We’ll save you the suspense and let you know upfront: Yes. CBD can stimulate your pet’s appetite. But what’s most important to know is how and why CBD works so you can get your furry family the very best treatment available. You’ll also want to know why CBD is often superior to prescription appetite stimulants.
Where those medications only have one mechanism of action: chemically increasing appetite (along with potentially nasty side effects), CBD treats many underlying conditions, including poor appetite. The resulting holistic treatment is more effective, safer on your fur babies, and promotes general well-being better than any prescription medication ever could.
To start, let’s get to the bottom of what causes poor appetites in the first place.
What Causes Low Appetite in Pets?
Most people think an upset stomach or gastrointestinal issue must be stifling their pet’s appetite. And while that could be the problem, there are so many factors that can affect your pet’s appetite. Below are a few common causes and how to spot them in your fur baby.
1- Upset Stomach
This is the most obvious culprit for a pet not eating. Symptoms to look for include:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
- Licking lips or the air (dogs)
- Nausea (dogs will have abnormal drooling)
Monitor your pet to see if these symptoms improve over a day or two. If they begin eating normally again within 2 days, it’s highly likely they just had an upset stomach. Anything beyond that calls for a visit to your vet. And if your pet shows any severe symptoms like continuous vomiting, fever, or bloody stool, get them medical attention immediately.
2- Anxiety and Stress
Just like their humans, your pet’s tummy is highly sensitive to anxiety and stress. Too much of either one can affect their appetite significantly. Changes in environment, loud noises, extended separation, and new people in the house can all spike your pet’s anxiety and stress. Some symptoms to look for here are:
- Destructive behavior
- Pacing or restlessness
- Uncharacteristic aggression
See if removing sources of stress and/or giving your pet plenty of exercise helps their symptoms. If so, anxiety and stress may be the issue.
Serious side effects are somewhat rare with prescription medications for animals. But a lack of research and training on drug side effects in pets means they may be the cause of your fur baby’s appetite loss. Some other indicators of an allergic reaction are:
- Swelling in the face
- Itchiness and excessive scratching
- Loss of appetite
- Depression and lethargy
Make sure to give your vet a call if you notice any of these after starting a new medication.
4- Behavioral Issues
Any pet owner knows their beloved pooch or feline friend is smarter than most give them credit. Their loss of appetite may not be a medical condition at all, but simply their own cleverness working against them (and you, the worrying parent).
For example, if you routinely offer your pet treats or human food when they refuse their food, you could be reinforcing a problematic behavior. They’re learning that refusing their food or crying out will get them a far tastier meal.
To correct this behavior, try setting out their food for 30 minutes at feeding time. Then, take it away whether it’s been eaten or not. Repeat for each scheduled feeding and stay strong against your animal’s protests.
If they’re starving, they will eat. But it’s important to only try this if all other factors have been ruled out. For example, don’t attempt this if your pet is actively suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, or another symptom mentioned above.
5- Medical Conditions
This list is by no means definitive. Something more serious could be the underlying problem. Gastrointestinal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney or liver problems, recovering from surgery, cancer, and more could all be to blame. So make sure to call your vet if your best bud isn’t eating normally after 2 days.
Exercise or play is a great natural way to stimulate your pet’s appetite. If they’re up for it, showing a little extra attention and getting them moving can make your dog or cat hungry.
Feeding by hand is another great way to show your animal love and encourage healthy eating.
You might also want to mix in small amounts of lean chicken, wet canned food, or their favorite tasty treat.
Heating their food slightly by adding warm water can make their meal smell nicer and have a softer texture, helping them eat more than normal.
Finally, CBD is a natural supplement that increases appetite and may treat many of the underlying conditions above. Especially nausea.
Does CBD help with appetite?
CBD is a powerful way to help your pet get their healthy appetite back. By working to remedy several conditions simultaneously, you can be sure your furry family is getting the very best help on all fronts. Read on to see how CBD can help each underlying condition.
The first study suggests cannabis and CBD have a complex relationship with body weight. It increases body weight in underweight individuals and lowers it in those who are overweight. And the second study showed that 30% of participants experienced a significant increase in appetite.
A change in appetite is actually the most common side effect of taking CBD. And these studies seem to indicate that the change nearly always results in a patient in better health than before, whether their appetite gets stronger or weaker.
Cannabis is celebrated for its effectiveness at suppressing nausea. Pet CBD is no different. One CBD study proved that by targeting certain receptors, CBD works to stop the nausea response. And a pet relieved of nausea is one much more likely to get their normal, healthy appetite back.
›Nervousness and stress
CBD is an effective anxiolytic that may help a pet’s appetite loss from the stress of a new environment or life change. A 2017 review of CBD animal studies found that CBD consistently reduced nervousness scores and resulted in improved emotional responses.
Best of all, CBD is a safe, natural remedy with no side effects in the vast majority of animals.
Is CBD Safe for My Pet?
Just like its use in humans, CBD is safe for animals (even at extremely high doses). A CBD safety study for dogs and cats showed a 97.5% acceptance rate with no adverse effects at all. The most commonly observed side effects were:
- Loose stool / diarrhea in 3.3% of animals
- Gagging in 2.1% of animals
- Vomiting in 0.45% of animals.
Let’s compare it with a popular appetite stimulant, Entyce.
- Loose stool / diarrhea in 7% of dogs
- Vomiting in 6.4% of dogs
This is a significant increase in risk for less benefits. Where Entyce only works to stimulate the appetite, CBD offers a holistic remedy for many of the underlying conditions that cause poor appetite in the first place.
What Kind of CBD is Best to Stimulate My Pet’s Appetite?
WIth so many pet CBD oils on the market, it’s critical for your furbaby’s health to know how to spot ideal pet CBD. Let’s run down the list of things to look for and why.
» Full-spectrum extract
CBD is just one of the many healthy compounds found in hemp plants. Full-spectrum CBD extracts are those that contain not only CBD, but all the beneficial compounds found in hemp including THC.
These compounds (called cannabinoids) create a complex reaction called “the entourage effect.” Basically, hemp’s compounds work far better in tandem than they do in isolation. So if you’d like the most effective oil available, make sure it’s a full-spectrum.
» THC content under 0.3%
Full-spectrum extracts contain CBD’s big brother, THC. This compound is responsible for plenty of benefits but also causes the intoxicating “high” that cannabis is known for. And while THC in trace amounts is immensely beneficial to CBD extracts’ effectiveness, you want to make sure there’s less than 0.3% by volume.
Animals, and dogs in particular, are highly sensitive to THC. An ideal concentration for your animal would be 0.03%. This ensures your little buddy gets all the benefits of the entourage effect, but has no risk of any intoxication.
» Highly concentrated, low-oil extract
CBD needs a vehicle to deliver it into your pet’s body. That’s where oils like hemp, olive, or MCT come in. These oils suspend the CBD and protect it while it’s digested and goes to work.
The problem is that many human and pet CBD’s are made with the exact same concentration of oil and MCT and olive oil in larger quantities can be hard on your pets tummy. Pets’ digestive tracts are not designed for large amounts of oil. And where a human won’t have a problem digesting a typical CBD product, your dog or cat will.
Avoid nausea and indigestion by making sure the pet CBD oil you choose is a high-concentration, low-oil extract. Most human CBD is made at a concentration of something like 30mg of CBD per ml of oil. You’ll want something closer to 60mg/ml.
To figure this out, simply divide the amount of CBD by the total volume of the bottle.
300 mg / 5 ml = 60 mg/ml
1200 mg / 20 ml = 60 mg/ml
» CO2-extracted oil
There are a few extraction methods used to create CBD products. Alcohol, solvents, oils, and CO2 may all be involved.
The safest (and most expensive) among them is the CO2 extraction method. This method uses pressurized natural CO2 which is heated and/or cooled to a certain temperature to gently extract CBD, and other cannabinoids found in hemp. It preserves every healthy compound perfectly, avoids dangerous solvents, and delivers the purest CBD extracts available.
So make sure your choice uses this extraction method. If a CBD extract is CO2 extracted, it will definitely be advertised on the bottle or on the brand’s website.
Final Tips on Stimulating Your Pet’s Appetite With CBD
We’ve gone over a lot here, so let’s recap to make sure you get your furry family nothing but the very best for their poor appetite.
- Many factors, not only upset tummies, can cause poor appetite
- CBD deals with each these factors in a holistic way, simultaneously treating them all
- Pet CBD oils are far safer than prescription appetite stimulants
- When shopping, buy a full-spectrum extract with low-oil, THC content around 0.03%, and which uses a CO2 extraction method
Have more questions about CBD for treating what ails your best bud? Our blog is chocked full of golden knowledge nuggets to help you find exactly what you need (and everything you don’t). Come pay us a visit with a click below to have all things pet CBD made clear.
- Does your pet have drug allergies? new test available. PetMD. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2013/oct/could-your-pet-have-an-allergy-to-some-drugs-30931
- Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2014, July). Marijuana and body weight. Innovations in clinical neuroscience. Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204468/
- Hussain SA;Zhou R;Jacobson C;Weng J;Cheng E;Lay J;Hung P;Lerner JT;Sankar R; (n.d.). Perceived efficacy of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis extracts for treatment of pediatric epilepsy: A potential role for infantile spasms and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epilepsy & behavior : E&B. Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25935511/
- Rock EM;Bolognini D;Limebeer CL;Cascio MG;Anavi-Goffer S;Fletcher PJ;Mechoulam R;Pertwee RG;Parker LA; (n.d.). Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic component of cannabis, attenuates vomiting and nausea-like behaviour via indirect agonism of 5-ht(1a) somatodendritic autoreceptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus. British journal of pharmacology. Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21827451/
- An update on safety and side effects of Cannabidiol: A review of … (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2016.0034
- Deabold, K. A., Schwark, W. S., Wolf, L., & Wakshlag, J. J. (2019, October 19). Single-dose pharmacokinetics and preliminary safety assessment with use of CBD-rich hemp nutraceutical in healthy dogs and cats. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI. Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826847/
Borealis, S. (2020, January 27). Cannabis is not a dog’s best friend. scienceborealis.ca Blog. Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://blog.scienceborealis.ca/cannabis-is-not-a-dogs-best-friend/