Smell (Irrelevant to effects)
Because of the cod liver oil base (which uses both plain and fermented cod liver oils to promote skin, coat, eye, heart, and brain health in companion animals), the oil has a pronounced fishy odor that some of our humans found a little off-putting — the pets were not deterred.
The odor is only intense up close; as long as it’s kept at an arm’s length while being added to food or treats, it’s not too offensive. The scent won’t linger on your furry friend’s breath, either, so their mouths won’t smell (any more than usual, anyway) after consumption.
Taste (Irrelevant to effects)
The taste of the oil is decidedly fishy (our feline friend Ivan could not get enough of it), owing to the fermented and plain cod liver oils it uses as a base. The oil’s flavor was very appealing to cats, but our food-suspicious canine test subject Max took some time to come around to it.
We should note that Max is super picky (like, 12/10 picky), and this is not likely to be a problem for the majority of dog owners, but very choosy or sensitive companions might need to be exposed to it multiple times to get fully on board — or at least tolerate it without a fuss.
If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying (or get crafty; the oil can absolutely be hidden in foods like cheese, peanut butter, or Max’s favorite, Vienna sausages).
The oil itself is a clear yellowish amber color and draws up easily into the included dropper for easy dispensing. It mixes easily with wet or dry food and absorbs well into kibble as well as treats. It also mixes very well with peanut butter and can be placed inside of other foods like cheese or sausages.
While some pet owners may have success dropping the oil directly into an animal’s mouth, we have not had the best results with that method (after all, administering something to soothe anxiety in a way that increases anxiety seems a bit counterproductive).
We prefer to drop the appropriate dose of oil into the animal’s food at mealtime, or onto a treat or two, to build a positive association with the oil rather than a stressful one.
Effects (Onset, Duration, Intensity)
We tested this CBD oil on our foster buddy (and possible foster fail) Max, a thirteen year-old Cane Corso who has been having trouble with tumors popping up as he’s aged.
He’s also got a bit of arthritis which, combined with the encroaching cancer, creates chronic pain and inflammation in his skin and joints. The pain appears worse in the evenings and causes him to breathe abnormally, become restless, and lick his joints excessively.
We also gave some of the oil to Ivan, an older cat with anxious tendencies, and Nina, a young adult cat in generally good health except for a tendency to overeat.
Since Max had some pretty severe symptoms we wanted to address quickly, we administered two full 1mL droppers (9 mg of CBD in each for a total of 18 mg) to start — he’s 130 lbs of pure snuggle, so he needs a pretty substantial dose compared to most pets. Ivan and Nina each got 5 drops added to their food, and all three animals received the oil twice per day. We found these doses to be sufficient throughout our testing.
Max showed the most pronounced difference in his symptoms and behavior after dosing — within an hour, his breathing had become slower and more regular, he would relax in one place without getting up to wander or reposition himself somewhere more comfortable, and we were able to stop him from licking his joints.
He seemed calmer, ate better (his appetite is affected by his pain sometimes), and slept more soundly. Max has some trauma in his past (his human passed away unexpectedly, and he was alone for some time before they were found), and we noticed his sleep seemed more peaceful, with fewer dreams that would leave him whimpering and racing in his sleep.
The cats also showed notable improvement, with Ivan appearing much less nervous and displaying more affectionate and playful behaviors than normal. Nina appeared relaxed and at ease, relishing her afternoons sunning on the windowsill and making fewer trips to the food dish (she tends to eat when bored or nervous) throughout the day.
Across both species, we found that the improvements we noticed grew more pronounced with continued use. After a week, we had Max’s pain completely under control and Ivan had begun to increase social behaviors with both his humans and the other animals in the household. Relief lasted about 8-10 hours for our companions, but your animals’ mileage may vary a bit here.
We found that dosing both Max and the cats twice per day was sufficient to control symptoms, which we’d classify as moderate to intense. The dosage strength of this bottle was sufficient for the cats, but we found ourselves wishing we had something a bit stronger for Max because of his size and the severity of his pain.
This dosage strength is great for pets under 50 lbs (which we realize is the vast majority of pet owners), but we feel our big companions’ needs could be better met by a stronger product. We’d love to see Restorative Botanicals create something a bit more potent for large and giant breeds.
Best used for
We found this oil to be helpful for symptoms in pets relating to inflammation, pain, and anxiety, but it could also be used to help soothe other ailments like muscle spasms, seizures, separation anxiety, and noise sensitivity. We’d also recommend this oil for use before traveling with pets to help reduce stress and keep tension to a minimum as you go on your way, especially in pets prone to travel anxiety (cats in particular seem prone to this problem).
We also noticed a bit of an improvement in the skin and coat conditions of our animals. This may be due to the anti-inflammatory action of CBD, the beneficial fatty acids in cod liver oil, or a combination of these and other factors, but we feel that the difference was substantive enough to warrant a mention.
CBD oils like this one might be of use for the guardians of pets with allergies or inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or “hot spots.”