Safely Using Cannabis as an Alternative for Pets
Our furry little friends deserve safe relief of their symptoms just like us.
Cannabis can be used as veterinary medicine to help alleviate symptoms from certain ailments in dogs and cats. Like humans, they have cannabinoid systems that respond to CBD and THC found in the plant – and react in much the same way as humans. If you’re considering replacing a medication your pet is on with cannabis, take a look at the factors below, first. Ensure that you speak with a vet about the symptom and if cannabis could help.
Slowly Introducing Cannabis to Your Pet
Like humans, it wouldn’t be safe or ethical to simply cut out a medication and replace it with cannabis. Plan out a day and a time to give your pet a low dose of cannabis (usually the lowest offered by retailers that supply such infused medications).
The best way to see if the dose of cannabis is working is to give it to your pet at a time when their normal medication begins to wear off. This will ensure there’s a slight overlap of treatment so they don’t have to suffer through their condition.
Observe their behavior and note any signs of returning symptoms. If they return, give your pet its normal medication once again, then try again the next day and possibly a third. If by the third day the lowest dose fails to work, then you can try using a higher dose. Continue serving one dose of cannabis daily until you find the right amount that keeps their symptoms from returning.
Proper Cannabis Dosing for your Pet
This is where it can get tricky due to the many different breeds of dogs and cats. There are currently infused products on the market designed specifically for pets, such as Canna Companion, and Canna-Pet, both of which give you guides to proper dosing for their products. However, if you’re considering buying oil at a local dispensary (or making it) and administering it yourself, Dr. Robert Silver of Hawthorn Veterinary Clinic suggests:
- Small/Medium breeds: .05 mg/kg/day orally
- Larger breeds: 1 mg/kg/day
This is your starting point from which you can gradually ascend once your pet’s tolerance levels are found and they begin building a tolerance. Note that the amount of THC & CBD in the oil will make it either more or less effective, and higher amounts of THC/CBD will require a smaller serving size.
Signs of Pet Overdose
Here are some of the signs to tell if your pet has been administered too much cannabis. You can then try lowering the dose the next day as you attempt to find the right serving size.
- Depression / lethargy / dysphoria
- Bradycardia (abnormally slow heart rate)
- Urinary incontinence
As always, it’s best to consult with your pet’s veterinarian before beginning any type of medication change. Ensure you’re aware of the side-effects discontinuing your pet’s medication may have, as well as familiar with the potency of cannabis you choose to medicate your pet with. (Discover More: Cannabis and Your Canine)
Good luck medicating your furry little loved one! Share your experience treating your pet with cannabis in the comments below! Was it helpful? Any tips for others?