Benefits of CBD for Dogs: The Ultimate Guide


You know about CBD and its benefits for consumers. But what about CBD for dogs? As you’re about to find out, the benefits of CBD for dogs are just as great. It doesn’t matter if your dog experiences anxiousness around strangers or loud noises, such as fireworks, or age is creeping up on their joints—CBD has the potential to reduce these conditions in your canine friend. The popular hemp extract is safe for pets and easy to administer daily to improve their quality of life. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.

What is CBD?

Before diving into CBD for dogs, it’s essential to have a good idea of CBD and other compounds hemp extracts contain. The plant produces over 500 chemicals, including CBD and other phytocannabinoids. The other compounds include terpenes, flavonoids, and essential nutrients. The cannabinoids work with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

This unique interaction has an array of benefits, such as helping you relax and reducing inflammation. The most well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound responsible for making you feel “high” when consuming cannabis.

But not all cannabinoids produce a psychoactive response. Of the 500-plus compounds found in hemp, over 100 are phytocannabinoids, and CBD, or cannabidiol, doesn’t create an extreme euphoria. The only primary compound in hemp that causes a psychoactive response is THC.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: What is the Difference?
Pet owners may find it challenging to distinguish hemp from marijuana. The two are similar in many ways, such as their Consumers often confuse the two plants. They share many characteristics. However, hemp won’t get your dog high. appearance, aroma, flavors, and chemical composition. However, some key differences set the two apart, and these include THC and CBD content.

Marijuana plants are bred to have high levels of THC for more psychoactive effects. Hemp, on the other hand, is cultivated to have less than 0.3% THC. This means that it has little to no psychoactive response. Since hemp contains such small amounts of THC, it is considered a legal substance. The bottom line: Hemp and CBD won’t get your pup high. It’s completely safe, non-intoxicating, and non-habit-forming.

How Does CBD for Dogs Work?

For decades, scientists have been studying cannabinoids for their potential therapeutic applications. Confirming an internal system in all mammals’ bodies that interact with them has helped researchers understand how the body and CBD work. Experts now know it plays a pivotal role in your dog’s overall well-being. So, it makes sense that researchers are investigating how cannabinoids like CBD affect this system. CBD works the same for dogs as it does for people. The endocannabinoid system is found in all mammals, and research is available for CBD and dogs, cats, and even horses.

The ECS is a long-reaching You can give your dog CBD oil or edibles. However, it must be formulated for animals. internal system that includes receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes. It has one primary function—maintain balance within the body, and CBD has the potential to help calm the mind and keep everything running smoothly. Since hemp contains such small amounts of THC, it is considered a safe and legal substance.

The Endocannabinoid System for Pets

CBD works the same for dogs as for people because the endocannabinoid system is found in all mammals, and research is available for CBD and dogs, cats, and even horses. The ECS is a long-reaching internal system that includes receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes. It has one primary function—maintain balance within the body, and CBD has the potential to help calm the mind and keep everything running smoothly.

Is the system the same for cats, dogs, horses, and people? Yes and no. Scientists have found a few differences involving the concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the body. While studies are still ongoing, the Improve your dog’s quality of life with CBD. Innovative Veterinary Care Journal, which is a trade publication for veterinarians and similar paraprofessionals, concludes,

“ECS plays a direct role in physiological homeostasis, as it regulates nearly every metabolic process in an animal’s body. As backed by science, a well-balanced ECS will encourage favorable conditions in the animal’s body, impacting their ability to self-manage metabolic stress, anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, and support overall health and systemic well-being. When we understand how full and broad-spectrum hemp oil interacts with their ECS, we can potentially provide relief from certain health ailments and improve their quality of life.”

Is CBD for Dogs Safe?

The ECS consists of two primary phytocannabinoids, CB1 and CB2. While there are others, these are the most studied. The receptors are found throughout the body. When chemicals attach to the receptors, they produce all sorts of effects, including intoxication (THC), calmness (CBD), and pain relief. The system regulates mood, appetite, sleep, memory, immune function, pain perception, and many other processes.

Is CBD Legal for Dogs?

CBD is safe for your canine friend, but you should always consult a veterinarian before administering it. While there are no contraindications to CBD, dogs may be more sensitive than humans to its effects.

The biggest concern pet owners have about CBD is the effect it may have on their dogs. Not all dogs react to CBD in the same manner. For example, dosing an excited dog with CBD could cause him to calm down more than what you’d like. It takes some time for owners to figure out the best dose and the appropriate form of CBD.

Why Give Dogs CBD?

There are a few reasons for giving your dog CBD. Here is a breakdown of the various purposes for providing pets with safe hemp products.


Does your dog experience any anxiousness with loud noises, new people, and changes in situations? They’re not alone. These intrusions often stress dogs in their daily routine. Additionally, pets that are usually fine with loud noises still have trouble at certain times of the year, such as during fireworks.

Many pet parents are turning to CBD treats and oils as a natural way to help their pets stay calm during these stressful times.

A report in Frontiers In Veterinary Science tracking what veterinarians are experiencing regarding CBD practices found that over 75% of professionals reported positive changes in their patients with anxious behaviors. Less than 5% listed side effects, making it an excellent and natural option for reducing occasional anxiousness.


It’s common for canines to experience pain from inflammation. This symptom is often connected to the aging process. However, it’s also a potential sign of CNS diseases typical in dogs.

When reviewing the ECS, a study involving endocannabinoids (ECs) and canines with inflammatory CNS diseases found positive interactions between the ECS and CNS.

“The authors concluded that the ECS is upregulated in inflammatory CNS diseases in dogs, stating that ‘the development of new anti-inflammatory treatment strategies in canine CNS inflammation should involve the ECS.'”

DMV 360’s report on the study from Dr. Pendegrass mentions the final thoughts of the researchers,

“Thus, both CB2 agonists and antagonists might be beneficial in counteracting the inflammatory consequences.”

More research is necessary to confirm dosing and the best formula. However, the available data is promising that veterinarians will be able to prescribe hemp extracts for their patients in the near future.

Aging Joints

As people and pets age, it’s natural that joints start to ache more. The cartilage that protects the bones from rubbing against each other breakdown over time, creating painful friction. While you can’t stop or reverse the aging process, CBD has shown incredible promise for providing relief.

One of the most common conditions dogs experience is osteoarthritis or OA. A 2020 report studying the combining effects of CBD and traditional treatments found considerable relief for animals.

“Overall, according to the CBPI scores assigned by the owner, a satisfactory pain and quality of life management was achieved in dogs receiving OTM CBD oil (2 mg kg−1 every 12 h), in addition to a multimodal pharmacological approach for the treatment of OA-related pain.”

While that might not sound as good because your dog is still taking other medications, the research is promising because it reduces dependence on other drugs with significant side effects.

The study concluded,

“The high CBD patient tolerability, the easy practicability and the paucity of adverse effects of OTM route of administration may represent potential benefits for long-term therapy.”

Sleep Quality

Caring for older pets is a rewarding process, but at the same time, it can be difficult. As your dog ages, sore joints and anxiousness can make it hard for them to sleep. One reason people take CBD is to improve sleep quality. The same benefit for consumers goes for their pets, too.

Some consumers might be concerned about CBD making their dogs lethargic during the daytime. However, a 2021 animal study found that’s not the case. The researchers were reviewing if CBD could reduce anxiousness and scratching without causing sluggishness.

“The results of the current study indicate that when supplemented with up to 4.5 mg/kg BW/day, CBD does not impact the overall daily activity of adult dogs. Total daily activity including duration of the activity, sleep quality, and resting were unaffected by CBD. Similarly, activity during the exercise periods was also unaffected by CBD.”

Overall Wellness

Hemp extracts contain over 500 compounds with many benefits. It’s a great way to ensure your furry friend lives a full life with the best care possible. People and their pets can enjoy a better quality of life with CBD supplements. Consider adding a hemp extract to your dog’s day to reduce anxiousness, improve mood, reduce joint soreness, promote quality sleep, and encourage overall wellness.

These are only a few of the ways CBD may improve your dog’s quality of life. As more research becomes available, we will update you on CBD for dogs. For now, we recommend reading more about how to buy CBD safely for your pet.

How To Give a Dog CBD

There are many forms of CBD available for pets, including tinctures and treats. Oils can be given sublingually, which means they’ll absorb through the gums and can provide quick relief. These are available in pet-friendly flavors, such as seafood, beef, and chicken.

You know your dog best. Tinctures are an excellent option, but you have to place a few drops in their mouth to work. If you know this isn’t possible with your pet, then consider another method. You can also mix these with your dog’s favorite food or treat, such as a spoonful of peanut butter. However, these are oral deliveries and take the same amount of time as edibles to work.

Some pet owners aren’t comfortable measuring out the dose with the eyedropper. For this reason, pet-specific treats are available. These can be broken into smaller pieces to give your dog the exact quantity you choose. Similar to the oils, these are available in different flavors your pup will love.

Edible CBD for dogs takes longer to work than tinctures, and the oral route goes through the digestion process, making the onset about an hour to provide relief. Despite how long it takes to work, both tinctures and edibles for pets last four to six hours.

However, it’s vital to keep these in a safe place where your dog can’t get to them. Similar to preventing children from gaining access to CBD products, your dog only sees these as treats and doesn’t understand why they can’t have more. The easiest way to keep everyone safe is to store them where the pets and children in your home have access. Although there’s little chance of an overdose, they’ll most likely experience an adverse response, such as nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Another way to give your dog CBD is with a topical cream. This option may be helpful for local relief from sore joints, which is common as your pup ages. You can massage these into the area, and they don’t have to ingest the CBD. It’s also helpful for skin irritations. Different topical products are available that are formulated for pets.

These often contain other ingredients that support and work in unison with the hemp compounds to provide a better overall experience. Creams and balms applied to the skin work in about 20 to 30 minutes and last around four hours. You can reapply safely as necessary.

Additionally, you can apply topical CBD and give your furry friend treats infused with hemp extract or a few drops of a tincture to offer more all-around relief.

What’s the Best Dosage of CBD for Dogs?

This part can get a little tricky. As mentioned, If you’re a pet owner, it’s best to start at a low dose and work your way up. This approach can take some time for dogs because CBD has a different effect on pets than people. Several studies are available regarding the use of CBD for dogs—all these reports emphasize the need to take caution when administering hemp extract to pets. In most cases, the studies suggest a low dose for about three to four weeks before increasing as needed. You should wait at least one week before raising the serving amount.

Additionally, it should be in small increments of 5mg or less. Stay with the same product while increasing the dose. That way, if there’s a problem, you know it’s the dose and not the specific delivery method or brand.

Side Effects of CBD

Similar to humans, the side effects of CBD for dogs are usually mild, which is why professionals prefer the all-natural supplement. Some common side effects include:

  • Sleepiness or lethargy (In high doses)
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset Stomach

If your dog’s experiencing any of these side effects, reduce the dose until they’re gone or not a problem. For example, sleepiness, but you’re giving them the serving at night to calm them down and help them sleep. In this case, it’s not a side effect but instead the desired result.

Can You Give Your Dog CBD for People?
No! Never give your pet CBD products formulated for humans. These are more potent than oils and edibles for dogs and might contain other ingredients that are dangerous for animals. This mistake is common, and it can be a very costly one. Products for humans are not recommended for use in dogs, and you shouldn’t use them interchangeably.

Also, dogs react differently to hemp than humans. If your dog accidentally gets into your CBD human products, contact the local Animal Poison Control Center offices before administering any treatment options.

A Short List of Common CBD Additives Poisonous for Dogs

In some CBD products, you’ll find additives. While some of these are perfectly safe for humans and animals, there are a few ingredients to keep away from your pets. These include:

  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Wintergreen
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Pennyroyal
  • Ylang ylang
  • Tea tree

If your dog ingests any CBD products developed for people, contact your veterinarian for help.

How to Choose the Right CBD For Your Dog

Do your homework. The last thing you want to do is give your furry best friend untested products. Doing some research on the best CBD options for your pet is vital. Look up the company you’re purchasing from and ensure they have a solid track record of quality products. Read their reviews and look for their certificate of analysis before making a purchase.

Also known as a COA, third-party tests from reputable labs are available to check for purity and potency, which is a great way to get peace of mind. CBD should not contain heavy metals or harmful residues such as solvents or pesticides. An independent lab can verify the products are free of contaminants, have 0.3% THC or less, and ensure the percentage of CBD in each product matches the label. You shouldn’t purchase products without a valid certificate of analysis.

Is CBD for Pets legal? Yes, in most cases, it is. The problem is that the FDA does not regulate either hemp-derived or marijuana-derived CBD for dogs or cats. However, using CBD for pets does not necessarily mean breaking the law. Instead, you have to be careful of the products you choose for them. If your dog has any wellness issues that CBD could improve, talk to your pet’s veterinarian.

Should You Choose a Full- or Broad-Spectrum Dog CBD?

There are three primary CBD formulas—Full spectrum, board spectrum, and isolate. It’s also essential to understand the difference between these blends to determine which is the best for your pet.


A full-spectrum or whole plant formula is perfect for pets who require a lot of help. The products are designed to cover the endocannabinoid system with all its receptors, which will provide your pet with more overall relief.

These products are always the whole plant-based and typically contain CBD along with other cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, THCA, THCVA, terpene profiles, and flavonoids. The other cannabinoids and terpenes will change how the CBD interacts at the receptor sites, making full-spectrum products more effective.


Using a broad-spectrum CBD product is also effective, and it’s usually preferred by pet owners who don’t want their dog to have any THC. A broad-spectrum formula contains everything found in the full-spectrum except for THC. Although most experts agree the 0.3% found in hemp isn’t harmful, some pet parents feel more comfortable with the THC-free blend, which offers nearly all the benefits of a whole plant formula.


An isolate formula contains pure CBD while still offering some of the same benefits as a full-spectrum product. The downside is that it won’t provide much in the way of other cannabinoids and terpenes. However, consumers feel more confident knowing their pup’s getting a pure, 99% CBD compound.

It’s also great if your dog is sensitive to other cannabinoids, in which case an isolated product will be the best choice. An isolate formula can also be helpful to pet parents who aren’t sure which option their dog needs but still wants to start them on a CBD regime.

We hope the information we’ve provided has been helpful and that you’re now better prepared to choose a CBD product for your pup. At Therapeutic CBD, our goal is the safety and well-being of you and your pets. This is why we also wanted to mention again how important it is to research before purchasing any products. Just as you would for a human family member, give your vet a call to discuss any possible interactions with current medications. However, the bottom line is that CBD is safe and effective for pets. Consider adding a hemp extract to your dog’s wellness routine to improve their overall quality of life.

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