If you’re a horse owner, you’ve probably seen how sometimes your gentle giant might suffer from pain and inflammation, especially if they’re older. While veterinarians can prescribe medications to help with various ailments, they don’t always work and could have negative side effects. However, there is an alternative: CBD oil for horses.
This article will explore more behind this new medical miracle and how it can help to heal your horse. Below you’ll discover more information behind CBD oil as well as how it can help your horse.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD (cannabidiol) oil is the sticky resin taken from the cannabis plant’s flowers. The plant contains over 120 compounds which contain various properties, including antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ones. When applied to your horse, it will react with their endocannabinoid system which will trick the brain into relaxing their body and releasing tension.
How is it Made?
Once the resin is taken from the flower it’s then sorted through and diluted. However, this process can vary depending on the brand creating it. Below are some common ways of how CBD oil is made.
With Whole Plant Extraction
To make CBD oil with whole-plant extraction, the entire cannabis plant is taken and then steamed so the resin is extracted. Many medical professionals encourage this form of CBD extraction as it allows the oil to have a purer form as the entire plant is being used rather than one small part of it.
With Isolates Extraction
The isolates of the hemp plant will be removed from the plant’s stalks and stems. These are some of the strongest (yet not psychoactive) parts of the plant which is believed to help improve the quality of the CBD oil.
With CO2 Extraction
CBD oil could also be made with CO2 extraction. CO2 will be pushed through the plant to help extract the oil and sort through the cannabinoids. However, this process is often very intricate as it requires a bit of time and special CO2 chambers in order to do.
With Alcohol Extraction
Another way CBD oil can be extracted is with the help of alcohol. The plant is placed in a bowl of alcohol and left to soak for a few hours. When it’s done soaking, the plant is then removed and “steamed”. This steam is then collected and stored away as it contains the CBD oil.
Is It Dangerous to Use?
No, CBD oil is not dangerous to give your horse. Many might be a little hesitant at first to give their horse this, with fears it could be psychoactive. However, it’s not as it contains practically no THC which is what causes the body to get high. Because of this, it’s a very safe option to consider giving your horse to help relieve certain health problems.
If you’re still a little concerned about whether the CBD oil will be right for your horse, you can start out by giving them a small portion of it or rubbing a little on their body. This way, if there happens to be a problem, there won’t be enough for it to be problematic.
Side Effects of CBD Oil
CBD oil is very safe to use. However, this isn’t to say that CBD oil doesn’t come with a few side effects.
Some side effects in CBD for horses to watch out for include:
- Dry mouth
While these are usually very uncommon, they can occur if your horse is sensitive to the CBD oil. Because of this, it’s important to start slow when giving your horse CBD oil.
However, if you find your horse is having these symptoms or possible other strange side effects, contact your vet immediately. They will be able to check your horse to make sure it isn’t another serious problem and help to flush out the remnants of the oil in their body.
When Should You Give Your Horse CBD Oil?
So, when should you give your horse CBD oil? The answer to this varies, but if you find they suffer from the following symptoms you might want to consider giving it to them.
If your horse has inflammation due to a previous injury or chronic disease, CBD oil can help them. It will work with their brain’s receptors to help calm down chemicals it sends out which produces inflammation. Because of this, it can help horses that have severe inflammatory problems, like equine arthritis and hepatitis.
Because CBD oil helps with inflammation, it can also work to calm severe pain down in your horse. This is because it tricks their brain into sending out calming effects to reduce the side effects of unbearable pain.
If your horse is stressed, such as being put in a new environment they don’t like, hemp oil for horses can be helpful. It’s able to do this because it tricks their brain and has it send out serotonin which can boost their mood and make them feel more energetic.
CBD oil will also help their body’s endocannabinoid system which can help your horse to stay calm and help prevent being stressed.
Depression can be a serious problem in horses as it can cause them to become lethargic and have a lack of appetite. Just as with stress, CBD oil can help with depression by releasing serotonin and improving your horse’s endocannabinoid system. It will encourage them to eat, play, and walk - things which can be impacted by depression. It also doesn’t affect their personality (as some have claimed) but rather helps them to get back to their old self.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Horses
There are many benefits that come with giving your horse CBD oil. Below are some of them.
It Can Improve Their Immune System
The immune system is what keeps your horse healthy. Without a strong and healthy immune system, your horse is susceptible to many illnesses. CBD oil helps to strengthen their immune system and it keeps it functioning well which can help their body to better defend itself from harmful illnesses. It can also help prevent inflammation which can contribute to severe diseases.
It Reduces Inflammation
CBD oil helps to significantly reduce inflammation as it blocks chemicals in their body that cause it to form, such as prostaglandins. In fact, it not only helps to reduce inflammation, but may eventually prevent chronic inflammation from occurring as well.
It Soothes Arthritis Pain
Older horses tend to suffer from arthritis which can be very painful. CBD oil works to help soothe arthritis pain by not only reducing inflammation but keeping their joints flexible. This will not only provide them with pain relief, but encourage them to stay active as well.
It Keeps Them Calm
CBD oil has very calming effects making it perfect for horses who have anxiety, stress, or depression. It will trick their brain’s receptors which in return will help to keep them relaxed and free from whatever is worrying them. It will make them happier which can boost their mood significantly.
It Can Reduce Allergies
Because CBD oil can help to improve your horse’s immune system, it can reduce allergies they might have. Some common allergies horses often suffer with are grass and tree pollen and usually have the same symptoms that humans have when they suffer from allergies, such as a runny nose, swollen sinuses, and watery eyes. CBD oil will help their immune system to fight off the allergens causing them distress by reducing inflammation and eventually eliminating the allergens from their body. Eventually, this can lead to them having smaller allergic reactions to none at all.
You can also look for hemp bedding to use in their stalls. This bedding is made out of the hemp plant and is very hypoallergenic. This means if your horse has severe allergies, hemp bedding can provide them with relief. It also can be a nutritional snack if they happen to munch on it as it will contain small amounts of CBD in it.
It Can Help with Digestion
Many horses suffer from digestive issues which range from upset and sensitive stomachs to ulcers and diarrhea. CBD oil helps to reduce inflammation in their gastrointestinal tract to help soothe digestive problems. This can make it easier for your horse to digest their food and even promote the growth of healthy bacteria in their gut.
However, while it helps most horses with their digestion, some might have the opposite effect and have worsening digestive problems. Because of this, it’s important to take it slow if you plan to give your horse CBD oil to help with their digestion. This way, you’ll be able to see whether or not it affects them negatively.
How Much CBD Oil Should a Horse Have
Finding the right amount of CBD oil to give your horse is very easy, especially if you use an equine CBD dosage chart. To find the right amount of CBD oil to give your horse, you’ll want to consider their age, weight, height, and intensity of the problem you plan to use the CBD oil for. Most CBD oils for horses will help guide you through this process to give you a starting baseline. Most vets recommend starting with about 40mg of CBD oil daily. This way, you’ll be able to check how the CBD oil is working for your horse and can stop if there seems to be a problem.
If you find your horse is fine with CBD oil, you can then begin to give it to them regularly. You can slowly start to add about 10-20mg more to their baseline amount until you reach the proper dosage required for them. You’ll want to continue doing this for about three times per day so they get enough of the CBD oil.
However, you do not necessarily have to follow the dosage amount listed on the bottle. For instance, if you find your horse needs less or maybe even a little more than necessary, then that’s fine. Keep in mind though that you don’t want to use too little or too much with them as it could lead to problems. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to talk things over with your vet.
Giving Your Horse CBD Oil
There are a few different ways you can administer CBD oil to your horse.
CBD Oil Soaked Pellets
There are special CBD oil soaked pellets you can consider giving your horse. These pellets are often made of hemp and contain a bit of CBD oil in them. They usually come in different package sizes so you can try some out beforehand to see if this option is best for your horse.
You can mix these pellets into their regular food or give them as a snack. Many also tend to be organic so there’s no need to worry about them containing harmful chemicals.
Rub it on Their Body
You can also give your horse CBD oil by rubbing it on their body in places where there might be pain or inflammation. You can let it soak into their skin where it will eventually get to work healing the area. In addition to the CBD oil releasing tension, the gentle motion of your massaging it in will also help to reduce tension and inflammation in the area.
In addition to the regular oil, some CBD oils also come in a cream form. This could make it a bit easier to apply to your horse.
Place the Oil in Their Mouth
Another simple way to give your horse CBD oil is to place it directly in their mouth. Most CBD oil bottles will come with a dropper which you can use to measure out the correct dosage. Once you do, stick the dropper into their mouth (ideally under the tongue) and release the oil. Your horse can then swallow it.
Should CBD Oil be Refrigerated?
While CBD oil doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge, it should be stored in a cool place. This will help to keep it fresh and prevent some of the particles inside from evaporating or even causing bacteria to grow due to humidity.
However, sometimes it’s best to keep it in the fridge just to be on the safe side. The refrigerator can prevent it from being exposed to humid conditions, strong sunlight, and even excessive air which can hurt the quality of the oil.
Make sure to check on your CBD oil bottle though of whether this is necessary. Sometimes certain brands require their CBD oil to be refrigerated for best results.
What CBD Oil is Best to Use?
You’ll find many different CBD oil options to give your horse which can make it a bit difficult to find the right CBD oil to use. Below are some tips to keep in mind to make sure you invest in the right type.
See if it’s Organic
Organic CBD oil for horses is important to look for. Because it’s organic, the oil won’t contain harmful toxins, like pesticides in it. This will help prevent your horse from getting sicker or feeling worse due to these toxins attacking their body. Organic CBD oil is grown naturally and without the use of chemicals making it very safe to use with your horse.
Make Sure it’s Lab-Tested
Some CBD oils are not lab-tested meaning they do not come with a certificate of authenticity. In other words, without a certificate of it being lab-tested your CBD oil might only contain small amounts of CBD oil (or even none at all) resulting in it not working very well for your horse.
A lab-tested CBD oil will come with a certificate indicating how much of the oil contains CBD particles. This way, you can be sure you invest in the right amount.
Check to Ensure it’s Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
Depending on the brand you buy, some CBD oils might not have high levels of CBD in it. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure it’s full-spectrum. This indicates that the oil contains high levels of CBD oil in it, rather than small and cheap portions.
Check to Make Sure it’s Designed for Horses
There are special CBD oils designed specifically for horses to use. They are a bit more powerful because horses are larger and stronger animals and usually need a higher dosage than a dog or cat would. You’ll want to make sure that the CBD oil you intend to use is designed to be given to horses. Otherwise, it might not work in the way you are hoping.
CBD oil is a great way to help keep your horse healthy and happy. It not only is safe to use, but is a natural option that can help with a variety of health issues that range from chronic inflammation to depression. It’s also very easy to give to your horse so you can give it to them as much as possible. Because of this, horse owners should definitely consider investing in CBD oil for their pet to help ensure they stay healthy.
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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