What Is the Best CBD Oil for Dogs?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an increasingly popular natural remedy. Many scientists have vouched for CBD’s potential in treating chronic pain, anxiety, and other ailments. And as more and more humans experience the merits of CBD, some are beginning to use it on their dogs as well.
Benefits of giving your dog CBD oil
In fact, products made from the hemp plant can provide a number of benefits to dogs of all breeds and all sizes. Here are just a few reasons why you might want your pets to use CBD.
- CBD may provide pain relief for dogs dealing with arthritis. According to a 2020 article in Antioxidants, hemp CBD oils have the potential to offer anti-inflammatory effects. Although they haven’t been tested much in dogs, this may make them useful in the treatment of arthritis and similar conditions that cause pain for your pup. (As many as 60% of dogs will exhibit arthritic symptoms over their lifetime.)
- CBD may reduce a dog’s anxiety. Cannabidiol is well-known for its calming effects, and it’s one of the most popular reasons that people use CBD oil for anxiety. Dogs can also experience separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, or nervous feelings during travel, and some pet owners anecdotally report that CBD oil has improved their pet’s anxiety symptoms.
- CBD hemp oil may help lessen the frequency of seizures. The only FDA-approved CBD medication for humans is prescribed for the prevention of seizures, and according to a recent Colorado State University study, dogs may experience some of the same positive effects. However, these effects have only been seen in dogs that are also taking more traditional prescription medications for the treatment of seizures.
Is it safe to give your dog CBD oil?
After all this talk about the potential benefits of CBD, you may be wondering if there are any drawbacks or side effects. One thing to keep in mind is that CBD supplements and dog treats have not been evaluated by the FDA. And according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, there is not a lot of scientific research looking at CBD for pets, so it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian first.
In addition, there are some potential side effects, although they are usually quite mild. According to Dr. Jerry Klein, the American Kennel Association’s Chief Veterinary Officer, some specific side effects to watch out for include drowsiness, dry mouth, or lowered blood pressure. A study in Animals also noted diarrhea as a potential side effect. However, pet owners may find some assurances in a 2016 report from the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (JAHVMA), which notes that there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that CBD may be helpful for dogs with chronic pain, anxiety, and other health issues.
Type of hemp extract
Before purchasing CBD treats or supplements for your dog, consider the three basic types of hemp extract that exist: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. This distinction can help you choose between all the different options on the market today.
- Full spectrum: A full-spectrum hemp extract contains all phytochemicals found in the plant (even small traces of THC). THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychotropic chemical in marijuana, but this does not mean that full-spectrum CBD products will make your pet high. Instead, this kind of hemp extract offers a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, all working in tandem.
- Broad spectrum:Broad spectrum products are similar to full-spectrum since they contain other plant compounds in addition to CBD, but with one differentiating factor: The THC is completely removed.
- CBD isolate: A CBD isolate product contains only CBD, with all other plant parts removed. It represents the purest possible concentration of CBD.
Another consideration as you shop for pet-friendly CBD products is third-party lab testing. Independent research helps show a brand’s products are safe and potentially effective. Look for brands that provide these testing results (also known as Certificates of Analysis, or COA).
Finally, while shopping for a CBD product for your pet, look out for these factors: natural or organic hemp harvesting methods (which means there are no artificial ingredients), dog-friendly flavors (like chicken, bacon, or peanut butter), and overall concentration of CBD (which speaks to the potency of the products).
The best CBD oils for dogs
Through research and testing by editors at Remedy Review, an independent CBD site, here is a curated list of the best CBD oils for dogs—plus a CBD-infused dog treat. Each of these products have been thoroughly tested by third-party labs and reviewed based on the ingredients, hemp sourcing, price, lab test results, as well as customer experiences.
- NuLeaf Naturals CBD Pet Oil
- Medterra CBD Pet Tincture
- CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture
- FAB CBD Dog Treats
- ABSC Pure Organic CBD Oil
NuLeaf Naturals is a good option for pet owners who are new to CBD because its products have 60 milligrams of CBD per milliliter, so it’s easier to adjust dosage. What’s more, NuLeaf makes its products from CBD that’s CO2-extracted from organic hemp plants in Colorado. These products are also certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making them the only dog CBD products to bear that distinction.
As a brand, Medterra is dedicated to helping you and your pets, and it offers pure CBD extracts that are carefully-researched. These CBD isolate products are completely THC free and come in a few different pet-friendly flavors to pick from—including chicken, beef, or unflavored. These tinctures are available in three different strengths: 150, 300, and 750 milligrams per 30 milliliter bottle to suit the size of your pup and his needs.
CBDistillery has a reputation of high-quality CBD products that are processed with cold-pressed hemp seed oil, which makes them easier for dogs to digest. Not to mention, CBDistillery is one of the most affordable places to purchase hemp products. The 150-milligram tincture is great for small to medium sized dogs, and the 600-milligram pet CBD oil is made for larger breeds.
If your dog isn’t too fond of a CBD oil, then CBD-infused dog treats may be the answer. FAB CBD makes tasty cookies sans dairy, corn, wheat, or soy. These treats don’t have any THC, but they do come with some beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids, as well as three great dog-friendly flavors to pick from: peanut butter apple (for calming), salmon (for skin and coat health), and chicken (for active immune support).
ABSC offers several CBD oil products, each one designed for different weight classes of dogs. One noteworthy benefit of ABSC is that it’s the only line of dog CBD products that have been clinically tested. Dr. Stephanie McGrath, DVM, has conducted studies with her team at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences using ABSC’s CBD oil. These CBD extracts are derived from organically-grown hemp plants in Colorado and feature a natural chicken flavoring that’s safe for pets (and more appealing to your dog).
How much CBD oil should you give your dog?
Many pet owners often wonder what CBD dosage is right for their pup. Unfortunately, there aren’t any standard dosing guidelines for pets provided by veterinarians—and exact dosing recommendations can vary by the size of your pet. According ABSC Organics, a brand whose products have been used in multiple clinical trials performed by Colorado State University, here are some baseline dosing recommendations to start your dog off with CBD (based on weight):
- 10 pounds → 2 milligrams
- 20 pounds → 4 milligrams
- 30 pounds → 6 milligrams
- 40 pounds → 8 milligrams
- 50 pounds → 10 milligrams
- 60 pounds → 12 milligrams
- 70 pounds → 14 milligrams
- 80 pounds → 16 milligrams
- 100 pounds → 20 milligrams
The company has found that these baseline dosages are sufficient for 70% of pet owners that use its products, but in some instances, a dog may need more than the recommended starting dose. If this is the case, it’s usually best to slowly increase the CBD dosage and carefully monitor your pet’s reaction to find their perfect dose.
Regardless of what CBD products you purchase for your dog, please consult your veterinarian before starting a CBD regimen. And pay attention to the packaging of the CBD product to make sure you know exactly how many milligrams are contained in each drop of oil.
Is CBD oil right for your dog?
Although there is plenty of preliminary work and anecdotal evidence suggesting positive benefits of CBD oil for dogs, more high-quality research still needs to be done. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult a trusted veterinarian.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, copywriter, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. As a writer for Remedy Review, an independent CBD review site, Josh covers the relationship between cannabis-based products and the human body. The products featured in this article were tested at ProVerde Laboratories in Milford, MA and Avazyme, Inc. in Durham, NC.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before consuming or using any of the products mentioned on this site.
What’s the best CBD oil for dogs? Find out about pet products that can enhance your canine’s health and wellbeing from NuLeaf, CBDistillery, and more.
CBD for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
Reviewed and updated for accuracy on March 3, 2020 by Dr. Matthew Everett Miller, DVM
In certain states, medical marijuana is an option for people seeking relief from ailments like seizures, pain, anxiety, and cancer.
Pet parents and veterinarians alike are naturally wondering whether cbd for dogs, in the form of products such as cbd oil for dogs or cbd dog treats, can provide the same benefits.
Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.
THC vs. CBD for Dogs
CBD is one of over 80 different chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” that have been derived from the cannabis (marijuana) plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), perhaps the most famous cannabinoid, CBD is not psychoactive.
Instead, CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl. These pathways control many processes in the body, from inflammatory responses to blood clotting.
Do not give dogs straight marijuana or any product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. There is simply not enough research to justify the use.
CBD-based products, however, may help improve your dog’s quality of life when used in conjunction with other therapies.
Why Use CBD for Dogs?
CBD is often mentioned as a useful therapy for a variety of conditions, including pain management, arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and even cancer. Although the use of CBD in treating each of these conditions is under-researched, there are varying levels of scientific evidence for each scenario.
Because CBD shares metabolic pathways with anti-inflammatory drugs, it makes sense that it would help with certain inflammatory conditions (anything that ends with -itis is an inflammatory condition).
Osteoarthritis, often abbreviated as arthritis, is one of the most common inflammatory conditions in dogs.
One in four dogs will be diagnosed with arthritis in their lifetime, and by some estimates, as many as 60% of dogs exhibit some degree of the disease.
Research has shown that CBD can provide substantial pain relief in dogs with arthritis when given twice daily at appropriate doses.
In theory, the anti-inflammatory benefit seen in arthritic dogs could also be seen in dogs with other types of inflammatory pain, especially back pain from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
Preliminary studies in people have shown that combo products containing both CBD and THC are more beneficial for pain relief than when either drug is given alone. But no such research has been done on dogs, so THC should not be given to them.
Seizures are probably the most-studied application of CBD in people, but limited research exists for pets. In dogs, seizures can be caused by a vast number of underlying conditions.
With regards to idiopathic epilepsy specifically, there is some research that suggests that CBD could be useful in reducing seizure frequency in these dogs. However, these benefits are only seen with dogs that are given traditional anti-seizure medications at the same time.
Like seizures, the term “cancer” is an umbrella term that refers to an extremely diverse set of specific diseases, each with their own set of beneficial treatments.
In people, CBD has been studied for possible use in cancer patients, both to treat the tumor(s) directly, as well as to treat the secondary symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy. Very limited research has been done on the use of CBD for dogs with cancer.
However, the anti-nausea effects of CBD seen in people who undergo chemotherapy have also been documented in rats and ferrets, suggesting that dogs receiving chemotherapy may benefit from CBD treatment.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that CBD is useful in managing a dog’s anxiety. In theory, it is possible that CBD, by reducing pain and inflammation, could indirectly reduce anxiety caused by pain or inflammation.
But because CBD is not psychoactive, it is unlikely that CBD has the ability to directly treat canine anxiety in the way that Prozac and other medications do. The use of CBD for anxiety in dogs, as with most conditions, requires substantially more research.
Potential Risks of CBD for Dogs
Overall, CBD itself seems to be incredibly safe in dogs and cats. However, numerous scientific papers have found that when given at the recommended doses, CBD does cause an elevation in an important liver value on bloodwork called alkaline phosphatase (ALP).
We are not yet sure whether the elevation of this liver value has any medical significance. It could signify that CBD causes irritation or damage to the liver. Alternatively, it could be an artificial finding in which the drug interferes with the way the lab measures the liver value.
Anecdotal reports do exist of dogs becoming somewhat sleepy or sedate if they receive extremely large doses of CBD, but those effects appear to resolve on their own with time.
CBD doesn’t appear to have any drug interactions when it’s given to a dog that’s on an anti-inflammatory drug like Rimadyl.
Because there is a theoretical risk of drug interaction, as with any medication, you should consult your veterinarian first before treating your dog with CBD.
THC Dangers for Dogs
Unlike CBD, THC ingestion can cause serious problems for your pet.
“The most significant [issue] is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they are high,” says Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. “Depending on how significantly a pet has been overdosed, the effects of that can be quite long-lasting, even days.”
During these episodes, a pet may not be able to stand or eat. If you suspect THC toxicity, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Secondary effects of THC, especially respiratory depression, should be monitored closely to avoid complications.
Overall, life-threatening risks for dogs from cannabis are “exceedingly rare,” Dr. Richter says. There is no documented lethal dose for THC in dogs. In fact, a dose of THC 1,000 times greater than the dose needed for a dog to feel “high” is still not lethal.
THC toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that also contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients,” says Dr. Richter.
How Much CBD Can You Give Dogs?
Though there are some topical treatments, CBD oil is typically administered orally to dogs, and giving the correct dosage is imperative. “As is the case with any medication, success has everything to do with dosing,” Dr. Richter says.
Studies on using CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures generally use a dose between 2-8 mg/kg, with most papers erring on the lower side of that estimate (roughly 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight), twice daily.
This dosage has been found to be both safe and somewhat effective for just the conditions studied (arthritis and seizures). Additional research is needed to evaluate the necessary dosages for CBD in treating other conditions.
One complication in attempting to properly dose dogs with CBD is that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that many CBD products actually contain little, if any, CBD.
The only FDA-approved cannabinoid product, Epidiolex, could theoretically be prescribed by a veterinarian for epilepsy in dogs, although this would likely be cost-prohibitive. Because it is FDA-approved, though, the CBD content of this product would be accurate, unlike most other CBD products on the market.
Can Veterinarians Prescribe CBD for Dogs?
U.S. veterinarians are forbidden from prescribing/dispensing CBD, and cannot encourage or instruct clients to purchase CBD products.
However, they are free to talk to you about the potential risks and benefits of a treatment plan you may have devised on your own. If you are considering giving CBD to your dog, speak to your vet, and you may want to also speak with a veterinarian who has experience with CBD.
Have you thought about trying CBD for your dog’s pain, seizures, or anxiety? Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.