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CBD products have flooded the market ever since CBD from hemp became legal in 2018 in the Agriculture Improvement Act. CBD (cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant. It can be consumed in the form of chewables and tinctures to help relieve stress, pain, anxiety, and other issues. 

As more people turn to this trendy therapeutic product for common ailments, pet parents are wondering if CBD can also be good for their dogs and cats. The Food & Drug Administration has not officially approved cannabidiol products for therapeutic use in pets; however, that hasn’t stopped pet parents from choosing holistic methods to try and alleviate certain issues in their pets, whether it’s anxiety from fireworks, or pain from osteoarthritis

We have put together this guide to CBD for pets to help you understand its potential benefits and risk factors. This guide will also cover how to buy CBD, ways to administer it, and a list of trusted pet CBD brands. 

CBD for Pets: Benefits and Uses

A quick look at the science behind how CBD interacts with the body shows how effective this plant-derivative can be in helping with certain health issues. According to Dr. Jamie Richardson, medical chief of staff at Small Door Veterinary in New York City, hemp contains cannabinoids that interact with our endocannabinoid system, which in turn contains cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. 

“When cannabinoids engage with these receptor sites, different functions are affected, including pain sensation, mood, appetite, the immune system, and more,” she says. 

CBD benefits for pets include relief from conditions such as anxiety, stress, seizure disorders, and chronic pain. However, Richardson states that “we do not currently have a lot of research-based evidence on its effectiveness in pets.” But rest assured that there is “nonetheless plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting benefits for pets, and many studies are currently in progress.” 

Anxious dog being held by owner

Richardson says many pet parents have found success with pet CBD in “calming stressed or anxious pets, helping reduce the number or severity of seizures, and lessening pain.”

“A study from Cornell University showed that nearly all dogs with osteoarthritis had improved pain scores and evaluations when taking CBD twice daily, compared to the dogs who received a placebo treatment.” (1)

Potential risks of CBD have not been well researched; however, Richardson says that the side effects observed in pets have been minimal and include “tiredness, soft stool, and some changes in appetite have been observed occasionally.”

At Small Door Veterinary, CBD is recommended for some dogs, but it is not currently recommended for cats, and will not be until more studies on its safety take place. “Cats are a sensitive species, and often have difficulty processing drugs that are safe in humans and dogs,” explains Richardson.   

Pet CBD: What to Look For

Cat taking a CBD pet treat

Pet CBD products come in the form of chews, tinctures, capsules, and treats. Pet CBD in the form of tinctures can be added to your pet’s food via a dropper, while chews and treats can be given on their own. 

There are currently no regulations for CBD products. Additionally, according to Richardson, “commercially available CBD products contain varying levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, and even contaminants that could possibly endanger a patient.” 

Dog and cat at the vet

She suggests speaking to your veterinarian for a recommendation and choosing products that have been involved with “scientific research, go through rigorous quality control measures, and provide thorough information on dosages and ingredient lists” to avoid potential risks. 

When purchasing pet CBD products, read consumer reviews, check the labels for dosage and ingredients list, and read the website for information on third-party testing. 

It’s also important to never give your pets CBD products made for humans. “Human medical and non-medical marajuana, as well as some hemp products, contain THC (the main psychoactive compound that makes people feel high), which can cause toxicity in pets, requiring ER treatment,” warns Richardson. Edible products for humans are also dangerous to pets because of the artificial sweetener, xylitol, which is toxic to pets.

6 Best Pet CBD Brands to Know About

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Cat and dog sitting on a blanket happily

The following pet CBD brands have been selected by carefully reading consumer reviews, reviewing each brand’s website for safety and third-party testing information, ease of use, variety of offerings, and price points. 

Here are some of the best brands and products when it comes to CBD for pets:

Medterra

Medterra pet CBD products

Medterra’s pet CBD products are formulated with the highest quality cannabidiol, and the goal is to provide our furry friends with the same curative benefits humans enjoy from CBD. A collaborative study between Baylor College of Medicine researchers and Medterra supports the safety and therapeutic potential of hemp-derived CBD for relieving arthritic pain in dogs (2). Medterra offers CBD chews and CBD pet drops in flavors like beef and chicken. Pet parents can choose from CBD chews for joint support, calming chews for pet anxiety, and drops to administer your pet’s daily dose with ease. Medterra sells a bundle of three of its products for customers looking to try CBD for the first time. 

Highlights 

  • Made in the USA
  • All organic ingredients  
  • Non-genetically modified 
  • Third-party lab tested 
  • For both dogs and cats

Things to Consider 

  • Expect long wait times to receive your purchase 

Anxious Pet 

Anxious pet calming CBD

Got an anxious pooch who hates getting in the car or cowers at the first sound of thunder? Check out Anxious Pet’s veterinarian-formulated CBD drops, chews, and bars that are designed to provide physical comfort and mental wellbeing for your dog. The peanut-butter flavored Relax & Roll calming soft CBD dog chews are going to be a big hit for your stressed out mutts. Anxious Pet also sells CBD oil for cats. 

Highlights

  • Made in the USA 
  • Veterinarian formulated 
  • Third-party lab tested 
  • Handmade with quality ingredients 
  • Great value

Things to Consider 

  • Some dogs may not like the flavor 

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte's Web CBD pet oil

Charlotte’s Web boasts a newly-expanded pet line that includes botanical blends, chicken-flavored oils, and topical balm for your dog’s total well-being. Whether you’ve got a senior dog with hip and joint issues or a young pup with a lot of anxious energy, these pet CBD chews and drops can provide comfort. The hemp-infused balm helps maintain skin health and supports dogs with sensitive skin.  

Highlights 

  • NASC certified seal is awarded to manufactures and suppliers that have passed the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) facility audit and comply with quality standards
  • Chews come in chicken flavor 
  • Offers hemp-infused balm to promote skin health 
  • Third-party lab tested 

Things to Consider 

  • Not to be used for cats; these products are designed for canine wellness 

ElleVet 

ElleVet CBD oil for pets

ElleVet is the only CBD + CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) product that is proven to work in a clinical trial (1). “They are heavily involved with leading veterinary research institutions looking at the possible applications of CBD in pets and provide a certificate of analysis indicating the potency, per-dosing unit and ingredients of their products,” says Richardson. ElleVet products help with stress, itchy skin, joint discomfort, and cognitive issues in senior pets. 

Highlights 

  • Participation in cutting edge research means your pet is getting one of the best products 
  • Peanut butter-flavored CBD pet treats are made with a proprietary blend of CBD and CBDA and organic ingredients 
  • Offers emergency use chews for urgent use to calm a dog in stressful situations
  • Third-party lab tested  

Things to Consider 

  • Higher price; chews range from $79.95 to $89.95

Canna Pet CBD

Canna-pet CBD oil

Canna Pet CBD is the first and only hemp and terpene (naturally occurring chemical compounds in plants) product that’s designed for both cats and dogs. It comes in the form of oil, capsules, and treats/biscuits that can be purchased from select veterinary clinics or online. Dog biscuits come in flavors such as maple bacon and turkey. It also offers a vegan alternative with peanut butter, banana, and apple.  

Highlights 

  • Formulated with organic hemp grown in USA
  • Formulations are non-GMO, vegan, and free of animal products 
  • Covered by major pet insurance companies such as Trupanion and Petplan with veterinarian recommendation  
  • 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee 

Things to Consider 

  • Consumers have complained about difficulty in use navigating the website to purchase products 
  • Products often are out of stock 
  • Treats can be a bit too hard for senior dogs
  • No third-party testing results published on the website 

HolistaPet

Holista pet CBD bundle with cat treats featured

As the name suggests, HolistaPet is all about treating your pet’s anxiety and boosting immunity and joint health with holistic methods. It’s also one of the few brands that provides calming chews for cats. Dog treats come in flavors such as green apple and peanut butter. 

Highlights 

  • Made from premium Colorado hemp and organic natural ingredients
  • Three distinct flavors for dog treats and salmon-flavored CBD treats for cats 
  • 30-day money back guarantee with no questions asked 
  • Third-party lab tested 
  • Reasonable prices 

Things to Consider 

  • Expect slow shipping times 
  • Flavor may not be suitable for all dogs 

Pet CBD: Tips and Advice

Cat and dog at the vet

Before giving your dog or cat any CBD pet treats or CBD oils for pets, consult with your veterinarian to find the right product and dosage for the condition to be treated. If your pet is suffering from any underlying diseases or taking any other medications, the animal’s body may not be able to metabolize pet CBD products. More importantly, once you’ve chosen the right product for your pet, read and follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions as dosage is product-specific. 

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