Mind & BodyPets

CBD for dogs: why and how to use it

Your furry friend is an important part of your family. You want them to be healthy, happy and live a long life. CBD can help with all three! Studies have shown that CBD improves the quality of life for many humans and animals alike. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which may help alleviate pain and other symptoms from arthritis, cancer, or anxiety disorders in dogs. In this article we’ll explain  more about what CBD is, and the benefits of giving it to your pet.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid of the plant: Cannabis Sativa. Unlike its infamous cousin: THC, CBD does not cause the highs associated with cannabis use and has shown significant promise as an effective treatment for a number of medical conditions including chronic pain, anxiety disorders, depression and more. The best thing about it? You can give your dog CBD without them experiencing any psychoactive effects.

A study performed at Virginia Commonwealth University found that 74% of dogs showed improvement after being treated with oral hemp extract (CBD).

How does CBD for dogs work?

CBD interacts with the canine body’s endocannabinoid system, a network of brain receptors thought to be part of the natural pain-sensing and mood-regulating systems. Specific parts of this endocannabinoid system are involved in regulating anxiety, fear responses, immune function, sleep cycles and more.

What dog health problems can CBD treat?

CBD is best known for its ability to relieve pain and inflammation. It’s also useful in treating anxiety, depression, arthritis and joint pain, seizures, digestion problems,  nausea, epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

It can be used to treat separation issues or phobias by helping with any underlying issues causing these behaviours.

CBD can also be used to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and is often recommended for patients with cancer to help with pain.

Benefits of CBD for dogs: anxiety in dogs

CBD is not a cure for anxiety in dogs but it can help support your dog’s natural endocannabinoid system and have a calming effect.

When introducing CBD to an anxious pet, start with very small doses (a few drops) on the gum or sublingually (under the tongue) until you know how they react. Giving it sublingually is a great way to start because it goes straight into your pet’s bloodstream and bypasses being processed by the liver.

Cancer in dogs

CBD is not a cure for cancer in dogs, but can provide your pet with relief from the side effects and give them an improved quality of life while they undergo treatment.

It may also help to reduce pain and nausea during chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments, as well as after surgery.

You should always consult with a vet before giving CBD oil to your dog if you think it might be beneficial for their condition.

Pain in dogs

CBD can be an effective way to manage chronic aches and pains as well as acute after-surgical or traumatic injuries, such as a dog with broken bones from being hit by a car. It is not addictive like some medications that are used for treating pain in animals and it doesn’t have any adverse side effects (unless of course the animal has an allergy).

CBD also poses no risk of overdose potential meaning you can increase the dose if necessary.

depressed dog
CBD can help relieve pain and depression in dogs as well as humans

Depression in Dogs

CBD can also be used to manage depression in dogs.

This is because it can help balance serotonin levels and minimize any feelings of anxiety or fear which may have caused the animal’s depression. CBD oil or snacks don’t make a pet high, so they’ll carry on going outside, eating, playing with toys etc., but will avoid unwanted behaviours that are related to their mental state like destructiveness out of boredom or frustration for example.

Arthritis and joint pain in dogs

CBD can also be used to treat arthritis and joint pain.

The CBD interacts with receptors in the body that influence inflammation which has been shown to reduce it, leading to a reduction of any associated discomfort or pain. 

This is especially useful because non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually prescribed only on an as needed basis due to their potential side effects such as stomach ulcers and kidney failure if they’re overused, so giving your pet CBD instead allows them relief without requiring you or them take additional risks

Seizures in dogs

Research seems to show that CBD can be an effective treatment option for seizures and epilepsy in dogs.

It doesn’t have the same side effects as more mainstream medications which is definitely a good thing. The issue is that seizures are difficult things to diagnose because there’s no clear-cut test that will tell you definitively what is causing them. Therefore it may take trial and error with different treatments before finding one that works for your pet. 

The benefits of CBD in human patients are well documented, and studies show that once the right dosage has been identified, around 25% of epileptic patients had their seizures reduced by more than 50%.

Digestion problems in dogs

CBD can be helpful to dogs in the digestive tract. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from IBD and IBS-D and, like humans, anxiety and stress make these conditions worse. By giving your dog CBD products, they might not need more traditional veterinary medicine that could cause stomach ulcers such as steroids, NSAIDs, antibiotics for secondary infections, antiemetics to control vomiting and nausea or opiates for severe abdominal pain.

cachorro mono con chancla
Puppies can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone, leading to destructive behaviour

Separation issues and phobias in dogs

Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety, which can be very frustrating for owners who must leave their dog home alone. This can be caused by many things, including the pet owner’s schedule changes or being left at a strange place such as boarding kennels. CBD is helpful because it helps regulate anxiety and fear responses even before they happen which could help your pup feel safer in its own environment while you’re out.

Types of CBD available for dogs

There are many CBD products available, with the most commonly used being CBD oils – both full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD , which are best given as drops. Also available are tinctures and capsules. Other options include edibles (e.g., treats), lotions, creams and patches which you can apply to your dog’s skin or give by mouth. 

CBD Oils can be Full spectrum CBD (including up to 0.3%  THC) or Broad Spectrum ( free or virtually free from THC). They come in different concentrations, normally 2%, 5% or 10%, in a full spectrum hemp oil or MCT base, and either a dropper or atomizer dispenser. They do not normally list the full range of cannabinoids contained within, but both broad and full spectrum CBD will state THC levels. We would recommend pet owners give their dog a hemp CBD product rather than one that comes from cannabis sativa (marijuana)

CBD Isolate is also available, which contains just pure CBD. The potency of this is much higher and it is not recommended that dog owners give this to their pets as this extract may be too strong for their system.  

How to give your dog CBD

The two most common (and effective) methods of giving CBD to your dog are: topically, and through oral administration.

For topical application -gels, creams and lotions – there’s a number of ways you can administer it. It is as simple as rubbing some on their skin with your fingers or massaging it in more deeply using circular motions before wrapping their body in a towel to keep it from rubbing off.

For oral administration, CBD oil is  the most popularly used method of delivery. You simply need to put a few drops on your dog’s food and then mix until they eat all their dinner. Soft chews and snacks containing CBd are also available.  

cute furry dog CBD dosage
calculate CBD dosage by the weight of your dog

How much CBD should I give my dog?

Recommended dosages vary, depending on the health, age and body weight of your dog. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend starting with a 0.25 – 0.5 mg CBD dose per kilo (2.2 pounds) dog’s body weight. This dose can be increased after a few days if you feel it is necessary. Be careful to look at the concentration of CBD, how much CBD is contained in the product, and the amount of CBD per drop of oil or tincture. 

How to choose the best CBD oil for your dog

In general, when looking for a product to use with your pet, it is best to find one that has been tested and lab reviewed. This will help ensure the safety of both you and your dog.

A good product should contain a guaranteed list of ingredients and clear instructions on how to use them for your dog’s size and weight, as well as a discussion about any potential side effects or interactions with other medications they are taking. Whether it is full spectrum or broad spectrum, the best CBD oil will vary from dog to dog and be the one that suits your particular pet best., so you may need to try a few until you find the perfect product. 

Possible side effects of CBD for dogs

CBD is generally safe for dogs and has few side effects. The most common reported are mild digestive issues like upset stomach or diarrhea, but this usually goes away after a couple of days. Other possible side-effects include lethargy, change in appetite, drooling , dry mouth or redness around the mouth. If any of these appear whilst using CBD they should be monitored closely by your vet as they could also indicate a serious condition. 

Risks of using CBD Oil for dogs

The research done on CBD so far indicates that it poses minimal risk to pets when used appropriately – meaning keeping dosage low and only using high quality products from reputable brands (look out for lab reports confirming purity).

Where can I buy the best CBD oil for my dog?

There are a lot of places to buy CBD online, both in store and on the internet, and we would not recommend one brand or website  over another. Price can also vary widely, as well as shipping. We would look for locally grown hemp, and a CBD product that has been designed for dogs rather than humans (be careful to check the THC content). Check the potency, or milligrams of CBD it contains,so that you can accurately calculate dosing required. Look for sites with lab reports confirming purity that the product is free from harmful additives, organic if possible of course, keep in mind that you should always consult with a vet before giving your pet any new treatment, either in person or through their website.

The takeaway

There is overwhelming evidence for the health benefits of CBD oil for dogs  and humans, and a huge variety of CBD products available. The important thing is to start with a low dose, with a brand you trust, and keep in mind you may need to experiment to find the best way of giving your dog CBD oil.

two cute dogs on beach
You may need to experiment to find the best CBD product for your dog


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