For people, animal health – health of their pets, farm animals, and that of their livestock comes closely next to human health. Naturally, if our dogs, cats, horses, or cattle are experiencing any health issues, we will be very worried and eager to do something about it – even when everything seems to fail!
Like dogs and cats, whom we keep in our homes, people who keep horses in their stables are as concerned about the health of their stallions and mares – if not more. People don’t keep them as pets alone – they are often our prized possessions – literally!
Obviously then, we need to keep our horses in top shape. But do we do when the vet says my prize-winning stallion is beyond hope? Do I just put him down?
Recent studies have shown there is, in fact, a viable option that was earlier not accessible to the masses. The option is Cannabidiol or CBD – a naturally found phytocannabinoid (a chemical compound) found in cannabis plants.
So, what exactly is CBD? And does it really help horses?
What is CBD? How does it Help Horses?
Humans and most mammals, including horses, undergo quite similar health issues. They also have another thing in common – an endocannabinoid system. When the chemical balance within this system is properly regulated and maintained, it can ensure the overall wellbeing of an animal – just like humans.
That is why CBD is as effective on horses as it is on humans.
This also means that, like humans, not all horses would experience CBD’s effects the way other animals, humans, or even other horses do.
Generally speaking, while dogs need less CBD than humans, horses rather need a little extra. While most vets would tell you that the baseline dose is about 40mg for horses weighing around 660 – 1800 pounds. It’s best to gradually increase as and when needed to get the appropriate dosage for your particular horse.
But keep in mind, several factors govern the way CBD interacts with your horse’s body. They are:
- The horse’s age
- The horse’s bodyweight
- The horse’s gender
- The horse’s health condition
- The type, extent, and severity of the horse’s health issue
- The time, when CBD is used/consumed/applied
- The way CBD is used, i.e. the delivery method
- The individual horse’s endocannabinoid system and its receptiveness to cannabinoids
- The type of hemp extract used in the formula
- The type of hemp strain & formula used by the brand
- The purity of the extract & practices used by the brand
What are the Benefits of CBD for Horses?
CBD is an excellent natural substance with therapeutic advantages for horses. It has been seen to offer a wide range of equine health benefits, including alleviating pain and inflammation, relieving tension and stress, providing muscle and bone support, calming of nerves, aiding in good sleep, addressing inflammatory conditions, regulating blood and heart health, kidney health.
It even aids in the natural healing of wounds and cuts, relief from skin diseases, and providing relief from digestive issues and nausea. Some common equine conditions that CBD has been known to be effective on are:
Gastric ulcer or Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is caused by gradual and progressive eroding of the lining within the distal esophagus, stomach, and proximal small intestine leading from a gastric acid attack. It is an extremely painful condition that affects equine appetite, appearance, and temperament.
We are aware of how painful arthritis can be. It must be especially painful for animals who are naturally so much more active than us humans. A condition that normally occurs in their old age, arthritis is caused by degeneration of equine joints, particularly the fetlock and knees.
Chronic inflammation of the laminae (small soft tissue in the hooves), laminitis also causes severe pain in walking and standing. Horses, who spend most of their lives standing (even napping, horses feel vulnerable lying down to sleep as it takes a lot of effort on their part to get up, unlike humans), this must be extremely painful for them.
Colic is a painful abdominal condition that often plagues horses when their diet has somehow been changed or it has somehow caused gas to build up in the intestines. This leads to restless or agitated behavior, loss of appetite, disruption in regular stool, frequent attempts to lie down and roll around, fatigue, as well as an absence of regular flatulence.
Caused by the inflammation of a ligament (usually the suspensory and collateral ligaments in the legs and coffin joint, a joint common among animals with hooves), this condition is often marked by limpness or abnormal gait. This is often looked at horse breeders and owners a big disadvantage as it affects their riding and trotting performance.
Dermatophilosis & Skin Irritations
Horses suffer from a wide range of skin allergies and diseases, which inflammatory in nature and usually caused by bacteria in the environment, especially mud and soil – where horses love to graze and rub their body against. Usually aggravated by exposure to moisture, when a horse has an injured skin, this disease, like other equine skin diseases, is transmitted through flies, ticks, grooming equipment, etc.
It has been seen that around 90% of all horses are afflicted one or more of these diseases at least once or twice in their lifetime. While ketamine is often used to relieve pain in veterinary medicine (usually used on horses and has been seen to be as efficient on humans too!), this allopathy medicine is only good for physical pain relief – that too not in the case of all kinds of inflammatory diseases, like skin diseases.
Moreover, such medicines are of no use on equine stress, caused by changes in routine, change in diet, or simple exhaustion from riding, being away from its owner, etc. Stress and anxiety are caused by the release of the cortisol hormone, on which, ketamine has NO effect.
To add to that, each of these conditions mentioned earlier cannot be dealt with or treated by the same medicine. However, CBD – a cannabinoid found in nature – can really help your horse’s health, boost his spirit, and keep him fit and pain-free – all at the same time!
Top CBD Brand For Horses
HolistaPet CBD Oil
HolistaPet, one of the few brands that cater only to animal health, is a well-known brand among pet owners, particularly those who have dogs, cats, horses, and rabbits. Since this brand has focused entirely on animals’ receptiveness to CBD and their diseases, the brand makes sure to make its products suited, dosed, and designed exactly the way your pet needs it to be!
HolistaPet’s CBD products for horses are 100% natural and organic, containing only natural ingredients, which includes the hemp extract. The hemp that is sourced from Colorado, USA, is free from pesticides, GMOs, additives, preservatives, heavy metals, and any residual solvents. Extracted with the help of the CO2 extraction method, the extracts used in CBD products meant for horses are clean, pure, and free from any undesirable elements.
Horse owners can easily access the brand’s third-party lab test reports online on the brand’s website, and even get an idea of the dosage system.
Even though the product pages for CBD products for horses mentions “full-spectrum”, the CBD extracts are, for all practical purposes, broad-spectrum, as they DO NOT contain THC.
The brand offers excellent customer-friendly policies, like free shipping and 30-day money-back guarantees, and usually delivers orders within 3 – 5 days. The brand also offers customer rewards programs, like offering $2 discount coupons to customers for each review posted on products purchased by them.
The only downside to this brand of CBD products for horses is that it does NOT sell/ship to California.
The brand makes two kinds of CBD products for horses – one being the most favored CBD oils and the other CBD pellets – a convenient way of administering CBD to horses.
- CBD Oil for Horses
- Potency: 7500mg
- Bottle Size: 120ml / 4 oz., 62.5mg CBD/ml
- Pure CO2 extracted Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
- Hemp Seed Oil
- 100% Natural Ingredients
- Organic Superfoods +CBD
- No Additives or Preservatives
- Extract Type: Full-Spectrum CBD + Other Cannabinoids (NO THC)
- Lab tests: CannaSafe
- Usage: Drop directly into the mouth (preferably under the tongue) or add it to its water or food
- Meant for: Formulated for Horses & Other Livestock
- CBD Pellets for Horses
- CBD Strengths:
- 1lb – 1500mg CBD
- 2lb – 3000mg CBD
- 5lb – 7500mg CBD
- 10lb – 15000mg CBD
- 25lb – 37500mg CBD
- CO2-extracted, full-spectrum, active CBD organic hemp extract (0.3% PCR hemp extract along with 20% protein, 50% fiber, and 30% carbohydrates)
- Antimicrobial & mold inhibitors added to ensure freshness
- Molasses added for natural flavoring
- 100% natural, organic ingredients
- Rich in Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids in a perfect ratio
- Pesticide Free, Non-GMO, No Additives or Preservatives
- Extract Type: Full-Spectrum CBD Extract (NO THC)
- Lab tests: CannaSafe
- Miniature (<350lbs) = 10 mg
- Pony (<900lbs) = 20 mg
- Horse (<1500lbs) = 50 mg
- XL/Draft (>1500lbs) = 65 mg
- CBD Strengths:
Approximately, 25mg CBD is accommodated per tablespoon or 7.5gram. Accordingly, you can measure and feed.
This dose is to be fed twice daily. However, it is better to start with 1/3 of the dose and work your way up. A higher dosage may be needed for more severe conditions.
- 30-day full-refund, if dissatisfied with effects, so long as the products are returned after using not more than 30% of the product.
- Free shipping is available across the US.
Advantages of using Holistapet:
- Highly effective, potent, and safe
- Convenient to administer
- Zero-THC, dairy-free, gluten-free
- Sourced from 100% organically grown hemp
- All-natural, vegan ingredients
- Third-party lab-tested CBD products
- Excellent rewards programs for horse owners
- Apart from horses, the brand also sells CBD products for dogs, cats, and rabbits
Side-Effects of CBD on Horses
Like with anything we put into our body, including food, CBD, too, has certain effects, which may be either/both good and not-so-good!
However, contrary to what we’ve seen in pharmaceutical medications, CBD’s side effects aren’t as strong as those. The same has been seen on horses as well.
While it is true that every person or pet experiences CBD’s effects differently, sticking to a specific dosage always helps avoid any adverse effects.
It has been seen that when administered in excess, horses sometimes experience some mild side effects. This is besides the fact that the useful or beneficial effects that were expected from CBD are usually mostly missing or completely absent. This means a lot of that precious CBD is being wasted.
Some of the possible side effects of CBD that your horse may experience include:
- Dryness of mouth
- Decreased blood pressure
- Impatient and Irritated
However, keep in mind that these are only caused by very high dosages. If you notice any of these symptoms, simply cut back on the dosage to the previous dose that did not show any such signs in your horse, and then continue with that for best results.
Out of fear of such side-effects, however, if you do not administer enough CBD, it will not have any effect at all, resulting in complete wastage, again.
That is why you need to find out the optimum dosage size for your particular horse. That brings us to “How to dose your horse with CBD?”
CBD Dosage for Horses
Now dosage depends on several factors. Remember, we discussed the factors that determine the effects CBD has on your horse? Well, those are exactly what decides your horse’s dosage. Now, not all of those factors are easy to ascertain.
That is why vets experienced with the use of CBD on horses recommend a baseline dose of 40 mg of CBD for horses weighing around 660 – 1800 pounds. For horses, weighing around 400 – 600 pounds, a daily dose of 25 mg of CBD should be enough.
If that doesn’t work, try increasing the dosage by 5mg a day until you see discernible changes in the effects. This is called microdosing – the same as you would if you were to use it on yourself. The rule is to “start low, go slow,” until you find the optimum dosage. This way you wouldn’t have to worry about overdosing your horse or seeing your horse manifesting any side effects, however, mild.
FAQs: CBD Use On Horses
Q: Does CBD really help horses experiencing emotional distress?
A: The most notable therapeutic advantage of CBD is its ability to help users de-stress. Since the areas of our brains that cause and regulate these experiences are the same for all mammals, horses too benefit from its use.
Like humans, horses too are intelligent and emotional beings. That is why we keep them as pets. That is why any sudden changes in their environment, diet, or their resting patterns can have adverse effects on the mind of horses.
Since, horses, like humans, have an endocannabinoid system, CBD and all other cannabinoids can impact their endocannabinoid system, thus helping in maintaining homeostasis and promoting physical and mental wellbeing.
This is especially useful if your horse competes in sports, as like humans, horses too experience social and performance anxiety (usually known as “arena anxiety”).
Q: Can CBD Oil give my horse a high?
A: Unlike THC, CBD is completely non-psychotropic, i.e. it does not have any psychedelic or mind-altering effects on mammals. So, your horse will not experience any such effects. It’s pretty much the same as it is on humans! And since most brands that make CBD products for horses do not use marijuana (it is illegal anyway), and use hemp instead, the chances of THC levels being high enough to give a person or pet a high is highly unlikely. Most CBD products designed for animals (especially for horses, like HolistaPet) does not contain any THC at all!
Q: Can CBD be safely administered on horses?
A: Yes, actually. Most CBD products meant for horses are designed to easily administer them to horses – in ways that horses can easily and comfortably take. For instance, CBD oils can be simply given them directly with the help of a dropper (like most other medications) or added to their food or water. CBD pellets can be easily fed too. There is no chance for your horse to reject them or feel uncomfortable taking them.
Q: How does CBD generally help horses and other farm animals?
A: CBD has been generally noted to help horses and other farm animals in promoting their health in different ways, including:
- Metabolism and appetite
- Immune system
- Digestion and bowel health
- Irritated skin
- Emotional state and mood
Q: What kind of CBD products available in the market are meant for horses?
A: Different kinds of CBD products for horses are available in the market. They may be:
- CBD pastes (sublingual)
- CBD tinctures (sublingual)
- CBD pellets (edible; mixed with feed)
- CBD powders (edible; mixed with feed)
- CBD sprays (sublingual & topical; read the label)
- CBD balms & salves (topical)
Q: Do I need a prescription to administer my horse with CBD?
A: No, a prescription is not required to use CBD on horses. Nevertheless, it is always better to consult a vet, experienced in CBD treatment, before exposing your horse to CBD. This is, in any case, necessary before you subject your pet animal to any new substance – food, medication, etc.
Q: Is it safe to give my pregnant horse CBD?
A: It’s not advisable to give any pregnant mammals CBD – humans, horses, dogs, cats – irrespective of the species. Since there is no hard evidence of its safety profile on pregnant females among any mammals (no such research exists at the moment), it’s safest to avoid giving your pregnant horse or any horse you intent to breed CBD – just to be on the safe side.
Parting Thoughts: CBD Oils For Horses
Equestrians, the world over, are using CBD to help boost their horses’ quality of life and overall wellbeing. CBD not only helps in easing pain and inflammation, but it also helps them relax, calm their nerves, help them destress, and even focus better. It boosts their immunity, aids in mobility and joint support, promotes digestion, regulates normal blood circulation, and heals superficial cuts and wounds, even while protecting the skin from bacterial attacks.
Nevertheless, it is wise to be cautious. Always consult your doctor and take it slow with your horse and CBD.
Since horses can’t really talk back the way we can, it is difficult to gauge their experiences. That is why it is safer to use only the best and the most reputed brands since they have developed their products after years of research, experimentation, and testing. Besides, such big brands are careful about allowing only the third-party lab-tested products to reach the shelves/your doorstep.
That is why we recommend only HolistaPet – a trusted name in the world of CBD among all horse owners across the US.