CBD for Pets Versus People… What’s the Difference?

If you’ve been taking CBD and recently found out that hemp can be used to treat your pet too, you might be wondering if you can put a little of your personal tincture in Fido’s food bowl.

Surprisingly, there are quite a few similarities between CBD for cats, dogs, and humans–but there are differences too. Interest in hearing more? Let’s dig into the details.

One Big Similarity: The ECS

First things first. All mammals share an endocannabinoid system (ECS),  a complex network of receptors throughout the body and the brain. Because the ECS regulates everything from your cardiovascular system to your nervous system to your immune system, it’s pretty important. What does this have to do with hemp? Good question. The active ingredients in your CBD influences the ECS receptors both in humans and animals.

When the ECS is functioning properly, it regulates everything from inflammation, to digestion, to muscle movement–and much more. Both people and their pets can take CBD to treat these similar symptoms.

Differences in CBD Consumption

Although both pets and people can consume CBD in edible form (more on that in the next section) or have CBD oil mixed into their food, there are also different ways for CBD to be taken from species to species.

A more obvious example is that your pet isn’t going to be vaping their CBD. (That would be pretty tricky to pull off without opposable thumbs).

Companies that make CBD for pets also don’t recommend the eyedropper method with cats and dogs. Neither enjoys having something jammed in their mouths. Plus, if the dropper is glass and the animal bites down, they risk breaking it.

Different Dosage

Of course, humans, the largest of the three species in question, are going to take the largest doses of CBD. Often the CBD designed for our pets is more diluted because of this. But size isn’t the only factor affecting dosage. Remember the ECS we mentioned earlier? It’s structure differs from species to species. Cats, for instance, have far less receptors than dogs do.

So a cat should have double the CBD to a dog weighing the same size. If you have a 10-pound cat and a 10-pound dog, experts recommend starting with a 2 to 4 mg dose of CBD for the cat, but only a 1 to 2 mg dose of CBD for the dog. For more serious issues (like cancer or seizures), the dosage should be a little higher.


Image via Austin and Kat


Pet breeds can also impact how effective or how powerful a response to CBD treatment is on an animal’s ECS. Even age can impact the body’s response to CBD (something that is true both of humans and animals).


Different Ingredients

Sources say that many oils made for people and oils made for pets are pretty similar (though make sure you read the fine print on the label before sharing CBD with your pup).

There are some ways in which the two kinds of CBD do differ though. Take CBD edibles. Pets can have their CBD added to cat treats or dog biscuits… Obviously, people would much rather prefer something like CBD gummies. Humans can also enjoy their CBD in chocolate (an ingredient which is downright lethal for animals to ingest).

The different palates of canines, felines, and homo sapiens means that CBD tinctures are often tailored to those different preferences. Cats, for instance, are going to prefer fishy-flavored CBD (like salmon) while dogs will be much more interested in beef-flavored CBD. Both will enjoy cod liver much more than humans will. People on the other hand, enjoy a wide variety of flavored CBD–from sweet to spicy, from minty to fruity.

Also keep in mind that cats are known to possess a much more finicky digestive system. Their bodies simply can’t break down healthy fatty acids like coconut oil which is perfectly safe for humans (or even dogs for that matter) to consume in their CBD tinctures.



Finally, human CBD has the highest level of monitoring and testing because of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA requires that drugs intended expressly for human have different labels from products means for animals.


A Final Note: Although we strive to provide you with accurate information, we are not infallible. We hope you will consider this your starting point in your research on CBD. To stay educated and informed, we encourage you to find more resources and experts on the subject.

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