There are many easy and simple ways to give your dog CBD, even if they are picky eaters. In Australia, many dog owners use CBD to promote their dogs’ health and well-being due to its anti-inflammatory properties, pain-relieving effects, and capacity to lower stress and boost their mood. It is a natural extract from cannabis that is highly safe to use, with no addictive properties and minimal side effects. Giving your dog CBD can help them with many conditions, such as arthritis. In this guide, we will run through the best methods to give your dog CBD, why you might do so, how much and when you should dose, plus tips on buying the right product. Our guide will ensure you get the best results for your pet while minimising safety risks.
- 1 Why Give Your Dog CBD?
- 2 Best Ways to Give Your Dog CBD
- 3 How Much CBD to Give Your Dog
- 4 When to Give Your Dog CBD
- 5 How to Choose a CBD Product for Dogs
- 6 Getting the Most from Your Dog’s CBD Product
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Conclusion
Why Give Your Dog CBD?
CBD helps dogs manage various health conditions and improve their general well-being. Dog owners frequently give their dogs CBD for health issues such as arthritis, chronic inflammation, pain, anxiety, mood, sleep and behavioural problems. Studies provide clinical evidence for CBD’s therapeutic effects in dogs, but the research is still in its early stages. Let’s quickly look at why dog owners use CBD for their dogs.
Cannabinoids like CBD have been shown to reduce the sensation of pain or nociception by altering pain signalling in the nervous system. When consumed, CBD helps stimulate the production of endocannabinoids in dogs. Endocannabinoids like anandamide help downregulate the pain response in nerve cells, lowering their reaction to peripheral pain sensations. This can assist in dampening pain in dogs but won’t cure the underlying cause. CBD works better for aches or mild nerve pain than severe pain types. Results can vary; not every dog responds well to CBD for pain.
CBD can help calm dogs and promote lower stress levels. Dogs can experience stress and anxiety just like humans. The anxiolytic effects of cannabinoids like CBD can help support greater calmness and help with behavioural problems that stem from anxiety. Many dogs fear loud sounds, thunder, other dogs or even people. Anxiety due to these fears can be crippling and cause obedience problems or barking. CBD helps dogs build resilience against these environmental stress factors and remain calm, bringing their owners greater peace of mind.
Many cannabinoids like CBG and CBD help normalise immune system function and reinforce immunity in dogs. They can help lower the production of inflammatory agents such as prostaglandins and cytokines. These agents signal the body to stimulate the immune response but can cause problems if produced in excess. Chronic inflammation results from this and is problematic for dogs because of the tissue damage it causes. It leads to a range of chronic health conditions like Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis and colitis in dogs. Helping your dog lower inflammation using CBD is an excellent way to promote overall health plus avoid chronic illnesses.
Mood and Stress Aid
CBD is well-documented for its mood-enhancing properties. This stems from the endocannabinoid called anandamide, which produces feelings of bliss and calm in dogs. Many endocannabinoids can modulate neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA. They can influence the signalling of these transmitters to boost mental energy, focus and mood further. Most dog owners report these effects strongly in their dogs from CBD use. Anecdotal reports suggest it assists their dog in lowering stress, aiding with obedience, reducing barking or scratching and preventing irritability.
Best Ways to Give Your Dog CBD
There are many ways to give your dog CBD effectively. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, so try out a few with your dog to discover what works best.
CBD Droppers for Dogs
The most straightforward way to give CBD is to drop it from a dropper into your dog’s mouth. Many dogs enjoy the oil’s taste because of its healthy fats. It’s a straightforward method of dosing CBD and can be accurately measured by the drop. Training your dog to take CBD this way can be a reward or treat for good behaviour. CBD oils and tinctures are excellent because of the dosage control they offer. You can accurately titrate dosages to your dog’s needs. This factor is vital as small dogs typically only need several drops a couple of times daily. Large dogs will need more CBD because of their size. Either way, using a dropper directly enables easy measurement and dosing for your dog to take CBD effectively and safely.
CBD Dog Food
Dog foods infused with CBD are better for picky dogs who refuse to eat CBD oil. The food helps to mask the often unpalatable flavour of CBD to your dog, making consumption more pleasant for them. Some CBD products contain trace plant matter and nutrients that can taste musky. Terpenes, in particular, have a strong scent, which many dogs don’t like. You can add CBD oil to your dog’s food or buy specialty CBD-infused dog food. It is widely available and comes in many tasty flavours. You can also find it in hard and soft food forms to suit your dog’s preferences.
CBD Treats for Dogs
Treats are the ultimate way to dose CBD for your dog while maximising flavour. You can find various CBD dog treat types, including freeze-dried, fresh, flavoured and chewable treats. Dogs love them and won’t even notice the CBD they contain. Always look for treats made from natural ingredients without additives like preservatives to ensure you aren’t feeding your dog anything that will harm its health. You might also need to be more careful with dosing as treats can quickly overconsume and contain many calories. They can also be more expensive to purchase than CBD oil because they’re formulated for dogs and more costly to produce. This is especially true for large dogs because they need more dog treats. On the other hand, these products are convenient, easy to use and tasty.
Dog Toys Infused with CBD
Using a dog toy infused with CBD can be a fun and engaging way to give your dog its CBD. While most owners will use oil or dog food to give their dog CBD, toys are growing in popularity because they’re more easily integrated into a dog’s everyday activities. These products are designed to dispense CBD to your dog when it bites down or licks the item. For example, CBD chew toys can be a fun way for dogs to take CBD more playfully while helping them exercise.
Topical CBD Creams for Dogs
A topical product is applied to the skin or fur of dogs. Dogs can absorb CBD and other cannabinoids through these areas. A dog’s fur and skin contain CB2 cannabinoid receptors primed to activate when they come into contact with CBD. Topical products like CBD creams or oils help lower inflammation, improve immunity, and relieve local pain in a target area. They can be ideal to help with symptoms of arthritis in a particular joint, to combat psoriasis or eczema symptoms, or even simply to boost fur and skin sheen. They often include moisturising agents and vitamins that help support moisture balance.
DIY CBD Dog Snacks
Making snacks for your dog that contain CBD is straightforward but needs some planning. It can be a way of making healthier treats without artificial flavours or additives. CBD can be combined with various foods appropriate for dogs, including peanut butter, meat, healthy fats like coconut oil and more. Ideally, use a food containing healthy fats that will help the CBD be absorbed by your dog while improving palatability. For example, you can create coconut oil chews containing a specific CBD dose you have measured. It is an excellent way to save money and boost your pup’s health while still delivering their daily CBD dosage.
How Much CBD to Give Your Dog
A few key factors will determine the best CBD for your dog daily. These include your dog’s weight, metabolism and sensitivity to cannabinoids. But product strength and purity of your product are also necessary to consider.
Potency is the strength of your dog’s CBD product or the quantity of cannabinoids per mL. The potency of your product will, in part, determine your dosage approach and the daily amounts of CBD you need to give your pet. Usually, CBD products for dogs will specify the quantity of CBD they contain in milligrams and the amount of oil or weight of the product itself. These are two different things and shouldn’t be confused. A high-strength 30mL product can still contain more CBD than a low-strength 60mL one. More diluted formulas require more significant dosage quantities to achieve equivalent effects in your dog.
Calculating CBD Dosage
Before giving your dog CBD, you need to figure out how much an appropriate daily dosage is. Most experts agree starting with around 0.05 to 0.2 milligrams per pound of body weight is an appropriate low dose for most dogs. You can use this twice daily to give your dog good daily coverage. Adjust the dose if you don’t see results after around six weeks. Low doses of CBD are effective for dogs, and often, high doses aren’t needed unless treating a specific condition. Pain or arthritis symptoms usually require higher doses, which can be experimented with over time. Trying different dosage ranges is advised to account for differences in individual dog size, physiology and response to CBD. Product purity will also affect how much your dog will need. Higher purity products don’t need as much dosage quantity to offer better effects because they’ll contain more real cannabinoids.
When to Give Your Dog CBD
While you can give your dog CBD doses daily, most dog owners are strategic when choosing to time the doses for their pets. CBD in the morning or during the day can be effective at helping to mitigate stress and anxiety if you need to take your dog for walks or out and about. On the other hand, dosing an hour or two before your dog’s standard sleeping time can help it get to sleep and avoid late-night barking. The bottom line is it’s up to your preferences and your dog’s needs as long as you consistently give your dog CBD and measure dosages carefully. Your dog should see benefits over time regardless of the time of day you give them their CBD. Consistency is more important than timing when it comes to dosing. Find a schedule you can stick to that fits your existing lifestyle.
How to Choose a CBD Product for Dogs
Before giving your dog CBD, you must first source a high-quality product formulated for dogs (i.e. it contains 0% THC). Avoid any full-spectrum CBD products or those that are created for humans, as these can contain trace amounts of THC, which is toxic to your dog. You should also seek a quality-assured product and be clear of additives or pesticides. While this can often be a challenge due to poor regulations around CBD and widespread mislabelling, there are a few key things to look for in buying a good product for your dog.
CBD Products Formulated for Dogs
Buying CBD products designed specifically for dogs is essential as these are manufactured to eliminate any THC content. They will be much safer for your dog in the long run and give you peace of mind. Many of these products are also enriched with vitamins, minerals and healthy fatty acids, promoting better skin, fur and immune health for dogs. But they tend to come with a higher price tag.
Avoid giving your dog CBD products that were produced for human use. These products can contain small or even potentially large quantities of THC. Many are mistakenly labelled and contain more THC than advertised. Don’t risk your dogs’ health. Seek a specialist dog treat, dog food or CBD oil designed with your dog in mind. Often, these products contain other nutrients that can help your dog’s health and enhance mood or energy.
Buying Organic CBD Products
While prioritising organic certified CBD products doesn’t guarantee product purity or quality, it tends to help avoid pesticides, herbicides and artificial additives. Hemp plants are very susceptible to absorbing toxins from soils. If grown in locations or soil that contains contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides or toxins like arsenic, these can easily find their way into the plant.
As a result, when CBD extracts are produced from this hemp, they’ll also contain these toxins. Heavy metals and other toxins can harm your dog even in trace amounts. Organically grown hemp avoids using pesticides and other toxic chemicals during farming. The final CBD oil produced from these plants will be safer for dogs and clear of these chemicals. Shopping organic can be a simple way to reduce the risk of contaminants harming your dog.
A certificate of analysis or 3rd party lab report provides an analysis of the concentrations of cannabinoids in a CBD product for dogs. Importantly, this will specify the product’s CBD and THC quantity. Checking this before giving your dog anything is vital to avoid potentially poisoning your dog with THC. The certificate should also specify the number of minor cannabinoids, terpenes and certain phytocompounds in the oil. Each can offer supplementary health benefits to your pup, so consider them. Avoid any product that doesn’t have a lab certificate available.
Solvent-extracted CBD products use ethanol or other harsh chemicals to separate CBD extract from the cannabis resin it comes from. Subsequently, the solvent is filtered out of the extracted cannabinoid solution to remove it. Unfortunately, this filtration process doesn’t always eliminate all traces of solvent from end products created from this solution. Many solvents, like ethanol, are toxic to dogs, even in small amounts. Buying solvent-extracted CBD products can risk your dog’s health and should be avoided if possible.
An alternative extraction method uses a gas like CO2 under high heat and pressure to distil CBD. This is known as supercritical gas extraction. It’s a superior production method versus solvent extraction, resulting in a higher purity, greater strength product. As inert gasses are used as the extraction medium, there is no risk of contamination with solvents or other chemicals. Although this method is more costly, it will offer greater safety for your dog. These CBD products will cost more but will be worth it for your dog’s health in the long run.
Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum CBD for Dogs
A significant consideration is whether you use isolate or full-spectrum CBD products for your dog. These are distinct product types, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Isolate CBD is more refined, meaning it contains a high purity of CBD and eliminates other phytocompounds from the cannabinoid mixture, including terpenes, chlorophyll, plant matter and minor cannabinoids. It won’t contain cannabinoids like CBN, CBG or MEB, which can benefit dogs. The advantage of isolated CBD products is they have a very low risk of containing THC. Because they’re extensively refined and distilled, most isolate products are purer than full-spectrum CBD, making them safer for dogs.
Full-spectrum CBD products have certain advantages due to being less refined. They’ll contain more helpful plant nutrients from hemp that support dogs like flavonoids, cannaflavins, antioxidants, terpenes and minor cannabinoids like CBC. These help holistically in overall well-being, supporting immune function, plus gut health. Many of the minor cannabinoids in full-spectrum CBD oil are also potent for improving health and aiding with certain conditions. For example, CBG is highly anti-inflammatory and can help with arthritis and inflammatory diseases.
Additionally, the terpene content in this product type helps stimulate the entourage effect. When this occurs, terpene compounds like linalool or myrcene improve cannabinoid receptor permeability, aiding in the uptake and potency of cannabinoids. Terpenes on their own are also anti-inflammatory, help with anxiety and offer a range of unique health benefits.
While your dog can benefit from the wider nutrient variety in full-spectrum CBD products, the downside they have is a much greater risk of THC contamination. Because full-spectrum products are much less refined, they often contain trace levels (or higher) of THC. We recommend steering clear and opting for CBD isolate products for dogs.
Getting the Most from Your Dog’s CBD Product
CBD won’t solve your dogs’ problems and cure them of diseases. It shouldn’t be treated as a solution to conditions but as a support tool. Factors like diet, lifestyle, exercise and proper veterinary care for your dog are foundational to overall canine health. These are the foundations of health in dogs, and CBD should only be used to provide additional help once these are in place. It is always best to check with your veterinarian before starting with CBD and confirm it won’t harm your dog. For example, your vet can advise you on any potential medication interactions you might need to avoid with your dog.
Consistency and planning are essential to successful results when using CBD with dogs. Ensure you plan out dosage frequency and timing and understand product strength before starting. Be disciplined with your plan and stay consistent. It can take several weeks to start seeing benefits. Don’t expect significant benefits overnight. Continuously monitor your dog and ensure you’re aware of any changes in its behaviour or appetite, which can indicate side effects are occurring. You should also be prepared to check in with your vet before beginning with your CBD regime and, over time, to confirm your dog is healthy and no health issues are occurring.
Today, there are a variety of methods with which you can give your dog CBD. These can be tailored to meet your dog’s tastes and preferences.
CBD Oil: CBD can be directly given to your dog using a dropper to drop doses into their mouth carefully. If they don’t like the flavour or are picky, try adding it to your dog’s regular food to mask the taste.
CBD Dog Treats: dog treats infused with CBD are a convenient plus tasty method to give your dog CBD. Each treat will contain a specific dose of CBD, making it simple to provide to your pet.
Capsules: capsules with CBD can be given to your dog if it doesn’t like the taste of CBD oil or treats. They have no flavour so they can be mixed in food or delivered to your dog orally.
Topical: CBD-infused balms or creams can be applied to your dog’s fur or skin for relief or soothing in a targeted area.
CBD takes time to be absorbed by a dog and activate its cannabinoid receptors. The effects aren’t immediate and usually take 1-2 hours to be felt. How quickly this occurs can vary based on factors like your dog’s sensitivity to cannabinoids, their weight and size, individual genes and metabolism, plus how you give them CBD. Some dogs absorb it faster and see effects within 30 minutes to an hour, while others may need hours.
It depends on your product strength, dosages, and dog needs. For most dogs, dosing 1-3 times per day is adequate. This can be adjusted as needed. Check in with your vet for concerns or guidance.
The length of time you use CBD with your dog is up to what you’re using it for. CBD is safe to use for extended periods with minimal concern or side effects. It is viable to use daily for overall well-being, or it might be used in a more short-term, targeted manner to help with a specific condition.
Constantly monitor your dog for side effects if you’re giving them CBD. These can include shifts in behaviour, dry mouth, diarrhoea, vomiting or excessive barking. Stop using CBD if these issues occur, or try lowering dosages. If side effects persist, it could indicate something is wrong. Check-in with your vet immediately if your dog shows signs of persistent or acute side effects.
You need to calculate the appropriate dose for your dog based on weight or size, plus factors such as tolerance, health conditions and age. Start with low doses and increase over time. 0.2mg or less per pound of body weight dose per day is a good starting point.
10mg may be suitable for a larger dog, but it may be excessive for small breeds. It depends on the individual dog, their size, plus experience with using CBD. Plan out your dosing carefully before you use CBD with your dog to ensure a safe and productive experience.
Whether 10mg is too much for a dog depends on their size and individual sensitivity to CBD. For petite dogs, 10mg may be excessive, while large breeds may require a higher dosage.
CBD can be given with or without food. It may slow absorption but will still be effective. It depends on your dog’s tastes as to whether you need to use CBD dog food or infused product. Some dogs prefer CBD oil, but others won’t tolerate it. Experiment and see what your dog prefers
Some dogs may benefit from a morning dose for reduced daytime stress and improved behaviour around other dogs or people. If your dog acts up at night or barks instead of sleeping, nighttime dosing may be preferable. Your dog’s dose schedule depends on you and your dog’s preferences.
CBD before a walk can help dogs anxious or scared by cars, loud sounds or other dogs. It can help them relax and enjoy their walk instead of being on edge or at risk of barking. Over time, they might even build confidence and resilience against their fears to help with day-to-day quality of life.
There are a few things you’ll need to think through before starting with CBD for your dog.
Firstly, ensure you confirm CBD is right for your dog. Check with your vet to understand whether it’s a good option versus other treatment choices. They can also guide you on risks and potential medication interactions to avoid.
Next, find a high-quality CBD product. It should be formulated for dogs and contain 0% THC which is toxic to pets.
Calculate the right dose for your dog. Consider their size or weight and factors like health conditions you should be aware of. Confirm with your vet on a starting dose that makes sense. It should be low to begin with which can be increased over time.
Monitor your dog’s response to CBD and make adjustments as needed under veterinary guidance.
Be aware of any side effects that can crop up and ensure you respond if they occur or persist.
Undoubtedly, CBD is excellent for many dogs in assisting them with overall health and mitigating certain chronic conditions. Many dog owners in Australia are now using it with their dogs to help treat symptoms of arthritis, anxiety, inflammation and even mood or behavioural issues. Giving it to your dog is simple, but you must be intentional and careful about planning and administering dosages. Start slowly and work up to a dose that works for your pup. Always discuss starting CBD with your vet before trying it to avoid any potential health risks. When shopping for your dog’s CBD product, aim to buy organic, natural products that are CO2 extracted, have a certificate of analysis available and don’t contain additives or contaminants. Side effects are infrequent, but if they occur, stop using CBD and check in with your vet.