CBD for Dogs: Research & Treatment Guide 2020
Having a sick dog or other ill pet at home can be incredibly stressful, especially since dog owners will naturally spend as much time as possible searching for the right options and treatments for their four-legged friend. And with the incredible advances of medicine in recent years, there are certainly a wide range of treatments available to animals. Unfortunately, dogs are unique from one pup to the next, and not every care plan prescribed is guaranteed to be effective.
It’s no surprise that so many dog owners are turning to a new holistic option in the animal world: CBD.
For humans, CBD companies have traditionally offered CBD by way of gel capsules or tablets, an easy-to-use hemp oil tincture, or as powdered dietary supplements, which many commonly mix into their drinks or meals.
Now, CBD for dogs has taken over store shelves as well. CBD for dogs, which consists of a wide range of products containing CBD oil (short for “cannabidiol” oil), are currently skyrocketing in popularity in the holistic wellness space. Dog owners can find CBD offered in a variety of forms, including CBD dog treats and chews. But CBD can also come in the form of topicals (commonly used as skin remedies) or in the form of pet tinctures, which can either be administered at mealtime or directly into your pet’s mouth.
But exactly how safe is the average CBD product and what are its health benefits? How do you know how CBD will affect your dog? How much CBD oil is safe to administer to your dog? And how do you choose the right CBD for dogs?
Let’s take a look at all the current research on CBD for dogs product and explain everything you need to know about picking out a high-quality CBD for your dog.
CBD Oil for Dogs
Every day, more and more people are coming to understand how CBD oil and other ‘CBD for dogs’ products can be wildly beneficial for man’s best friend. Where previously there has only been anecdotal evidence of CBD oil’s effects in dogs, more and more research is showing how CBD can be an effective treatment option to turn to for a variety of issues in dogs, from stress to managing discomfort to supporting the immune system.
As previously mentioned, CBD oil products come in various forms including CBD oil for dogs (also known as a pet tincture—there are many variations of CBD pet oil products on the market today), CBD capsules, CBD treats (great for pups who love chewing on flavorful edibles), and even topical products such as rubs and other ointments. In reality, CBD for dogs products are just about the same as CBD products for humans—the only difference being the taste in many cases!
Manufacturers typically provide dosage guidelines customized to each product, but it’s important to have a basic understanding of CBD dosage for dogs. Experts commonly recommend 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Ideally, a dog owner should start at the lower end of this range when first introducing CBD to their dog.
One important thing to also keep in mind is that there are currently no regulations or governing bodies in place to monitor the manufacturing of CBD oil products. This is part of the reason why it’s absolutely essential to have as much understanding as possible about CBD for dogs, how it works, how to safely administer it, and what side effects to look out for—all things we’ll cover in this article.
When purchasing CBD for your dog, however, the most important thing to have on your buyer’s list is a CBD oil that’s hemp-derived and that only contains 0.3% THC or less.
Honest Paws products are carefully crafted for dogs and cats (and even horses!).
Honest Paws provides high-quality CBD oil products, which many have called the best CBD pet products in the market today.
Founded by pet lovers for pet lovers, this CBD company is dedicated to producing the finest CBD oil product you can find, with all-natural, organic ingredients that are non-GMO, soy-free, and lab tested by a third party lab to ensure the best CBD oil quality possible. Honest Paws is also proud that their products are crafted using full-spectrum CBD oil, an important distinction from broad-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate, as full-spectrum CBD is the most potent out of all three types, ensuring your four-legged friend is getting the full measure of support for their unique needs.
Honest Paws offers a wide range of oil products from CBD oil for dogs (also called a CBD tincture) to CBD-infused treats, CBD-infused peanut butter, and even CBD-infused coconut oil!
Their products also contain less than 0.3% THC, making them safe for dogs and cats everywhere.
- 100% pure hemp oil tincture for dogs (full spectrum CBD oil, hemp-plant derived)
- Variety of products available for specific use-cases, such as promoting relaxation, helping with occasional discomfort, supporting healthy joints, and fighting free radicals
- Variety of potency levels for small to extra large dogs (as well as cats and horses)
- Products contain natural ingredients (organic hemp oil, non-GMO, no additives or preservatives)
- Co2 extraction used, ensuring safe and healthy CBD oil concentrates
- CBD products made in the USA, from organic CBD hemp plants in Colorado
- NASC-Certified CBD products
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Excellent customer service
Honest Paws is dedicated to using the finest quality among human-grade ingredients, which is a new change for most CBD pet products, which may explain why over 40,000 happy customers call Honest Paws CBD products the best CBD oil products on the market.
What Is CBD Oil?
According to the National Library of Medication , CBD, short for “cannabidiol”, is a chemical compound of the Cannabis Sativa L plant, which comes in two varieties: marijuana and hemp.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural ingredient from hemp plants, which are commonly raised for nutritional purposes and health benefits in light of the growing popularity of holistic wellness.
CBD is mainly extracted from hemp paste, made from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. Some CBD companies will often turn to hemp seeds as a secondary source for their products as well, though it should be noted that hemp seeds don’t contain as much CBD as other parts of the plant.
While delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC—the psychoactive agent responsible for the feeling of getting “high”) is the primary active ingredient in marijuana, the only cannabidiol products legal in all 50 states are those produced from hemp, which contains small amounts of THC (0.3% or less, to be exact).
CBD oil is a healthy option for both humans and animals alike! This is because animals also have something called an endocannabinoid system just like we do. The main cannabidiol benefits people and pets experience are a result of the way CBD oil interacts with this system, as it regulates important functions like sleep, appetite, mood, and even pain response.
- CBD is short for “cannabidiol” and is extracted from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant (your CBD should ideally be sourced from organic hemp plants)
- Hemp-derived CBD contains 0.3% THC or less, meaning you and your pet will not get high from consuming hemp-derived cannabidiol products, as they’re non-psychoactive
- CBD is only one of over 100 naturally occurring compounds (called cannabinoids) that can be extracted from the cannabis plant
- Full spectrum CBD (also written as full-spectrum CBD oil) is the most potent of the many types of CBD, as it offers the most cannabinoids in its concentrations
- CBD products have no known toxicity level and it’s generally believed that you can’t overdose on CBD oil
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is like any other regulatory system in the body such as the immune system. It was identified in the early 90s by researchers who wanted to explore the way phytocannabinoids (such as THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids found in cannabis) and endocannabinoids interact with the body
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, and the endocannabinoid system works the same way in dogs as it does in people. The endocannabinoid system helps to maintain homeostasis in the body (a healthy and natural inner balance). This is achieved through the communication that occurs between cannabinoid receptors located all throughout the ECS and phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that come from plants like cannabis) and endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that naturally occur in the body).
CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference
THC is the chemical compound that causes psychoactive effects in users. It’s found in high concentrations in the marijuana variety of the cannabis plant. CBD derived from marijuana can contain up to 10% of THC—sometimes even higher.
Hemp-derived CBD oil, however, contains only 0.3% THC or less. These low levels of THC make hemp-derived CBD legal in all 50 states, whereas CBD oil from marijuana is restricted in many parts of the U.S.
How Does CBD Affect Dogs?
Much research has been done on the effects of CBD in humans.
There is now a growing interest in the scientific community and among veterinarians when it comes to the effects of CBD on pets. While research is still ongoing, studies have shown that CBD does in fact have remarkable effects on animals. This data has led to most veterinarians supporting the use of CBD for pets.
One recent study examined how the different methods of CBD administration affected pharmacokinetics in dogs (the movement of an agent within the body).
Researchers gave thirty purebred beagle dogs CBD, with each dog receiving one of three different types of CBD products: a CBD capsule, oral CBD-infused oil , or CBD-infused transdermal cream. Each dog received their respective CBD product daily for six weeks.
The researchers found that the oral CBD infusion led to higher plasma concentrations of CBD oil and higher systemic exposure to CBD throughout the body. These findings suggest that CBD oil formulations may have a more potent impact on dogs.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Your Dog?
CBD research lags behind when compared to the growing enthusiasm of consumers over CBD for dogs products. The effort toward more extensive research into CBD for dogs, along with its health benefits and helpful uses, is relatively recent, as good research naturally takes time. That said, those interested in using pet CBD for their four-legged friends don’t always have the months or years to wait on definitive scientific results.
So what does today’s science say about CBD for dogs? According to Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club (AKC), who gathered specific evidence about CBD use and results directly from pet owners, individuals have reported that pet CBD, including CBD for dogs, has helped control pain and treat seizures. He additionally lists heart problems, nausea, lack of appetite, anxiety, and inflammation as further examples of issues CBD has been demonstrated to help with.
As for side effects, it’s unlikely that your pet will experience any. CBD oil is not harmful to dogs (and other animals) in itself, but like any product, administering the correct dosage is important. Always following the CBD dosage guidelines on the packaging of the product you purchase. As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to CBD for dogs, experts recommend 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Always start on the lower end of this range when first giving CBD to your dog, and then slightly adjust the CBD dosage as needed.
As long as your dog receives a suitable CBD dosage, adverse reactions to CBD oil and other CBD products are unlikely. At most, the majority of dog owners report slight lethargy in their dog when CBD is first introduced.
- Dry mouth due to reduced saliva production (always keep fresh water available when starting your dog on CBD).
- Lowered blood pressure if a dog gets too high of a dose (always follow CBD dosage guidelines when administering CBD to your dog).
- Drowsiness, particularly at higher doses, caused by the soothing effect of CBD when used to manage stress and promote relaxation (you can always adjust the CBD dosage for your dog at any time).
How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?
These days, dog owners can buy their dog pet CBD products in a variety of forms. CBD for dogs is available in the form of CBD dog treats and chews, CBD oil, and even CBD topicals like CBD-infused coconut oil.
The most common CBD product you’ll find on the market today is offered as an oil, also known as a pet tincture. CBD oil allows better regulation of the amount of CBD that your dog is receiving, since each bottle comes equipped with a helpful dropper that clearly indicates the amount of CBD given.
As previously mentioned, most products will include CBD dosage recommendations on their packaging and labels. The amount of CBD oil you give your dog will depend on the concentration of CBD in the product. For example, you’ll often find CBD oil for dogs packaged in concentrations of 125mg, 250mg, 500mg, or 1000mg. Other CBD products like CBD dog treats or CBD capsules will also come in a variety of concentrations, such as each CBD dog treat containing 5mg of CBD.
Determining the proper CBD dosage for your dog is important, both to avoid any unwanted side effects but also to fully support pet health and manage whatever unique issue your dog is currently dealing with.
Typically, you’ll choose a concentration (also called a potency level) based on your dog’s weight. A good rule of thumb is to give your dog 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Veterinarians recommend starting your dog on the lower end of this range to see your dog reacts. If your dog tolerates the CBD well, you can gradually increase the dog as needed.
- The weight of your dog — a Chihuahua and a Great Dane would naturally receive different CBD dosages because of the differences in their size
- Potency of the CBD oils product – the concentration of CBD in one full dropper of a CBD oil will often be different from the concentration of CBD in a single dog treat
- Your dog’s condition or ailment – whether you want to promote relaxation in a stressed dog, help support a senior dog’s mobility, or help an injured dog with discomfort, you’ll naturally adjust your CBD dosage to achieve more significant results
You can always enlist the help of your veterinarian as well to determine the best amount of CBD to give your dog.
Calculating CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs
In CBD for dogs products, you’ll notice that CBD calculations are provided in CBD milligrams (mg).
For instance, a CBD oil for dogs product might indicate that for every full dropper of oil, your dog will be receiving 16mg of CBD. In a CBD dog treat, the dosage label may indicate that for every treat, your dog will receive 5mg of CBD.
Each manufacturer has its own potency formula, which is something to take into account when determining which CBD for dogs product is right for you. Considering how much CBD your dog will need to take each day (we provided a helpful chart in the following section) will help you decide on the right pet CBD product for your dog’s needs.
- 125mg CBD oil potency = 4mg CBD per 1 mL (full dropper) of oil
- 250mg CBD oil potency = 8mg CBD per 1 mL (full dropper) of oil
- 500mg CBD oil potency = 16mg CBD per 1 ml (full dropper) of oil
- 1000mg CBD oil potency = 32mg CBD per 1 mL (full dropper) of oil
CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs by Weight
The information above is intended to provide an overview of how CBD dosage is calculated based on the potency of CBD products.
Dog owners will still need to determine just how much CBD is appropriate to give their dog each day.
CBD oil for dogs is usually dosed by body weight. As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to start with a low dose and increase gradually from there until you achieve the desired effects.
- 10 pounds : 1 mg to 5 mg per dog
- 20 pounds : 2 mg to 10 mg per dog
- 40 pounds : 4 mg to 20 mg per dog
- 60 pounds: 6 mg to 30 mg per dog
- 80 pounds : 8 mg to 40 mg per dog
- 100 pounds : 10 mg to 50 mg per dog
Benefits Of CBD Oil For Dogs
CBD fights free radicals, helps reduce free radical damage, and promotes long-term health. It can also provide antioxidant support.
How Does CBD Affect Dogs?
Always remember that when giving CBD to your dog, you should start off slowly. Veterinarians recommend a CBD dosage of 1-5mg per 10lbs of body weight. Start on the lower end of this range and gradually increase the CBD dosage as needed.
When first giving your dog CBD, watch for signs of any positive or negative reactions. You can always adjust the CBD dosage if your dog experiences any side effects. Speaking with your veterinarian can also be a helpful way of introducing CBD to your dog.
How can you tell if CBD is working for your dog?
If you give your dog CBD 20-30 minutes before a fireworks show to help them maintain calmness, and you find them lying comfortably during the celebration instead of pacing or drooling or hiding as they normally would, it’s safe to say the CBD has been effective.
Another example is in the case of CBD for stiffness or other mobility issues. If, after giving your dog CBD, you find that they’re able to run and play as they used to or are no longer limping, then the CBD is doing its job.
Remember that it often takes time for CBD to have positive effects on the body. While some dog owners may see immediate results after just 1-3 days, others may not see the effects of CBD until a full month or more has passed, since the specific condition they’re using CBD for may take longer to mitigate.
You can also try increasing the CBD dosage for your pet so that they can receive a more potent amount of CBD. Just remember to stay within the recommended CBD dosage guidelines so that you can avoid any unwanted side effects.
Q: Is hemp legal?
A: Yes! Hemp oil is legal in all 50 states, and thanks to the Farm Bill 2018 , hemp is currently grown in 40 states.
Q: Can dogs get high from CBD oil?
A: No, your pet will not get high from any CBD dog health products. This is because CBD oil comes from the hemp plant, which contains less than 0.3% THC (the compound responsible for psychoactive effects). Some CBD products are even completely free of THC. Of the many cannabinoids found in CBD oil for dogs and cats, the most common is CBD, which does not cause the feeling of getting “high” but instead causes a sense of calm.
Q: How long will the oil CBD start working?
A: Each pet is different, so the reaction times will vary when you’re first administering CBD oil. If your dog is dealing with anxiety or pain, it’s possible to see changes in as little as 20-30 minutes. Remember that you can always adjust the CBD dosage to meet your pet’s unique needs.
Q: How is CBD oil administered?
A: You can administer CBD oil at mealtime or directly into your pet’s mouth. Absorption into the bloodstream is quickest when the CBD is administered sublingually (under your pet’s tongue).
Q: How frequently should I give my dog CBD oil?
A: CBD dosage is based on your dog’s weight and the condition you’re managing. You can administer this dosage once a day, or spread it out into two separate dosages in the morning and evening—ideally 8-12 hours apart.
Q: What is the appropriate dose of CBD oil for dogs?
A: The correct CBD dosage for dogs depends on the weight of your pet and the condition they’re dealing with. A good rule of thumb to follow is 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Always speak with your veterinarian for consultation and recommendations on the dosage suitable for your dog depending on the condition you are trying to treat.
Q: Can dogs overdose on CBD oil?
A: If your dog overdoses on CBD oil, you may see symptoms such as extreme drowsiness and a lowered blood pressure. Always follow recommended dosage guidelines when it comes to CBD for dogs.
Q: Can a veterinarian recommend CBD?
A: Currently, most veterinarians and pet professionals do not say much about CBD oil. But it’s not necessarily because they don’t recognize the benefits of CBD for dogs. In fact, many veterinarians have been using CBD oil with their own dogs. But because of certain restrictions, veterinarians are often not able to recommend CBD to dog owners.
What’s the Right Dosage of CBD Oil for Dogs?
Following the legalization of marijuana in many states, pet owners have shown increased interest in the benefits of marijuana and CBD oil for their canine companions. In this article, we will define CBD oil, explain how it differs from marijuana, and discuss health benefits, side effects, and dosage recommendations for dogs.
What Is CBD Oil?
The Cannabis plant has been around for thousands of years and is known to contain more than 450 chemicals and over 80 cannabinoids. A cannabinoid is a class of chemicals found in Cannabis that can cause various effects on the body. The effect of each cannabinoid can be different. The amount and concentration of each cannabinoid varies with the specific plant and strain of plant. CBD is derived from the hemp plant, which is a relative to the marijuana plant. Hemp is a type of Cannabis plant known to have more CBD than THC with a max of 0.3% THC.
The two most studied and available cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol (CBD) has limited or no psychotropic properties. CBD is thought to decrease anxiety, lessen nausea and vomiting, reduce seizure activity, control pain, and decrease inflammation. It is increasingly being used in both humans and dogs for a variety of medical and behavioral conditions.
CBD is one of the many components of marijuana but, when used by itself, it does not cause the “high” that is often associated with the plant. To date, there is no evidence that CBD can be addictive.
How Does CBD Oil Differ from Marijuana?
Marijuana, also known as Cannabis, is a drug derived from the Cannabis plant. It is classified as a psychoactive drug and used for recreational, spiritual, and medicinal purposes. As mentioned above, the Cannabis plant has many different cannabinoids, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most potent and psychogenic cannabinoid. Marijuana can produce different physical and mental effects, including an altered sense of time and consciousness, changes in thought, relaxation, impaired body actions, increase in appetite, feelings of euphoria (in humans, referred to as a feeling of being “high” or “stoned”), and an increased awareness of sensation. Other effects may include delusions, anxiety, and/or paranoia.
Cannabis is used medically to treat nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms, seizures, chronic pain, anxiety, inappetence, as well as other medical problems. Learn more about the ingestion and toxicity of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) here.
Cannabis can be utilized by smoking or vaping, as extracts, or in food “edibles” such as brownies, cookies, and other baked goods. The effects of cannabis generally begin between 15 and 50 minutes of intake and last for two to seven hours, depending on the amount and concentration of the product.
Long-term effects are poorly defined. Some research suggests that long-term use can be associated with memory and cognitive problems, risk of schizophrenia, and risk of addiction.
As the medical benefits of marijuana are explored, increased interest has been placed on the plant and CBD products.
Because of the availability of marijuana, there has been an increase in exposure to pets. Learn about Marijuana Toxicity in Cats here.
How Is CBD Oil Made?
A process called CO2 extraction, which is pressurized carbon dioxide used to pull phytochemicals from a plant, allows for the removal of the desired cannabinoids. Some CBD products contain isolates or only certain cannabinoids, while others are described as being “full spectrum,” which means that the product contains all the cannabinoids natural to the plant. The full spectrum CBD products are high in CBD and extremely low in THC. Once CBD is extracted from the plant, it is often formulated and sold as an “oil.”
What Is the Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?
It is important to note that CBD oil is different from hemp oil. Although both are derived from the hemp plant, hemp oil is made from hemp seeds and the end product contains no CBD. CBD is made from the flowers, stalks, and leaves of the hemp plant, where the cannabidiol is located. Each type of oil has its own medical benefits. Hemp oil is rich in minerals and vitamins and some pet owners use it as a vitamin supplement.
How CBD Oil Works for Dogs
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates and balances many body processes. In humans, it impacts immune responses, appetite, memory, mood, sleep, and even fertility. The ECS was discovered over 30 years ago as researchers worked to better understand THC. The ECS system is active in the body regardless of the use of cannabinoids and created to interact with naturally-occurring cannabinoids produced by the brain. These receptors can also interact with plant-based CBD products.
Cannabinoids bind with very specific membrane-bound receptors called the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). Cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) is found in the brain and (CB2) receptors are found in the immune system, such as within the spleen. Cannabidiol (CBD) has affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors and may also work by altering the update of adenosine in the body to promote sleep and relaxation.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
In humans, CBD oil has been used to treat a variety of conditions. This includes anorexia and weight loss associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, degenerative neurological conditions, depression, dementia, dystonia, epilepsy, glaucoma, irritable bowel syndrome, pain, Parkinson’s disease, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, sleep disorders, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and Tourette’s syndrome.
CBD oil is used and prescribed for a variety of uses in dogs, many of which are extrapolated from human research and use.
The most common uses in dogs include:
- Anxiety and Fear-Based Behaviors. Anxiety, such as separation anxiety, can affect some dogs, causing a wide range of symptoms that include pacing, circling, panting, escape behavior, persistent barking, aggression, tremors, chewing, and repetitive physical activity, such as digging, tail-chasing, and/or inappropriate urination and defecation. In humans, some believe that CBD decreases feelings of anxiety, and it is being used in dogs for the same purpose. Some research suggests that in humans, CBD may increase serotonin in the brain, which reduces feelings of anxiety and fear, and improves mood. Fear-based behaviors such as Noise phobias (thunderstorms) may also benefit from CBD oil.
- Arthritis and Joint Pain. Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints that causes pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. The most common use of CBD oil for dogs is for its anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is associated with many medical conditions. CBD is believed to interact with immune cell CB2 receptors, which decrease inflammation and pain.
- Cancer. Some research suggests that CBD may have anti-tumor properties. Cancer is a disease caused by abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. It is a very common illness in dogs and is the most common cause of death in senior dogs. Some cancers can be treated with surgery, while others are treated with drug therapies. The goal of cancer treatment is to remove the cancer (if possible) or decrease its growth. Many pet owners like CBD as part of their dog’s treatment, due to its low cost and lack of side effects when compared to chemotherapy. In humans, research is being conducted to document the use of CBD and explain how cannabinoids can slow the spread and growth of tumors. There are reports that suggest CBD can be useful in the treatment of breast cancer and colon cancer, and it may even enhance the effects of chemotherapy.
- Homeostasis. It’s believed that CBD may create an environment of “homeostasis.” Homeostasis is a state of harmony (equilibrium) of internal and physical processes or a “state of perfect balance.” Research suggests that the endocannabinoid system may play some role in homeostasis. Diseases and inflammation develop when things are out of balance.
- Nausea, Vomiting, and Appetite Stimulation. Nausea is a very common symptom of many different diseases and it can be a side effect of medications and chemotherapy. It decreases the appetite and is associated with weight loss, lethargy, lower activity levels, and dehydration. In human medicine, it is believed that CBD can control nausea and improve appetite.
- Pain Management. It is believed that the endocannabinoid system is involved in pain management and, today, CBD is best known for its pain control capabilities. CBD has been shown during scientific trials to stop the absorption of anandamide, which is a brain chemical that depresses pain signals.
- Seizure Disorders (epilepsy, etc.). One of the most popular discussions surrounding the use of CBD for dogs is related to seizures. Many believe that CBD has natural anticonvulsant properties, although it is unclear how this works and has only been documented in humans.
A study published in June of 2019 by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University investigated “the effect of oral cannabidiol (CBD) administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.” Essentially, the study used 26 client-owned dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. These 26 dogs were placed into two groups, one receiving CBD-infused oil twice a day for 3 months in addition to their normal seizure medications, and the other group receiving non-infused oil under the same conditions. The seizure activity, side effects, and blood CBD levels were compared for both groups.
Two dogs in the CBD group developed ataxia and were withdrawn from the study. This left 9 dogs in the CBD group and 7 in the placebo group. According to the study, “Dogs in the CBD group had a significant (median change, 33%) reduction in seizure frequency, compared with the placebo group. However, the proportion of dogs considered responders to treatment (≥ 50% decrease in seizure activity) was similar between both groups.
This data makes it hard to gauge the impact of CBD oil use for dogs. Ultimately, this study demanded additional research, specifically experimenting with higher doses of CBD to determine if that further influenced seizure activity.
Additional Uses and Potential Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
are very common in dogs and cats because of food ingredients, pollens, molds, grass, and more. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may be beneficial to control the symptoms of itching and skin inflammation in some dogs.
- Some veterinarians refer to Cognitive Dysfunction as “doggy Alzheimer’s,” since abnormal changes in the brain concerning cognitive function resemble those of humans with Alzheimer’s Disease. Signs of senile dementia may include reduced activity, sleeping more, lack of awareness of the environment, confusion, and difficulty walking. Some dogs will go into a room and stare at the wall or seem confused as to their surroundings. Research in human Alzheimer’s has suggested there may be benefits to giving CBD oil, although no research has been conclusive in veterinary medicine. The neuron processes that have been documented suggest that CBD may decrease inflammation of brain cells, promote new cell growth, and potentially decrease cells that contribute to amyloid production. is a slow, progressive spinal cord disorder most commonly seen in senior, large-breed dogs. It causes weakness and difficulty walking on the rear legs. Some believe the anti-inflammatory, pain control, and anti-anxiety properties of CBD benefit dogs with this disease. is a condition that results in high eye pressure, ultimately leading to vision loss. Treatment includes eye drops, oral medications, and surgery. Glaucoma can be genetic or caused by tumors, infections, secondary to cataracts, as well as other diseases. Human studies dating back to the 1970’s have looked at the benefits of cannabis on eye pressure and found it can reduce pressure up to 30%. How this impacts dogs is yet to be determined, but some advocates are hopeful. (IBD) is a group of gastrointestinal disorders that involve infiltration of the gastrointestinal tract by inflammatory cells. Common signs are persistent vomiting and diarrhea. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may make it beneficial to dogs with these disorders. associated with car or boat rides can occur in some dogs. The anti-nausea properties of CBD may help dogs with this condition. results from inflammation of the pancreas, characterized by activation of pancreatic enzymes that can cause the pancreas to begin digesting itself. It can be mild or life-threatening. Common signs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, and weight loss. The anti-inflammatory and pain management attributes of CBD may help in treating this condition.
CBD is also often recommended in addition to traditional therapies.
Side Effects of CBD Oil for Dogs
It is important that dog owners understand that adverse effects can occur with any drug or supplement. CBD is not psychotropic, which means it does not cause the symptoms noted with THC, like lethargy, listlessness, stumbling, glazed over eyes, and urinary incontinence, or the typical signs associated with the feeling of being “high.” There is evidence that CBD can increase a liver enzyme, the alkaline phosphatase (ALP), however the significance of this finding has yet to be determined. The overall toxicity of CBD oil in dogs appears to be limited.
There are no clear research findings that indicate drug interactions when CBD is given with other medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and more.
In humans, the most common side effects of CBD oil include a dry mouth, drowsiness, and a slight drop in blood pressure. In dogs, it is more difficult to determine these effects and few adverse outcomes have been documented. Some dogs with dry mouths may lick their lips more often or drink more, dogs with lethargy may sleep more, and dogs with low blood pressure may appear weak, lethargic, or generally less active.
Impure CBD products may contain THC, which can cause psychotropic effects such as depression, lethargy, listlessness, loss of motor coordination or balance (stumbling), incontinence, low heart rate, low blood pressure, low body temperature, respiratory depression, dilated pupils and glazed over eyes, vocalization like crying or whining, agitation, drooling, vomiting, seizures, and coma. Some dogs may experience hallucinations and have increased sensory stimulation to noises or fast movements.
When giving CBD oils to your dog, make sure you monitor them closely for any abnormalities and notify your veterinarian of any problems.
The Controversy Over Using CBD Oil for Dogs
There is much controversy about the use of CBD oil products in veterinary medicine.
Issues include the following:
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) has not approved CBD use for dogs.
- It is unknown if CBD works for most medical conditions in dogs. Research is underway to determine its effect on pain and seizures. The most positive research to date, although limited, has been on the use of CBD in dogs with osteoarthritis.
- There are substantial differences in the quality and purity of CBD products.
- There is poor quality control of the production of CBD products. CBD is also unregulated by the Federal Government. This means that no agency is looking at the purity, concentration, quality, or label declarations. There are substantial differences in quality in various CBD products, specifically the presence of preservatives, insecticides, and additives. In fact, some products have been shown to contain little to no CBD oil.
- Safe and therapeutic doses of CBD oil in dogs have not been established.
- It is unknown how CBD interacts with other treatments or medications. There may be undocumented drug interactions that have yet to be determined.
- Impure products may contain various amounts of THC, which can cause unwanted side effects.
- Human CBD products may be in the form of baked goods or gummy candy and many contain an artificial sweetener known as Xylitol, which can be toxic to dogs. Learn more about Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs here.
- It can be difficult to extrapolate the research to determine if CBD will work for a particular medical problem. Some CBD research studies conducted in dogs use very particular formulations and doses for specific conditions. This means you cannot assume a different formulation or dose will work.
When using CBD oil, it is recommended to obtain a high-quality product that is organic, free of preservatives, and additives. Ideally, it should be well documented that the product has been tested and free of THC.
Is CBD Legal and Can Vets Prescribe it?
Until recently, CBD was categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, similar to heroin and morphine. This prohibited vets from prescribing CBD products.
In late 2018, the DEA announced that drugs including CBD with THC content below 0.1% were classified as Schedule 5 drugs, as long as they have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA). In many states, by law, CBD products can have no more than 0.3 percent (%) THC.
The laws surrounding the legality of veterinary prescription vary by state and have been the source of controversy and confusion. Even after the reclassification of CBD, many available products are not approved by the USDA and are still prohibited by some states.
What Is the Proper Dose of CBD Oil for Dogs?
The dose of CBD for dogs may vary. Please see your veterinarian for recommendations for the best quality and safest product, as well as the appropriate dose for your dog based on the condition you are trying to treat.
You can buy CBD in various formulations. CBD can be applied topically, but is more commonly given orally. The preferred formulation for most pet owners is an “oil,” which allows you to better regulate the amount your dog is receiving. Many products indicate dosage recommendations on their labels. The amount you give will be dependent on the concentration of CBD in the product.
CBD oil for dogs is most often dosed by body weight and given every 8 to 12 hours as needed. It is recommended to start with a low dosage and gradually increase until you receive the desired effects.
Dosage recommendations for CBD oils in dogs vary (as you will read below). A common starting dose recommendation is 0.1 to 0.2 mg/kilogram of body weight (0.05 to 0.1 mg/pound) once to twice daily.
Examples of Starting Doses by Weight:
- 5 pounds to 10 pounds – approximately 0.25 mg to 1 mg per dog per day.
- 11 to 20 pounds – approximately 0.5 mg to 2 mg per dog per day.
- 21 to 40 pounds – approximately 1 mg to 4 mg per dog per day.
- 41 to 60 pounds – approximately 2 mg to 6 mg per dog per day.
- 61 to 80 pounds – approximately 3 mg to 8 mg per dog per day.
- 81 to 100 pounds – approximately 4 mg to 10 mg per dog per day.
- 101 to 120 pounds – approximately 5 mg to 12 mg per dog per day.
- Over 121 pounds – use a combination of the above.
It is important to determine the mg of CBD per unit of the product to calculate this dose to give your dog.
ALWAYS SEE YOUR VETERINARIAN to determine the best quality and safest product, as well as the dose most appropriate for your dog and their condition.
A study conducted in 2018 by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine evaluated the safety and pain control properties of CBD oil in dogs with osteoarthritis. Results suggested that CBD, when given twice daily at a dose of 2 or 8 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight, increased comfort and activity (approximately 1 or 3.5 mg/pound).
Pet owners interested in CBD for their dogs may become frustrated by the lack of firm recommendations from their veterinarian. This is due to lack of research proving effectiveness, a vast range of quality and purity, laws that prohibit the use of CBD oil in some states, and the overall limited experience using it and seeing results. If CBD oil is recommended, it is also most commonly used in conjunction with traditional treatments. It is critical to obtain a high-quality product, start slowly, and get approval from your veterinarian.