If you’ve taken CBD (cannabidiol) for stress, anxiety, back pain, or another symptom that CBD is purported to help with, you’ve probably wondered if you can give those same products to your pet.
Even though the science suggests that CBD provides the same benefits to dogs, cats, and other domestic animals that it does to humans, pet parents should exercise caution before assuming that human CBD is the same as pet CBD. There are often differences, and not all human products are safe for your dog or cat.
In this article, we’ll give you some guidelines about when human CBD is considered “safe,” and when you should opt for pet-specific products.
Is Human CBD Safe for Pets?
The short answer is that it depends. Human CBD can be manufactured and packaged with ingredients and dosages that are harmful to your pet.
We’ve included a list of items to look out for. In general, it is prudent to take a “better safe than sorry” approach and give your pet products specifically formulated for their needs and reduced body size.
If you do decide to share your CBD with your pet, look out for the following six potential hazards:
Xylitol is an ingredient found in plants, and it’s often used in food, drinks, and gum as a sugar-free, natural sweetener. The problem is that it’s toxic for pets. Many edible CBD products designed for the human market contain xylitol, and you should avoid giving it to dogs and cats.
The ingredient can result in a sudden release of insulin in pets that results in extreme hypoglycemia, seizures, and liver failure.
Most people already know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but did you know why?
It turns out that chocolate contains an alkaloid ingredient called “theobromine.” In humans, it is a stimulant, similar to caffeine, but it produces more sustainable energy without the crash that comes from an afternoon coffee break.
The problem with theobromine is that dogs cannot metabolize it effectively, which leads to build-up and toxicity. Not all chocolate is toxic to dogs. In reality, it depends on the theobromine content, which is higher in baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate.
Merck developed this handy chart to help you determine if your dog has ingested a toxic amount of chocolate.
It’s not uncommon for human CBD products to contain sugar, especially edibles like candy and cookies. Giving human CBD to your dog puts your pet at risk for obesity, teeth problems, and even diabetes.
CBD treats and tinctures made for pets, however, lack these “palatable” additives.
4. Grape or raisin extract
Feeding your dog grapes or raisins can lead to kidney failure. According to Dr. Jess of Vet Explains Pets, ingesting even a single raisin can be toxic.1 Though on the surface, grapes and raisins seem like a healthy treat, there is at least one ingredient in the fruit (or dried fruit in the case of raisins) that is toxic to dogs.
Oddly enough, it took scientists years to discover what the toxic ingredient is. It turns out that tartaric acid is the culprit.2
Because the level of tartaric acid can vary based on the type of grape, where it was grown, and how ripe it is, it explains why some dogs can eat them and be fine, while others experience kidney failure after eating just one. The moral of the story is that feeding your dog grapes or raisins is like playing Russian Roulette - not a good idea.
THC, short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis that creates the feeling of being “high.” Human CBD products may contain THC if the human purposely purchased a product with this ingredient. In humans, THC can enhance the effects of CBD, and it’s often used to treat pain.3
CBD, on the other hand, is touted for promoting healing, which is great for dogs dealing with inflammation-based symptoms, including pain. Though it’s believed that THC can enhance the effect of CBD in humans, the opposite is believed to be true in dogs.
Here’s why: dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains.4 The higher number of receptors causes the effects of CBD (and THC) to be more pronounced. Though toxicity is seldom fatal, it often warrants a visit to the vet, which can be expensive and beyond stressful.
Human CBD products often contain THC, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. Even a 0% THC product could have THC if the batch wasn’t tested by a third-party lab. This is why it’s important to review the lab report before taking anything, whether it’s for you or your pet.
NurtureChews has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) included with every batch, so you can confirm that the CBD you’re giving to your pet has zero THC.
The dosage that you consume as a human is likely to be higher than what is safe and appropriate for your pet. Your pet will be best suited with lower dosages for two reasons:
- Your pet (most likely) weighs less than you do.
- As stated above, dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain, so a little CBD goes a long way.
The general rule of thumb is to give your dog between 0.1 and 0.5 milligrams of CBD for every kilogram of bodyweight. You can use this converter here to calculate how many kilograms your dog weighs and then do the math. If you need help in this area, contact us and we can run the numbers for you.
Why CBD Dog Treats Are Often Your Best Option
Given the hidden dangers that are present in so many human CBD products, it makes logical sense to use a product that was specially formulated with your pet’s needs in mind.
Pet CBD is easy to administer in treat format, and the dosages are meant for your pet’s smaller size. The ingredients in pet CBD products (including NutureChews) often contain additional nutrients that support your pets’ health.
Instead of guessing how to dose your human CBD in your pet and praying that there’s nothing that will cause an unwanted interaction, we believe it’s a better option to use CBD that was made with your pet’s needs in mind.
As always, the content in this article is not meant to be a substitute for a visit to your veterinarian. If you have any questions about what is best for your individual pet, please consult your doctor.
The Bottom Line
Before giving anything to your pet, make sure you read the ingredients. This is especially true with CBD products, which aren’t as heavily regulated and are still unfamiliar to many pet parents.
After giving your dog a CBD treat or supplement, make sure you monitor your pet closely to observe any interactions or side effects. CBD is tolerated extremely in dogs and cats, but every animal is different, so be on the lookout for common side effects like an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea and consult your vet with any questions.
NurtureChews are specially formulated in a top-of-the-line facility by a team of passionate CBD enthusiasts. Our products are sourced from 100% natural, American-grown hemp. We carefully monitor every step of production to ensure premium-quality products for your fur babies.