CBD + DHA: Repair Your Pet's Endocannabinoid System

CBD and DHA for Pets

The reason CBD has so many health benefits to both humans and animals is due to its effects on the endocannabinoid system - a regulatory network present in virtually all living organisms. A popular theory is that due to various stressors, we are no longer producing sufficient levels of ‘endocannabinoids’ (molecules like anandamide, made naturally inside the body, that are chemically similar to CBD, THC, etc.) to maintain healthy homeostasis. 

Interestingly, there are remarkable similarities between the endocannabinoid systems of dogs, cats, most other animals, and humans. Dogs, for one example, also naturally synthesize anandamide and have the same CB1 and CB2 receptors as humans. So it’s safe to assume many of the benefits operate via similar pathways, whether cat, dog, or person. 

A primary benefit of CBD is how it increases levels of natural endocannabinoids - for one example, by inhibiting FAAH (the enzyme which breaks down endocannabinoids in both humans and animals), allowing these cannabinoids made by our bodies to linger for longer and offer additional health benefits (this is significant as endocannabinoids have very short half-lives, anandamide, for example, has a half-life of five minutes). 

Another mechanism is CBD acting as a positive allosteric modulator of various receptors (CB1, for example), meaning it doesn’t bind to the receptor directly but simply enhances its overall functioning. 

While this is all well and good, the reality is that because of how CBD exerts its benefits, the relief one experiences while using it will dissipate as soon as usage is stopped - it isn’t necessarily fixing the root problem. 

The Root of Endocannabinoid Deficiency: Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids and CBD for Pets

As it turns out, issues with the intake of essential fatty acids are a prime suspect for why all of us - and our pets - aren’t making enough endocannabinoids. Although some debate its importance, most experts agree that acquiring essential fatty acids is just as important as getting them in the correct ratios. 

Research says that for humans, a 1:3 (or 1:4) ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 (quick note - DHA, EPA, and ALA are omega-3s, LA and GLA are omega-6s) is ideal. However, the average American eats about a 1:20 ratio of 3 to 6, causing an enormous amount of health problems (also, about 95% of Americans are deficient in DHA - we can’t imagine their dogs and cats are faring much better). 

For dogs and cats, the science isn’t as clear, but generally, anywhere from a 1:5 to 1:10 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is recommended. Unless your furry companion eats ample amounts of salmon, tuna, sardines, pasture-raised eggs, or organ meats, they are likely not getting enough DHA. 

Essential fatty acids like DHA serve as the crucial building blocks for all kinds of important things in the body, such as endocannabinoids (DHEA is one example of a DHA-derived endocannabinoid), neurotransmitters (DHA-5-HT, when DHA combines with serotonin), and performs too many other beneficial functions to list here. 

Why CBD and DHA Have Powerful Synergy

Giving your pet fish oil and CBD simultaneously has the benefit of potentially providing immediate (and non-toxic) relief from a wide variety of symptoms while also restoring optimum endocannabinoid system function - as well as imparting a plethora of other remarkable health benefits, such as ones highlighted in these studies.

“Compared to normal dogs, aggressive dogs showed lower DHA concentrations and a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Altogether, our results suggest that low omega-3 fatty acids may adversely impact behavior in dogs, resulting in a greater propensity to aggression.” [1]

“In total, 48 dogs, including six dogs without any behavior disorder (control group) and 42 dogs with at least one common behavioral disorder, namely excessive activity, inappropriate elimination, fearfulness, destructiveness, and aggression toward unfamiliar people and dogs (test group), were given a daily oral dose of fish oil containing 330 mg EPA and 480 mg DHA. Results of the study reported here support the hypothesis that, when combined with minerals like magnesium and zinc, omega-3 fatty acids may improve some of these behavioral disorders.” [2]

“Feeding puppies omega-3-enriched foods improved cognitive development as assessed by memory and maze navigation, and supplementing pregnant and lactating bitches with omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increased retinal function, cognitive ability, and trainability of the puppies with DHA being more effective than ALA. Thus, feeding omega-3 fatty acids to dogs of all ages has been suggested to be generally valuable.” [3]

“Furthermore, in recent elegant work, long-term dietary omega-3 deficiency in mice abolished endocannabinoid-mediated neuronal functions across a range of different brain regions, showing for the first time how the endocannabinoid system can be regulated by manipulation of the dietary omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.” [4]

“The aim of this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over designed study was to demonstrate the clinical effect of a 10-week period of DHA/EPA supplementation of the diet of 16 cats with radiologically documented, naturally occurring osteoarthritis, compared to a 10-week regimen of corn oil. Cats on the fish oil revealed higher activity levels, more walking up and down the stairs, less stiffness during gait, more interaction with the owner, and higher jumps compared to those on corn oil supplementation.” [5]

Another excellent benefit of the fish oil + CBD synergy in Dr. K’s is that it makes feeding it to your pet a piece of cake - dogs and cats love the taste of fish, so you don’t have to sneak it into their food or stuff it in a chunk of cheese. Spread the word on the power of the DHA + CBD combo and to you & your pet’s health and happiness, always!


  1. Aggressive dogs are characterized by low omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid status, 2008
  2. Effect of Supplementation With Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Magnesium, and Zinc on Canine Behavioral Disorders: Results of a Pilot Study, 2018
  3. Maternal omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on offspring hip joint conformation, 2018
  4. Interplay Between n-3 and n-6 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and the Endocannabinoid System in Brain Protection and Repair, 2017
  5. The effect of dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on owner's perception of behaviour and locomotion in cats with naturally occurring osteoarthritis, 2012
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