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Pet Health: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cats

Cat Sitting On A Chair, Credit: Stock Photography


In the United States, there are 86 million owned cats, and most people consider their pets to be a furry extension of their family. When the unexpected occurs they are willing to do whatever they can, and in some cases, this includes considering an alternative, all-natural treatment like CBD.

In this article, we discuss what CBD is, CBD and your cat, the anecdotal support for CBD use for your feline, and a clinical opinion on CBD for cats.

Pet Health: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cats

Veterinarian With Cat, Credit: Stock Photography
Veterinarian with Cat

In the United States, there are 86 million owned cats, and on average, cat owners spend $160 per year in recurring medical costs, according to the ASPCA. However, these costs can skyrocket rapidly when the unexpected happens.

“Diagnostic procedures alone can cost between $1,000 and $2,000,” says Baton Rouge, La., veterinarian Carrie Schultz, whose business, Housepet Housevet, specializes in house calls. Schultz knows how jarring veterinary expenses can be — her own cat recently racked up $2,000 in bills after it spent a weekend in intensive care at a small-animal hospital.

How Much Should You Pay to Save a Pet?

Most people consider their pets to be a furry extension of their family. When the unanticipated occurs they are willing to do whatever they can, and in some cases, this includes considering an alternative, all-natural treatment like CBD.

CBD Oil, Credit: Stock Photography

What is CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. CBD is just one of more than 400 compounds found in the plant and is a cannabinoid in high concentrations.

Cannabinoids actively bind to special receptors on your cells and are part of what is known as your endocannabinoid system. This is a huge network of cell receptor proteins that have a vast array of functions. Some receptors are found within your central nervous system, whereas others are found in other places, such as your reproductive organs, skin and digestive tract.

This system is responsible for controlling your mood, appetite, sleep, immune response, movement, sperm development, ovulation and cognition.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Owner And Cat, Credit: Stock Photography
Owner And Cat

CBD And Your Cat

According to one study, “a staggering 93 percent of pet owners felt that their animals performed equally well or better on CBD compared to standard veterinary medication and treatment”.

Consider the following first-person experience:

Blogger Kiki gave a true, heart-rending account of her short journey with her sick cat, Zaphod, and CBD oil for cats.

Despite taking good care of Zaphod, Kiki found herself having to stuff her feline friend with pharmaceuticals to manage inflammation, organ functioning, and more. However, after a while, this was not enough, and she decided to give CBD oil a try.

Kiki said: “Having talked to other pet owners about this, it seems as if many of us are just looking for another tool to ease pain and suffering in our elderly or terminally ill companions. I know that was the case for me.”

Kiki added Zaphod’s CBD oil to his wet food according to the package recommendations. However, this proved a bit excessive for the fella. The CBD oil relaxed him too much, causing him to be wobbly on his feet, so Kiki divided the dose over two meals. This hit Zaphod’s sweet spot. The CBD oil relaxed his facial expression and allowed his owners to pet and pick him up.

CBD for Cats—Dosage & Potential Benefits

The Clinical Value Of CBD For Cats

However, while CBD has many therapeutic uses for humans, there is currently no clinical evidence to support its use for felines. 

Male Doctor, Credit: Stock Photography
Male Doctor

According to Dr. Gary Richter, while CBD isn’t toxic to your cat, it is hard to justify clinically.

Although there have been no scientific studies that specifically investigate the impact of cannabis on pets, Dr. Gary Richter, a holistic veterinarian and owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California, says that CBD oil is generally safe for cats. However, there can be some adverse effects to giving your cat CBD oil, including gastrointestinal upset and some sedation, both of which can be relieved by discontinuing the use of the oil.

“I think the bigger issue, from a medical perspective, is making sure that animals are dosed appropriately. This means that the CBD oil is having the affect you want it to have, and that you’re not accidentally overdosing,” he says.

Dr. Liza Guess, a clinical assistant professor at the Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, says that the lack of official, documented research into the affects of cannabis products for cats would make her hesitant to recommend them.

“I have heard that, in humans, marijuana products can be used for neuropathic pain, intractable seizures, anxiety, and appetite stimulation. I have plenty of medications in each of those categories [that are not cannabis] that have been safely used in cats for years that I am very comfortable using and understand well,” she says. “These medications have gone through rigorous studies and are approved by the FDA. Why would I want to use a poorly understood treatment that I can’t guarantee is safe or even effective?”

She adds that the FDA does not regulate the CBD products that are available on the market, so consumers can’t be sure that they’re giving their pets the dosage that they think they are.

“Pet owners looking to give their animals CBD oil should do their due diligence before purchasing anything online,” Richter says. “The marketplace is very much a ‘buyer beware’ environment, and people should be sure that the product they’re buying has been laboratory tested for both content, as well as contaminants like bacteria, fungus, and heavy metals.”

Also, it’s worth nothing that while CBD oil is typically quite safe for cats and dogs, cannabis plants are not. “There is plenty of documentation of marijuana toxicity in cats, for those that nibble on the plants,” Guess says.

CBD Oil for Cats: What You Need to Know

At TheraJoy, we have been making CBD topical products in the US for the past three years, and are proudly a market leader. TheraJoy is always made with 99% pure CBD derived from medical grade, non-GMO hemp, sourced directly from Switzerland. We offer purity you can trust, guaranteed. Our products are always all-natural, organic, vegan, gluten-free and kosher.

Remember, always consult your doctor before you begin taking a supplement or make any changes to your existing medication and supplement routine. This blog post is not intended to be medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your doctor at your next appointment.

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Can I Treat My Dog With CBD?

Dog At Veterinarian, Credit: Stock Photography


Dogs truly are mans best friend, and it’s this special relationship that drives us to take care of our canines through their most trying times. In the US, we spend a lot of money on pet care; according to Forbes, “it costs $1,641 per year to take care of a dog.” A large portion of that expense is health care, and an exciting new trend in canine health is CBD.

Anecdotal evidence is very promising in terms of CBD and your dog’s improved well-being. CBD has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety, arthritis and other inflammation, pain, gastrointestinal issues, epilepsy, heart health, and even cancer cells. Research is revving up quickly in an attempt to substantiate testimonials and seek out full FDA approval of CBD.

Can I Treat My Dog With CBD?

Dog At Veterinarian, Credit: Stock Photography
Pug At Veterinarian

While many would consider the relationship they have with their canine priceless, Forbes magazine recently published an article “This Is How Much Americans Spend on Their Dogs“, that outlined the real numbers:

If you thought the love of your pet was priceless, the American Pet Products Association is here to prove you wrong.

The APPA found that in 2016 U.S. pet owners are expected to spend $62.75 billion on their furry (or scaly) friends. That estimate is up about 4% from the $60.28 billion spent last year. In fact, total U.S. pet industry expenditures have gone up every single year that the association has collected this data, which it began doing in 1994. That first year, the industry was worth $17 billion.

Of the $60.28 billion spent on pets in 2015, $23.05 billion was spent on food alone. Veterinary care was the next most expensive aspect of pet ownership, coming in at $15.42 billion.

This Is How Much Americans Spend on Their Dogs

What is CBD?

CBD is derived from either hemp (the rope and fabric stuff) or cannabis (usually the recreational stuff). It can be easy to get, is purported to offer many health benefits for pets (and people), and comes in anything from pills and oils to specialty treats. Often, you will find CBD in the form of an oil that can be given orally, although there are other products like biscuits and capsules easily found online. Most importantly, it won’t get your dog high, which is good news for dogs because of their extreme sensitivity to THC.

What to Know If You Want to Give Your Dog CBD

Dog Running On The Beach, Credit: Stock Photography
Healthy Dog Running On The Beach

The Anecdotal Evidence For Canine CBD Use

Anecdotal evidence is very promising in terms of CBD oil and your dog’s improved well-being. And so, research is revving up in an attempt to substantiate testimonials and seek out full FDA approval of CBD. In the meanwhile, reputable companies are able provide some options for pets. (NOTE: It’s important that dog-owners perform due diligence to educate themselves about CBD and its potential health benefits. If you plan to purchase CBD products, do your homework first.)

So far, cannabidiol supplementation to alleviate—or, at least, mitigate—a host of ails your dog may suffer is yielding good results. Some of the most commonly treated conditions are:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis and other inflammation
  • Pain
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart Health
  • Cancer

CBD for Canines: The Whats and Whys; Are You Considering CBD Products For What Ails Your Dog?

Dog Food, Credit: Stock Photography
Dog Food

CBD for Canines

How can CBD treat so many different conditions? The key to CBD is in the dosage given to your pet.

“CBD has so many different targets in the brain and body that the dosing of it becomes very important,” says Joshua Kaplan, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington who researches medical cannabis in people. “For instance, if you’re using CBD to treat anxiety or depression, people find that low to moderate doses are effective at treating those symptoms. But to treat things like epilepsy, for instance, you need much higher doses. And at the dose that’s required to treat epilepsy, you often lose its effects at treating anxiety or depression.”

Can I Give My Dog CBD?

Identifying The Proper Dosage For Your Canine

However, this means proper dosage will require patience.

The chances are your dog will love their new CBD treats, but tread lightly. Dogs can have a reaction to any food you give them, so make sure you begin by allowing them the smallest possible amount, and work your way up to the recommended serving. If you’re trying to treat an illness or manage pain, be patient when looking for the benefits to appear. It will take time for the medicinal qualities to take effect, so go slowly and remain hopeful.

Canines + Cannabis? Five things you should know about CBD dog treats

Monitoring The Results

How can we tell if CBD is actually helping?

Anecdotally, CBD appears to be effective at helping dogs with these conditions, although, given the nature of the patient, a lot of its effects are open to debate.

The only indications that the drug may be working in an animal are behavioral changes—if the dog stops limping or whimpering in pain, or stops freaking out from anxiety when left alone. CBD acts on more than 65 different types of chemical receptors throughout the brain and body, such as serotonin receptors, which are implicated in depression and anxiety.

Can I Give My Dog CBD?

CBD Is Relatively Safe And Well-Tolerated In Dogs

Concerned pet owners can take heart, CBD is non-toxic and non-psychoactive.

Despite the dosing conundrum, there are no known risks if either you or your dog take a bit too much CBD. This is in contrast to THC, which can be toxic for dogs at high levels. CBD is non-toxic and non-psychoactive, meaning it’s not going to get your dog high and is unlikely to cause any negative feelings of anxiety or paranoia like THC can.

Stephanie McGrath, a veterinary neurologist at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, is one of the only researchers currently studying the effects of CBD on dogs. She says based on her research that she feels reassured that CBD is relatively safe and well-tolerated in dogs, although she cautions people to make sure it’s very low in THC if they’re going to administer it.

Can I Give My Dog CBD?

Consult Your Veterinarian

When in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you should talk to your veterinarian before buying CBD treats in bulk. Currently, it’s illegal for vets to prescribe cannabis to dogs because it’s not an FDA-approved substance. Furthermore, the research is all anecdotal and many experts feel like we just don’t know enough about the side effects or long-term effects yet. That’s not to say veterinarians won’t be on-board with your plan to buy hemp-based foods and oils for your pup. Many seasoned professionals have shared anecdotal evidence that CBD treats and products can ease illness and even increase comfort for dogs experiencing chronic pain or anxiety. Check in with your vet and go from there.

Canines + Cannabis? Five things you should know about CBD dog treats

While we can’t guarantee CBD will work for your particular canine or dog, we can guarantee that TheraJoy Organic CBD Salve is an effective way to deliver CBD directly to the afflicted areas. We offer purity you can trust, guaranteed, and we are always made with 99% pure CBD derived from medical grade, non-GMO hemp, sourced directly from Switzerland. We combine extra high doses of CBD with 100% coconut oil to create a product that is organic, vegan, gluten-free and kosher.

Remember, always consult your vet before you begin giving your pet a supplement or make any changes to your pets existing medication and supplement routine. This blog post is not intended to be veterinary advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your vet at your next appointment.