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Buying CBD Oil for Dogs: UK Laws and Products

Based on anecdotal reports from thousands of users worldwide, people love their CBD products. So much so that many people wonder: Can I give CBD to my dog?

With animals having a similar endocannabinoid system to humans and most CBD products being made from natural, organic ingredients, it makes sense that people would want to share their CBD experience with their furry friends.

But, there is a lot to consider before you think about giving your pet CBD – let alone buying the right product that will be safe and well-tolerated by a pup.

To help you understand your options in the UK about CBD oil for dogs, let’s explore the current legal landscape and available products on the market.

The Benefits of CBD for Dogs

Considered a food supplement, people choose to use cannabidiol (CBD) oil tinctures, CBD topicals, CBD capsules, and CBD edibles for themselves as a means of supporting overall health & wellness. While everyone reacts to CBD differently, overall, most find it a convenient and effective way to meet their daily wellness goals.

But why would people think, out of all the supplements on the market, that CBD oil is something their pet needs?

Ultimately, people’s experiences with CBD have led them to be confident in the belief that their pets might benefit from the same experience. Seeing how CBD oil products are non-toxic, non-GMO, have few (if any) side effects, and are well tolerated by most people makes it an attractive option for many pet owners.

CBD for Dogs UK

The Endocannabinoid System in Pets

To understand how CBD oil might be suitable for your pet, it’s necessary to have a basic understanding of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS is a biological system found in all mammals that helps to maintain vital functions like mood, memory, sleep, metabolism, and more.

The ECS does this by producing endocannabinoids – lipids that bind to cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. When these endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors, it helps to regulate various essential processes.

While there is still much to learn about the endocannabinoid system, early research suggests that animals – including dogs – have a similar system to humans. This means that, like humans, pets may be able to experience the effect that full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil, or CBD isolate products, along with the associated terpenes, flavonoids and essential oils, are purported to provide.

CBD Oil for Dogs: Current UK Laws

While human CBD extracted from hemp cannabis plants containing <1mg of THC per product is legal in the UK, for dogs, the same cannot be said.

In early 2019, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) released a statement saying it is illegal to market CBD products to animals. The VMD bases this stance on the fact that there is a lack of scientific evidence to support the safety and efficacy of CBD when used in animals.

The VMD’s statement goes on to say that any CBD products currently on the market for pets are “likely” to be illegal. This is because these products have not undergone the necessary steps required for licensing by the VMD.

Using Human CBD Products for Animals

Here is what the VMD says about using CBD oil products made for humans on pets:

As there are currently no CBD products authorised in the UK for veterinary use, a veterinary surgeon may prescribe a legally obtained human CBD product under the provisions of the prescribing cascade. Administration of an unauthorised product containing CBD without a veterinary prescription is an offence under Regulation 8 of the VMR. Companies supplying CBD products for human use in line with the requirements of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency must not indicate or recommend their products for use on animals.

Some have criticised the VMD’s stance in the veterinary community who feel it is unnecessarily restrictive and not based on the latest scientific evidence related to CBD and:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Stress
  • Post-surgery recovery
  • Appetite stimulation 
  • Epilepsy

Are There Legal CBD Products for Dogs?

At this time, the VMD’s position remains the law of the land when it comes to CBD products for dogs in the UK. This means that it is currently illegal to give your pet CBD oil supplements – no matter what the product claims or how well it may work.

VMD building

If you see other brands selling products marketed as “CBD oil for dogs”, they are doing so illegally.

The Risks of CBD for Dogs

Using a low-quality product is the most considerable risk of giving your pet CBD oil. Unfortunately, many companies selling CBD oil use low-quality CBD oil ingredients or make false claims about their products. As such, it is essential to do your research before buying any CBD products, ensuring that the CBD oil source is:

  • reputable 
  • lab tested 
  • backed by detailed lab reports

In addition to the risks posed by low-quality products, there is also the potential for your pet to experience side effects from taking CBD oil. The most common side effects reported in animals are drowsiness and dry mouth. However, more serious side effects have also been reported in cases.

As with any new supplement, starting with a low CBD dosage and increasing gradually as needed is always a good idea. This will help you to minimise the risk of CBD overdose, side effects and to find the lowest effective dose.

The Benefits of CBD for Dogs

While there are some risks associated with giving your pet CBD oil, there are also potential benefits.

CBD oil is typically made from organic hemp plants grown free from pesticides that won’t upset your pet’s stomach or cause other side effects common with artificial fillers, chemical fertilisers, or other low-quality ingredients.

Additionally, CBD oil comes in a number of forms that can be easier to administer than other types of pet supplements. For this reason, dogs with finicky appetites or who are difficult to pill may be more likely to accept CBD oil or tasty CBD dog treats in the form of delicious gummies.

How to Get the Best CBD Oil for Dogs

CBD oil has become increasingly popular for human consumption over the past several years. With such great experiences using CBD oil products, many people also want to give their pets CBD oil.

The current UK legal landscape, however, makes getting high-quality CBD products for pets difficult. But that doesn’t mean finding CBD products for your pet is impossible.

Talk with your vet first about using pet products made with CBD. If you decide to put CBD oil into your dog’s food or give your pet CBD treats, do your research and buy CBD from a reputable source that your vet recommends. Additionally, start with low doses of CBD and increase gradually as needed based on body weight and metabolism to minimise any potential side effects of CBD.

Instead of cannabidiol, you can also consider buying hemp oil for your dog. Hemp oil contains no cannabinoids, has beneficial properties, and is legal in the UK to buy for your dog.

References

1. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770351/

2. Vmd Statement on Veterinary Medicinal Products Containing Cannabidiol, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vmd-statement-on-veterinary-medicinal-products-containing-cannabidiol

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