CBD for Pets: What’s the Difference Between Pet CBD and Human CBD?

CBD for Pets: What’s the Difference Between Pet CBD and Human CBD?

Modern pet owners are highly attuned to their pet’s needs and behaviour. A small change in appetite or personality is easily noticeable. Veterinarians can suggest many remedies to help pets feel better but many pet owners find that CBD for pets may help them handle life in a gentler way.

If you’re wondering how important this market is, just ask yourself, how many pets do Britons have? According to statistics, there are 12 million dogs, 11 million cats, and 1.5 million rabbits living in UK homes, as of 2023—not to mention more uncommon pet choices such as guinea pigs, domestic fowl, snakes, turtles and tortoises, and lizards. 

If you’re one of Britain’s many pet owners, then you know only too well how attached we become to our four-legged family. If your dog feels stressed or your cat is experiencing separation anxiety, you’ll do anything to help.

Thankfully, there is a growing range of CBD products for pets that aim at helping animals manage life, fears, and even physical discomfort. In recent years, CBD has emerged as a prominent wellness trend, capturing the attention of both health-conscious individuals and pet owners.

Why not just give them the same CBD we take, though? What exactly sets apart human CBD products from those we give to our pets?

CBD for humans and pets: a brief recap

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It’s known for its potential therapeutic properties.

CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, which all mammals have. This means that CBD may improve the wellness of dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, hamsters, etc.

While the exact way CBD works is still a bit of a mystery, the consensus is that it makes the endocannabinoid system work better by nudging it into being more productive and efficient. It would also appear that CBD slows down the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids—those produced naturally by the body. This way, human cannabinoids stay in the body longer and their benefits linger for more time until they take effect.

Why not use human CBD for your pet?

It’s tempting to give cats, dogs, and other pets human CBD but this might not be a good idea. While human and pet CBD products derive from the same basic compound, the specifics of their formulation, concentration, and usage guidelines differ significantly.

In addition, CBD dosage for pets is quite different than the one for humans. The concentration of CBD in these products can vary widely. Humans can typically tolerate a higher concentration of CBD, and the dosages are often based on factors like body weight, the condition being treated, and individual body chemistry.

Also, human CBD products contain flavours and other compounds that may cause harm or at the very least discomfort to pets.

Let’s examine in detail how CBD for humans and pets differs.

CBD for pets: dosage

Humans are more or less the same size. Dogs, on the other hand, vary from tiny lap dogs to human-sized ones. Dogs also have a different metabolism compared to humans. They will digest and use CBD in their body in ways that differ from humans.

The consensus is that pet owners should give CBD to their pets according to their weight. The normal dosage is 1 to 5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of pet weight. The lower end is better when you start the pet CBD routine while the higher end is for pets who are either accustomed to CBD or have a more sustained need for wellness.

Translating that into overall dosage, an average dog of 20 pounds would need between 2 to 10 mg per day, which is a much smaller dosage than a human would need. To get a picture, the lowest dosage for a human would be 15 mg per day, while most people take larger CBD doses than that without experiencing any side effects.

Giving a human CBD product to a pet could mean you are giving your pet a much larger dose than is safe. While CBD is well-tolerated and there is typically no danger of overdose, your pet could experience side effects like drowsiness and nausea. It’s best to stick to pet CBD products that have adjusted their dosage to animals.

Flavours and other ingredients

Most human CBD products contain flavours and aromas—often fruity ones. These are not the ones that appeal to animals. This is the reason why pet CBD products contain beef or bacon flavour, fish oil, and other animal-oriented ingredients like peanut butter. The goal is to make the earthy and musky CBD aroma fade away into something that animals like and enjoy.

A more concerning fact is that human CBD products might contain ingredients dangerous to pet health. For instance, chocolate can be toxic to dogs and yet there are chocolate-flavoured CBD gummies for humans that contain CBD. Likewise, some CBD products contain xylitol to make the product sweeter—a compound that is toxic to dogs.

Xylitol, chocolate, and coffee are toxic to cats as well, so it’s best to give your pet a product that’s dedicated to its needs.

Pets and THC

THC is toxic to many animals. All CBD products in the United Kingdom should have less than 0.2% THC per dry weight. Full-spectrum CBD products contain traces of THC, as it’s produced by the hemp plant. Broad-spectrum CBD products have had even minute traces of THC removed.

Pet CBD products are made of broad-spectrum CBD so that there are not even remnants of THC in their composition. Human CBD products can be made of broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD. Instead of risking your pet’s well-being, it’s best to stick to pet products that have been geared to animal health.

It’s easy to think that a drop of human CBD oil, even with minute traces of THC, is OK. But if you give it consistently to your pet, THC levels will eventually build up in your pet’s body and you could cause unwanted harm.

CBD products for pets: an endless selection

For humans, CBD is available in various forms including oils, capsules, edibles, and topicals, each designed to cater to different preferences and needs.

Not to be outdone, today’s market is brimming with CBD products for pets as well. CBD pet tinctures can be added to your pet’s food or administered under its tongue, if the pet is easy-going.

CBD treats come in many flavours, shapes, and dosages. You will find CBD treats with peanut butter, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or carrots to appeal to your pet. It’s easy to keep up with the daily dosage of treats because you only have to count how many treats your pet has had during the day.

There are also topicals for pets. You can apply these on their joints if they are inflamed and painful. Topical products act on the area where they are applied and offer comfort if your pet is experiencing joint issues or has hurt its joints while bouncing around.

Choosing CBD products for your pet

If you wish to try a CBD product for your pet, follow the tips below to maximize the benefits:

  • Just like CBD products for humans, CBD products for pets should come from trusted and reliable manufacturers.
  • Opt for organic products whenever possible to give your pet safe and wholesome CBD.
  • The CBD manufacturer should provide a certificate of analysis (CoA) proving the content of the product and the absence of heavy metals and chemicals. The CoA also displays the content of CBD and the presence of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
  • Match the CBD product to your pet’s personality. If your pet is an easy eater, you can try a CBD tincture that delivers more CBD to the body and is more effective than CBD edibles. If your cat prefers treats, opt for CBD treats. A pet that refuses to take oil and tinctures makes it difficult to calculate how much CBD it has had if it spits half of it on the floor.
  • Consult with your veterinarian before starting any CBD routine. They can provide guidance on the appropriate product and dosage for your pet’s specific needs and health conditions. A veterinarian will also take into consideration any other medicine your pet might be on or a condition your pet has.

CBD products dedicated to pets

While the core ingredient of both human and pet CBD products is the same, the concentration, formulation, and usage guidelines vary significantly.

Therefore, it’s generally not advisable to give pets CBD products designed for humans. While CBD itself may be safe for animals, the formulations and concentrations used in human CBD products differ from those in pet-specific products.

Human CBD products often contain higher concentrations of CBD, which may not be suitable for pets—especially smaller animals, as they are more sensitive to cannabinoids. Additionally, certain ingredients commonly found in human CBD products, like some essential oils, flavourings, or sweeteners, could be harmful to pets.

We’re spoilt for choice

Both us humans and our furry companions can safely enjoy the potential benefits of CBD tailored to our needs.

With the market replete with pet CBD products, it’s easy to give your pet a targeted CBD product that’s specifically designed for pets. There are treats, oils, gummies, and other products that have been created with pets in mind and with CBD dosages that work for pets.

If you’re considering using CBD for your pet, check out our reviews of the best UK CBD oil brands and the best UK CBD stores and use products specifically formulated for animals. These products are designed with the right concentration and ingredients that are safe for pets. We are spoilt for choice as there are many CBD products for pets on the market. With a little bit of research, you are sure to find the one that fits your pet’s needs!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Nicholas Rossis, PhD is a specialized, NSF-trained writer who has written hundreds of posts on CBD and nutritional supplements. His work combines critical acclaim with the analysis of the latest news, studies, research, and legal developments in the world of CBD, providing readers with valuable data and insights.

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