Is CBD Safe for Pets?

CBD has become a popular natural remedy for certain conditions in both people and pets, but how safe is it for our furry friends?
Updated 21 March 2022
Is CBD Safe for Pets?
Sections on this page
  1. What is CBD for Pets? 
  2. Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
  3. Is CBD Safe for Cats?
  4. Is CBD Safe for Other Pets? 
  5. Types of Pet CBD Oil (Full, Broad, Isolate)    
  6. Where to Buy CBD Pet Products

Generally, cannabidiol (CBD) is safe to give to or use on your dogs and cats. However, it's vital that you check with your veterinarian to learn more about the potential side effects. The use of CBD on other animals (such as birds, reptiles, etc.) is rare, although still effective, so getting a professional opinion before administering it is always best. 

What is CBD for Pets? 

CBD is a chemical compound found in both marijuana and hemp plants. The CBD legally used for pets comes from hemp plants which contain less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive compound that makes you feel "high." In some cases, CBD products for pets do contain trace amounts of THC, but not enough to cause your pet to feel high. 

For pet owners, there are a few different CBD products you can choose from, depending on what your pet needs it for:

  • CBD oil
  • CBD treats
  • CBD topicals (e.g., skin cream and sprays)

CBD Oil for Pets

CBD oil is given orally to your pets—it's proven especially effective for dogs with specific ailments or conditions. Some benefits for pet health include:

  • Treating seizures
  • Calming anxiety
  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Treating skin conditions
  • Treating depression

CBD oil has also been used to treat birds with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Skin irritation

You can also buy CBD oil for rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, and rodents. The use of CBD on reptiles is less common, although it is believed that CBD oil can be used to treat reptiles with similar issues. 

CBD Treats for Dogs and Cats

You can also find different types of CBD treats to give your dogs and cats. These can be easier to administer as they are made with other ingredients which may be more palatable for your pet, such as coconut oil and meat flavorings. 

CBD Topicals 

CBD topicals (e.g., creams, balms) usually treat pets' skin issues or joint pain. They can be applied directly to the affected area. In some cases, CBD oils work better for these ailments as your pet can lick topicals off their skin, rendering it ineffective. 

Is CBD Safe for Dogs?

Out of all domesticated animals, dogs are the most common pet to give CBD to or to use CBD topicals on. Although we lack thorough scientific studies on the use of CBD for dogs, there are many benefits, and it's generally accepted as safe for dogs (both ingested and topical).

However, you want to choose your CBD wisely and consult your veterinarian before starting any CBD regime for your pup. You want to pick CBD oil, treats, or topicals that:

  • Don't contain any harmful chemicals or pesticides
  • Are organic (preferably)
  • Have publicly available test results
  • Have little to no THC (even topicals shouldn't have THC as your dog can lick it off)

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

Yes, CBD oil is generally considered safe for dogs—just be sure it doesn't include harmful chemicals or THC (trace amounts should be fine). In fact, CBD oil may be a better option (compared to dog treats) as it's easier to adjust the dosage with oils. 

Is CBD Safe for Cats?

CBD is also considered safe for cats, but it's vital to speak to your veterinarian before giving your kitty any CBD. They can let you know if it's the best treatment for your cat and recommend the correct dosage. 

In some cases, you may notice some side effects of feeding your cat CBD oil or treats, including:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Sluggishness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian—you may need to change the dosage. 

When choosing the right CBD for your cat, choose something that doesn't have any harmful chemicals, doesn't contain THC (or only contains trace amounts), and has been lab-tested for quality. 

Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?

Yes, CBD oil is considered safe for cats. However, you need to take care to administer the correct dosage. Giving your cat too large of a dose be harmful, so you need to ease them into it. 

Is CBD Safe for Other Pets? 

CBD is also considered safe for other pets, not just dogs and cats. Some people will give CBD oil to their:

  • Rabbits
  • Ferrets
  • Birds
  • Hamsters
  • Snakes

Always speak to your veterinarian before starting your pet on any kind of CBD product, whether orally or topically. When choosing the right CBD product, always look for a certificate of analysis or lab testing results. 

Types of Pet CBD Oil (Full, Broad, Isolate)    

There are three different types of CBD oils you can choose for your pet:

  • Full-spectrum
  • Broad-spectrum
  • CBD isolate

If you're concerned about your pet feeling "high," you should only feed them isolate CBD oil, as this is pure CBD and doesn't contain any other compounds found in cannabinoids. 

Broad-spectrum CBD contains some other cannabinoids but generally no THC (although trace amounts may be found). On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the compounds found in the cannabis plant, including small amounts of THC. Although full-spectrum may have more benefits, you may want to avoid this type of CBD oil for your pet as it can cause unwanted side effects. 

Where to Buy CBD Pet Products

CBD is legal in all 50 U.S. states, but there are some restrictions specific to each state. Since it's legal across the country, there are plenty of websites to buy CBD pet products from, including Amazon.

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Note that retailers may list their CBD products as "hemp" instead of CBD, but they are the same thing. On the other hand, hemp seed oil is different—it's made from the hemp plant's seeds and not the entire plant.