Beyond the Anecdotes: Clinical Studies on CBD’s Impact on Dogs and Cats

Beyond the Anecdotes: Clinical Studies on CBD’s Impact on Dogs and Cats


Cannabidiol, or CBD, has gained immense popularity in recent years as a potential therapeutic option for various health conditions in both humans and animals. While anecdotal evidence of CBD’s effectiveness in treating ailments in dogs and cats has been widely shared, the scientific community has recognized the need for rigorous clinical studies to better understand CBD’s impact on our furry companions. This article aims to delve into the current state of clinical research on CBD’s effects on dogs and cats, examining both the potential benefits and adverse effects that have been observed.

Safety and Adverse Effects:

One key aspect of any clinical study involves evaluating the safety profile of the intervention being tested. When it comes to CBD in dogs and cats, several studies have been conducted to assess its safety and potential adverse effects.

A study published in DVM360 evaluated the adverse effects of hemp-based CBD in both dogs and cats. The researchers concluded that CBD appears to be safe in healthy animals. However, they did observe adverse effects in both cats and dogs, although these were generally mild and transient. The most commonly reported adverse effects included increased thirst, sedation, and gastrointestinal upset. It is crucial to note that the study used hemp-based CBD, which contains negligible amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Therefore, these adverse effects were not a result of THC exposure.

Another study published in the National Institutes of Health investigated the influence of CBD on behavioral responses to fear-inducing stimuli in dogs. The results showed that CBD had a calming effect on dogs and helped reduce their fear and anxiety. No significant adverse effects were observed in this study. However, it is important to highlight that these findings focused specifically on the behavioral effects of CBD and did not extensively explore other potential effects or adverse reactions.

The Morris Animal Foundation states that many scientists studying CBD in dogs and cats use highly purified CBD in their research. However, they caution that these findings may not necessarily translate well to the products available to pet parents, as these products often contain additional compounds and vary in their CBD concentrations. Further research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of commercially available CBD products for pets.

Efficacy and Therapeutic Potential:

While safety is of utmost importance, understanding the therapeutic potential of CBD in dogs and cats is equally significant. Numerous studies have explored the efficacy of CBD in various conditions affecting our pets.

A study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science surveyed Slovenian pet owners’ experiences and attitudes towards CBD use in dogs and cats. The results demonstrated that CBD was predominantly used to manage pain, anxiety, and seizures in these animals. Pet owners reported positive outcomes, with a majority expressing satisfaction with the effects of CBD on their pets’ conditions. However, it is important to note that this study relied on self-reporting by pet owners and did not involve rigorous scientific evaluation.

In a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs with epilepsy were given CBD oil derived from hemp plants. The results showed a reduction in the frequency of seizures in the dogs receiving CBD oil compared to a placebo. While this study provides promising evidence of CBD’s potential as an antiepileptic treatment in dogs, further research is needed to determine the optimal dosage and long-term effects.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) highlights that clinical trials on client-owned dogs using CBD began at Colorado State University in 2016. These ongoing studies aim to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and proper dosing of CBD in dogs with osteoarthritis and epilepsy. Although the results have yet to be published, these trials represent a significant step towards advancing our understanding of CBD’s impact on dogs.

The Role of Veterinary Medicine and Future Directions:

As the interest in CBD for pets continues to grow, there is a growing need for veterinary medicine to play a crucial role in conducting well-designed clinical studies to evaluate CBD’s safety and efficacy in dogs and cats. Improved laws and regulations in this area are essential to facilitate the inclusion of CBD as a treatment option in veterinary practice.

The Humane Society of the United States recognizes the potential benefits of CBD in alleviating pain and anxiety in animals but emphasizes the importance of evidence-based medicine. Veterinarians and pet owners alike should proceed with caution, seeking out high-quality products and consulting with veterinarians experienced in cannabinoid therapeutics.


While there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence suggesting the potential benefits of CBD in treating various conditions in dogs and cats, there is still much to learn from clinical studies. The available research on CBD’s impact on our furry companions provides valuable insights into its safety profile and therapeutic potential. However, more rigorous and well-designed studies are needed to determine optimal dosing, long-term effects, and the potential for drug interactions. Veterinary medicine plays a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of CBD and ensuring its responsible and evidence-based use in dogs and cats. With continued research and collaboration, we can better harness the potential of CBD as a therapeutic option for our beloved pets.