Curious about giving CBD products to your furry family members? Studies suggest that mammals and other animals experience benefits from CBD, since most vertebrates have endocannabinoid systems. Although unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, CBD shows promise in relieving anxiety, pain and inflammation in pets, without the intoxicating side effects. Just like us, pets can take CBD as a daily supplement to improve overall health or manage pain, as well as situational anxiety from travel, vet visits, grooming appointments, thunderstorms or fireworks.
But pet owners can't give their animals any old CBD product. Look for those made with human-grade food ingredients and full-spectrum hemp extract, and make sure the company lists third-party lab test results on their website or packaging. Here are some of our favorite CBD pet products, researched and approved by my extremely high-strung Chihuahua mix, Rudy. The following suggestions are all for dogs, but every brand listed also makes comparable products specifically for cats, and some make horse products, as well.
Remember: Talk with your veterinarian before introducing anything new to your pet's routine, and start with a low dose of CBD. For more information or to schedule a vet consult, check out Veterinary Cannabis, a product-neutral organization dedicated to educating pet owners and professionals about cannabis use for animals.
Best Value/Best for Travel
Pet Releaf CBD Hemp Oil 1700
Pet Releaf offers a variety of CBD products for cats and dogs, made with their own PR-33 hemp strain grown in eastern Colorado. The brand's tinctures, which come in three different dosages (330 milligrams, 700 milligrams, or 1,700 milligrams of CBD), are made with organic coconut oil, and are also an excellent source of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, as well as antioxidants, fiber, calcium, zinc and vitamin B. The hemp oil is full-spectrum, so it contains other beneficial cannabinoids and plant compounds besides CBD to increase efficacy.
Sold online for $64.99, the 1,700-milligram hemp oil is by far the best bang for your buck on the market, especially since the potency means a little goes a long way. Many of the high-potency tinctures sold for pets (such as this one) are advertised as "for large breeds," but since the only difference is the amount of CBD per bottle, these products can be used for pets of any size as long as you adjust the dosage accordingly. Pet Releaf has a handy usage calculator to help figure out the right amount for different pets, and their droppers are marked with multiple measurements for easy and accurate dosing. This concentrated formula is also my pick when I travel with my pooch, because it's compact, complies with TSA guidelines for liquids, and I don't have to worry about running out. For cooperative pets, put a few drops directly in their mouths, but if they need a bribe like my guy, try putting some on a freeze-dried treat (it soaks the oil right up so there's no mess).
Best Daily Supplement
Earth Buddy Gut Health
I discovered this product while searching for a daily probiotic to add to my dog's food. Earth Buddy is also based in Colorado, making pet CBD products from hemp harvested without growth hormones, pesticides, antibiotics or chemical solvents, according to the company. Earth Buddy's Gut Health daily supplement contains 300 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD per 3.5 ounce container, as well as a healthy dose of colostrum, which contains natural immunoglobulins to help strengthen immune, gastrointestinal, skin and coat health.
A large number of cannabinoid receptors are found in the stomach, so combining CBD with a gastrointestinal supplement is an efficient way to increase your pet's daily nutrient intake. The supplement is also mixed with organic freeze-dried blueberry powder to make it more palatable. Each $40 jar contains fifty servings (each with 6 milligrams of CBD) for a dog weighing 50 pounds or larger, so if you have a little guy like mine, one jar can last longer than three months. Earth Buddy also offers a subscription service, so if you set up a monthly or bi-monthly shipment, you save 15 percent.
Best for Picky Eaters
Trove Canine CBD Oil
Upscale Colorado CBD company Trove has product lines for people, dogs, cats and horses. Founded by mother-son team Deborah and Sam Carter, Trove specializes in creating CBD products without the skunky, nutty or plant-like tastes, smells and textures that often come with hemp oil. This is partly because Trove uses pure CBD distillate instead of full-spectrum CBD, so you won't get the benefits of other cannabinoids, but their formulas are completely THC-free for those worried about a weird drug test. They're also organic, gluten-free, grain-free, GMO-free and vegan.
If your dog doesn't like the smell or taste of other CBD tinctures, try out Trove's Canine CBD oil, which doesn't have a strong smell and is virtually tasteless; it's the only CBD tincture that my Rudy will accept straight from the dropper. The 300-milligram dose sells for $35, while a 750-milligram version goes for $50.
Pet Releaf Edibites
CBD-infused treats are also a great option for pets with discerning taste buds. Pet Releaf's Edibites currently come in six different flavors, two different dosages and two different textures, giving you plenty of options for your pooch. They even offer trial size bags (ten treats instead of thirty per package, and half the price of a full size bag), and all Pet Releaf products have a thirty-day warranty, so you can test them out without too much of a financial commitment.
Made with the same PR-33 hemp strain as Pet Releaf's tinctures, the regular Edibites contain 2 milligrams of CBD per treat, and the large-breed Edibites contain 5 milligrams per treat. I usually go for the large-breed version and just break them in half, since one large breed bag ($24.99 to $27.99) has more than double the CBD for less than the cost of two regular bags, which retail at about $17.99 to $20.99 apiece. (It's almost impossible to break the crunchy ones in half, so I usually spend the extra $3 to get the softer variety; just make sure you keep them sealed.) Pet Releaf is available online, and sold at Denver-area pet stores like Kriser's Natural Pets.
Trove Canine CBD Balm
Topical CBD products are great for muscle soreness or skin irritation, since they can be applied directly to the targeted area, and they're not just for humans. Trove's Canine CBD Balm is formulated with arnica butter, coconut oil, vitamin E, shea butter and lavender essential oil to soothe dog skin or muscle pain. The non-toxic formula is also safe for licking, so no cone of shame needed. A 1.7-ounce jar contains 750 milligrams of CBD and retails for $60 on Trove's website, which recommends testing the product on a small patch of skin to test for skin sensitivity or allergies before applying the balm to an affected area.
Best in Show
Suzie's Goes Nuts
Suzie's Goes Nuts CBD peanut butter from Wheat Ridge-based Suzie's CBD Treats is a godsend. Made from hemp grown in Fort Collins, the butter smells, looks and tastes just like any other organic peanut butter. It doesn't contain any preservatives, gluten, corn, soy, artificial flavors or GMOs, so it's a great choice if your pet has allergies or a sensitive stomach. Drizzle it on their food, scoop some on a treat or just put a dollop in their bowl and watch them lick it clean.
At $34.95 for an 8-ounce jar containing 125 milligrams of CBD (2.5 milligrams per teaspoon serving), it's slightly pricier than some of the other options on this list — but it's worth it, because your pet won't waste a drop. Seriously: The only way I've ever been able to get my picky pup to take pills is by crushing them up and mixing them with this peanut butter. And since it's made with human-grade ingredients (just organic unsalted peanut butter and full-spectrum CBD) and tested on humans, I frequently steal some for myself, too. Order online or pick up a jar at a Denver pet store like Urban Dogg.
And if you're too broke to buy CBD peanut butter, you can always make your own.