How to Dispense CBD to Pets That Are Not Into it

Christine Colbert August 25, 2020 0 comments

What is the best way to administer CBD to a pet? 

CBD treats are now available in pet food stores, as more and more dog and cat owners are using Cannabidiol to treat their pets. Even though scientific researchers are still in the process of finding out what CBD can do for dogs and cats, pet-friendly CBD treats and tinctures have become more popular than ever. But, what is the best way to get your pet to take their medicine? Some pets are more finicky than others, and while your dog may not have a problem with eating your slippers, taking medicine might be a different story. If that’s the case, you may find yourself wondering how to dispense CBD to pets?

The Best Method for Bioavailability

Because the science on CBD for pets is still catching up to its popularity, we don’t have very much research to go on. Currently, there are only a few studies available on the effectiveness of CBD in dogs, and even fewer in cats. For instance, there hasn’t been much study into the best method of administration for optimal bioavailability — which refers to how well the body absorbs medication. However, there is some research to point us in the right direction.

A study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science (2018) researched how CBD could help dogs with osteoarthritis. The authors concluded that CBD oil administered twice a day could help dogs feel more comfortable and increase activity levels. Along with this discovery, scientists also recorded some additional helpful observations. 1)Boesch, et al. “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs.” Frontiers, 2 July 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full.

For one, they found that CBD is bioavailable in dogs. Among their study population, the treatment lasted 3.8 to 4.8 hours before it was eliminated from the body. The authors noted that, “When examining prior oral CBD bioavailability it was determined to be low and highly variable (0–19 percent of dose) with three dogs showing no absorption.” They theorized that the low bioavailability might have been due to administration in a gelatin capsule form.

dog sucking syringe representing how to dispense cbd to pets

Oil is the Most Effective Way To Dispense CBD to Pets

The authors concluded that an oil-based delivery system is probably more effective, and that administration along with food may be the best approach. This is consistent with what we’ve discovered through research on the bioavailability of cannabinoids in humans. It has shown that for humans, taking CBD with a meal containing fatty foods can increase its bioavailability. Further, a study published in Epilepsia (2019) found that taking CBD with a meal increased bioavailability. 2)Birnbaum, Angela K., et al. “Food Effect on Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol Oral Capsules in Adult Patients with Refractory Epilepsy.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & amp; Sons, Ltd, 27 June 2019, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/epi.16093.

How to Get Your Pet to Take CBD

Giving a dog or cat liquid medicine isn’t always easy. And for some pets, it can seem altogether impossible. So what’s the best way to give them pet-friendly CBD oil once your vet has approved it?

The most popular approach is dosing the pet’s food with CBD oil. However, there may be some drawbacks to sprinkling it over your dog or cat’s kibble. Basically, it depends on whether your pet is a grazer or inhales their food all at once. If your pet likes to snack at their meal in a leisurely way, they may not receive all of their treatment at one time. And given the variable nature of CBD’s oral bioavailability, you may want to choose another method.

Using a liquid dropper, you can give your pet CBD oil directly, by gently holding their head still while inserting the end of the dropper in their mouth. Aim for the side of the mouth. A quick squirt administers the oil that your dog or cat will hopefully then swallow. 

Help your pet by stroking their head and speaking to them in a soothing way. Be sure to give your pet a treat as a reward, and to help increase the bioavailability of the CBD. However, this method may not be your pet’s favorite way of getting their medicine, and it’s possible they may resist swallowing the oil.

This method can also be helped by picking up your pet and swaddling them in a towel or blanket. This obviously may not be possible for larger animals; but this is a solid method for how to dispense CBD to pets.

Hand Feeding CBD in Wet Food 

If you find that neither of the above methods of administration work for your dog or cat, there is one other mode you can try. An easy way to make sure your pet gets all of that CBD medicine is to mix it into a small portion of wet, canned, food. Most dogs and cats will wolf down a meatball of canned food without a second thought. 

You’ll want to be sure to give your pet the CBD treatment directly, from your hand to their mouth. Then, not only will they receive their complete dosage, but food along with it — ensuring the CBD’s bioavailability. One excellent way to make sure this happens is to give your dog CBD dog treats.

As research into CBD and veterinarian care is in its infancy. As it progresses, we will see more guidance on how best to give dogs and cats cannabinoid medicine. More research will also shed light on exactly what benefits CBD can provide for pets. Until then, we can only rely on the few studies available and anecdotal reports.

That’s why it’s important to speak with your veterinarian first before giving your cat or dog CBD.

References   [ + ]

1.Boesch, et al. “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs.” Frontiers, 2 July 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full.
2.Birnbaum, Angela K., et al. “Food Effect on Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol Oral Capsules in Adult Patients with Refractory Epilepsy.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & amp; Sons, Ltd, 27 June 2019, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/epi.16093.

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