December 26, 2018

Can Pets Benefit From Cannabis, Too?

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In the last half-century, pets have gone from furry beings roaming around the house more akin to a cute ottoman to full-fledged family members. Point in case: last year, Americans spent half a billion dollars on Halloween costumes for their pets alone. But it’s not just the fun “extra” purchases. Pet parents – particularly millennials – are spending more on quality items such as food, treats, and supplements for their fur babies every year.

It should be no surprise that in this growth of quality pet products, alternative medicines, and caring for pets as members of the family, pet cannabis products have experienced huge growth, too. From CBD dog treats to bacon-flavored oils to tinctures, pets have started to garner the benefits of cannabis products. And while official research is still emerging, the results have been promising. Here are a few things to know about pets and cannabis.

The claims are widespread

There is seemingly no limit to the number of claims people will say cannabis products can provide, and that is true for pets as well.

Some of the most common uses for dogs are the same ones for humans: anxiety, stress, pain, cancer and the side effects from treatments and gastrointestinal issues. Colorado State University’s veterinary school has started looking at CBD supplements for dogs who suffer from epilepsy and osteoarthritis. Cannabis products have proven anti-inflammatory properties, and many pet parents claim they have helped immensely. Others have seen it help with anxieties around thunderstorms and fireworks, which can sometimes be crippling fears for pets.

Something important to remember: vets warn very strongly against products with THC for pets as they are much more prone to overdosing and side effects. Only give pets non-THC cannabis products.

How do you give cannabis to pets?

There are just as many ways to give cannabis to pets as to humans. Oils and tinctures are traditional methods, but some companies have started making more pet-specific products such as treats that might be easier to give to pets than oils. Certain CBD oils made for pets are flavored with bacon or infused with salmon oil to help with shiny coats, too.

As for dosing, it varies greatly depending on the size of the pet and then the level of need. It is always best to start with the lowest possible dose and work up to efficacy. The Hawthorne Vet Clinic in Portland, OR, gives guidance as part of their practice and says to work up from .1-.25 mg/kg/day up to the maximum dosage of 1 mg/kg/day for oils.

Many pet parents find it easier to buy the pre-made treats with dosages built in to eliminate any confusion. These treats are available in many holistic dog stores or online from specialty makers.

 

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