Parliament Hill is being taken over by animals activists as Canadian vets lobbying the government for legal pet cannabis products. These vets are arguing that cannabis products for pets can be beneficial to the health and longevity of the animal. Canadian vets are now aiming to get cannabis products regulated and legalized for pets.
Veterinarians across Canada are lobbying for the legalization of pet cannabis just seven months after cannabis was legalized for humans. This week veterinarians and five dogs met in Ottawa to discuss the benefits of cannabis in pets.
The vets claim the current law neglects the positives of medical and recreational cannabis use. Even though research has suggested that cannabis can be beneficial in pets for treating pain, seizures, and anxiety, the current law does not allow vets to prescribe cannabis for animals.
Since pet owners cannot be prescribed cannabinoids for their pets, many owners are taking it upon themselves to supply their animals with the necessary medicine.
Kaitlyn Dickie, a BC-based health and lifestyle blogger and pet owner, uses CBD oil for her pet. For the past several weeks she has been dosing her cat in hopes of eliminating some of its anxiety. She claims she got the CBD oil made for pets from Vancouver-based company Birch and Fog.
She now uses one to two drops on her cat's food each day – which was the recommended dosage. Dickie claims that this was a cheaper solution to other methods she has tried in the past.
Dickie says the results are obvious and her cat's behaviour has changed. “We noticed that she is more social and will come out of my room even when there are people here. She has also decided to venture outside a little bit more which she has never done in the past.”
While Dickie says that this product was made for cats specifically and has undeniable benefits, you should air on the side of caution and start with a lower dose than what is recommended. “Every animal is different. Make sure you’re home and keep an eye on them the first time you administer a dose," she says.
Ian Welch, Director of Animal Care Services at the University of British Columbia, spoke with Narcity about this matter. He stated that there is a large percentage of the human population that already use cannabis for its therapeutic benefits. He believes that this could be transferred into the pet population as well.
While he said it could be beneficial, he said that we should be cautious. “The translation of human drugs to pets isn’t linear. For instance, Tylenol is a perfect pain killer for humans but it is incredibly toxic to cats,” said Welch. “Right now, we do not know the safe dosage for pet users.”
Welch said that if it works, it has the potential to have the same benefits as when humans consume it – including the ability to eliminate pain and anxiety. Welch stresses that human medicine to animal medicine is not always the same and if we can get it to a point where we can administer a safe dosage then it could be successful.
Welch claims that he has not had a client come to him asking for a cannabis prescription for their pet. He said that if he were to have a client in search of it, then he would remind them of the risks, just like any doctor would with medicine.
According to Welch, anyone that is currently using cannabis products for pets is giving them products that are intended for human consumption. This could be dangerous as no one really knows how much or little product to administer to a pet.
With undeniable successes in both human and animal consumption, Canadian vets are confident that they can one day prescribe cannabis as a viable medical option.
While cannabis for pets can have some positive outcomes, it can also be dangerous. There have been instances in the past where animals have been poisoned in what vets are calling "pot toxicity." The BC SPCA even warned the public about pet cannabis consumption- putting it on a list of things to avoid feeding your dog.
This upcoming October, one year after legalization, the government will review the cannabis regulation in preparation for adding edibles and oils.