CBD for Dogs – A Pet Owner’s Guide

CBD for dogs
Hi! I’m Emma!

CBD for dogs helps us to improve the quality of life for our pets

It might be a matter of general health, or maybe they are suffering from issues such as anxiety, pain, joint or muscle discomfort, and other symptoms and need relief.

We all want nothing but the best for our furry family members!

One of the great qualities of CBD is its anti-inflammatory properties that can help to alleviate a variety of canine issues where inflammation is the underlying cause.

Another great quality seems to be its ability to help calm dogs (or cats). Anxiety is the root cause of a number of behavioral issues that people found improved with the use of CBD.

The field of CBD research has been rapidly expanding since CBD was legalized throughout the USA. There are many scientific studies published, and we’ll link to some of those. We encourage you to research as well and we welcome notification about any new studies or updates to existing studies you would share with us so we can make that information available to others reading this page.

As always, we are not attempting to prescribe CBD or offer medical advice for pets. You would need to see your veterinarian should you require medical advice for your pet.

Get the answer to these 8 questions (and more):

You can click on the link to get directly to the information you want:

Yes, CBD is legal for both dogs and humans!

in 2018, Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and removed CBD from the Schedule I drug list. The summary of the change to the act was that it differentiated hemp from other cannabis plants allowing for the production, sale, and research into CBD.

Industrial hemp is a cannabis plant that has a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana) concentration of no more than 0.3%.

The market for industrial hemp-derived CBD has been able to expand considerably.

What does CBD do for dogs?

CBD has proven to be helpful in maintaining the general well-being of your dog, or valuable to dogs who suffer from a variety of symptoms. Using CBD has shown, in some cases, to reduce or eliminate the need for medications that may also have unwanted side effects.

Much of the evidence to date is anecdotal, that is, people reporting success with their dog’s health issues after trying CBD. Medical science is catching up. Most studies involving dogs and CBD are in response to observations of successful CBD use in dogs.

Symptoms or issues it helps with?

The use of cannabidiol (CBD) for animal species is an area of growing interest based on the volume of anecdotal evidence available. For example, for its anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating properties[1], even though all of its biological effects are still not fully understood, especially in veterinary medicine. 

CBD is also used and being studied for its ability to help dogs with pain management, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, GI and other digestion issues, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer or cancer symptom treatment benefits

Full-spectrum hemp extract (CBD) has been proven to shorten the duration and frequency of inflammation-related issues. CBD talks to’ specific receptors in a dog’s body to help reduce the inflammation caused by the wear and tear, and damage of the ball and socket joint (and other joints you may not be aware of being damaged). In CBD’s ‘talk’ with a dog’s body, the receptors, and pain is also reduced significantly.

In one veterinary study, CBD significantly decreased pain and increased mobility in a dose-dependent fashion among animals with an affirmative diagnosis of OA.

Scientists have found in a small study that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.

This is a list of the most common issues for which CBD is being used to help dogs:

  • Inflammation-related issues[1]
    • Arthritis and joint pain
    • Pancreatitis
    • Allergies
    • Anxieties
    • IBD and GI
  • Anxiety[2]
    • Barking
    • Nervous behavior
    • Separation anxiety
    • Motion sickness
  • Cancer[3]
  • Pain[4]
  • Seizures[5]
  • Osteoarthritis[6]
  • Upset queasy stomach
  • Sleep issues
Does it really work?

 [Testimonials]

Play Video: CBD for Dogs Testimonial
Is CBD safe?

Yes, CBD is safe for dogs.

CBD is a non-toxic substance for dogs. If too much is administered (overdose) the dog tends to get drowsy and the excess CBD is passed out of the dog’s system.

A World Health Organization (WHO) study and other studies[7][8] have found that CBD is non-toxic for dogs and humans alike, and abuse and dependence are not outcomes of CBD use.

The WHO study also explained that large doses of CBD seem to trigger diarrhea, lethargy, and drowsiness in dogs. However, they also concluded that CBD products are generally safe and well-tolerated by humans and our four-legged friends.

  • There is almost no risk from CBD use or overuse.
  • No harm or injury will come to dogs from CBD.
  • No toxic amounts, CBD has a wide safety margin.
  • CBD doesn’t have an impact on the brain stem areas responsible for respiration.
  • Dogs can’t get high from CBD. THC is toxic for dogs, but if CBD contains less than 0.3% it would almost be impossible to administer enough CBD to cause a problem.

Side Effects

Research in this area is in the early stages. Current studies show that the most common side effects are minimal and typically include things such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness
  • Diarrhea

It is important to note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved CBD and has not issued a dosing chart. However, there is at least one study[9] that looked into dosages and safety and found it to be very safe in doses higher than those we would suggest.

Is CBD safe for dogs?
Meet Raggy!

 

Dosages/Serving Sizes

The most important factors in determining a dose are the size of the dog, the concentration of CBD, and the type of issue being treated. As always, consult with your veterinarian before starting this or any other treatment.

Suggested Starting Dose:

We propose you start with 2mg of CBD for every 10 lbs of dog weight. Administer twice each day, with at least 4 – 8 hours between doses for at least 3 days to develop a baseline for comparison.

A 10 lb. dog would need 2mg per dose, twice per day. A 40 lb. dog would require 8mg per dose. A 100 lb. dog would need a 20mg dose.

It typically takes 30 to 45 minutes for the CBD to take effect and the effects last from about 4 hours to about 8 hours.

CBD Concentrations (based on a 30ml bottle):

When you purchase CBD, consider the size of your dog. The larger the dog, the greater the concentration if it is to last

  • 75mg formula=2.5mg of CBD per ml of oil is one 2.5mg dose per day for a month.
  • 150mg formula=5mg of CBD per ml of oil is one 5mg dose per day for a month.
  • 300mg formula=10mg of CBD per ml of oil is one 10mg dose per day for a month.
  • 600mg formula=20mg of CBD per ml of oil is one 20mg dose per day for a month.

Your Dog’s Condition

If CBD is part of a daily wellness regimen the dosage would likely be different (lower) than CBD used to ease a dog’s arthritis pain or relieve the symptoms of cancer.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. A 2020 study published by Frontiers in Veterinary Science[9] demonstrated that CBD was as safe as the placebo in doses up to 62 mg/kg or a dose of about 280mg for every 10 pounds. That’s much more than we would recommend.

General Suggestions

Every pet is different, so start low and gradually increase until the desired effect is achieved. One of the best things about CBD is its wide safety margin. Stick to the recommended guidelines.

Start small and work your way up until you see evidence of the benefits of CBD treatment or determine it’s not going to help.

Studies have demonstrated CBD is safe to use for dogs and has many benefits. However, we don’t want to make a claim that there would never ever be a problem. Start slowly and watch for any sign of a problem.

Our guiding principle is that no harm should come to any animal.

Other Factors

There are some other factors that may have an impact on how effective CBD is and why one size might not fit all. Some of the individual factors that might make a difference are:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Diet
  • Fatigue
  • Ailment

Again, start low and gradually increase as the safest way to get the best possible results.

How does CBD work?

Every mammal on earth has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). That ECS is a vast network of chemical signals and cellular receptors that are found throughout the brains and bodies of mammals. The ECS system regulates important biological functions, such as sleep, memory, mood, appetite, pain, immune response, body temperature, neurogenesis, fertility, etc.

The bodies of mammals naturally produce molecules called endocannabinoids which are very similar to molecules in the cannabis plant. Humans have been using the cannabis plant for about 5,000 years because it works by “hijacking” the machinery (the signals and receptors) that are already in place in human (and animal) bodies.

Studies have shown that CBD may relieve pain, anxiety, seizures, and other medical issues because the molecules naturally occurring in a mammal’s body and in cannabis plants are so similar. The only drawback was the “high” caused by THC, which has been eliminated from industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is nothing more than cannabis without THC, or technically, with such small amounts of THC that it is irrelevant.

Summary – CBD is a compound, then, that works with the biological machinery already in place in dogs’ bodies to help manage symptoms and improve a dog’s well-being without the toxic danger THC imposes on dogs.

What is CBD made of?

CBD is a compound, a cannabinoid, extracted from cannabis plants. Industrial hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant that has very low levels of THC (another type of cannabinoid). THC is the psychoactive ingredient that makes people feel “high”. Although CBD could be extracted from any cannabis plant, it is only legal if it is extracted from specific types of industrial hemp – specifically, those with levels of THC so low that they are of no consequence.

CBD is extracted by separating the CBD compound from a cannabis plant while also isolating it from other cannabinoids that are present, including THC. There is also some confusion about Hemp Oil, so we’ll discuss the differences between that and CBD. There are various extraction methods used to extract CBD from industrial hemp plants that we’ll examine below.

CBD vs THC

CBD and THC are both cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. THC is the compound that made marijuana famous. It is the active substance in marijuana that causes people using it to become “high”. CBD is also a cannabinoid found in the same plant. However, that’s where the similarity ends. CBD does not cause users to become “high”. It is continually gaining in popularity since it was legalized in the US in 2018 because of the health benefits it offers to both humans and animals.

The health benefits of CBD are largely anecdotal at this stage of the industry’s development as the research struggles to keep up with and inform the industry. Up until 2018, it was not legal to experiment with CBD, so scientific research has been shut down for decades. After legalization, it was anecdotal evidence driving the industry’s growth.

As time goes by and that anecdotal evidence is put to the test in scientific studies throughout the US, more and more proof is accumulating about the health benefits of CBD. We are still in the early stages of scientific research with a very high probability of more proof of effectiveness and likely many more discoveries to come.

One of the drawbacks of CBD and THC being so closely related is the confusion created with respect to the law. CBD is a legal product everywhere in the USA. THC was not legal at a federal level when this article was written and is not legal in every state.

Although the laws for each of these two compounds, CBD and THC, are completely different, services available to CBD merchants are still not differentiated in many cases and the industry struggles with regulations designed around THC.

For example, at this time, it is not possible to advertise CBD on Google or Facebook, or a number of other media. Banking and credit card processing is another hurdle because of big businesses’ failure or unwillingness to differentiate between CBD and THC.

In short, CBD is often treated like it was still illegal even though it is completely different from THC.

CBD vs Hemp Oil

Hemp oil and CBD are two completely different compounds. Hemp oil is the oil that results from crushing the hemp plant’s seeds, similar to the way other common types of plant oils are created, such as corn oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil. CBD in its pure form is a crystalline substance and is not created from the seeds of the plant. It is a cannabinoid found in industrial hemp and needs to be extracted from that plant and then separated from other cannabinoids like THC. The most common extraction methods are explained in greater detail below.

Hemp Oil as a Carrier

Despite being completely different than CBD, hemp oil plays a role in the CBD industry. Hemp oil is used as a carrier for CBD. There are other possible carriers for CBD such as olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil but hemp oil is quickly becoming the most dominant form, simply because of the additional nutrition benefits it offers. Hemp oil offers vitamins, minerals, Omega fatty acids, proteins, and fiber.

Carriers are used to deliver CBD to humans and pets for a number of reasons. Using a carrier oil helps a dog’s body absorb CBD better than it would if the carrier was not used. Fat-soluble substances like CBD are better absorbed when digested along with fat, even in small amounts.

Using carrier oil also helps with dosing. Because CBD is so concentrated, it would be difficult to deliver accurate and consistent doses from such a small amount of crystalline isolate, which is what CBD looks like in its pure form. The nutritional benefits of oil as a carrier offer added benefits.

Extraction Methods

The separation of the CBD compound from a cannabis plant while also isolating it from other cannabinoids present in the plant, including THC, is the purpose of the extraction process.

CBD is extracted by only separating the CBD compound from a cannabis plant while also isolating it from other cannabinoids that are present, including THC.

Separating CBD from THC, the famous psychoactive cannabinoid, is one of the most important parts of the CBD extraction process.

CO2 Extraction

This method of extraction is the most popular and is also the most costly and complex. Its popularity is due to it delivering the highest quality results – extremely safe and free from contaminants.

Liquid Solvent Extraction

This method uses a solvent such as ethanol, butane, hydrocarbon, propane, or isopropyl. The solvent dissolves the waxes, releasing the CBD. It is inexpensive and easy to do, but creates bitter-tasting CBD and may be contaminated with residues left behind.

Alcohol Extraction

This is safer than using hydrocarbons, like Liquid Solvent Extraction. It separates the compounds, then evaporates. It produces a great result at a low cost, but also creates bitter-tasting CBD because it removes chlorophyll.

Olive Oil Extraction

Similar to Liquid Solvent Extraction but requires heating as part of the process. It’s safe and affordable, but has a short shelf life and is less potent than other methods.

Steam Distillation

This is an ancient process that is safe and cheap, but is not very efficient and requires a precision process for the best results.

Forms of CBD

There are three types of CBD – isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum. It’s unfortunate that two of the three are almost indistinguishable by name – it’s very confusing. Broad spectrum and full spectrum seem very similar in terminology, but there are differences.

Isolate

Isolate is CBD in its purest form. It is a crystal or powder form. It contains no terpenes, cannabinoids, or fatty acids from the plant. Although the purest form of CBD seems like it would have the best results, that’s not how it works best. CBD Oils are far more effective when paired with other cannabinoids and terpenes. This mix creates what is known as the entourage effect which strengthens the benefit of the cannabis plant.

Full Spectrum

Think of Full Spectrum as “fully loaded”. It has everything from the plant. It contains CBD, a cannabinoid, and all of the other cannabinoids including THC. It also includes terpenes and fatty acids that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. The THC is present at very low levels and not enough to create a “high” or toxicity problem for a dog. Remember, industrial hemp which is used to produce CBD contains only trace amounts of THC.

Full Spectrum CBD is the most effective as it has the greatest “entourage effect” from the inclusion of other cannabinoids and terpenes. One drawback of Full Spectrum CBD is that the THC, even in trace amounts, may possibly still show up on a test for THC.

Broad Spectrum

Broad Spectrum is the same as Full Spectrum except that it specifically excludes THC. Broad Spectrum benefits from the entourage effect but has the additional benefit (compared to Full Spectrum) of not showing up in a test for THC.

Are there quality differences?

Since the industry producing CBD for dogs isn’t yet regulated by the FDA, there are some potentially sketchy products out there. There are definitely some things to watch out for.

Hemp source – Where is the hemp grown and harvested? Is it organic hemp? Does it conform to government quality standards?

Country Source – The best choices are American-grown or Canadian-grown hemp. It might be possible to find more affordable products from other countries but there are established standards for hemp in place in the US and Canada. It’s all about quality control.

Third-party Analysis – This is critical for quality control. A third-party analysis produces a Certificate of Analysis (COA). This analysis conducts lab testing for potency and purity (heavy metals, residual solvents, pesticides) and makes the information available to consumers.

Extraction Method – CO2 is definitely the best extraction method. It produces the highest quality CBD.

Purity – What your purchase doesn’t contain is as important as what it contains when it comes to CBD. Some CBD products could contain elements that are not desirable or should be avoided such as:

  • wheat,
  • animal by-products
  • cornmeal
  • artificial flavors or colors
  • solvent residues
  • heavy metal residue
  • perfumes or fragrances in topicals
  • pesticides

A clear COA (Certificate of Analysis) would prevent many of these from being present in the CBD you purchase, but not all.

Why shop with Flourish + Live Well?

At Flourish + Live Well, it’s our mission to bring natural, organic, cruelty-free, lab-tested, high-quality hemp-derived CBD products to the community in an approachable, welcoming space.

We are not tied to any single manufacturer or producer. We can shop the world for the highest-quality, best possible CBD products that adhere to the highest standards. We won’t sell products that are not lab-tested or products that have impurities or fillers.

We offer CBD for dogs at the most trusted brands at the best possible prices.

References

  1. Gugliandolo, E., Licata, P., Peritore, A. F., Siracusa, R., Cordaro, M., Fusco, R., Impellizzeri, D., Paola, R. D., Cuzzocrea, S., Crupi, R., & Interlandi, C. D. (2021). Effect of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Canine Inflammatory Response: An Ex Vivo Study on LPS Stimulated Whole Blood. Veterinary Sciences, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8090185
  2. Morris, E. M., Spangler, D. M., McLeod, K. R., Costa, J. H., & Harmon, D. L. (2019). The Impact of Feeding Cannabidiol (CBD) Containing Treats on Canine Response to a Noise-Induced Fear Response Test. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.569565
  3. Henry JG, Shoemaker G, Prieto JM, Hannon MB, Wakshlag JJ. The effect of cannabidiol on canine neoplastic cell proliferation and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation during autophagy and apoptosis. Vet Comp Oncol. 2021 Jun;19(2):253-265. doi: 10.1111/vco.12669. Epub 2021 Jan 14. PMID: 33247539. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33247539/
  4. Verrico CD, Wesson S, Konduri V, Hofferek CJ, Vazquez-Perez J, Blair E, Dunner K Jr, Salimpour P, Decker WK, Halpert MM. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of daily cannabidiol for the treatment of canine osteoarthritis pain. Pain. 2020 Sep 1;161(9):2191-2202. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001896. PMID: 32345916; PMCID: PMC7584779. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32345916/
  5. Colorado State University. (2019, May 21). CBD clinical trial results on seizure frequency in dogs ‘encouraging’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190521101450.htm
  6. Mejia S, Duerr FM, Griffenhagen G, McGrath S. Evaluation of the Effect of Cannabidiol on Naturally Occurring Osteoarthritis-Associated Pain: A Pilot Study in Dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2021 Mar 1;57(2):81-90. doi: 10.5326/JAAHA-MS-7119. PMID: 33450016. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33450016/
  7. Deabold KA, Schwark WS, Wolf L, Wakshlag JJ. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats. Animals (Basel). 2019 Oct 19;9(10):832. doi: 10.3390/ani9100832. PMID: 31635105; PMCID: PMC6826847. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826847/
  8. In an animal drug discrimination model, CBD failed to substitute for THC. CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/controlled-substances/whocbdreportmay2018-2.pdf?sfvrsn=f78db177_2&download=true
  9. Preliminary Investigation of the Safety of Escalating Cannabinoid Doses in Healthy Dogs. ORIGINAL RESEARCH article – Front. Vet. Sci., 11 February 2020 Sec. Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00051