CBD for Dogs: Benefits, Potential Side Effects, and Dosage

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

CBD for Dogs: Benefits, Potential Side Effects, and Dosage
Reading Time: 9 minutes

CBD for dogs and cats has gained massive popularity amongst pet owners because of its impressive health benefits, ranging from soothing pains to hindering cancer development.

Let us take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of CBD for dogs, so you can decide if it is worth using on your pooch.

What Is CBD for Dogs?

A floppy-eared dog being given drops of CBD oil for dogs by his owner.CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in 2 strains of cannabis plants: hemp and marijuana. Cannabis oil for dogs comes from industrial hemp plants, containing high amounts of CBD but low concentrations of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.

THC is a compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. It can be toxic to canines if ingested in large amounts. Since CBD for dogs has virtually no THC, your pooch can take advantage of its health benefits without the risk of getting “stoned.”

What Does CBD Do for Dogs?

A vial of CBD oil, a cannabis leaf, and CBD spelled out.Scientists are still looking for answers on how CBD affects dogs. What is known now is that cannabinoids influence the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which regulates a wide range of body functions such as pain perception and mood.

In turn, it is believed to provide several therapeutic effects to dog’s health, including:

1. CBD for Dogs Alleviates Skin Problems

CBD oil for dogs promotes skin cell growth and helps relieve skin issues, including allergies and hotspots. It can be applied internally or externally depending on the type of dermatological problem.

2. CBD for Dogs Soothes Body Pains

CBD for dogs contains anti-inflammatories that bind to CB1 receptors in the brain, triggering the immune system to decrease body inflammations.

The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD for dogs also bind with CB2 receptors which are located in the immune and nervous systems. This also helps in lessening inflammations and pain.

3. CBD for Dogs Reduces Seizure Attacks

A small research on CBD for dog’s effect in treating epileptic canines shows a promising result. Around 89% of dogs that received CBD treatment became less prone to seizure attacks.

Experts speculate that CBD for dogs aids in decreasing abnormal electric charges of the nervous system’s neurons. As a result, this enhances nervous system function and prevents increased seizure episodes.

4. CBD for Dogs Promotes Better Mood

Clinical studies on humans and animals show that CBD helps in reducing anxiety and stress. Although researchers are unsure what caused this, they have a few theories.

Some believe that CBD for dogs encourages the production of serotonin, which is a hormone responsible for regulating sleep, mood, and social behavior.

Others hypothesize that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD for dogs indirectly help in reducing anxiety by easing body pains and inflammations.

5. CBD for Dogs Slows Down Cancer Progression

Animals studies on CBD and its effect on cancer development suggest that CBD can hinder tumor growth and help eliminate cancer cells.

Other research shows that CBD oil for dogs can lessen nausea, which is a common side effect in many conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

To make the most out of CBD for dog’s health benefits, combine it with your choice of dog-safe edible carrier oil. If you are uncertain which type to use, hemp seed oil and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil are some of the best choices.

Hemp seed oil is rich in antioxidants, amino acids, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which promote strong muscles and good skin and coat quality.

MCT oil, which is derived from coconut palms or kernels, contains artificial medium-chain triglycerides that promote faster CBD absorption in the body by boosting your dog’s digestion.

But do not confuse MCT oil for coconut oil since the latter offers lower amounts of medium-chain triglycerides.

Is CBD Safe for Dogs?

A cannabis leaf and a vial of CBD oil on each hand.CBD oil for dogs is considered safe for oral and topical use. However, pet owners are advised to only administer a small dosage. Using an exorbitant amount of CBD for dogs can potentially cause negative side effects such as:

1. Excessive usage of CBD oil for dogs can affect liver functions.

Several scientific studies pointed out that there was an increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP), which is a liver enzyme after canines ingested CBD for dogs. This could mean CBD oil may cause liver irritation or damage.

2. Too much CBD oil for dogs has a sedative effect.

Some dog owners reported that their pets became drowsy after they ingested large doses of CBD for dogs. Fortunately, this problem often goes away on its own.

3. Overdosing on CBD oil for dogs can result in dry mouth.

Receiving an exorbitant amount of CBD for dogs can lower saliva production in canines. This side effect is usually accompanied by excessive thirst and drinking.

4. High doses of CBD for dogs may lead to digestive issues.

Keep in mind that our furry friends have a sensitive digestive system. Stomach problems such as vomiting and diarrhea will likely occur if they consumed high doses of CBD for dogs.

Some pooches might dislike the bitter taste of CBD oil too, which causes them to throw it up.

5. Ingesting CBD for dogs in large quantities can lower blood pressure.

Pooches may experience a sudden drop in blood pressure after having large amounts of CBD for dogs. Symptoms to look out for are light-headedness and lethargy. Most of the time, this adverse reaction is temporary and does not require vet intervention.

The easiest way to avoid the side effects of CBD for dogs is by administering the right amount. Learn more about the dosage recommendations as we discuss them below.

What Is the Appropriate CBD Dosage for Dogs?

A small jar filled with CBD oil.CBD oil is not regulated, making it a bit tricky to find the appropriate dosage for your pooch. Generally, the recommended amount is 1–5 milligrams per 10 pounds of body weight for dogs with health issues. Administer it twice a day.

To prevent the risk of overdosing, start with the smallest advised dosage amount. The positive effects of CBD for dogs should kick in within an hour.

If there are no changes in your pet’s condition, gradually increase the amount of CBD oil for dogs by increments of 0.125 milligram/pound.

How much CBD is for a dog with anxiety? The CBD dosage for dogs with behavioral issues such as anxiety is ½ milligram twice a day. In cases of anticipated stressful events like car rides, give your dog CBD oil 30 minutes beforehand.

Is CBD for Dogs Safe to Administer Together with Medications?

A vial filled with CBD oil, fresh cannabis leaves, and dried cannabis leaves. Drug interactions can potentially occur if CBD for dogs is taken with other medications. Consult the vet ahead of time before using CBD oil on your pet, especially if he is medicated with any of the following drugs:

  • NSAIDs
  • Allergy medications
  • Anxiety drugs
  • Liver medications
  • Kidney medications
  • Heart medications

CBD for dogs can also affect how pooches metabolize conventional and natural canine supplements. So, inform the vet if you have any plans of using both CBD oil and supplements at the same time on your furry companion.

How to Choose High-Quality CBD for Dogs

A dropper filled with CBD oil and a cannabis leaf.Each manufacturer has a different way of creating CBD for dogs. Some produce premium-quality products while others do not. How can you distinguish well-made CBD oil for dogs from poor-quality ones? Here are some helpful tips for you:

1. Choose isolated, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum CBD oil for dogs:

There are 3 popular types of CBD for dogs: isolated, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum.

  • Isolated CBD oil for dogs only contains cannabinoids. Although it is 100% THC-free, this type of CBD for dogs is missing the highly beneficial compounds of the hemp plant, such as terpenes and flavonoids.
  • Full-spectrum CBD oil for dogs, on the other hand, contains all essential nutrients, healthy fatty acids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the hemp plant. However, it may contain a trace amount of THC.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD oil for dogs is a hybrid between the isolated and full-spectrum variations. It is rich in cannabidiol and other beneficial compounds, except for THC.

We recommend getting full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD for dogs since they are packed with naturally occurring medicinal substances such as CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene), and CBV (cannabivarin).

These health-boosting compounds cannot be found in isolated CBD for dogs. The beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids within full-spectrum and broad-spectrum canine CBD encourages entourage effect, enhancing their medicinal effects.

2. Check the THC percentage of CBD for dogs.

Some CBD oils for dogs, particularly the full-spectrum variety, contain THC. Make sure to choose products that have less than 0.3% THC—an amount this small will not do any harm to canines.

Hemp oils for dogs containing high amounts of THC should be avoided. If administered to your pet, he may suffer from psychoactive effects and, in severe cases, poisoning.

3. Know the extraction process used to make the CBD for dogs.

Extracting CBD oil for dogs can be done in 2 ways: solvent extraction and Co2 extraction.

Solvent extraction, as its name implies, uses solvents such as butane and propane to draw out oil from hemp plants. While this is a cost-effective method, it can contaminate CBD oil for dogs with toxic chemicals.

Co2 extraction produces safer canine CBD products since it only uses carbon dioxide for extraction, which lowers the risk of chemical contamination. For this reason, it would be best to purchase Co2-extracted CBD for dogs.

4. Check the hemp source of CBD for dogs.

Hemp plants are hyperaccumulators that can absorb contaminants from the soil, including heavy metals and pesticides. Make sure to check where the canine CBD products on the market are sourced.

It should come from countries with strict hemp farming regulations, such as the US. This ensures that the hemp plants used to create the CBD for dogs are not exposed to dangerous chemicals.

5. Only go for lab-tested CBD for dogs.

To know if CBD oil for dogs is a high-quality product, look for a certificate of analysis (COA), which proves that it has undergone independent third-party lab testing for potency and purity.

This process ensures the CBD for dogs has the right amount of cannabinoids and is free from harmful chemicals, including additives or preservatives.

COA of third-party-tested CBD for dogs can be found on the manufacturer’s website. Many products in the market have QR codes on the label or box, which redirect dog owners to the results when scanned.

How to Store CBD for Dogs

A filled-up vial labelled CBD cannabidiol.
Oil-based products such as CBD for pets are extremely sensitive to light, heat, and air. Improper storage can cause the breakdown of beneficial compounds in the CBD oil for dogs, rendering it useless.

Preserve the effectiveness and shelf life of CBD for dogs by storing it in a cool and dark location. The ideal choice would be the fridge. If this is not possible, a shady cabinet or shelf will do.

Avoid leaving CBD for dogs near heat and light sources too. Never put it close to cooking equipment such as the oven. Leaving it directly exposed to sunlight should be avoided as well.

2 Tasty CBD Treats for Dogs

CBD oil for dogs is naturally bitter-tasting, which may discourage your pet from consuming it. No worries, as there is an easy solution for this dilemma and that is through incorporating CBD for dogs in his treats.

Here are 2 CBD treat recipes you can make at home:

dog treat recipesCBD Pumpkin Dog Biscuits



  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients, except for the oats, in a large bowl thoroughly.
  4. Combine 2 ½ cups of oats into the mixture. If it has a runny consistency, pour in the remaining oats.
  5. Roll the mixture into small balls and place them on the lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 40–60 minutes.
  7. Take out of the oven and let the CBD pumpkin dog biscuits cool completely before serving.
  8. Store the leftovers in the fridge for 2 weeks.

dog treat recipesCBD Coconut Dog Chews



  1. Place the shredded coconut in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  2. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Pour the coconut oil, coconut flour, CBD oil for dogs, peanut butter, and turmeric into the food processor. Pulse until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Make 20 small balls out of the dough.
  6. Roll each of them in the bowl of shredded coconut.
  7. Place the balls on the lined parchment paper.
  8. Refrigerate for 30 minutes for the soft CBD dog chews to harden.

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