABSORPTION; between 80 -96% of the CBD you just gave gets pooped out.
    • IF ABSORBED FROM THE MOUTH,  ABSORPTION IS 12-35%, or double that of swallowed products
    • IF APPLIED TO THE SKIN, ONLY LOCAL EFFECTS OCCUR– there is no meaningful systemic absorption.
  • HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE GIVE OUR PETS CBD?  Human studies  show a blood halflife of between 4 and 11 hours, which would suggest that 2x/DAY DOSING IS MOST EFFECTIVE… at least in humans
  • WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM SIDE EFFECTS?  The one study that specifically addressed this in dogs showed increases in a blood marker called Alkaline Phosphatase, which indicates bile system or intestinal irritation, and diarrhea to be the only clinical side effects of CBD over a 60 day period.  Longer duration studies are in the works.

If you have questions, drop me a line.  I use CBD in my own pets and am happy to share my thoughts!!


A Proven benefit

CBD for Pets with Seizures


Most CBD benefits are extrapolated from human medicine, but the benefits of CBD for epileptic dogs was recently proven by Dr. Stephanie McGrath at Colorado State University. 

This study showed that as blood CBD levels increased, seizure frequency decreased.

The dosage of CBD was 1.1 mg per lb body weight given twice daily.   The only adverse effect was an increase in a blood marker called Alkaline Phosphatase, which can indicat bile system or intestinal irritation.

Dr. McGrath is currently working on a follow up study to define the OPTIMAL dose of CBD in fighting seizures.  Stay tuned!!

CBD for pets with arthritis pain

Joints for joints.

CBD for Pets with Arthritis Pain

We want it to work.  We really do.  

But at this time there are no studies in either human or veterinary medicine that show a true benefit to CBD products in the management of chronic pain. 

Having said that, there IS LOGIC TO THE USE OF CBD IN PAINFUL PETS, for three reasons:

  • The ANTI-INFLAMMATORY properties of CBD are well proven
  • CBD has a CALMING effect, so pets get better rest when facing discomfort; 
  • CBD has been proven to REDUCE NAUSEA and STIMULATE APPETITE, both of which are beneficial for a pet who is on NSAID drug therapy for pain.

Proven in humans

CBD for Pets with Nausea

CBD has been proven in humans to reduce nausea and increase appetite, regardless of cause.  

If we extrapolate from humans to pets, logical benefits for our pets would include…

  • MOTION SICKNESS — a combination of calming and anti-nausea properties makes this a perfect use!!
CBD for pets with nausea
CBD for stressed pets

A big problem, high hopes.  

CBD for Stressed Pets

This is another use in pets that is extrapolated from human studies

While there are no studies in pets, anecdotal evidence from dozens of pet parents lends credence to the use of CBD for stress in pets.

Because of its benefits in reducing nausea, pain, and stress — at least in humans — CBD may have a clear role as a premedication prior to stressful trips to a groomer or veterinarian.

It’s a lot safer than many of the sedatives we veterinarians use.

If you have questions, drop me a line and let’s chat!!

is it right for you?

CBD for Allergic Pets

There are A BUNCH of studies in humans showing the benefits of CBD for skin disease, but none to date in veterinary literature.

There is also a human study showing clear benefit in allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever”.

For skin disease, the treatment route showing the most benefit is topical administration to the affected skin, which can be difficult in our hairy pets.  However, in the hairless areas of the groin, armpits, and between the toes there is logic to considering topical CBD therapy.


CBD for allergic pets

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Kevin Toman, DVM