What You Need to Know About CBD Oil and Dogs

CBD oil for dogs
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With you through thick and thin, your dog will always be one of your most loyal pals. Of course, you want to do what’s best for the pup in your life. When he or she’s in pain or feeling nervous, you’ll do everything in your power to treat them. This is why so many pet owners are choosing CBD oil as a natural alternative to safely treat their dog’s ailments ranging from chronic pain, stress, nervous conditions, seizures, and more.

  • Why CBD? Dog owners use CBD oil as a safe, natural alternative to support the treatment of common problems experienced by their dogs ranging from anxiety, stress, and pain.
  • Which CBD? The top choice for your dog is hemp-based CBD oil since it is completely THC-free. THC has psychoactive properties and can be fatal to pets.
  • Is CBD safe? CBD oil isn’t just easy and safe to use, it’s completely legal in all 50 states.
  • How do you use CBD? Best way is to start small when treating your dog with CBD. You can always up the dosage depending on his needs.
Giving CBD oil to dog

From your local pet store to your favorite online pet shop, there’s a wealth of options out there when it comes to CBD products for your canine companion. But before you whip out your credit card, it’s key to know which products are safest for your dog, plus how much and how often to treat him with CBD oil. First off, let’s investigate the safety of CBD and dogs.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is found in the cannabis plant. This non-psychoactive compound is one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis, which may help with a variety of conditions (which we’ll dive into further down).

There are a few ways to extract CBD from hemp. The first is to use a solvent. This is a cheaper method that results in lower concentrations of CBD in the final product. Because of the nature of solvents used (alcohol, propane, petroleum-based products), you do not want to give CBD extracted by this method to your dog. They may contain toxic leftovers, which will do your pup way more harm than good. This is why it’s essential to read the Certificate of Analysis before you buy.

CO2 extraction is the only way to go if you’re thinking of purchasing CBD for your pet. It’s more expensive, but it yields a better quality, higher concentration of CBD, which means the product will be more effective and you’ll use less overall.

Is CBD Safe For Dogs?

CBD or cannabidiol has made waves for its potential to help treat conditions ranging from chronic pain, stress, sleep disorders and anxiety, inflammatory skin conditions (think acne, psoriasis, and scarring), arthritis, and much more in humans. This exciting, more natural treatment also shows great promise in helping our canine buddies suffering from similar conditions – like people, dogs have endocannabinoid receptors.

CBD in dog food

There’s more research that needs to be done regarding dogs and cannabidiol however, initial research indicates that dogs, too, can seriously benefit from CBD treatments. So is CBD oil safe for your pup? Yes, but only if it’s THC-free. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive component in marijuana, and it’s toxic to animals like dogs and cats. Don’t give your pets weed. Ever. The safest treatment option for your pet is a hemp-derived CBD oil – this way you can avoid accidentally giving him anything with THC.

One thing to note – if your pet is on any sort of medication, consult with your vet before starting a CBD regimen. Be sure to review the Certificate of Analysis on any CBD product you’re thinking of buying.

Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states. By federal law, CBD must contain no more than 0.3% THC. Some states do require a prescription, but you won’t have the cops knocking on your door if you pick up a bottle of CBD oil.

Read The Label Before Getting Out Your Wallet

To piggyback on that last point, be sure you read the ingredients list before you pick up a CBD product for your pet. Certain artificial sweeteners like xylitol which may be in human-friendly CBD oils are poisonous to dogs and cats. This is also true of some essential oils which might find their way into CBD products made for people.

Never give your pet anything containing wintergreen, tea tree, peppermint, citrus, clove, or cinnamon. For a more complete list, check out the link here. Keep Spot safe and only give him pet-approved formulas. Make sure you’re getting at least 500mg of actual CBD as they can be filled with weaker Hemp strains. Read the COA, and shop around first. Read up on the brand and take a look at reviews.

Another reason to look at the label is make sure you’re buying a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD product including terpenes and CBC, CBN, CBD, CBG and CBA. The current research tells us that CBD may be at its most effective when working in tandem with other cannabinoids found in the hemp and cannabis plants. This is called the entourage effect. Just make sure there’s no THC in the CBD oil you’re buying for your pup.

What About Side Effects?

While your dog can’t overdose on CBD, they might experience side effects with high dosages. Some side effects include dry mouth, excessive sleepiness or lethargy, and lower blood pressure. CBD can also interfere with certain medications, so check with your vet before starting your pup on a CBD regimen. To help avoid side effects, it’s always best to start your dog off with the lowest dosage possible (more on that later).

What Problems Can CBD Oil Treat in Your Dog?

Okay, so what about the benefits of giving your dog CBD products? Turns out, there’s a ton of positive anecdotal and some scientific evidence for CBD helping treat a spectrum of diseases and disorders. While most of these studies have been performed on humans, a 2018 study from Gamble et al published in Vet. Sci. indicated that cannabidiol appears to be a safe, effective way to treat pain in dogs. Other ways in which CBD can help your pooch include:

  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain (including pain related to cancer)
  • Skin conditions, allergies, and “hot spots”
  • Nausea and other digestive issues

1. Epilepsy

Like both people and cats, dogs can suffer from epilepsy. It’s one of the most common neurologic conditions in dogs. One small study out of Colorado State University indicated that CBD can help reduce the frequency of seizures, making it a fantastic natural alternative to pharmaceutical options.

2. Anxiety & Stress

Does your dog have problems coping with loud noises, separation anxiety, or big changes to his environment? A little CBD may go a long way towards easing stressful situations.

Anxious dogs in a cage

3. Chronic Pain

Pain management is one of the main reasons people seek out CBD. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, cannabidiol might help relieve arthritis-related pain and swelling and discomfort caused by other diseases such as cancer. Though more research is needed, CBD shows promise as an anti-cancer treatment in humans and it may offer similar benefits for dogs. While it won’t cure your dog’s cancer, it can help to improve his quality of life.

A friend of mine has an (adorable) 8-year-old corgi named Lyra who suffers from arthritis. For months, when he’d take her on walks, Lyra would stop often, not wanting to move because of the joint pain. At home, she’d have trouble jumping on the sofa. Then he started her on a small dose of CBD oil and within a few weeks, Lyra was back to her old self, tugging on her leash to try to get him to keep up with her. 

4. Skin Conditions

While they’re covered in all that lovely soft fur, dogs get skin conditions and allergies just like us. You might notice your canine buddy scratching or licking one area excessively. CBD oil or creams can be put directly onto a problem area on your dog’s skin and offer your pup so much needed relief.

5. Hyperactivity, Barking, & Anger

CBD oil is also great for managing day-to-day issues like hyperactivity, barking, aggression, and depression in dogs. Whether your pup is over-excitable and takes ages to calm down when the doorbell rings or someone walks through the door, or yelps at the smallest noise, a small dose of CBD can help both you and your pooch lead a more stress-free life.

What are the Best CBD Products for Dogs?

There are loads of dog-friendly CBD products you can give to your pooch. From specially formulated dog chews and treats to oils you can mix into their food, apply to their coat, or drop directly onto their tongue, you have options. You can also opt for a CBD cream, but again, check the label for dog-safe ingredients in the event your dog decides to lick it off.

Be aware of the strength of a given product before giving it to your pet. Strengths vary widely across different brands and this bit of info is key to make sure you’re administering the right dosage. That said, you get what you pay for with CBD. Higher quality products are more effective. Look for a Certificate of Analysis or COA when you’re shopping for CBD products. A COA means the product has been tested by an accredited lab and will list everything from cannabinoids and terpenes to any possible pesticides and contaminants. This is important because pesticides are toxic to pets. Always opt for organic or pesticide-free formulas for any products you’ll be giving to your furry friend.

Both hemp-based and cannabis-based formulas can make great options for your pooch. Just make sure there’s no THC in any cannabis-derived products you pick up.

Here’s What to Know About Dosage & Frequency

Let’s talk dosage. How much CBD to give your dog depends on his weight, health, and the condition you’re aiming to treat.

As a general rule of thumb, start small and work your way up, if needed. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, so err on the side of caution with 1mg dose per 10 pounds.

How often to give your dog CBD also depends on her size and what’s ailing her. In general, 500mg and up will work for big dogs while 100-250mg is ideal for smaller pups. Broadly speaking, the recommendation is a single dose 2-4 times a day, although the better quality product you use, the less you’ll need, both in terms of dosage and frequency. 

Giving CBD tincture to German Shepherd dog

Once you give your dog CBD, you’ll need to be patient. It can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, and occasionally up to an hour and a half to start seeing the effects.

To administer CBD to your dog, you can simply squirt it in the back of his mouth – this is the most effective. Or you can mix it into his water bowl, food, or a snack. Ideally, you’ll want your dog to keep it in his mouth for about 30 seconds for maximum effect.

Microdosing Daily for Dogs

If you’re just starting your pup on a CBD regimen, you can ease into things with microdosing. CBD works over time, so you can introduce small daily doses to your dog to see how he’ll react, and go from there. He’ll still reap the benefits of CBD and you can make sure he doesn’t have any side effects to the new treatment. Cannabidiol improves serotonin response and even at low doses, can help with anxiety, stress, nerve conditions, and other neuropathic pain.

If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, many brands offer dosage guidelines. Just keep in mind the recommended dose for one brand may be completely different for another.

While you don’t need a prescription from the vet, be sure to ask questions before you start your dog on a CBD treatment, especially if he’s taking other medication.

The Right CBD Could Really Help Your Dog

CBD offers an excellent natural way to help treat many conditions in your pup. It’s essential to do your research before you settle on a product to make sure what you buy is dog-friendly. If you’ve done your homework, you can ensure your canine companion is getting all the benefits with minimal risk while you get the peace of mind that your dog is getting the help he needs.