CBD For Dogs: The Ultimate Guide

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a chemical naturally found in the cannabis plant. CBD has been taking the world by storm with its therapeutic potential to treat several medical conditions. And unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not elicit a high.

Humans and mammals have an endocannabinoid system, and it serves a primary function: to regulate and maintain a balanced bodily state known as homeostasis. This means modulating a vast range of physiological processes, like pain, mood, memory, stress, sleep, appetite, and immune function.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and lends its healing potential to achieve relief from unpleasant medical symptoms and conditions. 

Now, what does this have to do with our furry friends? Dogs, just like people, experience complicated health concerns that affect their daily lives, whether it’s separation anxiety, skin allergies, arthritic pain, and so much more. And being a responsible pet owner entails finding ways to make their lives a little easier. 

Research on CBD is in its early stages, but some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that it may help alleviate several conditions your pup could be struggling with. The best part? It’s totally natural.

According to Grand View Research, CBD pet products are estimated to reach a total revenue of $400 million by 2027. Not just a pretty penny! Let’s find out what all the hype is about, shall we?

Before diving in, it’s important for you to understand that just because CBD for dogs is available doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always safe. First, it’s crucial that you find CBD products from reputable sources. Second, there are no CBD products for animals currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you shop for CBD for dogs:

  • Check out the product’s Certificate of Analysis (COA). The manufacturer should provide a certificate that certifies the amount of CBD in the product. You also want to ensure that there is little or no THC present.
  • Always look for organic, meaning it should not contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents.
  • Don’t shop solely based on low prices. Higher quality products are associated with higher prices, and your dogs are worth that investment. If you can find safe and effective CBD for dogs that fit your price range, great! 
  • Consider CBD oil or tinctures for your dog above other methods of administration. You can also buy CBD dog treats, but oils and tinctures allow you to adjust your dog’s dose should you decide to increase or wean them off it. 

Now that we covered the essentials, let’s find out what CBD can potentially do for your dogs with information backed up by studies and anecdotal reports from this Reddit page

CBD For Dogs: What Does The Evidence Say?

According to current research in 2022, CBD can potentially help with the following conditions in dogs:

  • Arthritic pain
  • Skin conditions
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer

Let’s tackle each one in detail:

1. Arthritic and joint pain

It’s important to note that there is no cure for arthritis. There are just several treatment options to help manage pain and inflammation to give dogs relief and keep them active. And one of them is CBD.

Among the thousands of rave reviews for CBD for dogs, the most common observation is that it helps pups reduce joint pain and improve mobility.

This is what one Reddit user had to say about it:

“We make our own CBD dog oil using hemp and salmon oil. My 13-year-old dog is jumping up on the bed again, and his mobility has greatly improved. Our vet had him on some anti-inflammatory/pain killer that was making him so out of it all the time. Switched to CBD, and he’s back to his old self.”

How promising! Now, what does the research say?

A 2018 study decided to assess the safety, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-pain effects of CBD on dogs struggling with osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis found in older dogs. The researchers gave the dogs doses of 2 or 8 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight.

80% of the dogs showed an improvement in their pain and mobility, as measured by veterinary pain and movement testing scales. 

While these results are encouraging, it’s critical to note that CBD can treat the symptoms of arthritis—not arthritis itself. The symptoms will likely reoccur if you decide to wean your dog off of CBD. 

2. Skin conditions and allergies

If you have a dog that struggles with skin allergies, you know how difficult it is to watch your pet tolerate the discomfort of the symptoms. For example, dogs with seasonal allergies may itch and scratch themselves relentlessly, potentially leading to open wounds and infections. 

A painful skin condition is enough to affect your dog’s sleep, skin health, and even the ability to enjoy day-to-day life. Luckily, in 2007, a groundbreaking discovery showed that the endocannabinoid system is linked to allergic contact dermatitis, which also pertains to allergic skin reactions in animals. 

Later on, in 2012, a study on dogs with atopic dermatitis found that CBD could potentially treat the symptoms of the condition. CBD oil successfully reduced itchiness and improved the appearance of the dogs’ skins. 

Animal or not, CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory, and it can potentially soothe itchiness and swelling caused by allergies or other unfavorable conditions. 

3. Epilepsy and seizures

Canine epilepsy is the most common reason for recurring seizures in dogs. Sometimes, the medications used to treat canine epilepsy, such as phenobarbital, diazepam, and other anticonvulsant drugs, can cause serious adverse reactions in some dogs. Even then, with the medication, some dogs may continue to experience seizures.

A 2019 study showed that epileptic dogs given CBD (in addition to seizure medication) had significantly fewer seizures than dogs that received seizure medication and a placebo.

The anecdotal evidence supports this, too. This is what a Reddit user had to say about CBD for her epileptic puppy:

“My puppy was having huge, terrifying seizures. I didn’t want to give her phenobarbital because of all of the horrible side effects. After consulting with a holistic veterinarian, we started giving her CBD twice a day. She had one tiny seizure about a week later and then none for about a year. 

At that point, I weaned her off the CBD, thinking that maybe she’d grown out of the condition. Within a week or two, she had a medium-sized seizure. So, back on the CBD, she went! No seizures at all since then. She is four years old now, so this has been going on over about the last three and half years or so.”

Canine epilepsy can be scary for both the dog and the pet parent. And finding a way to manage it is not an easy task. CBD’s potential to treat this intimidating condition is highly refreshing. 

4. Anxiety

One of the fastest-growing health trends in pet care is using CBD to help dogs with anxiety. CBD boasts a number of potential benefits, but relieving anxiety is usually its most noteworthy perk for humans and mammals. Just like us, dogs experience anxiety, stress, and depression. And just like us, it isn’t easy to curb.

Between the studies and personal reports, CBD appears to be capable of helping with all forms of anxiety. This includes temporary bouts of stress to chronic fear. 

Check out what this Reddit user said about it:

“I use CBD on one PTSD dog I am rehabbing. He is extremely fearful, and it does seem to take the edge off.”

Dogs can experience anxiety and fear for many reasons, whether it is triggered by past abuse, abandonment trauma, or even just because that’s who they are and how they’re wired. No matter the reason, it is heartbreaking to witness. 

The existing research on CBD for anxiety and stress is incredibly promising. Though we don’t have many studies on CBD for dogs, research is conducted on animal models that are thought to work in similar ways across all mammals. 

A 2012 rat study suggests that CBD increases available serotonin in the brain. Furthermore, CBD’s efficacy in managing anxiety applies to many other forms, such as:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Personality disorder (PD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Who knew it had such a reach?

5. Cancer

Despite trying to provide the best life for your dog, there are some truly unfortunate circumstances that you can’t control, and one of them is canine cancer. Cancer is as much a heartbreaking condition for animals as it is for humans, as there is only so much you can do to keep the condition at bay. 

But all hope is not lost for your beloved pup.

Not so long ago, a study published in 2021 showed that CBD in combination with some chemotherapy drugs decreased cancer cell reproduction in a synergistic way, with greater effect than either drug alone.

Not just that, but cancer can also cause other unpleasant symptoms, like pain, inflammation, anxiety, and seizures—and if you read your way to this section, you know CBD potentially helps with those ailments, too. 

You might be wondering, “Well, that sounds all well and good. But has it ever actually helped dogs?” This is what one Reddit user had to say about CBD for dogs:

“We gave our dog isolate oil for arthritis, seizures, and anxiety. Eventually, he got cancer. He definitely moved better and had less seizures. When he started having the cancer symptoms at 17 years old, we doubled the dose and it made him a lot more comfortable.”

CBD is not a cure for cancer, but it can potentially improve your dog’s quality of life while dealing with its symptoms. That little bit of relief can mean the world for you and your dog. 

CBD For Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You know what CBD can potentially do for your beloved dogs, but chances are, you still have a bunch of questions that need answers. Let’s debunk them right now!

Is CBD safe for dogs?

This is likely your biggest concern, and rightfully so. Many veterinarians hesitate to suggest CBD due to the cultural and societal stigma around it that remains somewhat pervasive to this day. While you should take your veterinarian’s advice seriously, it’s also good to know your options.

Luckily, this 2018 study concluded that CBD is safe for dogs. In the trial, the dogs experienced no adverse side effects. In fact, there is a 2019 survey of US veterinarians and their take on CBD. The results showed that many of them deemed CBD oil safe for dogs. Again, they didn’t notice any adverse reactions, except that it may make some dogs sleepier. 

Does CBD make dogs high?

There is a significant difference between the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. Though both species fall under cannabis, hemp is defined as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3 percent or less THC, while marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 percent THC. CBD can be derived from both hemp and marijuana plants.

THC, the compound that contains psychoactive properties, is present in measurable amounts in the marijuana plant, which contains very little CBD. You want your CBD to be extracted by hemp. Industrial hemp has high levels of CBD and virtually no THC.

No, CBD will not make your dogs high. But THC might. It’s crucial to note that THC can be toxic for dogs, while CBD is safe. Remember that hemp-derived CBD potentially offers many benefits without the THC, meaning your dog will not get high. Instead, they will experience relief and relaxation without any mind-boggling effects.

This makes it especially important for you to check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) of any CBD products you may be interested in to ensure that your pup is safe from THC.

Can my dog overdose on CBD?

No. It’s unlikely. 

While it is possible to administer more CBD than recommended, the most typical reaction in the dog is that they will experience drowsiness. Ideally, don’t overdo it. You might want immediate relief for your dog, but more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Consistency is the key.

If you want CBD to work properly, keep your dogs on a consistent regimen with the right dose appropriately administered. This brings us to the next question.

How much CBD oil should I give my dog?

The rule of thumb is to start with 1 to 5 milligrams per 10 pounds of body weight, administered 2 to 3 times a day depending on the severity of the symptoms. 

Keep in mind that the correct dose for your dog can vary from one situation to another. You may have to experiment to find the best amount of CBD and how often to give it. Start with a reasonable dose and assess your dog. Expect to notice the effects in 30 to 60 minutes. 

If you notice no change in an hour, increase the dosage a little bit and observe your dog again. Your dog should not be lethargic. Instead, they should appear visibly calmer. Look out for any signs of panting, pacing, and whining, which are indications that the dosage must be decreased. More information about CBD doses for dogs can be found here.

What kind of CBD should I give my dog?

If you are just starting out, it would be highly practical to go with CBD oils and tinctures, so you can easily find the correct dose for your dog. Once you have that understanding down, you absolutely can venture into other forms of consumption.

For example, CBD dog treats can be convenient and enjoyable for your pet. But they can get expensive for larger dogs over a long period of time, or they may not be a good fit for dogs on a special diet. 

Every method of consumption comes with a list of pros and cons, and it’s up to you to find the way that works the best for you and your pup. 

Here is a list of examples to give you an idea of how to administer CBD, depending on your dog’s needs:

  • You can apply coconut oil with CBD on your dog’s skin for any rashes or skin conditions, and it’s also edible should you decide to incorporate it into their diet. How wonderfully versatile!
  • You can try out relaxing CBD balms if your dog struggles with dry skin or painful sensations to give them a soothing experience and more mobility. 
  • If you want to administer CBD in the form of a special treat, mix it in with some peanut butter or honey, and your pup will surely go to town on it. 

The best way that works for you and your dog entails some experimentation and research. Sooner or later, you’ll find a regimen and structure that fits perfectly. 

CBD For Dogs: Bottom Line

Pet owners worldwide are turning to the holistic option of CBD for a host of reasons, whether it’s to treat difficult symptoms or promote wellness. At the end of the day, it’s lovely to give your pets the help they need, no matter the form it comes from.

It’s exciting that our beloved four-legged friends can play a part in the promising world of CBD. 

Disclaimer: We do not recommend CBD in any form for any specific medical purposes in humans and animals, in compliance with FDA regulations.