CBD Oil for Dogs

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Article written by Lily Velez.
Medically reviewed byJoAnna Pendergrass, DVM.

CBD oil for dogs can support and promote long-term health in your canine. Dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is made up of receptors that interact with cannabinoids.

These cannabis plant compounds become neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors throughout your dog's body. These cannabinoids can activate certain receptors which play a role in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. From arthritis to seizures – CBD oil is an all-around holistic option.

As scientific research supporting pet CBD use rises, so does the number of pet owners adding this supplement to their dog’s daily routine. Please, keep reading if you want to learn what you need to know about giving your dog CBD oil.

What is CBD Oil for Dogs?

CBD or cannabidiol is a naturally occurring compound found in the flowers of the cannabis plant.

The cannabis plant (specifically the Cannabis Sativa L. species) comes in two varieties: marijuana and hemp. Both plants are rich in cannabinoids, but the exact cannabinoid profile is different.

Marijuana is rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and low in cannabidiol (CBD), while hemp is rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Why is this important? Well, CBD is highly praised for its medicinal properties, while THC is the compound responsible for the “high” feeling in people. Plus, THC is extremely toxic to pets.

Therefore, CBD oil products formulated for dogs are derived from hemp, meaning they are loaded with cannabidiol and less than 0.3% THC.

How does CBD Affect Dogs?

All mammals have a so-called endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a regulatory system of the body that plays a crucial role in managing vital physiological processes (hormones, immune responses, pain and inflammation responses, sleep patterns, appetite, emotional balance), thus promoting homeostasis.

In other words, pet CBD affects dogs by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. CBD binds with the endocannabinoid receptors and promotes overall balance and optimal function.

What does CBD Oil do for Dogs?

How Does CBD Oil Affect Dogs

Since the endocannabinoid receptors are vastly distributed within the body and their various functions, pet CBD has a remarkable ability to support the body in many different ways.

These are some of the benefits of CBD oil for dogs:

  • Assists the immune system

  • Supports normal brain and nervous system function

  • Supports cardiovascular health

  • Helps maintain a normal inflammatory response in the body

  • Can help with occasional stiffness and soreness

  • Provides connective tissue support and supports joint health

  • May reduce free radical damage

  • Supports antioxidant function

  • Helps animals maintain a regular and relaxed disposition

  • Helps manage normal stress and promotes overall calmness

  • May help with occasional or seasonal allergies

  • ...and the list goes on!

7 Ways CBD Oil can Help Your Dog

CBD oil can help with various health issues in dogs. These are some of the scientifically backed up health effects of CBD oil.

CBD Oil for Dog Seizures

CBD oil for dog seizures balances your dog’s endocannabinoid system and may reduce the frequency and intensity of your dog’s seizures.

Researchers from the Colorado State University found that “89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.”

Even synthetic CBD alternatives have the potential to decrease the frequency and intensity of seizures episodes.

CBD Oil for Dogs With Cancer

As a “promising anti-cancer drug,” CBD oil can “decrease the cancer cell reproduction,” “inhibit the growth of tumor cells,” and “enhance the therapeutic efficacy” of conventional treatments.

CBD oil can also help alleviate the side effects associated with conventional treatments – appetite loss, nausea, and discomfort.

CBD Oil for Dogs With Anxiety

CBD oil for dogs with anxiety may help soothe your dog's nerves and can reduce anxious behaviors.

CBD oil promotes overall calmness and is good for dogs sensitive to noise-induced stress. It is also excellent for dogs with separation anxiety and stress-induced aggressiveness.

CBD Oil for Hyper Dogs

CBD oil for hyper dogs has calming effects that may reduce hyperactivity and promote overall relaxation in dogs.

CBD Oil for Dog Allergies

CBD oil for dog allergies may soothe skin-related issues associated with seasonal and all-year-round allergies. CBD topicals and creams can help maintain normal skin moisture and help with allergy-related skin lesions.

A 2007 study showed that the occurrence of contact allergic dermatitis is linked with the endocannabinoid system. Since CBD interacts with the ECS, it can be postulated it can help with the symptoms. CBD oil can also help with the symptoms of .

Best CBD Oil for Dogs With Arthritis

Arthritis makes your dog's joints inflamed and painful. CBD oil for dogs with arthritis may act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-joint pain option.

Studies “support the safety and therapeutic potential of hemp-derived CBD for relieving arthritic pain.”

Plus, CBD oil supplementation may reduce the need for conventional pain medications (like gabapentin) or replace the use of NSAIDs in patients prone to their side effects.

CBD Oil for Glaucoma in Dogs

CBD oil for glaucoma in dogs has been shown to effectively reduce intraocular pressure, cell death, discomfort, and anxiety.

According to a study, cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) can lower the ocular tension when used regularly.

The UK Journal of Ophthalmology confirms this finding stating that “cannabinoids effectively lower the intraocular pressure (IOP).” Plus, cannabinoids can prevent retinal cell death.

How to Buy the Best CBD Oil for Your Dog

cbd dosage calculator

We encourage pet owners to do their research, ask questions and make sure they are buying quality CBD oil that has been tested and certified.

Sadly, companies cut corners to get their product out as quickly as possible with the growing rise in demand.

This makes pet owners vulnerable and in danger of buying substandard CBD products that will be useless (or worse – harmful) to their pets.

What Kind of CBD Oil is Best for Dogs?

We strongly encourage you to do your homework to be confident that you are giving your dog a premium CBD product.

Here are just a few things to look out for when CBD oil shopping for your dog.

Look for Full Spectrum CBD Oil

You will encounter labels like "full-spectrum hemp", "CBD isolate", "broad-spectrum CBD oil", or "hemp oil". Although all options are safe, you should always choose the "full-spectrum" alternative.

This is because a full-spectrum hemp oil contains various cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBN) and other compounds (flavonoids, terpenes, essential oils, antioxidants) with entourage effects - the ability to boost each other's potencies.

Make Sure the CBD Uses CO2 Extraction

There are several ways of extracting CBD from hemp plants, but the CO2 extraction method is least destructive towards the CBDs and most effective in clearing the final product of impurities.

Look for a Certificate of Analysis

The Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a third-party lab-tested analysis and report of the product's chemical make-up.

A third-party lab should:

  • Test the product for heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes

  • Confirm the concentration of each cannabinoid in the oil

  • Ensure it contains less than 0.3 THC%

  • Provide its objective findings in the form of COA

Made in the USA and Organic

Farming practices will impact the quality of CBD hemp oil. Toxins in the soil, pesticides, heavy metals, and micro-bacteria can make their way into the hemp plant and then the oil.

Therefore, always choose a CBD oil product derived from organically grown hemp in the USA. Also, make sure the product excludes common allergens and fillers like GMO soy, grain, or corn.

Reputable Brand

Ensure that the CBD comes from a respected, reputable company in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. The number of product reviews and what those reviews say is also an important part of finding the best CBD oil for your pup.

Possible Side Effects of CBD in Dogs

The World Health Organization report on cannabidiol states that "CBD is generally well-tolerated, with a good safety profile." A veterinary study confirms the same and says that “CBD-rich, hemp-based nutraceuticals appear to be relatively safe in healthy dogs.”

CBD Side Effects in Dogs

As with any other supplement, high amounts, especially in overly sensitive dogs, can cause certain side effects. The good news is that these side effects are rare, usually self-limiting, and can be eliminated through a simple dose modification.

Dry Mouth

A decrease in the production of saliva is a typical response to CBD. Your doggo will be thirstier than usual so make sure you provide them with fresh, clean water daily.

Low Blood Pressure

A high dose of CBD may cause a sudden blood pressure drop, leaving your pup slightly nauseous and lightheaded.


Dogs have sensitive digestive systems, and the wrong carrier oil (for example, coconut oil) in your CBD tincture can cause an adverse reaction in your pup.

Risks of Using CBD Oil for Dogs

When it comes to CBD oil for dogs, the number one concern for pet owners is the risk of overdosing. One of the best things about CBD oil is that it has extensive safety margins. In layman’s terms – it is impossible for a dog to overdose on CBD oil. Worst-case scenario, your dog will take a long and sleep off the CBD’s effects.

However, CBD oil can cause an increase in liver enzymes and slight complete blood count changes. This means it can be risky to use CBD oil in dogs with liver issues or other chronic conditions. Bottom line, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before supplementing your dog with CBD oil.

Do Vets Recommend CBD Oil for Dogs?

Do Vets Recommend CBD Oil for Dogs

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “under current federal and state law, veterinarians may not administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis, or its products for animals.”

A survey showed that because of the “myriad of laws concerning cannabis,” only 45.5% of the veterinarians feel comfortable discussing CBD oil use with pet owners. However, another survey demonstrated that vets feel CBD oil is safe for dogs.

In a nutshell, just because your veterinarian is not at liberty to recommend CBD oil does not mean you cannot bring up the topic.

Building a positive and trustworthy relationship with your veterinarian is critical, and you should feel free to ask anything that may positively affect your dog’s health and well-being.

Can CBD Oil for Dogs be Used With Other Medications?

Whether or not CBD oil can be used with other medications depends on their type. As noted, CBD is metabolized in the liver and can elevate certain liver enzymes.

Therefore, CBD oil can have “unintended interactions with supplements, herbal products, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications.” These interactions do not always prevent the use of CBD oil, but they do exert the need for careful monitoring.

Considering the complex drug metabolism pathways in dogs, you must check with your vet before deciding to self-treat your dog with CBD oil supplements.

CBD Dosage For Dogs

The right amount of CBD oil for your dog depends on several factors, including your dog’s age, weight, overall health, the reasons for using CBD, and the potency of the CBD product.

Although there are dosage variations, the general rule of thumb is that you can give your dog between 1 and 5 milligrams of CBD oil per 10 pounds of body weight.

Using a CBD dosing chart or CBD oil for dogs dose calculator will help you decide where to start with dosage amounts for your dog. Alternatively, you can consult with your trusted veterinarian.

Usually, it is recommended to start with a smaller dose and then adjust it accordingly. For example, if your dog shows side effects (which are rare), you can decrease the dose even more. On the other hand, if it seems like the initial dose is not working, you can safely increase it within the recommended dosage guidelines of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight.

How to Give CBD Oil to Dogs

how long does it take cbd oil to work for dogs

CBD oil comes in a variety of forms for different usage. Basically, all CBD oil products can be classified into two groups.

Oral CBD Oil Products

Oral CBD oil products are the most prevalent choice. They can be used in several ways.

Sublingual Application of CBD Oil

A CBD oil can be administered sublingually (under the tongue) by drawing the oil into the dropper and squirting it directly into the dog’s mouth, near the back. This is the best method for quick results. However, some dogs dislike having their mouths handled.

CBD Oil During Mealtime

Alternatively, instead of directly into your dog’s mouth, you can squirt the oil from the dropper into the food bowl and mix it with the regular food. Start with a smaller dose so your dog will not be able to sense the meal’s change in flavor, smell, and texture.

CBD Oil Dropped on a Dog Treat

You can drop the oil onto a porous dog treat and then give it to your dog. Your dog will be thrilled by the snack time and will not mind the CBD oil addition.

CBD Infused Edibles

There are CBD edibles for pets like chews, bites, and peanut butter. These have a set dosage amount and practical, especially when you are on the go.

Homemade CBD Infused Treats

In theory, it is possible to bake your dog homemade treats infused with CBD oil. However, this method is not recommended because of two reasons. First, the high temperatures deactivate the CBD ingredients, and second, there is no way of calculating the exact amount of CBD per treat.

Topical CBD Oil Products

Topical CBD oil products are usually in the form of balms or creams. They are efficient and practical – just make sure your pup does not lick them off (they are not harmful but need to be absorbed into the skin to achieve health effects).

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog for Anxiety?

A general guideline is to give your dog a dose in the range of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight. However, based on the dog’s unique situation, it is possible to opt for a more potent dose (double or more than the recommended amount).

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Dogs

pet owner with her happy dog

Wondering whether you can give your furry friend CBD oil? Luckily, the answer is yes! Just make sure you buy high-quality CBD oil from a trusted company.

Here at Cambridge Labs, we're dedicated to crafting the best CBD products for our dogs and cats to support their health and happiness.

You can browse our complete Cambridge Labs CBD for Pets collection and read for yourself what our happy customers have to say about us!

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