CBD for Dogs: Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
If you don't already use CBD yourself, you probably know people who do. Your workout buddy who recommends it for post-activity recovery or your stressed-out coworkers who say it helps them relax. Or your sister who swears by it for better sleep, and even your parents (or grandparents!) who agree it's great for easing the soreness they experience after long walks.
Even without first-hand experience, most of us are aware that CBD is growing in popularity and that it is fast becoming part of everyday lives and wellness routines. For many of the same reasons people are turning to CBD use in their own lives, they want to share those benefits with their pets, too.
With so many people using CBD and finding positive results, it’s no wonder, then, that they are increasingly interested in CBD for pets. And while it can be beneficial for most pets, CBD for dogs is becoming especially popular.
What Is CBD Oil?
First, let’s answer the most basic question: What is CBD oil? While it’s easy to get into a very detailed discussion of CBD facts, the simple answer to this question is that CBD oil is made from CBD, or cannabidiol, a compound found in both hemp and marijuana plants. And although the two plants are related, hemp, hemp extracts, and CBD products derived from hemp contain extremely small amounts of intoxicating THC. This means that CBD oil is not psychoactive and will not get you (or your pet!) the "high" or "buzzed" feelings associated with marijuana.
CBD oil is simply a hemp extract that has been diffused into a carrier oil for better application and consumption. Some popular carrier oils include MCT oil (from coconut or palm kernel oil) or hemp seed oil.
CBD oil is probably the most popular CBD product because it is so easy to use, and this is also true of CBD oil for dogs.
How Does CBD Affect Dogs?
CBD offers overall wellness support for both people and pets. Because dogs and humans (and all mammals) have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD can support bodily systems in many of the same ways. CBD may offer several benefits, like supporting a sense of calm, helping manage signs of daily stress, and complementing a pet’s regular wellness routine. Every dog is different, of course, and results may vary, so start with the serving instructions and adjust as needed.
Because CBD is relatively new to the pet market, studies are limited as to how CBD affects dogs. However, a multitude of happy pet owners who have given their dogs CBD for daily wellness and stress support have reported good results for common challenges such as separation issues and even noise aversion.
It’s no surprise, then, that people are turning to CBD as they discover the many daily wellness benefits it can offer to both them and their pets.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
While you might have many questions about CBD for pets, “Is CBD safe?” is the most common. The short answer? The jury is still out. Studies are limited on how CBD affects dogs both in the short term and for longer-term use. We have little to go on to answer this question, though the anecdotal evidence is very promising. We have the experiences of CBD users and many CBD oil for dogs reviews by loving pet parents who give their dogs CBD products for wellness support.
Though adverse effects are extremely uncommon when CBD is used properly, there are a few things to watch out for (more on this in the next section). With so many pet CBD products flooding the market, it’s important to do your research, because not all products are made the same. You should only give your dog CBD product formulas that are specifically created for them using dog-safe ingredients and with their veterinarian’s guidance. Follow packaging instructions by the manufacturer to avoid unwanted side effects.
When buying CBD for your pet, make sure you know the answers to these questions to make sure you’re getting a trustworthy product:
- Where is the hemp grown, and how?
- Are all ingredients clearly listed (and don’t include fillers or anything harmful)?
- Is it made with premium, hemp-derived CBD?
- Does the product indicate it has been third-party lab tested to be free of THC?
- Is it veterinarian-formulated for your pet’s safety?
- Does it come in strengths based on your pet’s weight?
- Are serving suggestions and directions clear?
If you educate yourself on what to look for, you can be confident in giving your pet CBD. Of course, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian before starting a regular CBD routine for your pet.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD Oil for Dogs?
Because so few studies have been done about CBD in general, and for pets in particular, there is not a lot of research that has explored the side effects of CBD oil in dogs, positive or negative. However, CBD oil for dogs has now been on the market long enough that any common negative side effects would most likely have been reported and addressed at this point. Fortunately, negative experiences reported are, at least, minimal. If you are diligent in giving your dog their CBD and paying attention, monitoring them closely, and with your dog’s veterinarian as a guide, CBD can be a more pleasant experience for you and your pet.
What we do know is that, in people, a few minor side effects have been noted at higher serving sizes, so watch your dog closely for any of the following:
- Drowsiness: Many dog owners use CBD for its calming properties, but it can sometimes cause drowsiness if too much is given.
- Dry mouth: Because it can decrease saliva production, look for signs of increased thirst in your dog when giving them CBD.
- Lowered blood pressure: In people, large amounts of CBD can temporarily bring down blood pressure, causing brief light-headedness. While this may not affect dogs in the same way, it’s always best to monitor your dog when giving them CBD.
Of course, every dog will react to CBD differently, so always follow the recommended serving sizes on the package. To minimize any of these potential effects, be sure to give your dog the proper serving size and CBD strength for your dog’s weight. Start your dog on a smaller serving size than what is recommended and you can adjust the serving size if needed after you have monitored your dog’s progress. CBD builds up in the system over time, so it’s best to use it regularly for 30 days before adjusting the serving size for desired results.
And, as with anything new you give your dog, watch them closely. If you notice any digestive distress, excessive sleepiness, or any other issue after using a CBD product, stop use immediately and contact your veterinarian. Our staff is also available for any questions or concerns you may have, specifically about our products, via our chat option on our website.
Why Do Some Owners Give Their Dogs CBD?
As noted earlier, many people have seen positive results using CBD for themselves, and so want to provide their dogs the same benefits. While little research has been completed to date, people say they are giving CBD oil to their dogs for the following reasons:
- Noise aversion (storms, fireworks)
- Separation issues or other common stressful situations
- Overall health and wellness benefits
- Active lifestyle support and maintenance
- Mobility support
The pet CBD market has exploded in the past few years, mostly because people want to support their pets’ comfort and care. It’s become more than a trend as pet owners everywhere see value in the beneficial properties of CBD and the positive results in their own pets. Of course, every pet is different, and it is always recommended that you consult your veterinarian, especially if you have concerns about your pet’s unique health or behavior issues.
How Do Veterinarians Feel About CBD for Dogs?
Veterinarians are crucial to keeping your pet healthy and happy. Even if your pet never gets sick, an annual visit to the vet will keep them feeling their best. From vital vaccines to addressing behavioral concerns or even diet and grooming advice, veterinarians are your pet’s best friend!
As CBD products have become mainstream, the ones you choose must be created with veterinary input to address the unique needs of pets. Always look for “veterinarian-formulated” on product packaging to give you peace of mind that what you’re buying is made just for pets.
While your veterinarian plays an important role in your pet’s life, you may find that he or she is hesitant to recommend CBD. Why is that?
Hemp, and hemp-derived CBD, is now technically legal in all 50 states thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. However, its “relationship” with marijuana, and the still-evolving state and federal regulations around hemp and hemp products, has left many medical professionals confused and wary. Even though some may very well see the benefits of CBD for pets, with little to no research and the conflicting information about hemp and how promoting it could affect their medical licenses, many veterinarians simply choose at this time to avoid discussing CBD.
Even if your veterinarian does not yet promote CBD use, it is still important to talk to him or her about all aspects of your pet’s health and wellness, including the fact that you are giving CBD to your pet.
What Are the Best Ways to Give Your Dog CBD?
When choosing the best CBD options for your dog, it really comes down to your and your pet’s personal preferences. Will your dog let you squeeze CBD oil directly into their mouth, or would a treat or chew be better? Do you have a picky pup that only likes certain flavors or textures? What do you feed your dog and how easy is it to add CBD to their favorite food?
With these questions in mind, here are the most popular ways to give CBD to your dog.
CBD Oil for Dogs: Tinctures
CBD oil tinctures are the most commonly used option. Tinctures are simply hemp extracts mixed with a carrier oil (usually MCT oil), with or without flavors. CBD oil is easy to give directly if you have a gentle pup who will take it directly from the dropper. Or you can drizzle it over their favorite food or even make your own homemade dog treats using a natural or flavored oil. Just be sure the CBD oil product you choose has a plastic dropper for your pet’s safety!
CBD Oil for Dogs: Treats
CBD oil treats are the perfect option if you don’t want to use a dropper or have a treat-motivated doggo. If your pup prefers to crunch, CBD Treats are a great choice and come in tail-wagging flavors like baked cheese or peanut butter. If your furry friend likes something softer or has sensitive teeth, then CBD Soft Chews are the way to go. They even come in specialty formulas like Hip + Joint or Calming to offer extra support.
CBD Peanut Butter for Dogs
Yes, CBD peanut butter! Some dogs just go nuts for peanut butter, and it’s the perfect way to serve them premium CBD oil. It’s a simple, wholesome treat that most dogs will love, so it’s a great option for when you really want to spoil your best friend!
Other Supportive Measures Partner with CBD for Dogs
What you give your dog to help them stay happy and healthy is a personal choice. That’s why having a veterinarian is so important. Whether it's addressing a specific issue or supporting their overall health, your veterinarian may recommend many options, including surgery, therapy, training, medications, or diet modifications. All of these are viable – and sometimes medically or behaviorally necessary – options for your dog’s best outcomes.
When it comes to CBD for pets (or people for that matter), any reputable CBD product clearly states something to the effect of: “The FDA has not evaluated statements on CBD and its uses, and CBD products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” However, if your dog is healthy overall and you want to learn more about how CBD can complement a daily wellness routine, it’s easy to educate yourself about CBD and choose if or how you want to use it with your pet.
But other supportive measures are part of your dog’s overall health. With any CBD oil regimen for your dog, you should also prioritize their overall health and wellness by:
- Taking your pet to the veterinarian regularly.
- Making sure your pet has a healthy diet.
- Making sure your pet gets regular exercise.
- Improving the living conditions of your pet, where possible.
- Providing lots of love and companionship for your pet.
- Making sure your dog is getting the sleep they need.
- Tending to any health concerns right away.
- Keeping your home safe for your pet and removing anything from their environment which could be harmful to them.
- Providing adequate grooming and bathing for your pet as well as preventatives for parasites, fleas, ticks, etc. Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed properly is also important.
- Providing your dog with training on socializing, behavior, and living indoors.
- Addressing behavioral issues or problems with their temperament and stress reactions.
Should I Give My Dog CBD?
At this point, you may be asking, “Should I give my dog CBD?” If you’ve read this far, you’re now in a better position to answer that question. Here are a few more bits of information that may help you make a decision about CBD for pets.
Some dogs may not react to CBD
Sourced from nature
Can cause drowsiness or lethargy if they take more than recommended serving
Supports overall health and wellness
Some CBD brands can be more expensive than others*
Easy to use and serve to your pet
Quality of product can vary from brand to brand*
Variety of options (CBD oil, treats, topicals)
Not all CBD products are properly lab-tested to ensure quality and levels of CBD*
Varying strengths, flavors, and formulas
Not all CBD products are veterinarian-formulated*
Can help ease a variety of common stressors and issues (noise, separation, etc.)
* Shop wisely when choosing CBD products for pets!
Minimal negative effects when used properly
How Do I Get Started Using CBD Oil for My Dog?
If you’re ready to make the CBD choice for your furry friend, it’s easy to get started. CBD oil for dogs is available at many pet stores and retailers, as well as from online sellers. You’ve learned what to look for when shopping for CBD, so here’s what to know once you’ve made a purchase and are ready to add CBD to your dog’s daily routine.
Whether you’ve chosen CBD oil tinctures or treats, the best way to begin is to follow the serving instructions on the package. As we mentioned before, use it daily for at least 30 days before adjusting the serving size to see desired results. You can even use a combination of tinctures and treats depending on convenience, but always be sure you’re staying within the recommended daily servings. (The packaging should tell you how much CBD is in each serving size.)
Once your dog is in a daily routine, you can always try different types of products or flavors until you find the ones your dog really loves. Good dogs deserve to be spoiled, after all!
CBD Oil and Your Dog
Now that you know more about CBD oil for dogs, you should have a good basis to make decisions about using CBD oil with your own dog and how to get started.
At the end of the day, we all want our best friends to be and feel their best. Whether you share your life with an active adventure dog, a loveable couch-potato pooch, a senior dog who might need a bit more support, or a canine companion that falls somewhere in between, CBD (for dogs) might be the perfect addition to their daily routine.
Originally written by: Cami Cacciatore