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Can dogs have CBD?

Can dogs have CBD?

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) for dogs. Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is touted for its ability to address various health concerns in both humans and animals. However, before considering CBD for your furry companion, it's crucial to navigate this trend with caution and a thorough understanding of its implications. This article delves into the topic of CBD for dogs, exploring its potential benefits, safety considerations, and the importance of consulting with a veterinarian before introducing any CBD products into your pet's regimen.

Is CBD safe for dogs?

CBD (cannabidiol) can be considered safe for dogs when administered with caution and under the guidance of a veterinarian. While CBD has shown potential therapeutic effects and is widely used by pet owners to address issues such as anxiety, pain, and inflammation in dogs, its safety hinges on several factors. Consulting a veterinarian is paramount before introducing CBD to your canine companion. A veterinarian can offer insights tailored to your dog's individual health profile, ensuring that any existing medical conditions, medications, and appropriate dosage considerations are taken into account. High-quality CBD products formulated specifically for pets, with minimal or no THC content, are recommended to mitigate any potential risks. Monitoring for potential side effects and responsiveness to CBD is essential, as dogs can react differently to the compound. Ultimately, the cautious and informed approach advocated by veterinary professionals is essential to ensure the well-being of your furry friend when considering CBD usage.

Cannabis CBD for Goldendoodle Administering Cannabis CBD, cannabidiol oil directly to a Goldendoodle dog at home. dog cbd stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

How does CBD work?

CBD, or cannabidiol, operates through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vital regulatory network found within humans and animals. This intricate system comprises cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, scattered throughout the body. When CBD is introduced, it doesn't directly bind to these receptors like THC does. Instead, it modulates the activity of these receptors and influences other signaling pathways. CBD's impact on the ECS encourages the preservation of homeostasis—balance within the body—by enhancing the effects of naturally produced endocannabinoids. Furthermore, CBD's effects extend beyond the ECS, engaging with neurotransmitter systems and receptors that govern pain perception, mood, and inflammation. Its intricate interactions give rise to its potential therapeutic benefits, spanning from anxiety and pain management to anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. However, while the basics of CBD's actions are understood, ongoing research seeks to uncover the full scope of its effects and applications.

Are there any risks to using CBD?

The biggest risk of CBD is still the unknown. Because there have been so few published studies on the toxicological and mechanistic effects of CBD in dogs, it is difficult to determine whether any risks are present and how severe they may be. 

While CBD can potentially offer benefits for dogs, there are also some risks and considerations to be aware of when using CBD in dogs:

  • Lack of Regulation: The CBD industry is not heavily regulated, which means that the quality and consistency of products can vary widely. It's important to choose reputable brands that provide third-party lab testing to ensure the potency and purity of their products.
  • Drug Interactions: CBD has the potential to interact with other medications your dog may be taking. This could either amplify or reduce the effects of certain medications. It's crucial to consult your veterinarian if your dog is on any other medications before introducing CBD.
  • Side Effects: While CBD is generally well-tolerated, some dogs may experience side effects such as lethargy, diarrhea, changes in appetite, or dry mouth. Monitoring your dog closely when starting CBD and adjusting the dosage as needed can help minimize these effects.
  • THC Contamination: Some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, which can be toxic to dogs. Make sure to choose products that are labeled as THC-free or contain only trace amounts (usually less than 0.3%).
  • Allergic Reactions: Just like with any substance, there is a small risk of allergic reactions to CBD products in some dogs. If you notice any unusual symptoms after giving your dog CBD, discontinue use and consult your veterinarian.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: Dogs with certain pre-existing health conditions, such as liver or kidney issues, may be more sensitive to the effects of CBD. Consulting a veterinarian is crucial to ensure that CBD is safe for your dog's specific situation.
  • Dosage Accuracy: Determining the appropriate dosage for your dog can be challenging. Dosage depends on factors such as your dog's size, breed, and health condition. Starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it under veterinary guidance is recommended.
  • Long-Term Effects: While CBD has been researched for its short-term effects, the long-term effects of regular CBD use in dogs are not yet well understood. Consulting with a veterinarian can help you make informed decisions about using CBD for extended periods.

In summary, while CBD shows promise for addressing various health concerns in dogs, it's important to approach its use with caution and consult a veterinarian. A veterinarian can help you navigate the potential risks and benefits and provide guidance on finding the right CBD product and dosage for your dog's specific needs.

Treats for dogs and cats in white dishes with a green leaf of hemp close up - CBD and medical marijuana for pets. Recreational Marijuana and Hemp Treats for dogs and cats in white dishes with a green leaf of hemp close up - CBD and medical marijuana for pets. Recreational Marijuana and Hemp dog cbd stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Benefits of CBD for dogs

CBD (cannabidiol) has gained attention for its potential therapeutic benefits in dogs. While research is still ongoing, some reported benefits include:

  • Anxiety and Stress Reduction: CBD may have calming effects and help dogs manage anxiety and stress caused by separation, loud noises (thunderstorms, fireworks), travel, or changes in routine.
  • Pain Management: CBD's anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate pain in dogs, making it useful for managing chronic pain, arthritis, and discomfort from injuries.
  • Seizure Control: Some studies suggest that CBD could reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in dogs with epilepsy or other seizure disorders.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: CBD's anti-inflammatory properties can aid in managing conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and skin conditions.
  • Appetite Stimulation: CBD may help stimulate appetite in dogs that have reduced food intake due to illness or other reasons.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: CBD might help reduce nausea and vomiting in dogs undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy.
  • Support for Aging Dogs: CBD's potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects could provide comfort to older dogs experiencing joint stiffness and age-related discomfort.
  • Cancer Symptom Management: CBD may help manage symptoms associated with cancer, such as pain, nausea, and loss of appetite.
  • Epilepsy Management: Some research suggests that CBD could be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in dogs with epilepsy.
  • Skin and Coat Health: CBD's potential anti-inflammatory properties could help improve skin conditions and promote a healthier coat.
  • Behavioral Improvement: CBD's calming effects might help dogs with behavioral issues like excessive barking, aggression, or obsessive behaviors.

One specific study from researchers at Cornell University suggests that CBD oil in dogs may act as an analgesic in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis and aid in pain relief. The goal of the study was to determine the mechanistic action from a single oral dose of CBD extract in the dog, as well as determine the safety and effectiveness of CBD as a pain reliever. 

Information poster of Cannabidiol Benefits for your pets with infographic Information poster of Cannabidiol Benefits for your pets with infographic dog cbd stock illustrations

The researchers used 4 beagles which were given a dose of 2mg/kg and 8 mg/kg of CBD oil every 12 hours for 4 weeks. After dosing, physical examination and blood collection was conducted at predetermined time points. Concentrations of CBD in the blood plasma samples at different time points were then used to determine the half-life of the compound. The study revealed that both the 8mg/kg and 2mg/kg dose of CBD oil had a median half-life of 4.2 hours. This is a rapid elimination for a drug and suggests that a frequent dosage is needed for consistent pain relief. However, The CBD oil showed potential as a pain reliever in the client owned dogs, as the CBD dose showed improved activity and significant signs of decreased pain. There were no side effects noted by owners but blood plasma levels did show increased alkaline phosphatase levels in dogs that received a CBD treatment (an indicator of inflammation and in dire cases, liver and bone disease). Check out the full article here!

It's important to note that while these potential benefits are promising, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and the extent of CBD's effects in dogs. Additionally, not all dogs will respond the same way to CBD, and the effectiveness can vary based on factors like the dog's individual physiology and the specific condition being treated.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. It is one of over a hundred compounds known as cannabinoids present in cannabis. CBD is extracted primarily from hemp, a variety of cannabis with low levels of the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

If I give my pup CBD, will it turn them into a little doggy stoner? The answer is absolutely not! Unlike THC, CBD does not result in any sort of “high”, a sensation that is so strongly advocated for by the legendary artist, Snoop Dogg (contrary to the name, he is not a real dog). Instead, it is known for its potential therapeutic properties and has gained attention for its possible benefits in various health-related areas.

Research suggests that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a complex cell-signaling system found in both humans and animals. This system plays a role in regulating various physiological processes such as pain sensation, mood, immune function, sleep, and more. CBD's interaction with this system is thought to contribute to its potential therapeutic effects.

A dog owner gives her pet cannabis oil using a pipette A tricolor, tame dog sits calmly on the sofa and takes drops of cannabis oil given to it by its owner dog cbd stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

How is CBD made?

CBD is typically extracted from the hemp plant using various methods to separate the compound from the plant material. The most common methods of CBD extraction include:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction: This method involves using carbon dioxide under high pressure and low temperature to extract CBD from the hemp plant. CO2 acts as a solvent, selectively extracting cannabinoids and other desired compounds without leaving behind harmful residues. CO2 extraction allows for precise control over the process and can produce high-quality CBD extracts.
  • Solvent Extraction: This method involves using a solvent, such as ethanol or butane, to dissolve the cannabinoids and other components of the hemp plant. The solvent is then evaporated, leaving behind a concentrated CBD extract. While effective, this method can sometimes leave trace amounts of solvents in the final product if not properly purged.
  • Olive Oil Extraction: In this method, the hemp plant is heated with olive oil, which extracts the cannabinoids from the plant material. This method is safe and can be done at home, but it yields lower concentrations of CBD compared to other extraction methods.

After the extraction process, the resulting CBD-rich extract undergoes further refinement to remove impurities and isolate the CBD compound. This can involve processes such as winterization (removing waxes and fats), distillation (separating different compounds based on boiling points), and chromatography (separating compounds based on their properties).

The final product can take various forms, including CBD oil, tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, and more. The concentration of CBD in these products can vary, allowing consumers to choose products that suit their needs and preferences.

It's important to note that the quality and safety of CBD products depend not only on the extraction method but also on factors such as the source of the hemp, cultivation practices, and manufacturing processes. Reputable manufacturers provide third-party lab testing results to ensure the potency and purity of their CBD products.

Female Embraces Happy Dog In a Field of Herbal Cannabis Plants at a CBD Oil Hemp Marijuana Farm in Colorado Herbal Cannabis Plants at a CBD Oil Hemp Marijuana Farm in Colorado dog cbd stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Different forms of CBD for dogs

CBD for dogs is available in various forms to accommodate different preferences and needs. Some common forms of CBD products for dogs include:

  • CBD Oil or Tinctures: CBD oils are one of the most popular forms. They come with a dropper for easy dosing and can be added to your dog's food or administered directly into their mouth. Oils allow for precise dosing control and fast absorption.
  • CBD Treats: CBD-infused dog treats are a convenient way to administer CBD to your dog. They come in various flavors and sizes, making them a tasty and enjoyable option for dogs.
  • CBD Capsules: Capsules contain pre-measured doses of CBD and can be given to dogs orally. They're a good option for dogs who don't mind swallowing pills.
  • CBD Topicals: CBD-infused topicals, such as balms or creams, are applied directly to the skin. These products are often used for localized pain relief, skin conditions, or to target specific areas.
  • CBD Chews: Similar to treats, CBD chews offer a chewable option that can be more appealing to dogs who enjoy chewing on things.
  • CBD Powders: CBD powders can be sprinkled onto your dog's food, making it easy to incorporate into their daily routine.
  • CBD Sprays: CBD sprays can be applied directly into your dog's mouth or onto their food. They provide a quick and convenient way to administer CBD.
  • CBD Infused Pet Food: Some pet food brands offer CBD-infused formulations, which provide a consistent dose of CBD in each serving.
Pet food containing CBD cannabis, blue background, copy space for text. CBD and medical marijuana concept for pets Pet food containing CBD cannabis, blue background, copy space for text. CBD and medical marijuana concept for pets dog cbd stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

When choosing a CBD product for your dog, consider factors such as your dog's size, the desired effects (e.g., pain relief, anxiety reduction), and your dog's preferences. Additionally, make sure to select products from reputable brands that provide information about their sourcing, manufacturing processes, and third-party lab testing for potency and purity.

Regulations on CBD for dogs in Canada

In Canada, CBD products are considered cannabis products and are regulated by Health Canada. This includes CBD products intended for both humans and animals. The regulations cover various aspects of CBD products, including production, distribution, sale, and labeling.

Here are some key points about CBD regulations for dogs in Canada:

  • Prescription Requirement: CBD products for pets, including dogs, require a prescription from a veterinarian. This means you cannot purchase CBD products for your dog without a prescription.
  • Cannabis for Medical Purposes: CBD products for pets can only be obtained through the same channels as medical cannabis for humans. This involves obtaining a prescription from a veterinarian who is authorized to prescribe medical cannabis.
  • Licensed Producers: CBD products for pets in Canada must be sourced from licensed cannabis producers authorized by Health Canada. These producers must adhere to strict quality control and safety standards.
  • THC Content: CBD products for pets in Canada are subject to limits on THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. THC is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. The allowable THC levels may be even stricter for pets compared to human products.
  • Labelling and Packaging: CBD products for pets must adhere to strict labelling and packaging regulations set by Health Canada. This includes providing clear information about the product's CBD and THC content, dosage instructions, potential side effects, and more.
  • Limited Availability: The availability of CBD products for pets may be limited due to the prescription requirement and the relatively small number of veterinarians authorized to prescribe medical cannabis.

It's important to note that regulations can change, and it's advisable to consult with a veterinarian or legal professional in Canada who is up-to-date with the current laws and regulations surrounding CBD products for pets. Always ensure that you are obtaining CBD products legally and from reputable sources to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog.

Where can I get CBD for my dog?

You can find CBD products for dogs in various places, both online and in physical stores. However, it's important to ensure that you're obtaining high-quality, reputable products that adhere to regulations and safety standards. Here are some places where you might find CBD products for dogs:

  • Veterinarian's Office: Some veterinarians might carry or recommend specific CBD products that are safe for dogs and meet quality standards. Additionally, they can provide guidance on dosage and usage.
  • Licensed Cannabis Retailers: In regions where cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use, licensed cannabis retailers might offer CBD products for pets, along with human-focused cannabis products.
  • Online Retailers: Many online retailers specialize in selling CBD products for pets. It's important to research these retailers, read reviews, and verify that they provide lab-tested, high-quality products.
  • Pet Supply Stores: Some pet supply stores might offer CBD products designed specifically for dogs. Make sure to inquire about the quality and sourcing of the products they carry.
  • Natural Health Stores: Some natural health stores or wellness shops might carry CBD products for pets as part of their offerings.

When purchasing CBD products for your dog, keep these points in mind:

  • Choose products that are specifically formulated for pets and clearly indicate the CBD content.
  • Look for products that have been third-party tested for potency and purity.
  • Check the product's label for information on THC content and dosage instructions.
  • Consider consulting your veterinarian before introducing CBD to your dog's routine, especially if your dog has underlying health conditions or is on medication.

Since CBD regulations can vary by region and country, it's important to ensure that you're purchasing products that are legal and compliant with local laws. Always prioritize your dog's safety and well-being by choosing reputable sources and products.

In conclusion, while CBD holds promise as a potential supplement for dogs, its usage should be approached with care and responsibility. Consultation with a veterinarian is paramount before introducing any CBD products into your dog's routine. When administered under professional guidance, CBD may offer benefits such as anxiety relief, pain management, and overall well-being for your furry companion. Ensuring that you source high-quality products from reputable manufacturers is essential, as is closely monitoring your dog's response to CBD and adjusting the dosage as needed. As research in this area continues to evolve, maintaining an informed and cautious approach will contribute to the safety and potential benefits of using CBD for your beloved dog.

Pomeranian posing beside a hemp plant, CBD oil and CBD treats
Pomeranian posing beside a hemp plant, CBD oil and CBD treats

View Sources

AKC. "CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know" (2021).

Harvard medical school. "Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don't". (2020).

Grass & Co. "How CBD oil is made". (2020)

Gamble, Lauri-Jo, Jordyn M. Boesch, Christopher W. Frye, Wayne S. Schwark, Sabine Mann, Lisa Wolfe, Holly Brown, Erin S. Berthelsen, and Joseph J. Wakshlag. "Pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs." Frontiers in veterinary science 5 (2018): 165.

DrugBank. "Cannabidiol".

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