Whether you’re new to giving CBD oil for dogs or would like to learn more, this guide will help you understand how, when, and why to use CBD for your dog. Do you want to know the best method to administer CBD oil to a dog? Dope Dog explains all the ways you can. The benefits of CBD oil stay pretty consistent across the spectrum of CBD-related products, but methods of applying it don’t.
CBD Oil for Dogs: How much CBD should I give my dog?
Though it has many potential benefits for dogs, giving your dog CBD oil can be confusing. How much CBD oil your dog needs depends on your dog’s weight, how many milligrams of CBD are in the CBD product, and why your dog needs CBD in the first place.
The most accurate advice we can give is to start small with the CBD dosage and work your way up using the product’s dosing guidelines. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at giving your dog CBD as we discuss CBD oil, potential side effects, and proper dosage recommendations.
Why use CBD oil for dogs?
Before we jump into the relationship between CBD oil and dogs, let’s examine CBD in greater detail. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in the hemp plant.
Because most CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, very few products will contain trace amounts of THC, and these products won’t get you or your pet high. Used in tinctures, edibles, and oils, CBD became widely available across the country after the Farm Bill passed in 2018 that allowed the nationwide sale of CBD products so long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.
Much like us humans, your dog also has what’s called an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that allows cannabinoids like CBD to interact with its body. This system contains receptors that accept cannabinoids to influence a range of functions of the body, from emotional reactivity to sleep and more. While the body makes its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids, we can supply it with cannabinoids from outside the body to aid internal functions.
Is it safe for pets?
While the benefits of CBD are extensive for people, high-quality CBD oil can also be very beneficial for your furry friend, potentially helping him or her to stay calm or alleviate joint or mobility issues that come with age.
It’s generally safe to give your dog CBD, but mild side effects may occur. For instance, your dog may be lethargic or clumsy until he metabolizes the CBD. Your dog may also experience diarrhea, but this is more often a result of a high dose of CBD rather than a common CBD effect. To prevent running into any unexpected issues, remember to start small and reduce the amount of CBD oil you give him or her. Remember that dogs have fewer endocannabinoid receptors than humans, so effective CBD dosages may be higher relative to their size than a human would need.
Though minimal side effects may occur, no reports have shown any long-term negative effects associated with giving your dog CBD oil if you follow normal dosage guidelines. Consider talking with your vet to ensure you give your dog a healthy serving of CBD oil.
Understanding canine CBD dosage guidelines
Giving your dog the right dosage of CBD oil is important, but CBD product packaging can be tricky to interpret. Most CBD products list the total amount of CBD in the entire package in milligrams (mg), but the dosage of CBD your dog receives per serving may be less. For instance, a bottle of 30 CBD capsules may advertise 1000 milligrams on the packaging, so this simply means each capsule contains 33 milligrams of CBD per serving.
To determine how much CBD your dog is getting, it’s best to refer to the packaging and instructions. Most products will list how much CBD is in a full dropper, so you should know how many milliliters your dropper contains. From there, you can break down the amount of CBD within that dropper.
For instance, if a dropper filled with 1ml of full spectrum CBD oil contains 8mg of CBD, half the dropper (0.5ml) will contain 4mg of CBD. A quarter of the dropper (0.25ml) will contain 2mg of CBD. Breaking down the dropper’s measurements allow for easier dosage as you determine how much CBD your dog needs to find the desired effects.
What’s the proper dosage for dogs?
The recommended dosage of CBD oil for your dog will depend almost entirely upon his or her body weight. As an example, you can use the dosing chart below to find out how many milligrams of Zen Pets CBD to give your dog.
Keep in mind these are lower doses used primarily as a starting point. Large dogs that weigh more than 100 pounds may need higher doses to benefit from the effects of CBD oil.
A CBD product such as Populum’s Zen Pets Hemp Calming Oil will come in 100mg and 250mg options that contain 3.3 mg and 8 mg of CBD oil per dropper, respectively. However, you can increase or decrease the CBD dose based on your pet’s needs.
The quality of your CBD oil matters
It’s important to pay attention to the quality of your CBD oil because CBD from different sources may result in different potencies. For instance, 1mg of CBD oil from one company may not work as well as 1mg of CBD oil from another company. Below you’ll find some common variables that will affect the quality of your CBD.
- If the CBD oil is CBD isolate or full spectrum CBD
- The dog treat ingredients or oil base used to carry the CBD
- The chemical makeup of the hemp extract used to make the CBD oil
CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD are different products that are important to understand. CBD isolate is pure CBD taken from the hemp plant that contains no other cannabinoids, including THC. Full spectrum CBD, on the other hand, is hemp CBD that comes straight from the hemp plant and therefore contains trace amounts of THC below 0.3%. This amount of THC is harmless, no matter if you’re working with small dogs or large dogs.
We recommend using full spectrum CBD because the various cannabinoids will work together through what is known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect helps maximize the therapeutic effects of CBD by ensuring your pet can absorb CBD to the greatest possible degree.
CBD benefits for your dog
A regular dose of CBD oil can benefit your dog for various reasons.
If your dog suffers from chronic pain or joint pain, talk with your vet to determine if CBD oil can provide relief. Breeds that suffer from hip dysplasia such as the German Shepherd may benefit from a regular dose of CBD oil.
If your dog suffers from anxiety due to loud noises such as thunderstorms, you might give them CBD oil just before the noise occurs. For example, if fireworks on the Fourth of July make your dog anxious, you can give them CBD a few minutes before the fireworks begin to ensure they are prepared. In this case, you may also give them a higher dosage than is recommended on the CBD product packaging.
For general wellness, simply give your dog a lower dose of CBD over time. CBD will build up in the body and works best through this method.
Adding CBD oil to your dog’s daily diet
Using CBD oil for dogs is a relatively new trend supported in part by anecdotal evidence. While little research has been conducted on how CBD affects dogs, evidence does suggest cannabidiol’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system can help maintain balance in the body and keep things stable.
Start by finding the right dosage of CBD oil based on your dog’s body weight, and take things slowly from there. Speak with your vet if you have any questions, and use third-party-tested CBD oil to provide your dog with the high-quality CBD he or she deserves. Different breeds and sizes of dogs metabolize CBD at different rates, so be patient, some dogs respond almost immediately (especially ones with joint issues), while other dogs may take a little longer to show effects from CBD.
How to Administer CBD Oil to a Dog
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is an organic compound that exists naturally in the cannabis Sativa plant species. Its popularity has skyrocketed thanks to its beneficial properties. We know that it’s useful for human beings, but did you know you can also use it on dogs?
This is because dogs have the same endocannabinoid system that is commonly found in human beings. CBD usually interacts with the endocannabinoid system to produce several positive health effects.
The FDA’s Stance on CBD Oil
Currently, the FDA disapproves of CBD oil for dogs, but many people still give their dogs CBD oil because of some of the latest clinical study results. The FDA is currently open to studies on CBD oil and its safety and effectiveness, but its approval may be slow.
The FDA recognizes CBD oil’s potential, but they are still unclear on its safety. And they also don’t want you to use CBD to treat serious diseases when you should take your dog to the vet for proper veterinarian care.
You should always consult your vet before starting your dog on a CBD product.
Reasons Owners Give Their Dogs CBD Oil
CBD Oil does not cure any ailments, but it may be able to help manage pain and symptoms of:
A study found that CBD oil of 2.5 mg twice daily can reduce seizure frequency by 33%. While most dogs in the study had no adverse behavioral effects, two dogs were removed from the study because they developed ataxia.
Clinical studies on the cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs found that 2 mg of CBD oil twice a day can significantly decrease pain and increase activity for dogs with arthritis. Compared to NSAIDs, which cause adverse gastrointestinal effects, CBD oil had little to no side effects.
CBD oil becomes a viable, natural alternative to NSAIDs for dogs that suffer from osteoarthritis. The easiest method for dosing during the study was an oral tincture of CBD oil. This method allows for quick absorption.
Pain, Inflammation, and Soreness
Dogs can vary in their responses to pain, soreness, and inflammation caused by injury, age, or chronic illness. Sometimes dogs show more subtle signs of pain by moving reluctantly or withdrawing from social contact. CBD oil may reduce pain and inflammation, allowing your dog to increase activity and sociability.
Studies are finding that CBD can reduce chronic pain and inflammation when adequately dosed. To properly dose your dog, you should talk to your vet.
Some dog breeds are predisposed to develop anxiety, most dogs can suffer anxiety from environmental conditions, and many dogs suffer from separation anxiety. Common signs of anxiety are pacing, panting, licking, trembling, hiding, urinating, and barking.
To help their dogs cope with anxiety, many owners offer their dogs CBD oil because studies have found that CBD oil can have a calming effect on animals. These doses were at 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg, which showed a reduction in anxious behavior. Higher doses showed little effect.
Methods for Administering CBD Oil to a Dog
If you want to give your pet CBD, there are several methods that you can use to administer CBD oil to a dog:
Place the Product Directly in the Mouth
This is considered one of the easiest and best ways to give your dog CBD. Direct placement is ideal because your pet will get the exact amount of the recommended dose. It should be noted that most CBD oil products are dosed. This could be based on the number of drops that you need to give your dog, the severity of the dog’s condition, weight, or size.
Draw the oil and move carefully to your dog’s mouth to get a good aim. Be careful because you need to avoid making your dog gag, as this will make them more aggressive. Slowly squeeze in the recommended oil drops using the dropper. To ensure that they thoroughly swallowed everything, make sure that you give them a treat after the administration.
Studies show that administering CBD oil directly by mouth is the most effective way for your dog to absorb the oil for the best results. While treats and other methods can work, an oil tincture is best for absorption because a dog’s gastrointestinal tract can react differently depending on the dog’s breed.
Mix The CBD with Food
If there’s one thing all dogs have in common, it’s that they LOVE food, and could eat all day if we let them. These four-legged animals will quickly clear their bowls if you feed them their favorite meal. If you want to give your dog CBD, then you can add CBD oil to his or her’s favorite meal. This helps to ensure that they will consume all the CBD.
This method usually works because the taste of CBD is masked with the flavor of their food. Dry foods are highly effective in masking the texture as well as the taste of the CBD product. Most wet foods may not thoroughly blend with this organic chemical compound. As a result, your pet may quickly notice a change in the appearance and taste of their regular food. Therefore, make sure that the food will pass as your dog’s regular food.
When you are mixing this cannabis compound with food, start by using a smaller dose. As time goes by, you can gradually increase the dose. It’s important to note that when you are adding the oil to food, give it a few minutes so that it can thoroughly soak in. After that, you can go ahead and feed your dog.
Mix the CBD with Something Tasty
Even though mixing CBD with food may seem like the most effective way, sometimes it’s not easy. Foods contain various molecules, and sometimes this organic compound may fail to blend with the food molecules properly. However, you can easily mix it with delicious treats such as peanut butter. Since peanut butter contains oil, adding CBD oil can be easy. Just make sure that you mix the recommended dose with the appropriate amount of peanut butter.
Ensure that you use quality and delicious treats. Avoid products that are made with xylitol because this type of sweetener can cause serious side effects. While this method can work, it isn’t as effective as an oral tincture because the foods may decrease the oil’s potency.
Present CBD Oil As a Treat
Yes, you can easily give your pet CBD oil like a normal treat. Since treats are usually rewards for good behaviors, this is a great way to have your dog associate CBD with something positive. Plus, they help to enhance the bond between you and your dog. Most dog treats are generally in the form of cookies and biscuits.
Their dry nature makes them effective alternatives for absorbing cannabidiol oil. To give your dog CBD in the form of treats, you need to place the required drops on the treat. Leave it for a few minutes for absorption to take place. If that’s too much work, check out our CBD dog treats!
CBD formulated dog treats are another easy way to administer CBD oil to your dog. A recent study found that 2 mg CBD-infused soft chew given twice daily to dogs had a 96.7% acceptance rate.
The study showed that CBD had very few or mild side effects for relatively healthy dogs. Although, the same study found that cats did not fair as well, having way more side effects.
For dogs with some health issues, CBD oil-infused treats can cause mild signs of elevated liver enzymes and benign CBC fluctuations. If your dog has some health issues, talk to your vet first before giving your dog a CBD-infused treat.
Dilute the CBD Oil with Water
Administering CBD tinctures, which are typically used under the tongue, can be challenging for your dog. However, you can replace this method by diluting the CBD oil in water. Understand that quality CBD Oil is usually almost tasteless and odorless. You can add the oil into your pet’s water without them knowing. Just make sure that you put the appropriate dosage so that at the end of the day, your pet will get all the benefits of CBD.
Note: if your pet doesn’t drink water frequently, then this method may not be effective. By diluting the oil, you can’t ensure that your dog will get the proper dosage needed for effectiveness. And you’ll need to be mindful of replacing the water every time instead of adding water and more oil that could affect the dose.
But if you have a super thirsty dog, where you can ensure they will drink all the water in one sitting, then this method would work for them.
Use Homemade Treats
It’s possible to make your dog treats from home. As a pet owner, you understand what your dog loves and hates. You can add or replace the CBD oil in any recipe that you are using. This is especially effective when you are frying the treats.
Do not add CBD oil to baked treats. The baking process may lead to the evaporation of the CBD oil. As a result, your dog may not get the full benefits.
Find A Quality Cbd Product That Your Dog Will Definitely Love
As a pet owner, you know what flavors your dog loves the most. The best thing about CBD oil is that it’s versatile with its flavors. This makes it effortless to find a flavor that your pet will love. Apart from the natural flavor, you can find CBD in the form of chicken nuggets, salmon, coconut-infused or cheese-infused CBD oil, bacon flavor, mint, and others. These flavors usually help to mask the taste and texture of CBD.
Examine the Quality of the CBD Oil
You want to purchase CBD oil products for dogs that derive from the industrial hemp plant because they should have little to no THC and should be safe for your dog. You’ll want to ensure the CBD Oil comes from a legal, reputable supplier that has been tested for safety. You’ll also want to make sure it doesn’t contain pesticides, toxins, or fungicides.
Dope Dog is very committed to the quality and safety of its CBD oil. Dope Dog rigorously tests the CBD oil in their CBD products through a third-party laboratory to validate the correct potency and quality of their products.
How do I give my dog CBD oil?
The benefits of CBD oil stay pretty consistent across the spectrum of CBD-related products, but methods of applying it don’t. In fact, there are several different delivery systems and dosage strategies when it comes to treating your dog. So, how exactly should your favorite pup get their CBD oil, and what are the results of each approach?
Applied to the gums
The fastest way to get cannabidiol binding to your four-legged friend’s endocannabinoid system is to apply the CBD directly to their gums. Lightly rubbing the oil into the sides of your dog’s mouth (or simply dropping it around/under the tongue, if they’re a little snap-happy!) will allow the CBD to absorb directly into the bloodstream.
This gives the CBD a chance to bypass the digestion process before being swallowed and ingested normally. Although there’s little in the way of scientific studies on this method of delivery for CBD specifically, the speediness of absorption through the mouth’s mucous membrane versus the digestive system has been shown in more general tests.
Sublingual (under-tongue) delivery can reduce the time for onset of therapeutic response, and considerably increase the bioavailability of the drug when compared to conventional orally administered tablets.
Read our best CBD oil for dogs in 2022 for a list of sublingually applicable tinctures.
Applying CBD oil sublingually might be the fastest route to absorption, but it may not be your dog’s favorite. Whether they’re ok with having their mouth handled on a regular basis tends to be an individual trait, which can be difficult to train or introduce, and older, small, or in-pain dogs may resist frequent fingers between their teeth.
Instead, CBD dog treats are an unintrusive (and much appreciated) way of bringing CBD into your dog’s life. Pre-infused treats are available from many retailers, but simply dropping CBD oil onto your dog’s favorite snack is a convenient method of delivering treatment. Plus, self-administering CBD oil to snacks allows you to accurately calibrate dosage.
While some humans and animals seem to feel a near-instant calming effect when ingesting CBD oil, the majority of users tend to need at least a week of steady CBD treatment for the endocannabinoids to build in their system, and to therefore begin reaping the benefits.
For this reason, delivery systems such as droppers or treats that are outside your dog’s normal routine may become frustrating to keep up over time. Here, pairing CBD dosage with mealtimes means there’s no need to introduce an additional element to your dog’s daily routine.
This one may be more popular among human users, but what works for us, often works for Man’s Best Friend too. Gently rubbing CBD oil directly onto the affected area (usually an aching joint, sore paw, or irritable patch of skin) can help pinpoint non-systematic issues and provide targeted healing.
Of course, whether or not this method is suitable for your pet depends on a couple of factors, including their activity level and their propensity to lick off anything applied to them—and, just how much fur we’re talking about here! If you are interested in a topical CBD product for your pet, it’s worth looking into CBD balms and creams, alongside oils.
When should I give my dog CBD oil?
Depending on the symptoms you’re hoping to combat using CBD oil, there are a few options for dosage-scheduling. Here are the most popular approaches:
For those hoping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and/or phobia, it can be helpful to schedule your dog’s dosage before panic and phobia triggers. If they don’t like the house emptying in the morning, for example, trying to make their doses twenty minutes-to-half an hour before you leave for work.
Likewise, if there’s a pattern to your pet’s symptom flare-ups, then it makes sense to shape a dosage schedule around those times. For dogs with stiff joints who still enjoy a good walk, applying CBD oil before picking up the leash is best.
It’s also perfectly possible to combine these time-specific treatments with a regular mealtime dose—if your dog is accustomed to higher daily levels of CBD.
Perhaps the easiest way to create consistency in your dog’s CBD treatment is to pair it with a pre-established routine—and what routine is more strictly adhered to in a dog’s life than their mealtimes!
Giving CBD during or after meals also has the advantage of associating the treatment with something your dog loves, as well as speeding up the digestion and absorption of cannabidiol.
How much CBD oil do I give my dog?
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, there isn’t an official dosage guide for CBD oil, and any specific instructions will either come from your vet or the CBD companies and vendors themselves. Veterinarians usually recommend starting small—giving your dog on a low dosage, checking their response, and moving from there. Generally speaking, 0.2mg of CBD oil per pound is the accepted safe starting point.
Read our CBD oil for dogs dosage guide for more detailed info on exactly how much CBD oil your pup should be receiving.
However you plan to introduce CBD oil to your dog, consistency is key. Be sure to try out any new treatment for at least a week (and preferably longer) before looking for signs of improvement.
The fastest method of CBD ingestion may not be best for your dog. While some pups will have no problem with the regular handling needed to apply CBD oil to their gums or skin, others might find this approach a little intrusive. For those guys, CBD treats or drops into their dinner are more likely to be accepted.
CBD dosage is a personal thing. Our CBD oil dosage guide is a great place to start, and is helpful for judging the right size dosage for your dog’s size. But ultimately, how much CBD your pet needs will be an individual matter, based on some trial and error on your part. Start small and consistent, and gradually raise the dosage (within reason) until symptoms begin to alleviate.