With the legalized sale of marijuana in Illinois, there has been raised awareness about the impact on animals. There has been limited research on the use of CBD in animals although several veterinary colleges are in the process of conducting research on the effectiveness of CBD to treat symptoms in animals. When considering the bigger picture of legalized marijuana, there are two issues to be addressed:

  • Impact of marijuana produced for humans will have on animals
  • Impact of CBD products on animals. 


Cannabis products are toxic for animals because of the levels of THC (tetrahydro-cannabinol) in plant or plant-based edibles. It is generally believed that canines are 4 to 6 times more prone to THC toxicity than humans. 

What do I do if my pet ingests marijuana or marijuana edibles? 

The best thing is to keep the product in a safe place out of the reach of pets. If an animal gets into it, contact your veterinarian, as these products are toxic to animals. 


While research on the value of CBD products for animals is limited, many have used CBD products to support a healthier lifestyle for pets. If considering using this product, make sure to choose a product that is of high quality and meets or exceeds the standards for the acceptable level of CBD.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis, the plant associated with marijuana. 

Is CBD beneficial to my animals? 

It is a plant-based cannabinoid and studies have shown that CBD may have variety of effects for animals including managing pain, controlling seizures, or acting as an anti-inflammatory but scientific research is ongoing.

Will CBD get my animal high? 

CBD found in cannabis pet supplements is usually sourced from hemp, a variety of cannabis that naturally contains extremely low concentrations of THC, which is the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana. As a result, CBD is non psychoactive and appears safe to be used on pets. 

Can CBD cause an overdose in pets?

CBD has no known toxicity level and, if used as directed, is unlikely to cause an overdose. 

Can my cat use these products?

These products are available for both dogs and cats. 

What kind of product should I give my pet?

As cannabidiol for pets gains popularity, the products are becoming more diverse. These are available as treats and as an oil (called cannabigerol or CBG). Early research has shown that CBG may help with anxiety and depression and that it is mildly energizing compared to CBD which usually has a calming and relaxing effect. 

What should I look out for in a CBD product?

People interested in using these products should have a conversation with your veterinarian and keep aware of research in the field. Any product should not have any traces of THC, (tetrahydro-cannabinol) which is toxic for animals. Research on the particular vendor will determine the level of testing to determine the actual levels of CBD or THC in each product. 

Does Anti-Cruelty use CBD products for its animals?

Anti Cruelty has used CBD oil to help alleviate anxiety for select animals. The use of product will be based on identifying the highest quality to have the best impact. Working closely with Anti-Cruelty veterinarians, we will be watching for the results of research in the field to determine the effect of the product to help animals live healthier lives. 

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

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