How Long Does it Take for Pet CBD Oil to Work?



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CBD oil for cats and dogs can help support and maintain their quality of life simply and easily. Much like other supplements for pets, CBD oils come with a whole host of variations, depending on the brand that produces them. 

A key component of CBD oil is the amount of THC. Marijuana-based products are often higher in THC and tend to leave pets experiencing more adverse effects, including overdoses. Hemp, on the other hand, is much less concentrated. It maintains the beneficial parts of the cannabis plant without the risk of your pet feeling ‘high’.

That’s why Canna Companion makes high-quality whole-plant hemp pet CBD oil, so you can trust in the safety and rigorous science behind it. For the purpose of this blog post, we’ll discuss CBD oil as it relates to hemp supplements for companion animals. 

Wondering about the timeframes around CBD’s onset and effects? Here’s a breakdown of how long it takes for pet CBD oil to work and why:

What factors into how long it takes for pet CBD oil to work?

The time it takes for pet CBD oil to take effect depends on factors like digestion, absorption, and metabolism. These vary by species, breed, age, and more. Typically, we see pets respond within a week. However, our veterinarian professionals encourage you to wait up to two weeks to observe optimal results.

The presence of food can also alter these natural factors. For instance, if your cat eats a full meal, it may take longer to see the effects than taking CBD oil on an empty stomach. 

In general, giving CBD oil is recommended during mealtime to reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) upset. A pet with GI upset may experience abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

There are times when your pet may want to avoid food before taking CBD, specifically where the effects are needed more quickly. 

For instance, if your dog experiences noise phobia during a thunderstorm, it may need support immediately. Administering CBD oil by mouth results in many compounds absorbing under the tongue. It hits the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in minutes, effectively providing support for your pup. 

On the other hand, a dog that needs regular supplement administration for joint mobility support will not absorb the compounds in the same way.

Occasionally, you’ll find that your pet experiences GI upset when taking CBD supplements without food.

According to our CEO, Sarah Brandon DVM, “85-90% of patients will have no ill effects when taking CBD without food, but the absorption of compounds will be altered somewhat.” Be sure to administer CBD during or after mealtime for pets that experience nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, or diarrhea.

Using CBD oil in conjunction with capsules

With so many different types of CBD pet supplements out there, you’ll quickly find yourself swamped with a plethora of options. You’ll come across oil, capsules, treats, and others.

One of the most common questions we get is about the difference between CBD oil and CBD capsules for pets. And whether to use one, the other, or both. 

In general, oils have a more rapid onset than capsules, biscuits, or treats because the ingredients are in liquid form and easier to digest. Capsules, on the other hand, are more complex and typically take a bit longer to get systemic circulation – anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.

There are times when your pet’s ECS needs a combination of slow versus fast release of CBD compounds from the body. This usually has to do with the underlying stimuli from their cellular stress and when those chemicals might demand more from the body.

Dr. Brandon gives an example: 

“In some cases of separation anxiety where the behavior exhibited is severe, (such as extreme trauma to self or others) we might recommend capsules as labeled for gentle, around-the-clock ECS support. This helps address residual stress from recent separation anxiety.”

Many people who work from home may end up feeding their pet with supplements minutes from walking out the door. In this case, the capsules by themselves aren’t dissolved and the ECS can’t access the compounds in time. 

“In this case, if you add oil – as labeled first, then increased in increments as needed every few days – first thing in the morning, say, as the dog is let outside for bathroom use, and give it by mouth, then it will be on board about the time breakfast is served,” Dr. Brandon says.

Now, your pup’s endocannabinoid system has access to compounds before the stressful event and during the time when the brain often jumps into overdrive. In this case, within a few minutes of confirming that their human has left the home. 

In this example, no oil would be administered at any other time, except on days when a separation will occur. This protocol works best in conjunction with behavior modification training for humans and pets. Dr. Brandon notes, “They are part of our family, and helping them resolve temporary anxiety so that no therapies are needed in the future requires all parties to adjust their current behavior patterns.”

In the end, your decision between using oils, capsules, or both should come down to the unique needs of your pet. 

With all that being said, we understand that this example hardly covers the full scope of your four-legged friend’s troubles. That’s why we offer complimentary consultations with our licensed veterinarian professionals. You can discuss your pet’s unique care plan and how CBD supplements can best fit into their routine. 

CBD side effects to watch out for

It’s a good idea to observe your pet after initially giving them CBD, especially when first beginning a supplement routine. 

Mild reactions such as lethargy and softer stool are possible during the first few days of implementing CBD into your pet’s routine. This is often resolved within 3-4 days of regular administration, or alternatively, a less frequent administration.

When opting to give your pet CBD oil on an empty stomach, be aware that potential side effects can increase as many of the compounds are absorbed under the tongue. For example, there may be a higher risk for sedation. 

In rare cases, more intense reactions are seen and necessitate a reduction or pause in administration, such as:

  • Extreme lethargy
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Wobbling or weaving while walking
  • Poor appetite

If you observe these extreme adverse effects in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately and stop using the product.

How long will the effects of CBD last in your pet?

The duration of the effects of CBD will depend on your pet as well as the type of CBD you’re administering. 

Some factors that will determine how long CBD lasts in your pet include:

  • Weight   
  • Diet
  • Activity level
  • Metabolism
  • Duration of exposure to CBD 

In most cases, the effects of CBD oil can range anywhere from four to 12 hours – again, depending on the above factors.

When to expect results from CBD

Adding a new care routine to your pet’s regimen will take time. Both you and your pet will need to adjust before you can expect results. 

You may see that your pet responds to CBD within a week. Our veterinarian professionals encourage you to wait up to two weeks to observe optimal results.

While CBD oil is effective in this time frame for supporting demeanor challenges or situational anxieties (fireworks, loud sounds), it may take more time to see results for concerns around joint and mobility.

After two weeks, you can decide to increase your administration amount or frequency from the labeled recommendations.

You can view our table of labeled recommendations on our blog about How to Use CBD.

Want to explore CBD products for your pet?

As more pet parents turn to hemp-based pet supplements, it’s clear that CBD oil can be a strong tool for pet care. 

Give your pet the highest quality care with a regimen of top-tier, veterinarian-formulated supplements. Explore our variety of pet CBD products to address your pet’s specific needs.

All Canna Companion Blogs are approved by veterinary professionals including the product development veterinarians.

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