CBD Oil for Dogs: 6 Benefits and Dosage Recommendations
By Christine Ruggeri, CHHC
March 13, 2019
By now you’ve probably heard about the many health benefits of CBD oil for humans, but did you know that the cannabinoid can have positive effects for dogs, too? CBD oil for dogs can help with anxiety, noise phobias, digestive concerns, arthritis symptoms and cancerous tumors.
And guess what? Recent research suggests that dogs may have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans. This means that the beneficial effects of CBD can be even more powerful when the compound is used by your dog. But it also indicates that dogs may be more sensitive to CBD and other cannabis compounds, so using the right dose is important.
What Is CBD Oil? Can I Give CBD Oil to My Dog?
CBD is a cannabinoid that’s found in the Cannabis sativa species. Unlike THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, CBD does not produce any mind-altering effects. CBD, and other cannabinoids, work by modulating the behavior of receptors in the brain and throughout the body.
As more research is conducted on CBD oil, it becomes clear that this powerful compound comes with a range of health benefits, from fighting anxiety and relieving pain, to treating seizures.
CBD Oil vs. Cannabis Oil vs. Hemp Oil for Dogs
With all of the terms being used to describe CBD and other cannabis compounds, it becomes difficult to understand the role of each type of oil that’s out there. Here’s a quick breakdown of three oils that have gained a lot of attention lately:
CBD oil: CBD is a compound that’s extracted from the cannabis plant. It can be found in hemp and marijuana, which are both members of the cannabis species. The CBD oil that’s being sold legally across the U.S. is derived from hemp, which means that it contains less than 0.3 percent THC and it won’t make you feel “high.”
Cannabis oil: Cannabis oil comes from the marijuana plant and it offers a number of cannabinoids, including both CBD and THC. The amount of THC present in cannabis oil ranges, depending on the plant variety. Cannabis oil offers many health benefits, including its ability to improve sleep disorders, reduce anxiety, boost appetite, relieve pain and help prevent cancer. It does, however, have psychoactive effects, which can be more intense when THC levels are higher.
Hemp oil: Hemp oil (also called hemp seed oil) is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. It can be found in your local grocery or health food store, and it does not contain THC. Hemp oil serves as an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and other important nutrients, and it’s commonly added to recipes or applied topically to boost skin health. Sometimes, hemp seed oil is used as a carrier oil in CBD products.
6 Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
Studies on CBD for dogs, specifically, is minimal at this time, but human studies show promising effects. There are also many anecdotal report of CBD benefitting dogs and other pets. Here’s a rundown of the potential benefits of CBD oil for dogs:
1. Reduces Anxiety
Studies involving humans and animals show that CBD oil helps to reduce anxiety and may be effective for panic disorders and PTSD. This is due to the compounds anxiolytic-like effects. If your dog experiences anxiety when he’s left alone, has noise phobias or has trouble interacting with humans or other dogs, CBD may be helpful.
2. Relieves Pain
CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It can be used to ease pain, muscle and joint issues and symptoms of arthritis. Research out of Cornell University shows that when dogs with osteoarthritis received 2 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight every 12 hours, they displayed a clinically significant reduction in pain and an increase in activity.
Using CBD oil for dogs also helps to decrease the production of inflammatory cytokines that can lead to pain, swelling, autoimmune disease and hypersensitivities.
3. Has Anti-Tumor Effects
Research suggests that CBD oil has anti-tumor properties and may help to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Many studies indicate that CBD and other cannabinoids are able to induce apoptosis (cell death) and inhibit tumor cell growth and metastasis.
4. Treats Seizures
Human studies show that CBD is effective in treating seizures and epilepsy. And did you know that canine epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in dogs? And many of the medications used to treat epilepsy is dogs cause serious side effects. That’s why the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation kicked off a new clinical trial analyzing the effects of CBD on canine epilepsy.
We know that CBD works as an effective anticonvulsant in humans (including children), and if it works similarly in dogs, the compound can be extremely beneficial for thousands of dogs and their owners.
5. Fights Diabetes
Human and animal studies show that cannabinoids have a positive impact on glucose levels and insulin resistance. We also know that CBD is able to reduce plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines that can induce hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.
6. Relieves Nausea and Digestive Issues
CBD has pain-reducing, anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea effects. It can also suppress vomiting and help to restore the health of your dog’s gut by reducing inflammation. If your dog suffers from nausea, vomiting, IBD or infections effecting the digestive system, CBD may serve as a potential therapeutic agent.
CBD Oil for Dogs Dosage Chart
Just like determining the best CBD dosage for humans, CBD dosing for dogs depends on a number of factors. Because CBD works by interacting with the body’s natural receptors, everyone, and every pet, reacts differently to it. Some are more sensitive than others and need smaller doses for the same effect. For that reason, starting with a minimum dose and working your way up until you achieve your wanted effects is recommended.
That being said, you need to know why you are giving your dog CBD. Is it for anxiety, digestive issues, nausea, heart problems and seizures? There are a range of conditions that can benefit from using CBD, but you’ll need to compare your dog’s baseline symptoms to how he or she is feeling after using CBD to determine the best dosage.
And finally, your dog’s weight matters, at least to come extent. Two 50-pound dogs may react differently to the same dose of CBD, but your dog’s weight will give you a good idea of about how much CBD he will need to feel the positive effects.
How long does it take for CBD oil to work for dogs? Like humans, it takes dogs about 3–7 days to feel the noticeable effects of CBD. So if you don’t feel like it’s working right away — stick with it for at least a week before giving up. If you started at a minimum dose and don’t notice any changes within this time, try increasing the dose about every three days until your dog’s symptoms begin to subside.
So what’s the right CBD dosage for your dog? Most pet care companies recommend 0.5- to 5 milligrams of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight.
Here’s a rundown of the recommended starting dose for your dog according to his or her weight:
- 5 pounds: 0.25 milligrams
- 10 pounds: 0.5 milligrams
- 20 pounds: 1 milligram
- 40 pounds: 2 milligrams
- 60 pounds: 3 milligrams
- 80 pounds: 4 milligrams
- 100 pounds: 5 milligrams
- 120 pounds: 6 milligrams
Begin with these starting doses and increase the dosage by 0.5 milligrams after 3 days if symptoms haven’t improved. You may have to increase the dosage a few times before you find the “sweet spot” for your dog, so give it some time and patience if you don’t notice positive results right away. A
nd an interesting tidbit — consuming more CBD than your body needs may be less effective than consuming just the right amount. So it’s worth taking the time to find the right dosage for your pooch.
CBD Oil for Dogs: Side Effects to Watch Out For
Research shows that hemp-derived CBD oil side effects are minimal and the cannabinoid is safe and non-toxic, even when taken for long periods of time. It also appears to be true that CBD developing a tolerance for CBD does not seem to occur, so you shouldn’t have to increase your dog’s dosage over time once you find the amount that works best for him.
If your dog is already taking medications, talk to your vet about possible interactions before starting him or her on CBD. CBD may alter the liver’s ability to break down medications, so you’ll want to get the “okay” before adding it to your dog’s health regime.
And make sure that you’re giving your dog a high quality, hemp-derived CBD product. Only hemp CBD contains little to no THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
Is CBD Oil Legal to Give My Dog? (And Other Final Questions Answered)
- Is CBD oil legal to give my dog? CBD extracted from the hemp plant is legal across the U.S. All CBD products that come from hemp contain 0.3 percent THC or less.
- What’s the best CBD oil for dogs? First, make sure to go organic to ensure that you aren’t giving your dog pesticides or other toxic chemicals. Also, opt for a high quality CBD product that has a certificate of analysis. This means that a lab analysis was done and verifies the amount of CBD present. Using a tincture is the easiest way to give CBD to your dog. You can add the oil right to your dog’s food.
- How long does it take CBD to work for dogs? After adding CBD oil to your dog’s food or treats, it will take about 30 minutes for him to feel the positive effects. And if you are just beginning to use CBD for your dog, you will likely notice the benefits within 3–7 days. If you haven’t seen reduced symptoms with your initial dosage, slowly increase the dosage by 0.5 milligrams every 3 days until the symptoms improve.