Best CBD Oils for Dogs
CBD seems to be everywhere these days, from online specialty retailers to your local grocery store. More and more people are finding success in using cannabidiol products, which only adds to their popularity. And now, many pet parents are even finding success in using CBD for dogs and other furry friends. But is CBD actually helpful for pets?
Anyone considering using CBD for their pets should have some basic knowledge about CBD and how it may affect their animals. So what is CBD, anyway?
CBD is a cannabinoid found in the industrial hemp plant that may have some therapeutic value in addressing pain, anxiety, seizures and more. It’s non-psychoactive, which means it does not cause a “high”. It’s easy to give CBD oil to dogs as it can simply be mixed into food, placed under the tongue, or given to pets in the form of CBD oil dog treats. We’ll discuss more about CBD in sections below - for now, let’s go over some of the best CBD oils for dogs.
Our Favorite CBD Oils for Dogs
Honest Paws is one of the best providers of CBD products for dogs. Unlike most CBD companies, Honest Paws exclusively makes products for pets. By focusing in on this specialty area, they are able to produce superior products at very competitive prices. Honest Paws is also considered an authority in the industry, and many experts respect their guidelines for CBD dosage for dogs.
Why We Like It
- Honest Paws exclusively focuses on CBD for pets
- Full-spectrum oils, containing all the beneficial cannabinoids
- Very competitive pricing, with discounts on subscription orders
- Provides clear guidance on best dosages according to dog's size and needs
Honest Paws offers a variety of products, but their most popular is the CBD tincture for dogs. It’s available in three potencies; level 1 (125mg), level 2 (250mg), and level 3 (500mg). The different levels are designed for different sized dogs, with level 1 designed for dogs of up to 25 lbs, level 2 for 25-50 lbs, and level 3 for dogs over 50 lbs. Many pet owners appreciate this clear guidance from the manufacturer, as it can sometimes be difficult to find recommendations on dog CBD dosage amounts.
Other innovative products from Honest Paws include CBD dog treats (in a variety of flavors), soft chews, and even CBD-infused peanut butter! They also offer a variety of bundle deals, which feature several products together at a discounted price. Overall, Honest Paws is one of the best places to buy CBD for your dog!
How to Shop for CBD Oil for Dogs & What You Need to Know
Now you’ve seen our recommendations for the best CBD for dogs, it’s time to learn more about these products. Let’s start with some factors that you should pay attention to when deciding on which product to purchase.
The section below provides a brief overview of what you need to know - for the full details, read through our guide to cannabidiol.
What to Look for in CBD Oils for Dogs
There are several important factors to consider when choosing the best option for your dog:
CBD oils from different manufacturers can have different concentrations of CBD. A 1oz (30ml) bottle of CBD oil could contain 125mg of CBD, or 1000mg+. Thus, it’s very important to pay close attention to the concentration of each product, as this will have a large effect on the CBD dosage for dogs. Generally speaking, the potency of the product you choose should align with the size of your dog - so owners of small breeds should choose low-potency formulas, while more concentrated options are a better choice for large breeds.
What is CBD?
Before giving CBD to your dog, it’s beneficial to understand more about what CBD actually is, and what it can do for you and your animals. This section will serve as an introduction to CBD - for more information, check out our complete beginner’s guide to CBD oil.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s a cannabinoid found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The majority of CBD products are produced from industrial hemp, grown in states like Colorado and Kentucky.
While much research remains to be done on cannabis, researchers now believe that many of the potential benefits of the plant come from the body’s interaction with CBD. Cannabidiol interacts with the endocannabinoid system, producing a wide range of effects. Preliminary research suggests that CBD may be useful for managing symptoms related to pain, cancer, inflammation, anxiety, sleep issues, and more.
CBD does not cause intoxication, unlike THC (the main psychoactive compound in marijuana). CBD products sold online contain very little - if any - THC, so they can be used without fear of intoxication or a “high”. Because of this, CBD has become a popular alternative remedy for a variety of ailments - in both humans and in animals.
What are the Benefits for Dogs?
Disclaimer: CBD has not been fully evaluated by clinical or veterinary science. While it’s generally well-tolerated, side effects are possible. Speak with your veterinarian before giving CBD to your dog.
What does CBD do for dogs? At this point, very little research has been done on the benefits of CBD for dogs. Until we have more definitive studies on the subject, we can look to data on CBD’s effects on humans (which may or may not be similar to its effects on dogs). We can also look at anecdotal reports from pet owners who have found success, but nothing is definitive at this point.
These are the primary potential benefits of CBD for dogs, but pet owners use CBD for all sorts of health concerns. Speak with your veterinarian to learn more about how CBD may benefit your dog. With those disclaimers out of the way, here are some of the most common uses of CBD oil for dogs:
Many pet parents have found success in using CBD to help manage pain symptoms in their animals. Whether its due to arthritis, injuries, or normal aches and pains from aging, CBD seems to be helpful in countering pain and inflammation in dogs. A prominent veterinarian was quoted as saying that dogs seemed to be less reactive to pain stimuli after being given CBD oil, although he admitted that veterinary research had not figured out the mechanism behind this observed effect. A 2018 study on dogs with osteoarthritis pain found similar results, noting that dogs showed signs of reduced pain and increased activity after being given CBD oil.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs? What are the Side Effects?
CBD is typically well tolerated in dogs. It does not cause intoxication, and for the most part does not significantly alter canine behavior.
With that said, there is always some potential for side effects. The most common reported CBD side effects in dogs include nausea/vomiting, changes in appetite and tiredness. Complications can also occur in dogs with liver health issues, so it’s advised to avoid CBD if your dog has had a history of liver disease or related health concerns.
Complications and interactions with other medications are also possible. If your dog is taking any medications or supplements, be sure to speak with your veterinarian about potential drug interactions with CBD oil.
How to Administer CBD to Dogs
If you’ve decided to use CBD oil for your dog, you may be wondering how exactly to go about administering it. The proper way to give CBD to dogs depends on the type of product you are using. Find an overview of each product category below.
- CBD Oil/Tincture - CBD oils can be administered to dogs in one of two ways: by placing under the tongue, or by mixing into food. Sublingual application (placing CBD oil under the tongue) is considered to be one of the most effective application techniques in humans, and initial research suggests that the same may be true for dogs. To apply sublingually, it’s helpful to choose flavored CBD oils, so your dog will be more interested in it. To apply, measure out the proper dosage amount in the included dropper, and gently place it under your dog’s tongue. CBD oil can also be mixed into your pup’s food or water.
- CBD Dog Treats - CBD dog treats are very simple to administer. Simply give your dog a treat or two (depending on dosage potency) and make sure they chew and swallow it. While convenient, preliminary research suggests that edible CBD products have a lower bioavailability than CBD tinctures.
- CBD Capsules - CBD pills for dogs are usually just pure CBD oil encapsulated in a gel shell. To administer these, you can either wrap them in something tasty for your dog and give it to them directly, or you can simply place the capsule in your dog’s food. Capsules offer the benefit of exact dosage and a convenient way to administer CBD to your dog.
- CBD Topicals - CBD topicals for dogs are creams, salves or lotions that are meant to be applied topically. To use, simply apply the recommended amount to your dog’s skin, targeting areas prone to pain or inflammation. Rub the cream in thoroughly, gently massaging your dog.
When giving CBD to your pet, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines for dosage and application.
CBD Dosage for Dogs
Pet parents often ask themselves, “How much CBD oil should I give my dog?”. Unfortunately there’s no official dosage guide, so figuring out the right dosage for your animal is a bit of a moving target. While no official guidelines exist for dog CBD dosage, we can look to the recommendations of manufacturers and veterinary health experts to get a good idea. Determining the right CBD dosage for your dog will involve considering a number of factors, including:
- Your Dog’s Size/Weight - The biggest factor in determining the right amount of CBD to give your dog will be their size/weight. Generally speaking, larger dogs need larger doses of CBD. Expert recommendations vary, but a good rule-of-thumb is to aim for around 0.2mg of CBD per pound. That means a 25lb dog would be given 5mg of CBD, while a 75lb pup would need 15mg. These are just general guidelines - be sure to follow manufacturer instructions, and speak to your veterinarian if you have questions.
- Intended Use - Another important factor in determining the best CBD dosage for your dog is the intended use of the CBD oil. If you’re hoping to help with a physical condition like pain, the dosage will tend to be a bit higher than if you’re using CBD for general therapeutic purposes/separation anxiety.
- Product Potency - While dosage guidelines are always listed in mg of CBD, it’s important to remember that various products can have very different potencies. For example, a 1ml serving of oil could have 5mg or 25mg+ of CBD in it. For this reason, it’s important to closely follow manufacturer instructions.
CBD for Dogs: What Do the Experts Say?
Giving CBD to dogs is somewhat controversial, and many people wonder about the safety, effectiveness and even morals of using cannabis products with pets. If you’re on the fence, it’s a good idea to take a step back and see what some pet experts are saying about CBD oil.
Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club (AKC), noted that CBD is used “...because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use.” The AKC has been active in furthering CBD research, and they recently sponsored a study looking at CBD use for epileptic dogs.
Stephanie McGrath, a leading cannabis researcher and veterinarian, has spent the last several years researching the potential benefits of CBD for dogs. Much of her research is ongoing, yet she has publicly stated that CBD has a generally good safety profile in dogs. She noted that “"If CBD works, then I think it would hit the mark of being both effective and not carrying a lot of side effects,”. Of course, McGrath reminds pet owners that CBD research is still ongoing, and no conclusive evidence has been found to support its use.
In the clinical research world, CBD has not been fully evaluated - however, there are a few studies that have shown promising results. One 2018 study found that administering CBD oil to dogs with osteoarthritis showed a “significant decrease in pain and increase in activity”. Another recent study looked at dogs with certain forms of epilepsy, and found that “...dogs in the CBD group had a significant (median change, 33%) reduction in seizure frequency”. Despite these positive findings, much research still needs to be done before the benefits of CBD for dogs can be fully evaluated.