CBD Oil for Dogs: The Ultimate Guide for Dog Owners

If you’re looking to use CBD oil as a way to help your fluffy friend, then you’ll LOVE this guide.

As the use of cannabis to treat a number of medical conditions became increasingly popular among us humans, holistic veterinarians started wondering if cannabis-based extracts could also help our pets.

As it turns out, dogs seem to respond very well to one specific chemical found in cannabis—cannabidiol (CBD).

CBD is a non-intoxicating compound that produces effects through several different biochemical pathways in all mammals, however, in humans it mostly found its use in treating seizure disorders and anxiety.

However, when it comes to using cannabis for dogs, you have to be extra careful.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a cannabinoid responsible for producing intoxication in humans (but is generally considered safe) can actually be really harmful to dogs, and is fatal in highly concentrated dosages.

Here’s a brief overview of how CBD oil works.

CBD for dogs

What is CBD and what does it do for dogs?

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis, and is primarily produced inside trichomes (mushroom-like resin glands found on the flowers and sugar leaves).

The rise of CBD’s popularity started when Dr. Raphael Mechoulam first synthesized it in the 1960’s, paving the way for future cannabis research.

The discovery of CBD, and subsequently THC, propelled further discovery of the endocannabinoid system—a lipid signaling network responsible for mediating many processes inside the body through the interaction between cellular activators and receptors.

It soon turned out that humans produce our very own THC (called anandamide) but only in small dosages and in times of need. Anandamide is quickly degraded by an enzyme called FAAH.

The science soon uncovered that CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme, leaving us with more anandamide, which in turn boosts dopamine and serotonine (which is why CBD is so good for anxiety disorders).

In dogs, CBD produces effects by interacting with several receptors: TRPV1, 5-HT1A and GPR55.

Shortly after consumption, CBD activates TRPV-1 receptors and helps regulate body temperature, and reduces chronic or acute pain and inflammation.

When 5-HT1A receptors are stimulated, there is a significant increase in dopamine secretion, which produces antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.

CBD also blocks GPR55 signaling, which has shown a great potential to decrease reproduction of cancer cells.

We still don’t understand many aspects of CBD, but anecdotal evidence of pet owners along with clinical research we do have, shows great promise in using this amazing compound for overall dog health.

The science behind CBD oil for dogs

Although CBD has great promise as a medical treatment, most researchers and veterinarians warn that we still lack in-vitro clinical trials.

Most of the studies regarding cannabis are conducted on rats, fewer on humans and even fewer on dogs.

So far, we only have one study that’s dealing with using CBD for dogs.

The full study has not yet been published, but the preliminary data is extremely promising. Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital started the research on using cannabidiol for canine epilepsy. In July 2018,Dr. Stephanie McGrath has revealed the initial findings:

“89 percent of dogs who received CBD in a clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.”

The positive effects of CBD for dogs are also backed by studies done on other mammals and real-life stories from dog owners.

Later in this guide, I’ll share with you some interesting feedback from dog owners like yourself.

What are the health benefits of CBD for dogs?

CBD has been shown to have positive effects on your dog’s overall health in addition to being effective in treating specific medical conditions. CBD can be used alone or combined with other medications.

CBD helps with allergies and skin issues in dogs tweet this

Itching, scratching, licking, chewing…Skin issues can be very irritating to both our dogs and ourselves.

Just like humans, dogs can be irritated by substances like pollen, food, insect venom (or flea saliva), dust, or even some types of pet shampoo.

Itching usually affects a dog’s belly, armpits, ears, paws, and cheeks. It can go on for months and even years in some extreme cases.

CBD is a possible solution: It has anti-inflammatory properties and relieves the inflammation that causes itching, hives, and blisters.

Skin issues can be treated by adding CBD to the daily diet of your pet and you can try putting some CBD oil on your dog’s skin.

CBD reduces anxiety in dogs tweet this

CBD is known to reduce anxiety levels in people, so it’s not a surprise it’s working for dogs too.

Some dogs have very high levels of anxiety which can make your daily walk in the park a walk of hell. Dogs suffering from anxiety tend to show symptoms and reactions such as urination, excessive barking, and even destructive behavior.

Companion dogs often develop separation anxiety and find being separated from their owner difficult. Some dogs feel anxious when left alone in the house and can show excessive distress behavior.

By consulting your vet first, and by adding CBD to your dog’s life, you can help your fluffy friend feel much more relaxed. Yes, you can enjoy a walk in the park without having to avoid other dogs.

CBD reduces learned fears and phobias in dogs tweet this

Fear of fireworks and thunderstorms are very common in dogs. Unfortunately, on a summer-long weekend or during a major storm, there is little you can do to calm a nervous dog.

A fear of loud noises can cause great distress for your pet. CBD may help calm your dog and stop the problem from getting worse.

CBD reduces aggressive behavior in dogs tweet this

Aggressive behavior in dogs is a much more complex issue. There are a number of factors that can cause canine aggression, such as medical problems, behavior issues, and trauma. It is usually triggered by a specific situation.

Aggression is often managed by taking behavioral classes with your dog, and using CBD can also help your pet feel more calm and relaxed. It reduces the likelihood of your dog being triggered by specific situations and generally diminishes aggressive behavior.

CBD boosts appetite and relieves digestive problems in dogs tweet this

Some dogs are just easy to feed and will eat almost everything, but problems can arise with dogs that are picky eaters. There can be a number of reasons why your dog might be picky. If your dog usually has a good appetite and you notice some changes, it could be one of many digestive problems. Also, too many treats can spoil your dog, which could lead to it wanting to eat only that, not proper food.

It’s important to keep in mind and just accept that some dogs (sometimes depending on a breed or age) don’t have that much of an appetite.
But, if you think there is something wrong with your dog or if it’s constantly picky about food, consult your vet who can recommend the best CBD food supplement

In fact, CBD treats can reduce nausea and boost appetite, as well as calm an upset stomach.

CBD helps with arthritis, joint and mobility issues in dogs tweet this

Arthritis is an umbrella term for abnormal changes and degenerative conditions caused by inflammation in joints, and it is one of the most common orthopedic issues in dogs. Arthritis is very common in large breeds, but it also affects smaller dogs.

The main cause of arthritis is tissue damage caused by joint physical trauma, stress, infection, even an immune system disorder. The most common joint disorder is hip dysplasia.

With arthritis, cartilage can’t be regenerated as fast as it’s wearing off. Because of that, the bony layer becomes more exposed to inflammation. This leads to thickening of the protective layer around the joint making it less elastic and mobile.

The blood vessels surrounding the inflamed joints become swollen and inflamed and calcium deposits accumulate, all of which makes the condition very painful, making it uncomfortable for our pets to walk or move.

Because CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects, it has caught the attention of vets treating orthopedic illnesses.

Studies and pet owner experiences indicate there are no serious side effects, so getting to a right dose for your dog will be a safe journey. By taking CBD orally, your dog will be relieved from the two most annoying symptoms related to inflammation: swelling and pain.

CBD helps our dogs with cancer tweet this

Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in dogs over the age of 10. The statistics say that half of the dogs over the age of 10 will suffer from some form of cancer. Fortunately, half of those cancers can be treated and cured successfully if noticed on time.

If you ever find a lump or swelling anywhere on your dog’s body, or a wound that won’t heal, contact your vet immediately. Decreased mobility, lethargy, inability to urinate or any changes in appetite can also indicate cancer.

Cancer and the accompanying therapy can make the life of our dogs very painful and uncomfortable. Dogs with cancers and tumors undergoing therapy can suffer from pain, appetite loss, seizures, and convulsions.

The most common conventional therapies for cancer in dogs are chemotherapy, surgery or (more recently) antibody therapy. Sometimes therapies are used in combination.

Like in humans, these therapies are very intense and hard on the body. That’s why more and more vets are recommending CBD to ease your dog’s way to recovery.

Cannabidiol has what it takes to relieve fatigue, improve appetite, reduce inflammation as well as relieve pain.

CBD helps heal glaucoma in dogs tweet this

Glaucoma is a very common eye condition in some dog breeds. It’s manifested as the high ocular pressure which causes inadequate draining of fluids in the eye. If the condition is chronic, it can lead to partial sight loss, even to complete blindness.

About 40 percent of dogs diagnosed with glaucoma lose their sight completely, despite the early diagnosis or treatment. High ocular pressure can also be reduced to normal with CBD treatment.

CBD relieves seizures and epilepsy in dogs tweet this

Epilepsy is a medical condition that causes repeated seizures. This can be a very frustrating experience for both you and your dog.

One minute your dog is just fine, the next he’s on the floor, drooling, uncontrollably shaking and twitching. This usually means one thing— epileptic seizure, which can last from one to several minutes.

During a seizure, there is an abnormal electrical activity burst in the dog’s brain. That makes it behave in an unconventional way, without any control of its body. Seizures affect between 1 and 5 percent of dogs.

Veterinarians usually prescribe phenobarbital to stop seizures in dogs, however, this drug can have numerous side effects in both dogs and humans. So, more and more vets are willing to give pet owners another option—CBD.

CBD for dogs is being used to treat anxiety, fear and phobias, aggressive behavior, digestive issues, skin problems, arthritis, joint and mobility issues, glaucoma, cancer and epilepsy.

Which CBD product is the best for my dog?

Since CBD has become popular for both human and animal use, there are a variety of products on the market.

You can get your dog CBD dog products at your local pet store, online or through your vet if he has a holistic approach to his practice.

However, the FDA issued a warning to veterinary professionals and pet parents about products claiming to contain CBD.

FDA tested several products and found that some of them nearly didn’t contain any CBD at all. So before buying any product read the labels carefully, check all the information about the product on the internet and consult your vet.

When buying a CBD product, ideally you’d want it to have a lab result with it, just so you can be sure what you’re buying.

CBD comes in different forms. Every dog is different, so it could take some time to find out which one is your dog’s favorite.

CBD pet treats could be the easiest way to give your dog a daily dose of this medicine. You can buy the treats or make them on your own. Here is a quick and easy DIY recipe for CBD dog treats:

You’ll need a cup of peanut butter (xylitol-free), 32 ounces of greek yogurt and CBD oil (check the dosage guidelines in the chapter below).

Melt the peanut butter and mix it with the yogurt and CBD oil. Divide the mixture into cupcake molds or papers and put them in the freezer. Once cooled off, the treats are ready for your dog to enjoy.

Simple as that!

Again—make sure not to use peanut butter that contains xylitol, as it is extremely toxic to dogs.

If your dog is not interested in CBD treats, you can try simply dropping CBD oil onto his gums. Also, there are CBD dog tinctures that are not as potent as the oil – you can put them directly into your dog’s mouth or add it to his meal

For external use, the best results are accomplished with topicals, which can be applied directly to painful joints or irritated skin.

Also, some companies make their products as capsules, which can be easier to use if your dog doesn’t mind pills.

Some good and reputable brands that you should check out are Canna Pet, CBDistillery, Green Mountain CBD.

Before buying any CBD product for your dog, double check the label, find as much information on the internet and ask your vet for an opinion.

How much CBD oil should I give to my dog?

CBD dosage for dogs

Every dog is different but CBD dosage largely depends on its size and weight.

Upper, but it’s recommended to start with the smallest amount and gradually increase the dosage until you see positive results.

Calculating the canine CBD oil dosage is simple and is usually done in 3 tiers:

  • Tier 1 (low dosage): 0.05mg x lb — twice daily
  • Tier 2 (medium dosage): 0.125 mg x lb — twice daily
  • Tier 3 (high dosage): 0.25 mg x lb — twice daily

For example: If your dog weighs 15 lb, then the dose to use is 0.05 x 15, which is 0.75 mg of oil twice a day.

Stick to that dose for some time. If your dog responds well but you still don’t see enough improvement, you can go to the next tier.

Experiences of dog owners with CBD therapy

I did some digging around on Reddit and a few other forums to see what pet parents are saying about giving CBD to their dogs.

Are they satisfied? Did they notice any difference in their dog’s condition?

Here are some interesting comments from dog owners who used CBD in some form to help their pups:

comments from dog owners who used CBD 1

comments from dog owners who used CBD 2

comments from dog owners who used CBD 3

comments from dog owners who used CBD 4

To wrap this up

If your dog is in need of a natural way out of a medical condition, try finding some organic CBD hemp, but stick to trustworthy and established products. If you have tried using CBD products for your dog, please share your experience with us in the comment section.

Categories Health

Journalist with a decade-long experience of using cannabis for stress relief. Her spare time is mostly divided between dancing, traveling and reading.

20 thoughts on “CBD Oil for Dogs: The Ultimate Guide for Dog Owners

  1. I was told this
    Hemp seed oil is a polyunsaturated fat, which means the oil is unstable. … In addition, if your dog is eating a poultry-based diet, adding hemp seed oil may cause an imbalance in his diet because chicken is already quite high in polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid.
    Is it true

    • Edy, hemp seed oil is a completely different product to CBD oil, as it’s made from hemp seeds, which basically do not contain any CBD. CBD oil mentioned in this guide is made from flowers, stems and leaves, and contains 20-90% CBD, which makes it suitable for medical use. We mentioned a few reputable CBD oil brands in this article so you can check them out.

  2. As it’s difficult to find much of this information online, this research is quite helpful!

    Can you provide additional info that would apply to cats? In particular, if THC is toxic to them as well.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Alli,

      I’m so glad you found this article useful.

      I was thinking about writing a separate article about CBD for cats since I’m a cat person myself, but until then here is some information for you… I haven’t seen much research regarding cats, and since they are much smaller animals than dogs, I presume THC is even more toxic to them. So, keep your stash away from your cat, and don’t smoke it near your pet.

      When it comes to CBD, cats seem to respond really well. But, about the dosage, look at the label for the recommended daily dose, or you consult your vet.

  3. question:
    I am not sure how to measure out the dosage. Tier 1 .05mg X weight (.05x61lbs=3mg)
    so I need to give my dog 3mg twice daily. How do i measure out 3mg? Is this one drop form the eyedropper? How many mg’s does the eyedropper hold? I am super confused. Please provide instructions on how to measure out the dosage.

    • Congrats, you got to the most confusing part of CBD — figuring out the dosage. Unfortunately, you’ll have to do a little bit of math. First, you need to find out how many mg’s of CBD does your product have per milliliter. For example, when you buy CBD oil from a licensed producer in Canada, the product label says “CBD content 20 mg/ml”. Now, 1 ml is usually made up of 20 drops, so (using our CBD oil as an example) for every 20 drops you have 20 mg of CBD. This means that one drop contains one milligram of CBD, so it’s easy to figure out how many drops you need.

      I have explained this in greater detail in my complete guide to CBD — https://greencamp.com/complete-science-behind-cbd/

  4. You keep saying “ask your vet.” Vets here in California will not discuss CBD oil because it’s still considered a Cat 1 drug, at least that’s what they tell me. And since no definitive tests have been done, how do I know about interaction with 6 other drugs he’s on? I’d live to wean him but lack of reliable info and vet advice is a problem

  5. I have a cat with glaucoma diagnosed 1 month ago and on a prescribed eye drop 5ml Azopt Opht Susp. 1%. tid . The vet doesn’t think it will work for long. She is 17 and has heart murmur so thinks taking the eye would not be possible due to risk with murmur. Is it possible CBD will help that? How much liquid oil to give per lb? My CBD is 3.3MG/ML CBD in salmon oil. Farmacy brand. Trusted.

  6. I have a 17# dog that unfortunately was dx with
    Diabetes and had lost all vision within months. She gets 5.2 Insulin twice daily. In addition, she has very sensitive skin & the Vet prescribes a high $$ topical that I cannot see any improvement & she scratches terribly. I live where Cannabis is available medically. I use it & have great results. In looking at the labels they all have % of THC. Can I purchase CBD Oil specifically for her and massage it or give it PO?
    Thanks in advance

  7. I have personally used CBD Oil for my puppy chariot who has been suffering from cancer. With an incremental dosage, I’ve noticed him being much more relaxed and in less pain than before. Can’t speak for other conditions, but I think that CBD Oil is a great thing for our pets! Great read 🙂

  8. I use cbd for my Dog. Chronic ear inflammation and seizures. Two months after using cbd, clear ears and seizure free! I prefer to buy it from Green Wellness Life (Always gets a discounts from them) and have never had a problem. Good luck!!

    Helena thank you so much for great piece of article, keep contributing. Will be finding you on social media accounts to follow your articles.

  9. Wondering if you were suggesting to use cbd oil without any thc or is a trace amount ok for dogs? I’ve heard it works better with thc in it, but is that just for humans? Thanks!

  10. My dog is on proin for incontinence. Is it safe to take CBD with it? I’ve heard that it’s not safe to take with drugs that metabolize in the liver because it reduces the efficacy of the medication they are on.

  11. Is it safe to rub on growths until I can afford to get my dog to the vet? We have no clinics for low cost visits or sliding scale (my only income is SSDI) and I simply cannot afford the minimum $250 for an office visit. I have been giving it to her orally, and her appetite and general outlook have greatly improved, so I was wondering if rubbing the tincture on the growth will help? I get the CBD free of charge until November. It does nothing for me, but seems to help her.

  12. I am so glad I found this/you 🙂 First, we have a 13 year old rescue pitbull. We have had her for one year (since October 2017). She was a bait dog and has severe anxiety. We tried everything we were told. We were giving her 2mgs of Xanax with no relief. She would pace and pant for hours (the longest was 6-7 hours). She was absolutely miserable. We switched to Gabapentin with a combination of Xanax, then Gabapentin with Klonopin. The later combination would completely knock her out. We have been giving her 0.75mg of a 1000mg CBD tincture for two weeks. Last night was the first time in the 1 year that we have had her that she slept while it was raining. She has been peaceful and relaxed today. I cannot tell you how excited I was to see her walk outside, without trembling, to use the bathroom. She was not even shaking. We took her to a behaviorist, a trainer, and other professionals. CBD has given our girl a chance to experience life without terror. I am so grateful. It may have taken 13 years, but she can relax now. They did a story about her on IHeartdogs. I am going to ask the lady to update now that we have found CBD oil.

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