In the UK, CBD oil products specifically designed for pets are illegal. How very British….You can take CBD oil as a human, but it still hasn’t been approved for our furry friends, just in case! However, there is some good news to ensure our pets can benefit from CBD oil in the UK too. Under regulations brought in by the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate), vets are now allowed to prescribe ‘human’ CBD oil products to animals.

In this article we will discuss the benefits and potential side effects that CBD oil has on our pets. We will also try and unpick the confusing regulations that surround cannabinoids and animals in the UK and whether they will be changing.

UK Regulation for CBD oil and animals

The regulations can be baffling. Whilst CBD oil specifically designed for pets is currently banned, you will however find products that imply they are for animal consumption by the imagery they use. Companies can include pictures of animals on their CBD products, but they are not allowed to label the products as ’for pets’. So, the CBD oil with a picture of a dog on the front of it is actually intended for humans. You can understand why animal owners can get confused as to the rules!

Having said this, The VMD recently announced that they considered veterinary products containing Cannabidiol to be a veterinary medicine. The VMD sight the decision is due to CBD falling in line with the below categorisation of a medicine:

“Any substance or combination of substances that may be used in, or administered to, animals with a view either to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis”

However, the VMD continues to say that because of this change in re-classification CBD oil, products for use in animals will therefore now require a ‘Veterinary Marketing Authorisation’ if they are to be sold within the UK. Currently there are no CBD based products in the UK that have been granted the authorisation by the VMD.

As there are therefore no CBD products currently on the UK market that have been authorised for veterinary use, a veterinary surgeon may prescribe human CBD oil. However, it is incredibly important to note that administration of an unauthorised product containing CBD without a veterinary prescription is an offence under Regulation 8 of the VMR. In addition, 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.

What Pet Health Problems Can CBD Oil Treat?

At the moment, no formal study has taken place on how CBD affects animals. What scientists do know is that cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors. All animals, including vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish) and invertebrates (sea urchins, leeches, mussels, nematodes, and others) have been found to have endocannabinoid systems. The endocannabinoid system helps maintain balance in the body and keep it in a normal healthy state.

We cannot make any medical claims as to the health benefits of CBD for humans or dogs. However, one only has to talk to or read about one of the millions of people that take CBD oil around the world to get in an insight into how it could help with numerous ailments. If CBD interacts with animals in the same way that it does with humans, then it should be able to help aid aid the symptoms listed below:

1) CBD can help your pet de-stress

If your pet suffers from anxiety in everyday situations or just gets overwhelmed by some bigger events they encounter, CBD could be a benefit to them as it can reduce stress levels. We know that CBD interacts with receptors found in the brain which keep stress signals from influencing the rest of the body thereby hopefully reducing anxiety and making the situation more comfortable for your pet.

Even if it is a one off situation where fireworks are going to be going off and you know the stress it will cause on your pet, CBD could really help in calming normally a very disturbing situation for your animal friend.

2) CBD is a know Anticonvulsant

One of the best-known uses for CBD is its ability to help control seizures, spasms, tremors, and tics. In the USA where CBD products for pets are legal, many of the top selling CBD oils are marketed around such anticonvulsant properties. However, remember that in the UK, you MUST first discuss using CBD for your pet with a Vet and then obtain a veterinary prescription.

3) CBD can help with appetite and nausea

Again, this area needs more research before it can be verified. However, CBD is being used more and more by pet owners to improve the appetite of their animals, and as a result, build strength and improve their overall health. It can also help wade off nausea and feelings of sickness.

4) Inflammation

Whilst more research is also needed in this area, animals have shown to experience less pain when CBD is introduced into their systems.

Pain is often caused by inflammation of cells. CBD is again known for its inflammatory properties. These qualities may therefore be able to calm your pet’s joints and in turn reduce pain.

CBD also makes a great supplement for older animals, many of whom may end up developing inflammatory conditions such as arthritis (joining humans alike!)

Possible CBD Side Effects For Animals

Due to the lack of studies and scientific data on the effects of CBD on animals, we have very little information on the side effects. Whilst the side effects of CBD on humans are commonly reported to be low, we must assume that these side effects will also materialise themselves to some degree in animals.

The most common side effects reported in humans are:

  • Drowsiness: The calming effect of CBD can cause drowsiness, especially when using a high dose.
  • Dry mouth: CBD can reduce the production of saliva. When used in the case of animals this could manifest in an increased thirst.
  • Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD have been reported to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. This may create a brief feeling of light-headedness, even if the drop is small.

Doses and Broad-spectrum CBD

Always discuss the dose with your vet before you give your pet CBD oil and remember that it is an offence to give your pet any CBD product without a veterinary prescription. The dose will depend on the size and age of your animal friend. We would always recommend using THC free, however small the THC amount found present in other types of CBD. Animals are extremely sensitive to THC, dogs and cats in particular, and can suffer from what some vets describe as ‘marijuana poisoning’. For this reason, we would recommend only giving your pets Broad Spectrum type CBD oils as they contain 0% THC.


CBD is sold as a food supplement, and as a result, It’s illegal to claim it treats, prevents, or helps cure an illness or disease. No health claims have been made in this article.