CBD For Pets: What You Should Know

Like weighted blankets and thunder shirts, every proud pet parent will do whatever it takes to make sure that their pets are happy, healthy, and comfortable. Now that CBD pet products have flooded the shelves, thanks in part to CBD’s soaring popularity with people. 

We want to help you figure out what’s best for your furry family members, and hopefully, help clear up any questions you may have and dispel any exaggerated claims made about CBD for pets. 

In this post, we’ll try and answer your questions, like:

  • What is CBD?
  • How does CBD Work? 
  • What does CBD for Pets do?
  • What are CBD’s side effects?

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 113 known cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, present in cannabis plants. Cannabidiol is one of the more well-known cannabinoids, second only to THC. 

Chemically speaking, the two aren’t all that different. The real big difference between CBD and THC are in their respective effects. While THC is known its intoxicating effects, CBD is non-psychoactive. That means consuming cannabidiol by itself won’t get you high. 

The World Health Organization has even stated, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential….” 

Read our more comprehensive: What is Cannabidiol?

How Does CBD Work?

Cannabidiol interacts with human bodies in a number of ways— the main being its effect on our endocannabinoid system— a biological system native to humans, cats, dogs, and more. 

The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors that helps us regulate: 

  • Sleep 
  • Mood
  • Stress
  • General appetite and metabolism
  • Memory and learning
  • Inflammation

Some believe that consuming external cannabinoids like CBD can actually help a user’s entire endocannabinoid system run more efficiently.

Sure, but what about CBD for pets? 

There aren’t any FDA-approved studies on hemp-derived CBD’s veterinarian uses. But, because our pets have similar endocannabinoid systems to humans, it’s believed that CBD interacts with their peripheral and central nervous systems in the same way that it does with humans.

What Does CBD For Pets Do?

There are few scientific studies on CBD’s effect on our pets. And, given the relatively short time that CBD has been federally legal, it makes sense. Expect more efficacy and risk studies to publish in the years to come. 

That said, many pet owners who do use CBD say that it helps their pets’s: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Nausea 
  • Joint Pain & Mobility 
  • Seizures 


The first data for veterinary-specific use of CBD to treat seizures in dogs were released in 2019. Researchers found a statistically significant 89% reduction in seizure frequency in dogs receiving small amounts of CBD compared to the 43% reduction in the control group. The results warrant additional studies into CBD dosage and seizure frequency.

Additional research into CBD for pets is being pursued by the American Kennel Club, specifically to evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs.

CBD For Pets: What are the Side Effects?

Because there is little research into pet CBD use, veterinarians can extrapolate potential animal side effects based on how CBD affects humans. 

  • Dry mouth: CBD can slow the production of saliva. CBD for pets could manifest itself as increased thirst. 
  • Low blood pressure: Large doses of CBD can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. This can lead to brief feelings of light-headedness. 
  • Drowsiness: While many owners have been known to use CBD for pets to manage anxiety, there is a possibility of overdoing it. Too much CBD may make your pet drowsy. 

The best way to avoid any unwanted side effects is to consult your vet. Based on the weight and condition of your pet, they may have some insight and can recommend a dosage schedule. If not, look for dosing instructions on your CBD product and start on the lower end of that spectrum.

How To Find the Best Pet CBD Products

A Certificate of Analysis (CoA)

Any and all vendors should be upfront with providing you with a third-party certificate of analysis. Find Sunset Lake’s third-party tests here. A certificate of analysis should tell you about the potency of that specific product and tell you what other cannabinoids may be present.

See our more in-depth: How do you read a CoA?

Would you take it?

What’s in the product? Insist on seeing the ingredient list and look for any eyebrow-raising additives. If you wouldn’t take it, is it acceptable CBD for your pet?

Where was the CBD grown?

Don’t shop based on price alone. A lot of CBD, and this includes CBD for pets, is grown in sub-optimal conditions and may contain higher concentrations of heavy metals. Does the company make vague quality assurances, or do they say their products are pesticide-free and openly provide adequate CoAs?

Check Out Sunset Lake’s CBD For Pets

Check out Sunset Lake’s lineup of CBD for pets. We currently carry a 600mg Full Spectrum CBD Oil and pre-dosed, and for our canine friends, our CBD dog treats.

Meet Ramsey – The Official Sunset Lake Pet CBD Tester

See them both here. Both are made with the highest (and simplest) ingredients we could find, and are crafted with the high-quality, pesticide-free CBD hemp that we grow on our own farm in northern Vermont.

Updated 8/11/2021


  1. “CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report.” Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, World Health Organization 10 Nov. 2017
  2. “Farm Bill.” USDA, United State Department of Agriculture, 2018, www.usda.gov/farmbill.
  3. Raypole, Crystal. “Endocannabinoid System: A Simple Guide to How It Works.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 17 May 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/ endocannabinoid-system#how-it-works
  4. McGrath, Stephanie et al. “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 vol. 254,11 (2019): 1301-1308. doi:10.2460/javma.254.11.1301
  5. Shannon, Scott et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente journal vol. 23 (2019): 18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041