What is CBD Oil and Why Should I Use It on My Dog?

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CBD oil has become popular for humans, as it offers the therapeutic properties of cannabis, but without the high.

Though research on CBD for humans and pets alike is limited, it is overall promising and suggests that CBD can promote wellness with little to no risk.

Generally, CBD can help dogs get relief from chronic conditions including arthritis, anxiety, and pain[1].

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is short for cannabidiol.

It’s one of more than 100 cannabinoids, chemical compounds that are naturally occurring in the cannabis plant.

Another well known cannabinoid is THC, but unlike THC, CBD isn’t psychoactive[2].

Will CBD Get Your Dog High?

I’ll admit, this was my first concern with CBD.

But, it’s unfounded.

Although it can be confusing, CBD is different from THC, and CBD just doesn’t have the chemical makeup needed to get your dog high.

It can, however, offer therapeutic relief for pain, anxiety, and more.

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How is CBD Oil Made?

What is CBD hemp oil how does it work on dogs cannabinoid canine safetyCBD comes from the cannabis plant.

Although CBD can come from marijuana, most CBD products come from industrial hemp, which has only trace amounts of THC.

CBD oil is extracted from hemp and concentrated into pure CBD.

It is generally isolated, so you’re only getting CBD and either no other cannabinoids, or only trace amounts in CBD oil.

What Does CBD Oil Do?

CBD oil interacts with dogs’ endocannabinoid system, which is similar to the human endocannabinoid system[3].

This system regulates body functions and keeps them in a balanced state, including your mood, pain, appetite, and more.

When your dog takes cannabinoids, they bind with endocannabinoid receptors to essentially boost the signal for the body’s natural endocannabinoids, which can treat any issues that aren’t in balance.

For example, if your pet is experiencing a low appetite, CBD can help to get it back in an appropriate balance.

Don’t forget to also check out these other tips to help your dog work through it’s low appetite and gain weight safely!

What Are The Benefits of CBD Oil For Dogs?

CBD and ThunderShirt to relieve dog anxiety help calm canine down thunderstorm fireworks
The ThunderShirt can also help calm a dog’s anxiety, but it may work even better combined with CBD oil!

CBD can have extensive benefits for dogs, similar to the benefits experienced by humans.

CBD can help relieve the following conditions in dogs:

  • Anxiety, such as separation anxiety or upset during fireworks or thunderstorms.

  • Chronic pain and inflammation, including arthritis, oil joints and hips, and more[4].

  • Skin and fur irritation, such as dry or itchy skin.

  • Seizures, such as epileptic seizures[5].

  • Low appetite, whether from chronic illness or being disinterested in food[6].

  • Cancer symptoms, including nausea[7].

Additionally, CBD can offer a balancing effect for dogs who can benefit from support for their mood, energy, or physical health.

CBD Products for Dogs

CBD oil can be given to dogs in a variety of ways.

Oil tinctures, capsules, even dog treats and topical products are available.

  • CBD oil tinctures consist of CBD oil and a dropper, which can be used to add oil drops to food or drink. Or, you can apply it under their tongue sublingually. Sublingual application is the fastest acting, as CBD can enter the bloodstream directly under the tongue. It can be handy if your dog needs immediate relief, such as when they’re feeling anxious about a thunderstorm. This method is the easiest to measure out a correct dosage. However, sublingual application isn’t necessarily easy to do if your dog isn’t interested in cooperating!

  • CBD capsules are like any other pill you might give your dog. If you’ve figured out how to give them other pills, this method should offer a simple application. However, it’s not as fast acting as sublingual application, so keep that in mind.CBD CEEBEEDOO treats hemp oil pain anxiety appetite relief for dogs steak flavor

  • CBD dog treats are a friendly and familiar option for dogs, so they can be easy to give to them. They’re similar to regular dog treats, and generally the only difference is that they have CBD oil in them.

  • CBD topicals are applied directly to your pet’s body as a spray, salve, or balm. Generally, these are a good choice for dogs who have arthritis or suffer from skin or fur issues.

CBD Dosages for Dogs

There are no official dosage guidelines for CBD oil in dogs, so pet owners who turn to CBD for pets typically rely on best practices.

Talk to your veterinarian to find out what they recommend, but generally, you should plan to use 0.2mg of CBD for every pound of body weight.

For a five pound dog, that means 1mg of CBD. A 30 pound dog would need about 6mg, and a 75 pound dog 15mg.

Needs may vary, so if the recommended dosage isn’t effective, consider increasing it slightly to see if that offers more relief.

Though it’s tough for dogs to communicate whether CBD is effective, you can likely monitor for relief by seeing if their anxiety has relaxed, or if they are no longer visibly in pain.

What Are The Side Effects of CBD for Dogs?

Does CBD oil get your dog high side effects what to look for
Side effects do not include red eyes, the munchies, or 2 a.m. Taco Bell runs!
Photo by Jose Antonio Tovar (CC BY 2.0)

Overall, CBD is generally safe for dogs (and humans).

Side effects are exceedingly rare and are more commonly experienced by puppies, or dogs who were given an extremely high dose.

It’s a good idea to start out with the lowest recommended dose and monitor for effectiveness, and avoid giving CBD oil to puppies.

Some dogs experience drowsiness, which is the most common side effect for CBD experienced by dogs. Rarely, dogs experience nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, or changes in blood pressure.

If your dog experiences anything more severe than nausea, it’s essential to stop CBD treatment and contact your veterinarian.

Also be careful to avoid CBD sourced from marijuana, as it can contain a higher concentration of THC than is found in CBD sourced from industrial hemp.

Another important factor to consider is the purity of the CBD product you’re using for your pet.

Research manufacturers and purchase your dog’s CBD from manufacturers that use third party lab testing to verify their product safety and CBD concentration.

That way, you can be confident that the CBD you’re using for your pet is an excellent quality free of additional cannabinoids and safe to use.


Though CBD use for dogs is still a relatively new practice, it does show promise as a solution for improving anxiety, pain, and other chronic symptoms that can be a problem.

Consider how CBD can help your dog and talk to your veterinarian about how you can make it part of your dog’s therapeutic regimen.

Amelia Noble is a researcher with the CBD Awareness Project. When she’s not studying CBD, you can find her playing board games.


  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-vs-thc#psychoactive-components
  3. https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201906.0262/v1
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371734/
  5. https://cvmbs.source.colostate.edu/preliminary-data-from-cbd-clinical-trials-promising/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27022315?dopt=Abstract
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3883513/

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