Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an increasingly popular natural remedy. Many scientists have vouched for CBD’s potential in treating chronic pain, anxiety, and other ailments. And as more and more humans experience the merits of CBD, some are beginning to use it on their dogs as well.
In fact, products made from the hemp plant can provide a number of benefits to dogs of all breeds and all sizes. Here are just a few reasons why you might want your pets to use CBD.
After all this talk about the potential benefits of CBD, you may be wondering if there are any drawbacks or side effects. One thing to keep in mind is that CBD supplements and dog treats have not been evaluated by the FDA. And according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, there is not a lot of scientific research looking at CBD for pets, so it's always best to consult with a veterinarian first.
In addition, there are some potential side effects, although they are usually quite mild. According to Dr. Jerry Klein, the American Kennel Association's Chief Veterinary Officer, some specific side effects to watch out for include drowsiness, dry mouth, or lowered blood pressure. A study in Animals also noted diarrhea as a potential side effect. However, pet owners may find some assurances in a 2016 report from the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (JAHVMA), which notes that there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that CBD may be helpful for dogs with chronic pain, anxiety, and other health issues.
Before purchasing CBD treats or supplements for your dog, consider the three basic types of hemp extract that exist: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. This distinction can help you choose between all the different options on the market today.
Another consideration as you shop for pet-friendly CBD products is third-party lab testing. Independent research helps show a brand’s products are safe and potentially effective. Look for brands that provide these testing results (also known as Certificates of Analysis, or COA).
Finally, while shopping for a CBD product for your pet, look out for these factors: natural or organic hemp harvesting methods (which means there are no artificial ingredients), dog-friendly flavors (like chicken, bacon, or peanut butter), and overall concentration of CBD (which speaks to the potency of the products).
Through research and testing by editors at Remedy Review, an independent CBD site, here is a curated list of the best CBD oils for dogs—plus a CBD-infused dog treat. Each of these products have been thoroughly tested by third-party labs and reviewed based on the ingredients, hemp sourcing, price, lab test results, as well as customer experiences.
ABSC offers several CBD oil products, each one designed for different weight classes of dogs. One noteworthy benefit of ABSC is that it’s the only line of dog CBD products that have been clinically tested. Dr. Stephanie McGrath, DVM, has conducted studies with her team at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences using ABSC’s CBD oil. These CBD extracts are derived from organically-grown hemp plants in Colorado and feature a natural chicken flavoring that’s safe for pets (and more appealing to your dog).
NuLeaf Naturals is a good option for pet owners who are new to CBD because its products have 60 milligrams of CBD per milliliter, so it’s easier to adjust dosage. What’s more, NuLeaf makes its products from CBD that’s CO2-extracted from organic hemp plants in Colorado. These products are also certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making them the only dog CBD products to bear that distinction.
As a brand, Medterra is dedicated to helping you and your pets, and it offers pure CBD extracts that are carefully-researched. These CBD isolate products are completely THC free and come in a few different pet-friendly flavors to pick from—including chicken, beef, or unflavored. These tinctures are available in three different strengths: 150, 300, and 750 milligrams per 30 milliliter bottle to suit the size of your pup and his needs.
CBDistillery has a reputation of high-quality CBD products that are processed with cold-pressed hemp seed oil, which makes them easier for dogs to digest. Not to mention, CBDistillery is one of the most affordable places to purchase hemp products. The 150-milligram tincture is great for small to medium sized dogs, and the 600-milligram pet CBD oil is made for larger breeds.
If your dog isn’t too fond of a CBD oil, then CBD-infused dog treats may be the answer. FAB CBD makes tasty cookies sans dairy, corn, wheat, or soy. These treats don’t have any THC, but they do come with some beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids, as well as three great dog-friendly flavors to pick from: peanut butter apple (for calming), salmon (for skin and coat health), and chicken (for active immune support).
Many pet owners often wonder what CBD dosage is right for their pup. Unfortunately, there aren’t any standard dosing guidelines for pets provided by veterinarians—and exact dosing recommendations can vary by the size of your pet. According ABSC Organics, a brand whose products have been used in multiple clinical trials performed by Colorado State University, here are some baseline dosing recommendations to start your dog off with CBD (based on weight):
The company has found that these baseline dosages are sufficient for 70% of pet owners that use its products, but in some instances, a dog may need more than the recommended starting dose. If this is the case, it’s usually best to slowly increase the CBD dosage and carefully monitor your pet’s reaction to find their perfect dose.
Regardless of what CBD products you purchase for your dog, please consult your veterinarian before starting a CBD regimen. And pay attention to the packaging of the CBD product to make sure you know exactly how many milligrams are contained in each drop of oil.
Although there is plenty of preliminary work and anecdotal evidence suggesting positive benefits of CBD oil for dogs, more high-quality research still needs to be done. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult a trusted veterinarian.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, copywriter, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. As a writer for Remedy Review, an independent CBD review site, Josh covers the relationship between cannabis-based products and the human body. The products featured in this article were tested at ProVerde Laboratories in Milford, MA and Avazyme, Inc. in Durham, NC.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before consuming or using any of the products mentioned on this site.