All animals, with the exception of insects, have endocannabinoid systems. Like humans, cannabinoids such as CBD can interact with animal endocannabinoid systems and cannabinoid receptors.
Emerging research and anecdotes from pet owners suggest that CBD may influence mood or soothe inflammation and discomfort in a range of animals. However, because CBD has only just started being used on our furry friends, it is hard to validate some of these claims until more rigorous research has been completed.
One thing that is reassuring is that most studies of CBD on diverse animal species indicate that CBD is generally safe for use on pets, and unlikely to cause serious adverse effects. However, it’s always recommended to talk to a trusted veterinarian if you are thinking about giving your pet CBD.
If you’re wondering whether CBD may benefit other domesticated pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, horses or birds, read on.
CBD for Rabbits
According to bunny owners and emerging studies, CBD may influence rabbits both psychologically and physiologically.
As a mood modulator, CBD may help to ease anxiety, stress or mood disorders. Anxiety can be a common problem among pet rabbits. Rabbits are wired to be alert and vigilant because in the wild, they have to be constantly on alert for predators. Pet rabbits still have these wild instincts and can be chronically jumpy and nervous even when they live in a safe environment. If your bunny shares a home with a cat or dog, the tendency toward anxiety may be even more pronounced. CBD can exert calming effects. While there’s no research exploring whether CBD can specifically help alleviate bunny anxiety, a large survey has indicated that anxiety is one of the most common reasons that pet owners administer CBD to their furry friends. Beyond anxiety, CBD may also help modulate other extreme moods, such as aggression among rabbits that share a cage, or even over-amorous behavior!
CBD may also help middle-aged or senior bunnies with joint pain or osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is common among rabbits six years of age or older, though it can affect rabbits in their earlier years, making jumping and hopping challenging. CBD may ease the inflammation at the joint that contributes to the pain. In a study of dogs with osteoarthritis, CBD reduced pain and increased mobility and activity.
Finally, a recent 2022 study that set out to explore how CBD interacted with rabbits revealed some fascinating insights. According to the study’s authors, CBD that was administered orally lasted longer and reached a greater concentration in the rabbits’ plasma when it was given without food. None of the rabbits in the study experienced any adverse effects after receiving their dose (15mg per kilogram administered in an oral syringe.)
CBD for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are a universally loved small pet, adored for their compactness, cuteness, and friendly nature. However, like all animals, guinea pigs can still suffer from a host of different issues and conditions – some of which have symptoms that may be alleviated by CBD.
Guinea pigs are particularly prone to arthritis, which can cause the joints to swell and become inflamed, hindering mobility. In a study that explored how guinea pigs responded to oral doses of CBD oil, the researchers found that the guinea pigs experienced no adverse effects in response to the doses (either 25 or 50 milligrams per kilo). The study also showed that the CBD made it to its intended location and was found in the joint tissue of all the animals in the study.
Other research on rats (noting that both rats and guinea pigs are species of rodent) found that CBD reduced short-term pain perception. Another study found that CBD prevented pain and nerve damage among rats with osteoarthritis when dosed orally, and transdermally (applied to the skin).
Like bunnies, guinea pigs can also experience anxiety. Guinea pigs are social creatures and can feel stressed if they don’t have a companion or are left alone all day without human interaction. Research exploring the effects of CBD on rats has found that a dose of 5 mg per kilogram helped to ease anxiety in response to stress triggers.
Finally, the calming benefits of CBD may also help ease biting or aggression in guinea pigs. Biting is a common behavior in guinea pigs that feel nervous, bullied, threatened or afraid. A study of rats found that CBD helped to extinguish fear memories with persistent results and reduce stress in a fear-potentiated test.
CBD for Birds
Pet birds can display some unique stress behaviors that can be harmful to their wellbeing, and troubling for their owners. Feather picking or plucking represents one of the most common problems seen in birds. There can be many underlying issues that contribute to feather plucking, with stress sitting at the top of the list. Triggers such as fighting with other birds, environmental changes (like moving to a new house), boredom and loneliness can result in your beloved pet parrot or parakeet plucking its feathers in frustration.
Bird owners report that CBD may help reduce symptoms that contribute to feather plucking. For example, CBD targets the endocannabinoid system, helping to bring the body back into equilibrium or homeostasis. CBD may also help to ease stress caused by separation anxiety or hyperactivity by regulating mood.
Fascinatingly, scholarly research has begun emerging in recent months exploring the specific effects of CBD on different bird species.
In one notable study on chickens, CBD helped to boost the immune systems of the birds in response to a mild Clostridium infection. CBD appeared to exert its beneficial mechanisms by upregulating genes that contributed to healthy gut barrier function. The authors of the study concluded that CBD may be useful in preventing the onset of infections, particularly for chickens kept in close quarters with other chickens. While there’s still much to learn about how CBD specifically impacts the avian immune system, it appears clear that CBD plays a role in influencing immune responses.
CBD for Horses
The unique relationship between man and horse stretches back into antiquity. Because humans work so closely alongside horses, alternative or experimental treatments for equine injury or illness are often informally tried out on horses. CBD is no exception. However, while many horse owners are enthusiastically embracing CBD, it’s important to point out that there is still a relative scarcity of standardized research available.
According to one 2021 article, however, hemp-based CBD products may be useful in easing anxiety and stress, which can show up in horses as flightiness or being ‘high-strung’. The authors of the study suggest that horse owners and veterinarians only source CBD products that have been tested by independent laboratories (such as High Falls Hemp products). In particular, CBD may also ease symptoms associated with anxiety, osteoarthritis, laminitis (lameness) and sensitivity associated with nerve pain.
In one case study of a horse with severe mechanical allodynia (nerve pain caused by a harmless stimuli), 250mg of oral CBD administered twice a day led to an improvement within 36 hours. The horse, which had been violently twitching and kicking when touched or groomed in that area, began allowing both light and firm touch. The horse was soon able to be lunged and tacked without exhibiting any adverse behaviors. After 60 days the dose was tapered to a maintenance dose of 150mg.
In general, when it comes to dosing your equine companion, the size of the dose depends on the size of your horse, the nature of its illness or issue, and its tolerance to CBD medicine. CBD may stay in the horses’ system for anywhere from 24-96 hours, with its presence in plasma typically peaking at four to five hours. Some equine experts therefore recommend dosing at 12-hour intervals. Compared with dogs, the levels of CBD detectable in equine plasma can tend to be low, suggesting that horses may require higher doses than other animals to experience comparable results.
Pet CBD from High Falls Hemp
If you’re thinking about purchasing pet CBD products for your furry or winged friend, the High Falls Hemp range of pet tinctures can be used for cats, dogs, or any creature with an endocannabinoid system.
We believe our pet CBD is the best CBD because our tinctures contain high quality hemp oil and CBD sourced from our farm in High Falls, NY. What’s more, our products stand out from other CBD pet products because our range undergoes rigorous third-party lab testing for toxins and cannabinoid concentrations. We share our test results so you have peace of mind that your pet isn’t consuming detectable quantities of THC.
Our current range of pet CBD includes full-spectrum tinctures for regular-sized and large pets that contain the full complement of CBD, minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and 0.3% THC or less. However, keep an eye out for a new range coming soon that includes broad-spectrum formulations!