What You Should Know Before Dosing CBD for Cats and Dogs
Murray, Stan Jacobson’s 11-year-old Labrador retriever, was having trouble going up and down the stairs. He didn’t jump as high as he once did while playing fetch and walks were a bit slower than usual. Murray’s arthritis was getting worse.
Jacobson asked his dog’s veterinarian about treating Murray with cannabidiol (CBD) , a cannabinoid that’s extracted from the cannabis plant. It differs from THC in that it doesn’t get users high .
“My veterinarian wasn’t too helpful,” Jacobson said, “even though I broached the subject. I live in Boulder , Colorado , where both medical and recreational marijuana is legal for adults, not for dogs.” Anecdotally, some pet owners have reported that they use CBD oil for dog seizures, but legal barriers remain for medical professionals.
Veterinarians are not legally allowed to prescribe or recommend CBD products to their clients, even in states where it’s legal for adult use, which makes understanding CBD oil dosage for dogs difficult, if not impossible. That’s the case for Worcester , Massachusetts , veterinarian Karen Fine of the Fine Veterinary House Calls and Central Animal Hospital.
“I’m not allowed to prescribe it because of federal regulations,” she said.
While she is well aware of the anecdotal information she receives from her clients, she and other veterinarians can lose their licenses if they prescribe CBD products to their patients. CBD is categorized by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule I controlled substance. So far, 47 states have legalized CBD for humans, but not for pets.
According to the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) , medical doctors can prescribe CBD to their human patients; veterinarians cannot use it to treat animals.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA ) notes on its website that veterinarians cannot prescribe CBD products to their clients because, “ state laws legalizing use in people do not apply to cannabis use in animals.”
Where CBD is permitted as a pet remedy is tricky. California passed legislation allowing veterinarians to discuss the use of CBD products with their clients. In other states, however, veterinarians can answer questions about CBD only if the client brings it up first.
A survey from the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) found that 63% of veterinarians are asked about using CBD at least monthly and 8% are asked daily.
People Use CBD on Pets
Martha Lang’s calico cat, Kitty, hates loud noises. “Thunder and fireworks are the worst,” she said. “She’s so skittish during a thunderstorm and I’ve come to hate July 4. I heard CBD oil is good for calming pets. So, I tried it, and it works.”
Lang, who lives in Newton, New Jersey , buys CBD oil for cats online.
Anecdotally, CBD has been used for joint pain, arthritis, appetite stimulation, seizures, nausea, stress, anxiety, back pain, symptoms of cancer, and gastrointestinal issues. CBD products come in a variety of forms, too, including tinctures, capsules, and chew treats.
Being Open and Cautious
Fine, a holistic veterinarian, relies on both traditional veterinary medicine and traditional Chinese medicine in her practice, which includes using acupuncture and Chinese herbs to treat cats and dogs. Despite being open to alternative forms of medicine, she remains cautious.
“I don’t like to use the word conservative,” she said, “but when it comes to treating animals, I am. That’s because there’s still a lot that we don’t know about CBD use for pets.
“CBD is a supplement and in general most supplements are not tightly regulated,” she said. “Buying CBD is confusing, too. Often you don’t know what you’re getting. Some people sell CBD oils they’ve made in their homes. And the products online and in stores vary greatly in the amount of CBD in the products.”
Kirsten Waratuke, DVM, DABT, and Toxicologist for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center, agreed.
“Cannabinoid or CBD pet treats-which are also called hemp treats—oil, and tinctures are becoming increasingly popular for both human use and pets as well. At this point, more research is needed to look at what effects CBD has in pets to better understand how it may best benefit them.”
The DEA classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. The confusion lies with CBD and hemp. Hemp is defined as cannabis with 0.3% or less of THC. Since it has less than 0.3% of THC it was removed from the Schedule I classification after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill .
“At the same time,” Waratuke said, “ Congress preserved the FDA’s current authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. This means that there are no FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved cannabis or CBD products available for pets. Often, products that are available are marketed as hemp-based to skirt around the current legal status of marijuana and CBD.”
Pet owners are confused about CBD dosage for dogs and cats–is it based on body weight? Are there dosage charts? What’s in the product? The later has been addressed by a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that examined 84 CBD-infused products produced by 31 companies. The study found only 30% of the products contained CBD that was within 10% of the amount advertised. A few of the products contained small amounts of THC, despite being labeled as THC-free.
Without knowing what we’re buying, it’s impossible to know how much CBD oil to give dogs or cats. Some bottles list dosages, others don’t, making it impossible to say how much and how often to give. Also, a pet’s size needs to be taken into account. A toy poodle wouldn’t receive the same dose as a Doberman.
According to Waratuke, “More research is needed as there is no known appropriate dose for pets and we don’t know the long term effects of using CBD.”
Not knowing if using the product now will have an adverse effect later gives Waratuke a lot of pause. “The main issue in CBD is quality control. A concern is that there is no consistency from batch to batch,” she said. “What may be a ‘dose’ in one batch may be an over-or underdose in the next.”
CBD Oil for Dog Seizures
Canine epilepsy is the top cause of recurrent seizures in dogs. Medications that treat canine epilepsy have many side effects in some breeds. Some dog owners use CBD oil for dog seizures, but does it work?
Stephanie McGrath, DVM and veterinary neurologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, is the lead researcher for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation’s study on testing CBD to treat epilepsy in dogs . She’s trying to find an answer.
“There’s still so much to learn about inheritance of epilepsy, the influence of genes and epigenetics, the role of nutrition, the role of changes in the bacterial population of the intestinal tract, and other potential risk factors — we are investing in research in these areas,” McGrath said. “So, in some ways, while it is too soon to tell outcomes, you see the real need for more research.”
She’s also studying adverse effects caused by CBD given to healthy dogs . McGrath explained, “Overall, the product was well tolerated clinically. However, clinically significant adverse effects, particularly diarrhea and elevations in serum ALP levels, are noteworthy and warrant further discussion and research.” ALP is alkaline phosphatase, a protein found in all body tissues.
What About Cats?
There’s more data on dogs than on cats , even though there are roughly 86 million owned cats, compared with 79 million owned dogs in the U.S. Cat people tend to have two or three cats per household, while dog owners tend to have one dog. Even with those impressive numbers, little is know about the appropriate CBD oil dosage for cats.
“Research is needed,” Fine explained, “because there is so much we don’t know about CBD’s effect on dogs and in cats.”
There are more cats than dogs in the U.S., but the bulk of research on cannabidiol (CBD) consumption in pets has been studied in dogs. Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash
Fine worries about the lack of information regarding how CBD interacts with other medications pets may be taking. “And there’s less oversight and testing of pet products than for ones we humans use,” she said.
“Another issue is that the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center has had dogs develop the same signs as THC ingestion after ingesting CBD only-products because of the lack of regulation,” Waratuke said. “We just want to warn all pet owners to keep all marijuana/CBD products out of paws reach at all times to prevent unintended ingestions.”
Find the top CBD brands on Weedmaps with self-care products ranging from CBD oils, vapes, edibles to topicals, flower, and more.
Feature image: The legality of cannabidiol (CBD) to administer for dogs and cats trails the availability for humans. Photo by Jordan Davis on Unsplash
What You Should Know Before Dosing CBD for Cats and Dogs Murray, Stan Jacobson’s 11-year-old Labrador retriever, was having trouble going up and down the stairs. He didn’t jump as high as he once
CBD for Cats With Seizures
Does your cat suffer from seizures?
If so, I’m sure you’re desperate to find a reliable, safe medication to help relieve her symptoms.
CBD promises to help drive down seizures in humans, but does this stuff work for cats and other animals?
The short answer is yes.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how CBD works to reduce seizures in cats and even recommend a few CBD products designed specifically for felines.
If your cat has seizures, we believe that HolistaPet has the best products to help. They have treats, capsules and oils.
What Causes Seizures in Cats?
Seizures in cats can be caused by many different things.
Some cats may experience regular seizures as part of a congenital condition like epilepsy (which I’ll explore in more detail below).
However, feline epilepsy isn’t very common, and chances are your cat experiences seizures as a result of some other cause, including:
- Low/high blood sugar levels.
- Low levels of oxygen in the blood. Anemia, heart conditions, or diseases affecting your cat’s breathing may cause a sudden drop in blood oxygen levels.
- Brain tumors or brain damage.
- Toxins like permethrin (found in flea products), bromethalin (found in rodenticides), or even certain medications (mirtazapine, ibuprofen, diphenhydramine, or some antibiotics).
- Extreme infections, fevers, or hyperthermia
- Disorders of the kidneys and/or liver.
What Causes Epilepsy in Cats?
Epilepsy is a brain condition that you may already be familiar with, seeing as it affects humans, dogs, and other animals.
The effects of epilepsy on cats are pretty similar to its effects on humans.
The main symptom of epilepsy is regular seizures that can cause a variety of pronounced physical symptoms, including shaking, chomping of the jaw, salivating, urinating, and more.
These seizures are caused by a misfiring of the neurons in the brain which are responsible for sending information around the body.
When these neurons start firing off signals in an abnormal fashion, a seizure occurs.
Unfortunately, the root cause of epilepsy in cats isn’t clear.
Epilepsy starts to present itself in cats aged 1-4 months.
It can affect cats of any breed and is a chronic condition with no cure.
There is evidence to suggest that it’s a genetic condition, but it isn’t enough to suggest that genetics is the sole cause of epilepsy.
What Does a Cat Seizure Look Like?
Feline seizures are pretty shocking.
They are typically broken down into 3 stages:
- The “Aura.” This is the period just before a seizure takes place. You might find your cat meowing, seeking out attention, pacing around or acting restless. The aura tends to last only a few minutes.
- The “Ictus” or Seizure. Some of the most common symptoms of a cat seizure include sudden collapse, uncontrolled muscle spasms, stiffness, “paddling” of the legs, salivating, vomiting, urinating, or defecating. Most feline seizures last for only a few minutes.
- The “Post-Ictal” Phase. This is the period after the seizure in which your cat might seem disoriented and uncoordinated or even temporarily blind. The post-ictal phase can last anywhere from a few minutes to multiple days.
Keep in mind that the actual symptoms of a seizure can vary.
The symptoms I listed above are just some of the most common, but the exact symptoms will vary depending on the kind of seizure your cat is experiencing.
There are 2 main types of seizures:
- Partial seizures, which tend to affect only one side of the body.
- Generalized seizures that affect the whole body.
There are 2 types of generalized seizures:
- Grand Mal Seizures: These seizures usually cause your cat to fall on its side and suffer from uncontrollable muscle spasms. It’s common for cats with grand mal seizures to salivate profusely and urinate/defecate involuntarily.
- Petit Mal Seizures: These seizures are less common, and will cause a cat to temporarily lose consciousness. They may collapse, or simply stare out into the distance and seem “spaced out.”
In extreme cases, cats may experience “status epilepticus.”
This is when the cat suffers from multiple, repeated grand mal seizures.
Status epilepticus can last for hours and lead to death.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you notice your cat suffering from multiple seizures lasting more than just a few minutes.
How Can CBD Help With Epilepsy?
Given the amount of media attention CBD has attracted over the years, you may already be familiar with its anticonvulsant properties.
You might even remember the news report that shocked the world with the story of Charlotte Figi.
Charlotte suffers from a rare form of epilepsy which left her experiencing hundreds of severe grand mal seizures per week.
After years of ineffective treatment using a cocktail of different pharmaceutical drugs, Charlotte’s parents discovered the power of CBD.
Within just weeks of treatment using a CBD-rich tincture now sold as Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte experienced a huge decline in the severity and regularity of her seizures.
From there, CBD really started to take off.
More and more stories like Charlotte’s started to make their way into the news, and a multitude of studies started taking a closer look at CBD and its anticonvulsant properties.
Today, a multitude of studies exist on the topic.
The majority of these studies show that CBD is able to drive down the number of seizures in epileptic patients, as well as the severity of the seizures they’re experiencing.
In 2017, for example, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study examining the effects of CBD on seizures caused by Dravet Syndrome.
The study featured a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial including 120 children and young adults with Dravet Syndrome.
Half of the patients received a placebo drug, while the others received a daily dose of oral CBD solution at a dose of 20mg per kilogram of body weight.
All the patients continued receiving their standard antiepileptic medications.
The treatment lasted 14 weeks, and the researchers’ primary focus was the effect that CBD had on the frequency of seizures.
The group of patients receiving CBD experienced a median drop in the number of monthly seizures from 12.4 to 5.9.
Meanwhile, the median monthly seizure rate for the placebo group went from 14.9 to 14.1.
Another commonly-cited study comes from the highly-renowned medical journal The Lancet.
Published in 2016, the study tracked 210 epileptic patients across 11 different epilepsy centers across the US and their response to CBD.
The patients received CBD at daily doses starting between 2-5mg per kilogram of body weight.
The doses were then upped until the medication became intolerable or reached a maximum of either 25 or 50mg per kilogram of body weight.
The study showed that CBD reduced seizures by around 36%.
2% of patients also became completely seizure-free using CBD.
These are just 2 popular studies exploring the effects of CBD on epilepsy.
For a more comprehensive look at these studies and others, check out ProjectCBD.
Does This Mean CBD Can Help My Cat?
On my blog so far, I’ve written a lot about the benefits of CBD for dogs with seizures.
These benefits are exactly the same for cats.
I know that might seem strange, seeing as dogs, cats, and humans don’t really seem similar (at least not in a physiological sense).
But one thing that we do have in common is our Endocannabinoid System.
This system is made up of the main receptors that are triggered by CBD when it enters the body (namely CB1 and CB2, although there are others).
Exactly how the Endocannabinoid System and CBD help to stop seizures isn’t completely clear.
However, studies have shown that Endocannabinoid System is involved in regulating neurological activity in the brain and body.
It does so by blocking the activity of specific neuronal channels.
This suggests that CBD can help restore order to the disrupted electric activity in the brain that causes a seizure.
While I haven’t personally used CBD to treat epilepsy in cats, I have used it to help my dog Rosie, who was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and cancer.
Once I witnessed the positive effects CBD had on my Rosie, I began to research CBD in more detail and create this website.
In my research, I learned that CBD has many positive health benefits, and huge potential as an anticonvulsant.
Are Other Pets Using CBD to Treat Epilepsy?
There are many pet owners who have seen success with CBD on cats and dogs who struggle with seizures and epilepsy.
The Canna-Pet website, for example, is full of positive reviews of cat owners using CBD to treat epilepsy, seizures, and many other conditions.
P.J, for example, is an 18-year-old cat who struggles with kidney disease.
Screenshot taken from Canna-Pet.com
As his kidney problems progressed, P.J started experiencing seizures.
His owners almost immediately started him on an anti-seizure medication prescribed by their vet.
The medication didn’t work and P.J’s seizures only started getting more severe and frequent.
P.J’s owners decided to try CBD and saw immediate improvements. Within a month, P.J’s seizures became less frequent and less intense. He has also become more affectionate and relaxed thanks to the medication.
And as I mentioned above, cats respond the same way to CBD as dogs do, and humans to a certain extent. I highlighted the story about Charlotte’s success with CBD and her seizures above, so here are a few other pet reviews from dog owners:
Next we have a testimonial from Barry.
Screenshot taken from HolistaPet.com
Barry explains that his dog was experiencing up to 3 seizures per day.
His vet finally recommended CBD and Barry began his research. He started using CBD and instantly saw results.
He reports that not only are his dog’s seizures happening much less often, they are also way less severe.
This is a very common outcome. CBD might not cure seizures completely, however many pet owners report that it greatly reduces the frequency and severity of them.
Lastly we have Rex.
Screenshot taken from Canna-Pet.com
Rex’s story is a great one.
After using CBD for almost 3 months, Rex’s owners are happy to report that he is completely seizure free!
They have also noticed that Rex seems to be in much less pain, which is not a surprise as CBD is a very powerful anti inflammatory.
Although Rex’s story might seem like a miracle, there are many other pet owners who have reported that CBD has totally eliminated their dog or cat’s seizures. This is not a guarantee, but it can happen.
Which CBD Product is Best for Cats Suffering From Seizures?
If you’ve already shopped around for CBD pet products, you’ve likely asked yourself this question:
How do I know which product is best for my pet?
Today I’m going to help you answer that question.
I have plenty of experience with CBD pet supplements, and recommend 2 main brands for cat owners in particular.
First and foremost, I highly recommend HolistaPet for its line of products tailored specifically for cats.
For seizures, in particular, I’d recommend using a high-strength product, like HolistaPet’s CBD Pet Tincture.
For serious health conditions like epilepsy and seizures, I find products with higher concentrations of CBD produce the best results.
Alternatively, I also recommend HolistaPet’s CBD Cat Treats.
Cats really love the natural salmon flavor and crunchy texture of the treats, making them super easy to administer.
Plus, seeing that each treat contains exactly 2 grams of CBD, they are very easy to dose, too.
My second recommendation for CBD cat products is Canna-Pet.
I used this brand with my dog and was super impressed with the results.
Currently, Canna-Pet offers CBD capsules for cats, which are best opened and mixed into your pet’s food.
Keep in mind that these capsules will take longer to take effect, and therefore aren’t ideal for treating acute seizures.
Instead, they can be used as a regular supplement to drive down symptoms over time.
For more information about either of these 2 brands, make sure to check out my CBD for cats main page.
Hey I’m Blake, the founder of this website. Our family was fortunately to have discovered CBD products after our dog Rosie was diagnosed with a few common ailments. I truly believe they enhanced her last few years, and it’s my passion to spread the word through this website. Thanks for visiting!
CBD for Cats With Seizures Does your cat suffer from seizures? If so, I’m sure you’re desperate to find a reliable, safe medication to help relieve her symptoms. CBD promises to help