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Health & Medicine

The Legality of CBD Oil for Pets in Ireland & the UK

— June 3, 2021

Currently, CBD oil is legal to use on pets in Ireland, but the UK has much stricter laws.

CBD oil has become much more accepted into society as a safe way to cure nausea, anxiety, and other ailments. It has become especially more acceptable to use on pets for the same symptoms. But not every country allows the selling of CBD oil, and some even declare it illegal. Some of the more progressive countries have stated CBD oil is legal for human consumption but not for pet use. If you’re wondering whether it is legal in Ireland and the UK, the answer is more complicated than you might assume.

However, for the sake of brevity, the short answer is that CBD oil is legal for pets in Ireland but not currently legal in the United Kingdom of Britain under UK laws.

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound, or cannabinoid, extracted from cannabis plants. Cannabis, or marijuana, is most famous for being a psychoactive drug when ingested. However, certain compounds that make up the cannabis plant are more beneficial on their own once removed.

THC is another common cannabis compound, and is the most psychoactive of any cannabinoid, producing the feeling of being “high”. Though CBD and THC exist in the same plant, they are two separate entities that produce different effects. 

To make the oil, CBD is mixed with coconut or hemp seed oil which acts as a carrier. Carrier oils dilute CBD and “carry” it to deliver its beneficial effects more efficiently. 

What is CBD Oil Used For?

CBD is not the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis, which means taking CBD oil does not deliver a “high”. Instead, it provides pain and nausea relief and can soothe symptoms of stress or anxiety. 

Recent scientific findings have found that CBD helps reduce cancer symptoms or neurological issues. While not a confirmed treatment for either, CBD has been proven helpful in diminishing seizures for some people and preventing the spread of cancer cells in a test tube environment. 

How Does It Affect Your Pets?

CBD pet treats. Image by Sohini, via
CBD pet treats. Image by Sohini, via

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that CBD oil works for pets the same way it does for humans. However, there is plenty of word-of-mouth success stories where pet owners have noticed a positive change in their animals after treating them with CBD oil.

Some pet owners have claimed that CBD oil provides nausea relief for their dogs and cats during car rides or that CBD oil can calm their nervous pets and help with seizures.

Though there is no concise evidence of CBD benefiting your cats and dogs, veterinarians have announced that small doses of CBD will not harm your pets. Therefore, if your cat or dog were to ingest CBD oil, it should not affect them adversely. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you’re considering using CBD oil for your dog or cat, speak to your veterinarian beforehand.

Side Effects

Like their human owners, if pets ingest CBD oil, they will not become intoxicated or experience a high. However, some side effects are common for cats and dogs when given doses of CBD.

Some cat owners have stated that high doses of CBD oil will upset their cat’s stomach or make them very sleepy. If your cat suffers an upset stomach due to CBD oil, lower the dosage or stop giving it completely.

Dogs especially tend to experience dry mouth symptoms after ingesting CBD, so being aware of their reactions and responding to their needs is key. 

In some cases, very high doses are toxic to pets, so it’s crucial to use caution when treating your animals with CBD oil.

Legality in Ireland

CBD oil is legal in Ireland and available for pet use. Veterinarians can write prescriptions for CBD oil if they believe it will benefit your pet. However, CBD oil is not considered a medicine because of the lack of evidence sustaining its benefits. Therefore, if you purchase it at a cannabis store or a pharmacy, many companies will label it as a food supplement. 

The legality of CBD products has been debated in Ireland for many years, especially since many health and government officials do not see it as a reliable medicine. Despite this, since 2017 you can receive prescriptions for CBD oil to counteract the effects of cancer treatment, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. 

In more recent months, understanding the legality of CBD oil has been confused and misunderstood because of the lack of concrete laws concerning whether or not CBD products were considered drugs. But at the end of 2020, the European Court of Justice ruled that CBD products were not drugs and are legal to sell and buy as long as they contain less than 0.2 percent of THC.

CBD oil for dogs and cats is available for purchase in pharmacies and health food stores. There are even online stores that cater to CBD availability for your pets.

Legality in the UK

Because there is no conclusive evidence that CBD oil is beneficial for pets, the UK does not sell CBD oil for dogs or cats. CBD oil and other CBD products have not been authorized for pet medical use and have yet to be approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. The Food Standards Agency has also not yet approved CBD oil use.

However, it is legal in the UK for your vet to prescribe a human dose of CBD oil for dogs or cats. Medicinal use is legal for human consumption, and it is possible to obtain a prescription through your veterinarian specifically for your pet. You must speak with your vet to discuss the possibility of using CBD oil on your pets to gain their approval before you can acquire it. 

Purchasing CBD products for your pet is illegal without the approval and supervision of a veterinarian. Even if you acquire a prescription for CBD oil for your dog or cat, you might not be able to purchase animal dosages, which means what you end up getting might not be the correct amount of substance for your pet. 

If you try to use a human dose of CBD oil on your dog, you might give them too much. Not every available CBD product is pure, either. Some ingredients might prove harmful to your pet even if they don’t harm humans. Other products might contain toxins such as pesticides or trace amounts of THC. 

If your veterinarian decides to give you a prescription for CBD oil for your pet, you can discuss how to acquire the safest CBD product for a dog or cat. Your vet can recommend a safe product even if you cannot legally purchase CBD oil manufactured for animal consumption. 

CBD, in general, is illegal to sell in the UK if it contains THC. CBD can only be sold as a food supplement and possess less than 0.2 percent of THC. 


CBD oil remains a controversial topic in terms of legality. Because there is so much inconclusive evidence, it’s hard to properly authorize CBD oil as a pet medicine. Veterinarians don’t have the evidence to back up pet owners’ claims that CBD oil can help with specific problems. 

CBD oil possibly counteracts nausea and anxiety in dogs and cats, but there’s no concrete evidence to suggest this cannabinoid works as promised. Currently, CBD oil is legal to use on pets in Ireland, but the UK has much stricter laws. Therefore, it is currently still illegal to purchase CBD oil for your cat or dog.

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