October 05, 2021

Is It Safe To Give Cats & Dogs CBD?

It’s tempting to want to share everything with your best furry friend. Pet parents quickly learn there are some things that are okay to sneak under the table and other things that are for us hoo-mans only.

The great news is that CBD is one of those things most pets can use safely. There is a catch though…

As with any new food, supplement, or that houseplant Kiki likes to nibble on — there are some best safety practices for giving CBD oil to (and having it around) your pet.

Pet CBD vs Other CBD

Before we go any further — and before you start giving your pet the same CBD you use — let’s make sure we’re on the same page about CBD oil for pets.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Some CBD products contain high levels of another cannabinoid known as THC.

THC is toxic to pets. Read that again. Memorize it. Write it on a post-it note and stick it to your fridge.

Cats and dogs also don’t need as much CBD as humans do. That’s why it’s important to use CBD made specifically for pets. Pet CBD should be of a lower potency and contain no THC.

How Does CBD Affect Pets?

Although their furry bodies need a lower CBD dose, cats and dogs process CBD in a similar way to humans. That’s because all mammals share a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a key player in maintaining a healthy, balanced state of being.

CBD has the unique ability to interact with the ECS, which can result in body-mind benefits for your companion. Speaking of …

Benefits Of CBD For Dogs & Cats

Pet CBD research is an emerging field, but current scientific findings and reports from pet parents are promising.

  • Some of the most conclusive research has found CBD to improve mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis.(1)
  • Another area of research for an application CBD’s long been used for in humans: as an anti-seizure medicine for pets with epilepsy.(2)

Beyond dialing down the exuberance level of your pup or kit, pet owners say they’ve noticed a difference after giving their pet CBD oil for:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • General pain relief
  • Energy

I am super impressed by how fast this product has worked for our 9 year old lab. I feel like we have a puppy again; he’s much more mobile and stoked on life again and that’s priceless for us. We are buying again before this bottle runs out!” — Brenda


Using CBD Oil For Pets Safely

We’ve already emphasized the importance of using a low potency, THC-less CBD for pets. There are just a few more tips to keep in your back paw-cket.

Potential CBD Side Effects

CBD side effects in pets are few and far between, but every pet parent should know what to look for. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms after taking CBD oil, discontinue use.

  • Increased thirst or lip smacking. This may indicate your pet has dry mouth.
  • Dizziness or confusion. Your pet may have low blood pressure if it seems woozy.
  • It’s ultra-sleepy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you might feel like your pet should be more alert to live its best life.

Avoid Ingredients Toxic To Pets

CBD oil for pets often contains at least a couple of other ingredients. Be sure to review the pet CBD label with a fine-toothed fur comb to make sure common culprits aren’t in there, like:

  • Xylitol and other sugar substitutes
  • Non-organic hemp, which can contain pesticides and heavy metals
  • Essential oils
  • Caffeine

For more exhaustive lists of no-go ingredients for felines and canines, head to the articlesCBD For Dogs: A Guide For Humans andGiving Your Cat CBD: A Guide For Humans next.

Talk To Your Veterinarian

Vets can’t recommend or prescribe CBD, but your vet should be in the loop about anything your pet is consuming. Knowing every ingredient they're consuming helps them give your pet primo care.

Practice General CBD & Cannabis Safety

It may be a no-brainer, but we take safety seriously so we’ll spell it out: Keep CBD and all other cannabis products away from pets.

Since accidents can happen, keep the number of your vet and a poison control resource posted where everyone in the house can find it.

The Bottom Line: Is CBD Safe For Pets?

When used correctly, CBD oil is safe for the majority of pets. It may even help improve wellness and quality of life in cats and dogs.

  • Learn the potential side effects.
  • Keep all CBD and cannabis products away from pets other than what you’re administering.
  • Let your vet know you’re incorporating CBD.
  • Only give your dogs and cats a pet CBD product that’s THC-free and made with organic hemp.



  1. Earlenbaugh, E. (2020). CBD For Dogs? New Research Backs Canine Cannabis Use For Osteoarthritis. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilyearlenbaugh/2020/07/01/cbd-for-dogs-new-research-backs-canine-cannabis-use-for-osteoarthritis
  2. McGrath, S, et al. (2020). Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. https://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.254.11.1301

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