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Find out about the recent developments in CBD oil for pets and what they may be able to do for your pets. There are several potential benefits of hemp oil for dogs and cats, and we’re here to tell you all about them.

CBD Oil for Pets: What You Should Know

Have you heard the hype about CBD oil and its use for pets? If you spend any time on the internet, then you most likely have heard about CBD oil for pets, and you may be wondering what it is and if it actually works in dogs and cats. With a little research, you’ll find that while the benefits of CBD in humans is fairly well established, the science in dogs and cats is lacking. However, research is starting to be published with promising results.

What Is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring compound derived from hemp. Science has identified more than 140 naturally occurring cannabinoids, and these compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system in humans and animals—including your pets.

Cannabinoid receptors function to maintain homeostasis (a stable environment) in the body, and they are located throughout the body and brain. These receptors are involved in everything from pain, mood and anxiety to appetite, inflammation and immunity. CBD found in hemp can help stimulate these receptors.

What Is CBD Oil Used For?

In humans, CBD has been shown to help with anxiety, inflammation, nausea, mental disorders, chronic pain, mood disorders and seizures, and it is neuroprotective at higher doses. At lower doses, CBD promotes health through antioxidant properties. For example, in humans, CBD is a more effective antioxidant for the brain than vitamin C or E, and it can help with acne.

In pets, much of the evidence proving the efficacy of CBD oil is anecdotal, with most of the claims suggesting it helps treat pain.

CBD Oil for Pets: Helpful or Hype?

There are some recent studies that indicate giving pets CBD oil is helpful in certain circumstances.

Dr. Joe Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR, associate professor and section chief of nutrition at Cornell University’s veterinary school in Ithaca, New York, recently completed a study showing that CBD oil does help dogs with chronic pain from osteoarthritis; the results of the study indicated that there was a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity for the dogs participating in the study.

There also are plans to study the effect of CBD oil in cats with chronic pain, acute pain in dogs, behavioral issues in dogs and concurrent use of CBD oil with chemotherapy in canine cancer patients. Cornell also has a CBD safety study in cats that almost is completed.

Another study, conducted by Colorado State University’s veterinary school and published in June, found that CBD oil helps dogs suffering from epilepsy. In my practice, I have clients that use CBD oil to control seizures in their dogs. One canine patient in particular could not tolerate the side effects of the conventional drugs we prescribed to control his seizures and continued to have seizures while on the medication. The client chose to stop the seizure medications and started giving CBD oil instead. At a follow-up appointment, the client said his pet was seizure-free and doing very well without the prescription medications and by just taking the CBD oil.

But again, at the moment, much of the evidence in support of CBD oil for pets is anecdotal.

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Dr. Fred Metzger, DVM, MRCVS, DABVP, owner of Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, reports that more than 100 dogs at his hospital are being given CBD oil for chronic pain with osteoarthritis, and his team is witnessing positive results.

“It’s nice because you see results faster than with traditional joint chews with glucosamine and chondroitin in them,” Dr. Metzger says. “Typically, dogs are feeling better within a week, versus the month that it takes with traditional joint supplements. The results have been pretty dramatic—dogs that were literally going to be euthanized because of chronic pain and inability to move are enjoying improved quality of life again. It’s not a cure, but it helps.”

Pet parents have also seen what pet CBD oil can do for their four-legged companion.

Alicia H. from Simi Valley, California, gives her 10-year-old Golden Retriever, Maverick, CBD oil for chronic pain from lymphoma and arthritis.

“Maverick was diagnosed with lymphoma 2 years ago and was not expected to make it 6 months,” Alicia says. “Between the cancer and terrible arthritis in his back, my beautiful boy wasn’t eating and stopped playing fetch.”

After doing some research, she began giving Maverick CBD oil to help relieve his pain.

“I began to see my boy come back,” Alicia says. “I am happy to say we are going on 2 years to the vet’s disbelief and he is back to eating and playing as he always had … My family truly believes he is doing as well as he is because of the CBD and we will recommend it to all in a similar position.”

Lauren F. from Queens, New York, also gives her dog, Jay, CBD oil for pain relief.

“Jay was hit by a car when he was 4 months old and has metal pins in his right hind leg,” Lauren says.

Some days his leg would bother him so much that he wouldn’t want to play, she adds. Jay took some medications for pain relief but had to stop because he was allergic to some of the ingredients in the medicine. They tried physical therapy and other treatments that the vet recommended, but nothing seemed to help improve his overall wellness. On top of that, he was dealing with severe separation anxiety.

For Jay, CBD oil seemed to be the best solution.

“CBD did not sedate Jay, but brought him back to normal,” Lauren says. “It has been a true miracle for his health and my sanity.”

Pet CBD Oil vs. Marijuana

A common misconception is that CBD oil is derived from marijuana and can get your pet high. This is a myth. CBD oil comes from industrial hemp. While CBD oil for pets may contain trace amounts of THC (the compound in marijuana that gives the intoxicated feeling), it is not enough to cause any mental changes.

Before trying any CBD oil pet product, I recommended checking the label to make sure it is THC free because THC is toxic to dogs. Better safe than sorry!

Giving Your Pet CBD Oil

Many companies now make CBD products for pets, so you can choose from several forms, including oils, chews and treats. CBD is considered safe with few, if any, side effects, though some animals may experience upset stomach.

Check with your veterinarian for an appropriate starter serving when introducing CBD oil to your pet.

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By: Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM
Dr. Sarah Wooten is a practicing veterinarian, certified veterinary journalist, author, speaker, landlord, tea tavern owner, mom and warrior goddess. When it is time to play, she can be found either skiing in Colorado, diving a coral reef, or triathlon training with Team LC.

The Pet Parent’s Guide to Hemp Oil for Dogs and Cats

T here are countless dietary supplements out there for your pet, but one that’s quickly gaining trending status is hemp oil. Maybe you’ve heard of it and its versatile benefits in the human wellness space, but if you didn’t know that your fur baby could benefit from hemp oil for dogs and cats too, we’re here to give you the lowdown.

From its potentially health-boosting abilities to dosage information, here’s what pet parents need to know about hemp oil for dogs and cats.

First thing’s first: What is hemp oil?

Hemp oil is more of an umbrella term for oil—namely CBD oil and hemp seed oil—that is extracted from parts of the hemp plant.

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is derived from the stalks, leaves and buds of the hemp plant. It contains trace amounts of THC, although, no, it won’t get you or your pet high, as the 2018 Farm Bill only legalized CBD oils with less than 0.3% THC. It is used to help with various health issues, such as pain management.

Hemp seed oil, which we’ll be focusing on today, is made by cold pressing the seeds of the hemp plant, which do not have THC and have no more than just trace amounts of CBD. (So, again, no, it won’t get you—or your pet—high!) Hemp seed oil is FDA-approved and legal to buy and sell, and is used as a health-boosting supplement for both people and pets.

Hemp seeds, often referred to as hemp hearts, are technically nuts, and you’ve probably seen them in the grocery store, along with hemp sed oil. They’re super nutritious, being rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and are a great source of protein, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc, making hemp seed oil similarly nourishing.

So, what are the benefits of hemp seed oil for pets?

Not just a mainstay of your grocery store shelves, hemp seed oil is actually an up-and-coming ingredient in pet supplements: “When hemp seed oil is used as a supplement in a pet’s diet, pet parents may see positive changes,” says Dr. Lindsay Butzer, DVM, spokesperson for Zesty Paws. “Hemp seed oil has excellent sources of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are all good for your pet.”

Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, an associate veterinarian at the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre in Alexandria, Virginia, and Chewy’s resident senior veterinarian, says hemp seed oil is similar to fish oil in that it can be an immune-booster and help reduce inflammation caused by various skin and joint issues, as well as lessen allergy symptoms and improve your pet’s coat. You may also see hemp seed oil included in some calming pet supplements, alongside anxiety-relieving ingredients like chamomile.

But is hemp seed oil safe for pets?

Hemp seed oil is generally considered safe for pets, but you should get the green light from your vet before adding it to your pet’s diet. (And that goes for any additional supplement!)

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Dr. Nelson says there’s really not a lot that can go wrong with hemp seed oil unless you’re improperly dosing it. (More on that further down!)

“The omega-3 [in hemp seed oil] can actually be pro-inflammatory, so too much omega-3 can have the reverse effect of why we’re giving it,” she says. “Too much of something can be just as detrimental as having too little when it comes to supplements.”

Dr. Nelson adds that too much hemp seed oil can also cause your pet to get an upset stomach and diarrhea.

Any hemp seed oil or product containing hemp seed oil that you give your pet should be formulated just for them. Never attempt to give your own (human) supplement to your pet. While you may share almost everything with your furry friend, it’s best to only give them supplements intended for their consumption and that have their entire ingredients list approved by your vet.

“When products are created for animal use versus human use there are usually different formulations used which would benefit animals specifically,” explains Dr. Butzer.

What’s the appropriate hemp seed oil dosage for pets?

When it comes to giving your pet hemp seed oil, Dr. Nelson stresses the importance of following the dosing instructions on the product label.

“Each product will have different concentrations [of hemp seed oil], formulations, and other things added,” says Dr. Nelson.

Since the dosage for most pet products is based on weight, Dr. Nelson says it’s very important to know how much your pet currently weighs. Don’t guess! If your pet’s weight is close to the top or bottom of the range listed on the back of the package, it could mean you’re accidentally giving them too little or too much of a product.

OK, but how can hemp seed oil help YOU?

If you’re considering using hemp seed oil yourself, you’re in luck—there are a myriad of ways to incorporate it into your daily life.

If you have high cholesterol, “hemp seed oil has been shown to decrease cholesterol markers, which can reduce the risk of heart disease,” says Dr. Brynna Connor, MD, a healthcare ambassador at online pharmacy

You can buy bottled hemp seed oil online or in some grocery stores and use it in cooking to make salad dressing, smoothies, dips and more. (Just like you would for your pet, make sure to get the OK from your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet.)

Hemp seed oil is also found in some beauty products for its hydrating and anti-inflammatory qualities, and Dr. Connor says it can be used topically for skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. Of course, as with any new beauty product, always test a bit on a small area of skin to see if you have a reaction.

Sounds great! What are the best hemp oil products for dogs and cats?

The best hemp seed oil product for your pet will really depend on whether you’re looking to treat a condition, like allergies, or just want to add a nutritious supplement to your pet’s diet. Talk to your vet about the best option for your pet’s lifestyle.

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