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Can You Give CBD to Horses?

Written by Nick Congleton

CBD use has exploded in recent years, and it’s natural for people to want to use what works for them to help their animal companions. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that CBD products for dogs and cats are available in nearly every pet supply store, with plenty of people reporting spectacular results. So, what about horses?

The scientific picture when it comes to veterinary use of CBD is murky at best, even for dogs and cats. There isn’t much concrete research, and the FDA is slow to catch up. Despite all that, some people do give their horses CBD, including vets, and they’ve seen promising results.


Is CBD Safe for Horses

Of course, safety is a top concern when giving an animal companion something new. You’re never exactly sure how it will affect them, and they can’t exactly tell you when they’re not feeling quite right.

When it comes to giving CBD to horses, there really isn’t much research at all, but there is some anecdotal evidence to show that, just like with humans and dogs, it’s probably safe.

Now, it’s always important to keep dosage in mind. Since there aren’t many studies on CBD in horses, there also isn’t a set recommended dosage. Even vets who have given their horses CBD are divided on the issue, assigning dosage on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, treating horses similarly to dogs or humans is not a good idea. Horses are more sensitive to CBD and require significantly lower dosages by weight. [2]


How Can CBD Help Horses?

Again, there isn’t much research on the possible ways that CBD can help horses. Any reports floating around online right now are either people assuming that CBD helps horses in the same ways that it does humans and dogs or they’re based on observations of one person’s horse. Nothing is set in stone, at least not in a rigorous scientific sense.

That said, there’s a good chance that CBD has a similar impact as it does in other animals, including humans. One vet in Colorado used CBD to treat anxiety in horses and found promising results. There are other reports of CBD being effective at managing anxiety in horses, decreasing skittishness, and allowing horses to be less nervous overall. [1]

In other animals, CBD is being investigated for its benefits in treating osteoarthritis, and the same is looking to be true for horses as well. There is also some evidence that CBD may be useful in treating lameness in horses. [3]

For other conditions, there is far less evidence. While it’s certainly possible that CBD may help with seizure disorders, pain stemming from cancer, and other problems where CBD is commonly reported to lessen symptoms, the evidence just isn’t there yet.


Concerns and Precautions

If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, the primary concern when considering CBD for horses is the lack of research. There are no proven methods of treating horses with CBD, and since every animal is different, it’s impossible to be certain how they will react.

It’s also important to get the dosage correct, which leads to an unusual problem. Because CBD isn’t approved by the FDA, your vet can’t formally recommend CBD. At the same time, it’s highly unadvisable to give your horse CBD without consulting your vet. It’s best to get their honest opinion on the topic and see what their recommendation for a dosage would be, if they’re receptive to the idea.

One vet also cautioned against giving CBD to pregnant or nursing mares, given the unknowns around CBD and developing foals. [1]

If you do decide that CBD is right for your horse, it’s always important to keep in mind CBD purchasing best practices.  Always buy from reputable and well-known brands. Look for lab certifications, and make sure that CBD wasn’t extracted using harsh and harmful chemicals.



1- McKenna S. CBD for horses. Horse Illustrated. 2020.

2- Gellman K. What you need to know about CBD for horses. Equine Wellness. 2019.

3- Oke S. Navigating the sea of CBD and its use in horses. The Horse. 2021.

About the author

Nick Congleton