What is CBD for Pets?
Pet owners love to spoil their pets. From toys to clothes to treats, consumers love shopping for their animals. And in recent years, they’ve started looking to CBD as a possible solution for many common pet problems, making CBD for pets a competitive market.
A simple Google search will yield thousands of products and coupons for CBD pet products. But there’s not much content and information on how CBD actually works for pets. As the popularity of CBD continues to surge in the pet care market, it’s time to break down the hows and whys of CBD for pets.
The CBD Pet Market
Pets are becoming an increasingly important part of people’s lives, so it’s unsurprising that pet-related sales are growing rapidly.
Research predicts that, in the US, pet store sales will increase from approximately USD $19.5 billion in 2018 to around USD $22.39 billion by 2023. Additionally, the global pet care market is primed to reach USD $202.6 billion by 2025.
Looking at the CBD pet market, in particular, sales quadrupled from 2017 to 2018, increasing from USD $8 million to a whopping USD $32 million. CBD pet sales are anticipated to reach USD $125 million by 2022, making CBD for pets one of the fastest-growing areas in the CBD market.
But why the sudden surge in sales? Pet owners clearly have their reasons for buying CBD for pets, and these reasons are backed by both anecdotal evidence and research.
Why are people giving their pets CBD?
Similar to humans, CBD has a lot of potential to help reduce anxiety in pets, especially situational anxiety.
A recent news story indicates that a woman named Joanne Schaus noticed that her dog would pace and pant during the frequent storms in her city. She tried all the traditional methods to help him, including a thunder shirt, to no avail. However, after researching CBD, Joanne decided to try it out. After a few weeks, her dog showed significant improvement in his storm-induced anxiety, and sometimes her dog didn’t even notice when a storm was happening. Still, if the weather is particularly violent, her dog gets a little nervous, but she has seen improvement overall, and she’s not the only one.
Another news story suggests that Jeffrey Powers, DVM, had a senior dog, Ella, who was afraid of both thunder and fireworks. The poor dog would immediately run off to find a place to hide. However, giving his dog CBD helped ease Ella’s anxiety in times that would usually be stressful for her.
These anecdotes are not the only evidence that illustrates how CBD is therapeutic for pets. Similarly, easing anxiety is not the only thing CBD can relieve in animals. Research on the efficacy of CBD in animals is still lacking, but there have been a few promising studies on whether it can be helpful for osteoarthritis and epilepsy in dogs.
The potential benefits of CBD for pets
A 2018 study on dogs with osteoarthritis aimed to discover whether CBD was safe, anti-inflammatory, and had anti-pain properties — overall, the findings showed encouraging results. Researchers found that 80 percent of the dogs experienced a decrease in pain and an increase in mobility because of CBD.
However, what’s more interesting is a study on idiopathic epilepsy. The condition affects nearly 6% of pet dogs worldwide, making it the most common neurological condition in canines. A pilot study led by Dr. Stephanie McGrath assessed the short-term usefulness of CBD for dogs with epilepsy.
The study was small, using just 16 dogs, and nine of them were given CBD, while the other seven dogs in the control group were given a placebo. The nine dogs in the test group received CBD oil for 12 weeks, and both groups were required to stay on anticonvulsant medication throughout the experiment. When McGrath analyzed the results, she discovered that 89 percent of dogs in the test group had fewer seizures.
While this is all encouraging news for pet owners, it can still be hard for them to get their CBD questions answered. Surprisingly, most veterinarians are unable to discuss CBD for pets despite the promising research on it.
The Stigma Attached to CBD
According to a survey conducted by the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), 63% of 2,131 vets are asked about CBD for pets monthly. Over 80 percent of them also report that they have never seen or received word of CBD having adverse reactions in pets.
However, despite the therapeutic properties of CBD, there is still a stigma attached to it because of its association with cannabis. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that does not produce a “high,” but it was still classified as a Schedule 1 Drug until recently. Vets could have been severely penalized for advising pet owners about CBD oil and other CBD products.
And even though a law was passed in 2019 allowing veterinarians to discuss CBD with pet owners, they are still at risk of getting penalized if they advertise or administer CBD for pets. Thus, while progress is being made, there are still many consequences that vets could experience if they discuss CBD with pet owners.
This fact is unfortunate because pet owners have a lot of questions about using CBD for their pets. One key question that many pet owners have is how organic CBD interacts with animals.
How does CBD work in pets?
Cats and dogs do have an endocannabinoid system, and it is very similar to that of humans. One key difference is that these animals retain more CBD through their digestive tract. When the founder of Kat’s Naturals spoke to a veterinarian about this difference, the vet explained that cats and dogs have a longer digestive tract than humans, so there is more time to absorb CBD.
Additionally, animals have different stomachs than humans, with different enzymes. The vet speculates that because of these enzymes, the phytocannabinoids break down faster in animals’ stomachs, leading to greater CBD absorption. This process is one reason why edibles might work better for animals than in humans.
However, the vet still believes that administering CBD for pets sublingually leads to the best overall absorption. While it’s true that pets absorb more CBD from edibles than humans, pets still experience greater absorption with sublingual CBD.
This insight is good news for pet owners because CBD pet treats can often start at USD $50, even though they may not contain much CBD at all. Conversely, a pet owner could purchase a 300ml bottle of CBD oil for a similar price, which would last a lot longer than treats and be more effective for the animal.
But once pet owners decide between an edible or sublingual CBD product, how long will it take for the remedy to work once they administer it to their animals? This question is another common topic that pet owners can’t readily get the answer to when they buy CBD for pets.
How long does it take for CBD to work for pets?
If CBD oil is put into a pet’s food, it takes longer for the cannabinoid to take effect than if it’s administered orally or in the ear. Specifically, it takes between 20 and 45 minutes for CBD to work when an animal consumes the cannabinoid with food.
On the other hand, if a pet owner puts sublingual CBD between their pet’s lips and teeth, underneath their pet’s tongue, or mixes it with something that stays in the oral cavity for a while, it will take about 10 to 15 minutes before the CBD begins to take effect. When rubbed into the pet’s ear, that time decreases to five to 10 minutes.
But one thing that pet owners need to consider is how much CBD they give their animals. The amount of CBD required varies from animal to animal, just like it varies from human to human. The dosage of CBD depends largely on how well the animal’s endocannabinoid system works. One dog may only need five drops of CBD oil to feel an effect within an appropriate time frame, while another dog might need ten drops to feel anything in that same time frame.
Finding the right CBD dosage for pets will take some trial-and-error. However, once pet owners settle on a dosage, over time, the animal will need less and less CBD to feel an effect. As with humans, CBD oil can build up in an animal’s fat cells, making their bodies dump out the cannabinoid and its therapeutic properties along with it. But this does not happen overnight. It takes a while for CBD to build up in the body, but after six to eight weeks of consistent use, pet owners should lower their animal’s dose to produce the same effects with less CBD.
CBD for Pets is Promising for Four-Legged Friends
While much of the evidence for the efficacy of CBD for pets is anecdotal, there is a growing body of research that suggests that CBD can be a therapeutic remedy for animals.
For pet owners looking to buy CBD for their pets, it’s crucial to take into account that each animal is different, and what works for one pet might not work the same for another. But despite the personalization that pet owners will need to implement, CBD for pets is a promising avenue for pet owners who prefer natural therapeutic products.