What Is the Best CBD Oil for Dogs?
Benefits of giving your dog CBD oil
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.
- CBD may provide pain relief for dogs dealing with arthritis. According to a 2020 article in Antioxidants, hemp CBD oils have the potential to offer anti-inflammatory effects. Although they haven’t been tested much in dogs, this may make them useful in the treatment of arthritis and similar conditions that cause pain for your pup. (As many as 60% of dogs will exhibit arthritic symptoms over their lifetime.)
- CBD may reduce a dog’s anxiety. Cannabidiol is well-known for its calming effects, and it’s one of the most popular reasons that people use CBD oil for anxiety. Dogs can also experience separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, or nervous feelings during travel, and some pet owners anecdotally report that CBD oil has improved their pet’s anxiety symptoms.
- CBD hemp oil may help lessen the frequency of seizures. The only FDA-approved CBD medication for humans is prescribed for the prevention of seizures, and according to a recent Colorado State University study, dogs may experience some of the same positive effects. However, these effects have only been seen in dogs that are also taking more traditional prescription medications for the treatment of seizures.
Is it safe to give your dog CBD oil?
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.
Type of hemp extract
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.
- Full spectrum: A full-spectrum hemp extract contains all phytochemicals found in the plant (even small traces of THC). THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychotropic chemical in marijuana, but this does not mean that full-spectrum CBD products will make your pet high. Instead, this kind of hemp extract offers a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, all working in tandem.
- Broad spectrum: Broad spectrum products are similar to full-spectrum since they contain other plant compounds in addition to CBD, but with one differentiating factor: The THC is completely removed.
- CBD isolate: A CBD isolate product contains only CBD, with all other plant parts removed. It represents the purest possible concentration of CBD.
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).
The best CBD oils for dogs
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.
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.
Charlotte’s Web CBD oil for dogs uses high-quality Colorado grown hemp extract to provide a full spectrum of cannabinoids and other plant compounds for your pet. Made with MCT oil so it’s easier to digest, it comes in two different strengths and a chicken-flavored or unflavored option. Best of all, Charlotte’s Web is certified by the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) for rigorous testing and standards, so you can feel good about giving this CBD oil to your pet.
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.
Cornbread Hemp makes a CBD oil for pets that uses USDA certified organic hemp extract and organic coconut oil and is free from additives and preservatives. This full spectrum hemp extract is specifically formulated to leave out the earthy flavors of whole plant extract that some pets don’t like. It actually includes a unique vegan corndog flavoring to make it a tastier option for dogs. It’s a great option to help provide your pet with relief from joint pain, discomfort, or anxiety.
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).
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).
How much CBD oil should you give your dog?
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):
- 10 pounds → 2 milligrams
- 20 pounds → 4 milligrams
- 30 pounds → 6 milligrams
- 40 pounds → 8 milligrams
- 50 pounds → 10 milligrams
- 60 pounds → 12 milligrams
- 70 pounds → 14 milligrams
- 80 pounds → 16 milligrams
- 100 pounds → 20 milligrams
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.
Is CBD oil right for your dog?
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.