CBD For Pets: What You Should Know

Did you know that the same system we have in our bodies is just like the system found in dogs and cats?

Not only in common household animals, the endocannabinoid system is found in almost every advanced animal around the globe.

Dogs, cats, fish, birds, and even worms have an endocannabinoid system that helps regulate their bodies in a similar way to how humans regulate their own.  Our extremely complex neurotransmitters are similar to animals who use the same system to look govern many areas of the body. 

The endocannabinoid system does vary depending on the species, so it’s important to do as much research as possible.  Your dog may have much higher dosing or have a completely different reaction than that of your cat. 

Dogs Specifically

According to Leinow and Birnbaum (2017) dogs are “particularly unique with regard to the endocannabinoid system because they have a greater concentration of endocannabinoid receptors in their brainstem and cerebellum than any other species does.” (p. 184)

So what does this all mean when it comes to treating your dog differently with cannabinoids?

Basically, dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than a lot of other animals.  Because they have so many receptors in relation to their body mass, dogs can have powerful reactions to cannabinoids. 

Usually dogs can take a decent amount of CBD.  You don’t have to worry about overdosing your dog when it comes to CBD because most side effects are simply sleepiness.

Although, when it comes to THC you must be careful how much you give a dog.  THC has shown to have many health benefits in humans and dogs, but THC can become toxic in dogs at much lower ratios.  Dogs can become very sick and have extreme anxiety when taking too much THC.

Too much THC can also cause dogs to lose their balance and get injured.  A dog running at full speed without coordination is a disaster waiting to happen!    

Most over the counter CBD pet products have little or no THC.  The ratio of THC to CBD is so low that for the most part giving your dog too much CBD tincture shouldn’t be a major worry.

If you do have THC products at home, make sure you keep them locked away in a safe spot your animals cannot access.  At Uphempo, we recommend placing your THC products in a locked metal container such as a safe.  This way the thick metal on the outside will be too tough for most dogs to chew through. 

Up high in a locked cabinet is also a good location, but many dogs are crafty at getting in and out when the owners are gone.  We always recommend a two step system to insure your dog cannot get into the cannabis products, so a metal box inside of the cabinet is the preferred choice. 

When cooking, just make sure that the next batch of brownies you craft doesn’t accidentally wind up on the floor.  Sweeping carefully after cooking is a great idea.   You never know where food can bounce in your kitchen.   A tiny bit of THC edible can turn out to be a bad night for the pooch.

How can I tell if my dog has taken too much THC?

Figuring out what is wrong with your dog can be very confusing.  Dogs have the ability to show almost no signs of pain.  A dog with a broken leg for example may run for miles before the owner notices. 

Immediately after ingesting THC your dog may act completely normal.  With trash circling almost every nook and cranny of the world, another person’s THC product could be picked up by your animal and consumed without you even seeing the process.

One common sign of toxicity from THC and other substances such as mushrooms is something called Ataxia. 

Ataxia is a state where the body of your animal can become almost frozen or it may start swaying back and forth.  You may know a friend who had a dog eat too much of something bad and start to act very slow.  This could be a sign of toxicity in the stomach. 

Dragging the feet slowly, stumbling, or staying in one place could be an example of this toxicity.  If you are ever questioning what is wrong, make sure you take the safe steps and talk to your vet right away. 

Ataxia can also be a sign that your dog has a serious physical injury.  Spine fractures can cause ataxia as well so it’s important to take the animal to a licenced professional for diagnosis. 

Hey What About My Kitty Cat?  I Don’t Have A Dog.

Cats as discussed earlier have an endocannabinoid system as well.  Like dogs, this system helps to regulate various parts of the cats body in order to keep it in homeostasis. 

Until further research comes out, most animals are dosed by weight.  In cats ratios of THC are usually extremely low or nonexistent.  THC in cats can cause negative reactions and hallucinations.  You might find your little loved one running around the house like a crazy person after giving her THC. 

Cats are very sensitive, so once again make sure you talk to your vet to get additional opinions. Cat fatality involving cannabis products are extremely rare but they do happen.  Most of the accidents include the cat ingesting other things as well.  Hopefully in the next few years we will see real lab tests and case studies performed on cats. 

How Do I Give Cannabis To My Pets?

What are the main ways people give cannabinoids to their pets?  Much like humans, pets can take CBD and other cannabinoids in similar fashion.

One of the best ways is by eating edibles or taking tincture.  Pets are most likely not going to like the flavor of cannabis or many of the human grade products.  Therefore, many companies have started making CBD pet lines that include tinctures, salves, treats and more. 

Tincture and isolates are a great option for pet owners because of their versatility.  For example,  a picky cat may only like to eat expensive wet food from a can.  Tincture and isolates can easily be added to wet food and mixed at perfect ratios.

In the wet food, CBD usually blends in without issues or clumping.  Warming up the CBD and food above room temperature for a half hour or so can help them fuse more naturally together.  If clumping occurs, simply mix thoroughly with a spoon after warming and you should be ok to go. 

If your pet doesn’t eat wet food from a can you can also add the tincture and isolates to many other products. A bone or a fresh treats can usually mask the taste of the cannabis oils.  A special cut of fresh meat chopped into small bits is a great way to dish out cannabinoids throughout the day without having to prepare a full meal. 

What about putting cannabis on my pets skin?

Topically, cannabis has shown to have effects on both humans and pets.  Pets are far trickier sometimes to apply since many household animals have fur.

CBD lotion can be very expensive and wasting product on a big ball of fur without getting to the actual problem is not good for your wallet or your pet.  Sometimes you might want to consider shaving part of your pet if this is ok with your veterinarian.  Removing the hair from a seriously painful area can help penetrate the cannabinoids deeper into the outer tissue. 

Joint and muscle pain usually lie deeper in the animals body.  Receptors in this area therefore are also deep.  Fur and excess material on the skin can cause the medicine to only stay on the surface. 

Now this is not to say that light surface amount of oil on the fur is bad.  Rashes and other skin irritations, such as inflammation and dry skin can really depress a pets day to day life. 

Without the ability to properly scratch or apply lotion in the correct way, a pet could be forced into a very uncomfortable scenario. 

CBD and cannabis oils applied to the skin may help alleviate these issues.  Rashes on humans and animals have both been relieved by hemp products.

Final Thoughts 

Our pets are a part of the family, and treating them with CBD should be taken seriously. Make sure you do the research to find the right product for your specific animal friend.

Remember that no animal is created equal. Like humans, each animal could react differently to the THC or CBD, so please proceed with caution when giving CBD or THC to your animals.

We hope that this article has given you the information you’ve been looking for on animals and CBD.

If you have anything to add, or have any questions, please leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to help. Thanks for reading!

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