It has been around for centuries and known for its medicinal benefits in the mainstream for decades, and now the popularity of CBD oil has grown massively. You see friends talking about it online, you see it in grocery stores, and countless other advertisements just about everywhere you look. Everyone seems to be discussing the pros and cons of CBD for dogs. Chances are, someone very close to you uses it for themselves, their children, and maybe even their dogs. That’s right, my friends, many people use CBD oil for its benefits to their dogs.
Those of us with pet dogs know that, just like us, they can get sick. Of course it’s important to get a vet’s opinion of what your dog needs, but whenever you feel ready to look into the use of alternative medicines (specifically CBD oil) to help your pooch, we want to help you make the best decision that you can by talking about some pros and cons of CBD for dogs.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is CBD oil exactly?
- 2 CBD products available for dogs
- 3 Pros and cons of CBD for dogs
- 4 What to do before giving your dog CBD
What is CBD oil exactly?
CBD is a cannabinoid which contains naturally occurring chemicals that can act on the brain and body. The oil is extracted from the cannabis plant.
There are two common strains of cannabis—hemp and marijuana. Hemp is a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% of THC. Marijuana has more than 0.3%. CBD products for pets are typically sourced from hemp. It has no psychoactive properties like the THC found in marijuana.
CBD is processed as an isolate or as a full-spectrum oil combined with other related cannabinoids. Oils made with full-spectrum extracts are thought to have superior therapeutic effects vs. cannabidiol-only oil.
CBD products available for dogs
Before we get into the pros and cons of CBD for dogs, let’s talk about what types of CBD products that are out there for canines. When you shop online, or head to the store, these are the type of CBD products that you will typically find for dogs.
- Oil/tincture. Oils/tinctures are an easy way to give your dog CBD to help with their ailments. The oil can be mixed into their food, given in treats, or just put directly into their mouths (although that’s not always the easiest option). Many dogs don’t like the taste of the oil, so mixing it into foods is a great option.
- Capsules. CBD oils can be put into capsules which can then be hidden in dog treats.
- Treats/chews. Just like for human consumption, CBD oils are put into edible treats made just for your dogs.
Pros and cons of CBD for dogs
First and foremost, while most states have relatively liberal laws as it pertains to CBD oil, it is always wise to do your research to ensure that you are following the law. But again, keep in mind, that most products for dogs come from hemp-derived CBD oil.
Pros of using CBD for dogs
These are just some of the pros that we have discovered in our research for using CBD for dogs.
Lower anxiety levels
If you have a dog that is prone to high anxiety, CBD may be a great option for you. The reality is, we simply cannot be with our dogs 24/7 so we just aren’t able to be there to comfort them at all times. CBD oil has been found to ease anxiety and calm some of the destructive behaviors that come with said anxieties.
Help with cancer treatment and seizures
If your dog is older or sick and struggles with appetite, CBD can help increase appetite.
Works as a painkiller
CBD is often used as a painkiller because it is known for its painkilling properties.4 Many people report that their dogs move around with more ease once they begin administering CBD to them for their pains.
Dylan actually gets CBD oil twice daily with his meals. He is having some hip and knee issues. We are finding that this is helping with his mobility and pain levels.
Cons of using CBDs for dogs
There doesn’t seem to be many studies which show significant cons to the use of CBD for dogs.5 Here are some symptoms that you may notice when using CBD for your dog:
- Excess drooling
- Slight increase in a liver enzyme after long-term use6
What to do before giving your dog CBD
Before you make the decision to give CBD to your dog, it’s important to talk to your vet about your pet’s health and any concerns that you may have. While using CBD for dogs is a decision that is 100% up to you, it is highly recommended that if you do make the decision to use it, you use a product that is made for canines and not for humans. There are several reasons for this.
- To ensure that the concentration is appropriate for canines
- There are no harmful added ingredients. Many edible CBD treats contain products like Xylitol which can be harmful to dogs.
The fact remains that as much as we love our dogs and even though they are a part of our families, humans and dogs are different and the products we use should reflect that. You can ask your veterinarian for a CBD product that they recommend, or check with your pet supply store for a veterinarian-approved, high-quality product.
What to look for when buying CBD oil
The market seems to be flooded with new companies selling CDB oil. So, how do you know what to buy? Here are some things to consider when looking for a product to buy.
Check where the CBD was grown
When purchasing a CBD product, the first thing you should check is where the hemp was actually grown. We advocate looking for US companies certified organic. The company should have a website. And should indicate where they grow their hemp. If the company sources their hemp from outside the United States, check the farming regulations in the country of origin.
View the lab results
Every company should perform 3rd-party quality testing. They should be able to provide a certificate of analysis (COA). These certificated verify the quality and potency of the product.
Find out how the CBD was created
The CBD oil is created through extraction of the hemp plant. The two most popular extraction methods are CO2 extraction and alcohol extraction. Both methods work and are commonly argued about in regards to which is better. However, CO2 extraction seems to be a more clean and effective method.
Identify the type of extract the CBD features
CBD products can be extracted and the hemp processed in three different ways.
- Full-spectrum. This uses all of the hemp plant—leaves, flowers, and stalks. Therefore, this extract is home to all of hemp’s cannabinoids. But, there will still be less than 0.3% THC (so no one is getting high on this). Due to the wide-range of chemical components, it allows for all of the compounds in the plant work to work synergistically together for maximum benefit and effect.
- Broad-spectrum. This contains pretty much the same components as a full-spectrum, but has 0% THC.
- Isolate. This is created when a manufacturer separates CBD, a singular cannabinoid, from the rest of the over 100 cannabinoids in the hemp plant. This is the purest form of CBD, but it’s also the most processed form of hemp. It will provide the benefits of CBD, but is missing the cannabinoids that make full-spectrum and broad-spectrum oils potentially a more powerful approach.
What’s the best dosage?
Additionally, be sure to use the correct dosage and to pay close attention after administering for the first time to watch for reactions. In a recent article by Dr. Becker, she cites that new dosage recommendations for pain relief is 1–2 mg/kg twice daily and adjusting to achieve the desired effect.7
While using CBD for dogs may be a relatively new thing, more and more people are opening up to the idea and many are jumping on board. We love our pets and we want the best for them. We want them to feel their very best!
Dylan uses CBD daily to help with the discomfort in his knees after two TPLO surgeries and his hip from early onset arthritis. We have come across a Maine-based company that has been part of several clinical trials on the use of CBD on dogs with osteoarthritis. The product, elleMove, was endorsed by veterinarians in a double-blind placebo study from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.8 We are happy to say that we are having great results using this with Dylan. And we started giving Rainey the calming version, elleCalm, which seems to be helping to deal with stressful situations as they crop up.
I would love to hear from anyone who has experience with using CBD for dogs. Has it been a positive experience for you?
last updated: April 8, 2021
- “U of G Researcher Investigating Cannabis as Treatment for Animal Cancer.” University of Guelph. October 29, 2019.
- McGrath S et al. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2019;254(11):1301-1308.
- “Facts.” FETCH a Cure. Last visited May 3, 2020.
- Gamble LJ et al. Pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs. Front Vet Sci 2018;5:165.
- Johnson C. CBD: Forget the legal issues—does it work in veterinary patients? Dvm360. December 18, 2019.
- McGrath S et al. A report of adverse effects associated with the administration of cannabidiol in healthy dogs. J. Am. Holist. Vet. Med. Assoc. 2018;52:34–38.
- Becker K. Should You Give CBD to Your Pet? Healthy Pets. April 12, 2020.
- Gamble L-J et al. “Pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs.” Front. Vet. Sci. 5:165. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00165.