5 Things you should know before administering cannabis to pets

Published Jan 17, 2023 02:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Andrew S

We’ve written several all-encompassing guides on CBD, THC and pets, to show our readers all of the data, suggestions, recommendations, and more surrounding this still-taboo subject, and if you’ve got the time, we highly recommend checking them out for a more complete picture of what it means to use this all-natural therapy to help your pets, but here, our focus is more on the safety aspects of it all. Though cannabis and hemp may contain dozens or more powerful beneficial elements for pets, there are some risks to consider and mitigate along the way.

With the right knowledge, supplier, and patience cannabinoids may be an incredibly effective solution to help with things like inflammation, upset stomach or stress, administering it the wrong way could produce poor results, and the information found here can help pet parents to increase their chances of success, by avoiding some of the most common mistakes.

THC is toxic to animals

CBD is an amazing cannabinoid that is perfectly safe for most household pets. THC on the other hand can be toxic, render our small furry companions intoxicated, and immobile, and even result in loss of typical bodily functions and motor skills. Though it is rare, accidental THC consumption may be fatal for animals, so it’s important to opt for pet products that promise purely CBD formulations, and that should include proof of product testing from a trusted third-party lab.

Not all manufactured pet products are quality tested

Sadly, industry standards for pet food and treats, in general, could really use some major improvements, and very few regions implement testing requirements specifically for CBD-infused products. This means that it's hard to tell whether or not there may be traces of THC or other contaminants such as fertilizer, pesticides, or other ingredients that may not be entirely pet friendly. For this reason, it’s essential to do your research before trusting a company with the health and wellness of your companion.

Animals will not require the same doses as humans


Many people are inspired to try CBD food or treats for their animals due to their own success with human-formulated options, but it’s important to recognize that there is a massive difference between pets and people, with the main one being size. Our furry and feathery friends are typically much smaller, and most have faster heart rates, which means they’ll need much less potency to see similar results. Higher blood pressure also means what you give them may be processed by the body faster than it is for us, so while they may need far less in terms of dose, they may require more frequent administration to maintain a consistent delivery of benefits.

It’s important to consult a veterinarian first

No matter how healthy your animal(s) may seem, it’s essential to consult their primary care provider for recommendations, suggestions and close monitoring, to ensure they’re getting the best chance possible. Also, just like with humans, those on medications may be at increased risk if cannabinoids adversely impact the absorption rate of medical ingredients, so to be safe, it’s always a good idea to take on this challenge with support from a professional who can help to ease any fears you might have and reduce the likelihood of adverse side effects.

Homemade options are often the best

CBD for pets isn’t exactly a huge section of the market right now, leaving owners with very few manufactured options. However, in most regions, it is entirely legal to whip up a batch of your own at home. Alternatively, CBD oil may be administered by dripping it onto regular food or treats.

Dogs arent the only pets at risk around edibles


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