Pet CBD 101: Hemp CBD Oil For Cats and Dogs

Pet CBD 101: Hemp CBD Oil For Cats and Dogs

Yes, I know there are other pets beyond ‘just’ dogs and cats. Guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, birds, snakes, to name a few. Even turtles and many more, all lovable in their own way. Well, I’m not so sure about snakes but that’s just me. 

But with the rise and rise of CBD lately, more and more pet lovers are turning to Cannabidiol as a natural way to treat the miseries of their fur babies. The result? Pet CBD is already a $60 million market [1] that has attracted a lot of new players - and a lot of questions.

So let’s get into it and answer your questions.

Today we’re talking about two of the top three pets in America. (The other one? Fish, which comes in at #1, according to

Fact is… CBD has helped a lot of pet owners treat their beloved dogs and cats when they are not well. And I’m going to share with you today how that works.

But actually, what is CBD?

It’s a non-intoxicating molecule that is found in two different cannabis plants, namely hemp and marijuana. So CBD can be hemp-derived (which all of ours is, here at Go Hemp) or it can be marijuana-derived. 

Marijuana has enough Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to make users ‘high’. Hemp doesn’t. That’s why most CBD products are manufactured using extracts from the hemp plant… because it has hardly any of the psychoactive THC (under 0.3 percent, a tiny trace amount). 

Do you have a backbone? Seems like a curious question, doesn't it? But stay with me. 

Hemp-derived CBD is being increasingly used to treat various illnesses and health challenges in both humans and pets. 

After all, it works similarly in animals as it does in people. CBD works in both humans and animals because every living creature with a spinal column (a backbone!) has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is present both in the brain and throughout the body.

Endocannabinoids have been described as signaling molecules. They interact with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, which is how they influence health issues such as pain, appetite, sleep, anxiety, inflammation and more. Even seizures in dogs [2]  and canine cancer. [3] [4] 


For me, the fascinating thing about CBD is that it has a similar chemical structure to your ECS - and your pet’s ECS. And that similarity is how CBD can make a difference, a real difference in some cases. 

When you’re not well (and the same goes for your pet), it’s because your ECS is out of balance. It’s dysfunctional, as they say. Add a dose of CBD and the body responds by nudging whatever is out of balance back towards balance. Back towards wellness, if you like… with the result that you or your furry companion can feel better. The proper name for this balance is homeostasis and I’ll put a link to an article about homeostasis in the Further Reading section below.


What’s the best CBD for my dog or cat? Full or broad spectrum, or isolate? 

Full spectrum is the least refined version and includes all the compounds in the original plant, which all work together to create a more full effect. You can read more about this ‘entourage effect’ from a link in the Further Reading section below. However, some pets don't like its grassy flavor. 

CBD isolate is pure CBD with everything else removed. So it has no flavor for your pet to object to, and is easily added to food or drink.

In between full and isolate is broad spectrum CBD, which has plenty of plant material to provide an entourage effect. It also has a mild taste, which your cat or dog might be okay with. 

How long does it take for CBD oil to work?

A dog’s metabolism runs faster than ours, so they can process CBD quicker than we can. That much we know, but beyond that the research is scant and opinions vary. However there seems to be some consensus among users. Used to calm an anxious dog, results should start to be seen in 30-60 minutes. If you give it in the form of sublingual drops (where you open your dog’s mouth and drip the oil in then hold the pooch’s mouth closed for a minute or so), the results will come sooner than with a chew or dog food that needs to be digested. 

How often to dose my dog?

Again, we’re looking at what owners are reporting rather than careful trials, but once or twice a day seems to be the common pattern. Caution and common sense tell us to start with a low dose and then increase if needed. It’s considered safe so don’t be afraid to experiment with dosing to see what works.

Will hemp CBD oil make my pet ‘high’?

Nope. That’s because hemp plants contain almost no THC. They are, however, rich in CBD and other compounds with all their associated benefits. 

Will marijuana hurt my cat?

CBD no, THC yes. The ASPCA and other cat sites advise pet owners to make sure their furry friends don't consume marijuana products [5] (which are high in the intoxicating compound THC). “Overconsumption of THC may also create serious health risks in cats. However, hemp-based treatments high in Cannabidiol (CBD) can help.” [6] 

What dog health or behavioral troubles has CBD been used for?

Arthritis [7] and seizures - they’re well supported in the literature. There are other animal health conditions which are less well researched, but are anecdotally supported by some users. Including: dog aggression, heart health, inflammation, low appetite, nausea, pain, separation anxiety. [8] 

Dosing: How much CBD can a dog have? And in what form?

Start low and slow is great advice, both for your furry friends and for human use. advises owners to weigh their pooch and then give him/her 0.25mg of CBD per pound of  body weight. But weight is not always a great indicator. Each endocannabinoid system is unique. CBD is not a one size fits all solution, that is why some experimenting is needed. Even the same pets in your home may respond differently.

For arthritis or seizures, suggests between 2-8 mg/kg, usually opting for the lower end of that figure which is roughly 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight, twice daily. [9] Note how small these doses are! 

CBD oil is recommended because it’s easy to add to food or drink or even to drop directly into your cat or dog’s mouth.

Can you give your pet too much CBD?

They’d have to consume an awful lot of full spectrum CBD to have even mild THC toxicity because there’s less than one-third of one percent by weight of THC in full spectrum products. 

Any side effects or risks to your pets?

A little drowsiness is the most commonly reported side effect. Far less common is itching or a mild case of vomiting. Those are rare problems but obviously if they occurred, you’d stop giving the CBD and your pet would normally recover well. 

According to the ASPCA, most cases need no treatment. [10] 

If it’s inflammation you’re treating, like many herbal medicines, CBD can take a little while to produce an observable change in your pet. Perhaps several days to visibly reduce - even if your pooch, for example, is feeling less pain well before that. 

One of the unfortunate risks is, to quote the title of a January 2020 article,“Some pet products touted as CBD don't have any.” [11] So be sure to check the product’s COA (Certificate of Authenticity). It’s provided by an independent laboratory that certifies the contents of the product. No COA, don't buy. Because those certificates are valuable consumer protection reports.

What’s the difference between human CBD oil and dog CBD oil?

Not much. Mostly it’s a matter of labeling to conform with FDA regulations for human consumption. And also, some doggie products have other fun flavors (bacon CBD, anyone?) or additives like cod liver oil (not a great favorite when I was growing up). [12] 






By WriterGary.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.*

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