CBD for Dogs: Is CBD Safe for Dogs?

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 their aching knees and joints.

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.

A bowl of dogfood sits near a pile of food arranged in the letters cbd with a bottle of cbd nearby

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, an active ingredient found in both the hemp and the marijuana plant. And although the two plants are related, hemp, and CBD derived from hemp, do not contain THC. This means that CBD oil is not psychoactive and will not get you (or your pet!) "high" or "buzzed" or any of the things associated with marijuana.

CBD oil is simply a CBD isolate that has been pulled from the plant through CO2 extraction. It is then diffused into a carrier oil for better application and consumption. Most carrier oils are natural, including MCT oil (coconut-based) 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 for dogs.

A cat and a dog look at each other as they sit together on a green couch

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 positively affect 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.

A lovely golden retriever sits on a road covered with fall leaves

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? Yes, CBD is generally regarded as safe for dogs to take. If it is properly sourced, manufactured, and third-party tested, then your dog should be able to use CBD without issues. But buyer beware. With so many pet CBD products flooding the market, it’s important to do your research, because not all products are made the same.

When buying CBD for your pet, make sure you know the answers to these questions to make sure you’re getting a safe, effective product:

  • Where is the hemp grown, and how?
  • Are all ingredients clearly listed (and don’t include fillers and anything artificial)?
  • 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.

A jack russell terrier sits on his owners lap as she reads a large white book

What Are the Side Effects of CBD in 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 negative side effects would most likely have been reported and addressed at this point.

What we do know is that, in people, a few minor side effects have been noted at higher doses, so watch your dog closely for any of the following:

  • Drowsiness: Many dog owners use CBD for its calming effect, 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. CBD builds up in the system over time, so it’s best to use it regularly for 30 days before adjusting the serving for desired results. And, as with anything new you give your dog, watch them closely and contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

A fluffy white dog with a red, white, and blue collar runs across the grass at a park

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 done on actual effectiveness, people say they are giving CBD oil to their dogs for the following reasons:

  • Noise aversion (storms, fireworks)
  • Separation issues or stressful situations
  • Overall health and wellness benefits
  • Active lifestyle support and maintenance
  • Mobility support (joint or post-surgery stiffness)

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.

A veterinarian holds a black and white english bulldog over his shoulder

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 help with physical and behavioral concerns or even diet and grooming advice, veterinarians are your pet’s best friend!

As CBD products have become mainstream, it’s important that the ones you choose have been 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 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 you and your pet’s personal preferences. Will your dog let you squeeze CBD oil directly into its 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.

A black, brown, and white corgi sits on a wooden deck as he is offered a serving of cbd pet tincture

CBD Oil Tinctures

CBD oil tinctures are the most commonly used option. Tinctures are simply CBD oil 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!

A brown and white dog sits with a tennis ball in its mouth next to a bag of paw cbd treats

CBD Oil 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.

A pretty little dog with long white hair licks cbd peanut butter from paw cbd out of a jar

CBD Peanut Butter

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!

A pretty brown and white spaniel runs across a wooden bridge in the woods

Are There Alternatives to 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: to help you with any specific illness, injury, medical condition, or behavioral problem your dog may have. 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. However, even necessary options can come with complications or side effects, and it’s up to you and your veterinarian to understand how they might affect your pet.

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.

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.

Pros:

  • Non-pharmaceutical option
  • Sourced from nature
  • Supports overall health and wellness
  • Easy to use and serve to your pet
  • Variety of options (CBD oil, treats, topicals)
  • Varying strengths, flavors, and formulas
  • Can help ease a variety of stressors and issues (noise, separation, etc.)
  • Available without a prescription
  • No reported side effects or drug interactions when used properly

Cons:

  • Some dogs may not react to CBD
  • Can cause drowsiness or lethargy if they take more than recommended serving
  • Some CBD brands can be more expensive than others
  • Quality of product can vary from brand to brand
  • Not all CBD products are properly lab-tested to ensure quality and levels of CBD
  • Not all CBD products are veterinarian formulated
A little brown and white dog sits patiently and waits for a treat

How Do I Get Started Using CBD 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. 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.

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!

A brindle brown and black dog sits next to a river on a blanket near her owner

CBD 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, or a canine companion that falls somewhere in between, CBD might be the perfect addition to their daily routine.

About Paw CBD by cbdMD

Paw CBD was created by cbdMD to offer a comprehensive, veterinarian-formulated selection of CBD products for pets, made with premium hemp grown in the USA. You can learn more about the full lineup of flavored and natural tinctures, baked and soft chews, creamy peanut butter, soothing balm, and specialty formulas for both cats and dogs at www.pawcbd.com.

Disclaimer: Any information provided should not be considered or treated as medical advice; always consult a veterinarian before changing your pet’s health regimen. Products and information mentioned are not intended to be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and Paw CBD is not responsible for their content.