CBD oil has grown in popularity over the years for treating human ailments and pains. Recently, CBD oil has broken into the pet market and many owners are starting to use it for their pets. Specifically for cats, dogs, and horses.
Since CBD oil is often used to relieve anxiety and potentially other conditions (some common among rabbits), we dove into some research to find out if it is safe to give bunnies CBD oil and when we should consider using it if so.
It is safe for bunnies to ingest CBD oil. Bunnies are naturally skittish and often anxious due to being prey animals. CBD oil may help calm your bunny down.
Currently, there is no scientific research specifically investigating CBD oil and bunnies. However, there is some positive anecdotal evidence for the use of CBD oil with bunnies in treating ailments. There is also positive scientific research with CBD oil and other rodents as well as humans.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant, which is the cousin of the marijuana plant. Both species of plants come under the Cannabis sativa umbrella. THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant which causes the feeling “high” sensation.
However, CBD oil does not contain any psychoactive properties as it does not contain THC. This means your bunny won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.
CBD oil is made by extracting the CBD from the cannabis plant and diluting it with a carrier oil like olive or hemp seed oil.
Why Give CBD Oil To Bunnies?
CBD is a relatively new topic of research. Hence, since CBD oil doesn’t have any scientific evidence backing up the potential health benefit claims in bunnies, anecdotally, there doesn’t seem to be any negative side effects.
CBD can be given to any living animal and mammal that has an endocannabinoid system. Luckily, our furry bunny friends have this system. Dogs, cats, horses, and even birds can be given CBD oil.
At this point in time, most vets cannot recommend or prescribe CBD oil as a treatment. The use of CBD oil will have to be entirely in your discretion so it would be advisable to only use it if all other traditional approaches have failed.
CBD oil could be used for these general ailments in bunnies:
CBD and Seizures
We couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have to witness our bunny have seizures at any time. Scientific research has shown CBD can be effective in reducing seizure frequency in human children and adolescents. More research has potentially shown that CBD reduces seizure frequency in mice.
Anecdotally, a board member and educator from the Vancouver Rabbit Rescue and Advocacy had a bunny that was suffering from seizures, arthritis, and tremors. She thought her bunny was going to die of seizures it was that bad.
So she experimented with CBD oil as a treatment. Since treating her bunny with CBD, her bunny has been having fewer seizures and is stronger than ever.
If your bunny is suffering from this neurological disorder and traditional medication is not decreasing the frequency of their seizures, then CBD oil may be an alternative solution that is worth a try.
CBD and Arthritis
Just like other animals, bunnies can develop arthritis as they grow older. Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease. As the cartilage in their joints deteriorates, it will limit their ability to move around your home and jump onto their favorite places to relax and sleep. The lack of movement also decreases their energy expenditure increasing their risk of obesity.
Arthritis can be due to hereditary or growing disorders in younger bunnies or trauma induced as they age. Larger breeds are at increased risk of arthritis due to having to support more weight through their joints than smaller bunnies.
Some symptoms of arthritis are:
- Stiffness in the way they walk. This will likely be a gradual process and will become more frequent and severe.
- Restricted motion.
- Inability to properly groom themselves.
- Increased pain after exercise.
- Joint swelling and instability.
Research has shown that CBD may, in fact, decrease arthritic pain in mice as well as have anti-inflammatory properties. Further, a recent study in 2016 showed similar results where a topical CBD treatment reduced arthritic pain and inflammation without side-effects in rats.
Needless to say, CBD may be a natural alternative to treat your bunny’s arthritis if pain killers are making your bunny feel off.
CBD and Anxiety
Being prey animals, bunnies are often on edge especially in new environments and around unfamiliar people or pets. This behaviour is normal and doesn’t need to be treated with anything.
However, if they are anxious all the time regardless of the situation, this can keep them in a high-stress state for long periods which can cause health problems.
CBD has calming properties and while research has primarily been investigated in humans, it has shown promising results in potentially treating multiple anxiety disorders.
While CBD anecdotally has reduced symptoms to these ailments, there is still no scientific evidence backing this and extrapolating results from other populations sadly can’t be applied to the bunny population. But, if you have exhausted all of your medical options with your vet, then trying CBD may be a great alternative.
How Much CBD Oil Should You Give Your Bunny?
How much CBD you give to your bunny is going to depend on their size. Here is a table to help you give the correct dose to your bunny. This dosage is based on this particular product, HolistaPet CBD Oil. If you are using a different product, then adjust the number of drops accordingly.
However, this is the CBD oil product we would recommend as it is specifically made to be dosed for small animals and especially bunnies. While their sales page has been updated recently to mention cats and dogs, their 150 mg CBD for pets under 20 lbs is perfect for your pet bunny.
Further, it is 100% organic so it doesn’t contain any toxins or pesticides that could harm your bunny. It is also the best priced CBD oil by milligrams of CBD per dollar. And who can say no to free shipping!
|Pet Weight||Regular Dose||Strong Dose|
|2lbs||0.5 mg = 2 drops||1.0 mg = 3 drops|
|4lbs||1.0 mg = 3 drops||2.0 mg = 6 drops|
|6lbs||1.5 mg = 4 drops||3.0 mg = 9 drops|
|8lbs||2.0 mg = 6 drops||4.0 mg = 12 drops|
|10lbs||2.5 mg = 8 drops||5.0 mg = 15 drops|
|12lbs||3.0 mg = 9 drops||6.0 mg = 18 drops|
|14lbs||3.5 mg = 11 drops||7.0 mg = 21 drops|
|16lbs||4.0 mg = 12 drops||8.0 mg = 24 drops|
|18lbs||4.5 mg = 14 drops||9.0 mg = 27 drops|
|20lbs||5.0 mg = 15 drops||10 mg = 30 drops (1 ml)|
Some of you may have bunnies larger than 20lbs such as Continental Giants as they can grow up to 35lbs+! (see our article “When Do Bunnies Stop Growing?”). In this case, higher doses will be needed.
|Pet Weight||Regular Dose||Strong Dose|
|20lbs||5.0 mg = 8 drops||10 mg = 16 drops|
|22lbs||5.5 mg = 9 drops||11 mg = 17 drops|
|24lbs||6.0 mg = 10 drops||12 mg = 19 drops|
|26lbs||6.5 mg = 10 drops||13 mg = 20 drops|
|28lbs||7.0 mg = 11 drops||14 mg = 22 drops|
|30lbs||7.5 mg = 12 drops||15 mg = 23 drops|
|32lbs||8.0 mg = 13 drops||16 mg = 25 drops|
|34lbs||8.5 mg = 13 drops||17 mg = 26 drops|
|36lbs||9.0 mg = 14 drops||18 mg = 28 drops|
|38lbs||9.5 mg = 15 drops||19 mg = 29 drops|
|40lbs||10 mg = 16 drops||20 mg = 31 drops|
Drop numbers are based on HolistaPets 100% Organic CBD Oil. Always start with the smallest dose and monitor how your bunny reacts. If there are no negative side effects, and you don’t notice any improvement in your bunny’s health, then slowly increase the dose. Not straight to the strongest dose, but gradually by an extra drop.
How Do I Feed My Bunny CBD Oil?
CBD oil can have a funny taste for bunnies. Dogs and cats will generally eat the drops straight from the pipet. However, bunnies are a little fussier.
Just like you would with their vitamins, you can mix CBD oil into their pellets or water. We’ve found better success mixing our bunny’s vitamins into her pellets as a water bowl is very large and there’s no guarantee it will be finished.
From the anecdotal evidence, it seems CBD oil could be a promising treatment for neurological and aging ailments for bunnies. To date, no hard evidence exists for the use of CBD oil in bunnies. However, if you have exhausted all of your medical options with the vet, then trying CBD oil may be a safe alternative.
Be aware there are different qualities of CBD oil so do your research beforehand. Never use CBD oil as a cure-all for your bunny if they are showing any of these signs or other signs of illness. Take them to a vet first before using CBD as a cure-all treatment.