By Dr. Nisha Cooch PhD, PMP
“Is it okay to give CBD to my dog?”
Good question, and one many are asking.
Following the federal legalization of hemp, there has been no shortage of CBD products for pets hitting the shelves. With this growing interest, there is a need to understand the impact of CBD on animals, especially household pets like dogs and cats.
While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of the benefits of CBD in pets, much of the research on the effects of CBD has historically focused on humans. Given there could be different effects of CBD in animals versus humans, researchers have started turning their eye to studying the effects of CBD in animals, particularly dogs.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
Early research indicates CBD derived from hemp is safe for dogs. Owners who use CBD products have not often reported significant side effects.
When asked about the specific ways that dogs can benefit from CBD, veterinarians we talked to say there are potential benefits in the areas of pain management, seizures, and anxiety.
A recent study used the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) to gauge US veterinarians’ knowledge level, views and experiences related to the use of cannabinoids in the medical treatment of dogs. Most participants in the study expressed support for using CBD products for animals.
Are There Side Effects for Dogs Taking CBD?
The most reported side effect of CBD in dogs appears to be slight lethargy, which is not particularly adverse, and in large single doses (>300mg of CBD), diarrhea. These large doses were found to be non-toxic.
How Does CBD Work in Dogs?
While we know a good amount about the bioavailability of CBD for human consumption, less is known about bioavailability of CBD in animals. To address this issue, a recent Phase I study conducted by scientists at Colorado State University investigated how CBD moved within the bodies of 30 dogs. The dogs, who were purpose-bred beagles, were given 1 of 3 different CBD formulations.
The formulations included a transdermal cream that was applied to the outside of the dogs’ ears, oral capsules that contained microencapsulated CBD oil, and an oral CBD-infused oil. Dogs received CBD each day for 6 weeks and had 1 of 2 doses: 10 mg/kg daily or 20 mg/kg daily.
The scientists monitored plasma concentrations of CBD during the first 12 hours of the study and again after 2, 4, and 6 weeks. They found that absorption was highest with the oral infused CBD oil and discovered that the higher the dose, the higher the concentration of the substance in the dogs’ plasma.
The researchers concluded that the formulations were tolerable for the dogs in the study. They found that administering CBD to dogs, especially through oral CBD oil formulations (like that used in our soon-to-come CBD dog treats), allows for the absorption of CBD.
Given that CBD does enter dogs’ systems and affect them at a physiological level, the next question is, “What are the effects and benefits of CBD in dogs?” Thus far, research has indicated CBD for dogs may provide relief from seizures and pain, particularly arthritic pain.
A study published this year researched the effect of oral CBD oil on 26 dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy, a common genetic ailment faced by dogs ages 1-5 that causes repeated seizures.
The researchers gave 12 dogs CBD-infused oil at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg and 14 dogs a placebo 2 times each day for 12 weeks. They found that dogs who received CBD experienced a reduction in seizure frequency compared to the dogs who received a placebo. The researchers also observed a correlation between CBD plasma concentration and seizure frequency.
Another recent study looking at the impact of CBD in dogs with osteoarthritis found that CBD significantly decreased joint pain and increased activity in dogs treated with CBD. Dog owners did not report any adverse side effects of CBD in their dogs.
Based on the dosing details of the study, the researchers concluded that 2 mg/kg of CBD taken twice each day can relieve pain and increase both comfort and activity in dogs that suffer from osteoarthritis.
CBD Dosage for Dogs: How Much CBD Should Your Dog Have?
Much like CBD for humans, specific dosing guidelines for CBD and dogs are not universally agreed upon. Based on the previously mentioned osteoarthritis study for CBD in dogs, 2 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of your dog’s weight can make a noticeable impact.
Below we’ve outlined our recommendations for our CBD dog treats (coming soon!).
CBD For Small Dog Breeds
We recommend small breeds up to 40 pounds receive treats with 5mg of CBD per treat. Review the table below to learn how much CBD is recommended for smaller dogs.
CBD For Large Dog Breeds
Large dog breeds over 40 pounds can receive 10mg treats. Refer to the table below to see how much CBD large breed dogs should have per day.
More Science About CBD for Dogs
Learn more about the science of CBD for dogs on our Science page.
The Future of CBD Use in Dogs
To date, much of the research looking at the effects of cannabis substances on animals has only been performed with explicit approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has limited the volume of literature on this topic.
However, anecdotal evidence of the benefits of CBD in dogs, such as its ability to provide pain relief, coupled with the increased access to CBD, makes a more systematic investigation into the influence of CBD on dogs more interesting than ever before.
Given the regulatory and scientific progress related to CBD and its use in animals, researchers are likely to continue investigations into how CBD may help pets. Over time, their research efforts are also likely to extend beyond dogs to other pets and will hopefully help to reveal the best ways to use CBD to improve your pets’ lives.
Try Laura’s Canine Alternatives CBD Dog Treats
Our CBD dog treats are available for both large breeds and small breeds. They’re made from USDA-certified organic hemp grown at Laura’s Mt. Folly Farm, and are perfect for promoting relaxation in stressful situations and mobility in dogs who need joint pain relief. Know that Laura is looking our for your pets!