A Dog Owner’s Guide to CBD

CBD has entered the mainstream. It’s now an incredibly popular health supplement that people turn to for help with anxiety, sleep, pain, inflammation, and much more. And thanks to the internet, hemp-based CBD oil is widely available and legal (for the most part) in all 50 states.

But can it also benefit man’s best friend? Here we’ll discuss why CBD is also be a great health supplement for dogs.

Why CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is a cannabinoid compound that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. And in the past several years, CBD has been getting a lot of attention.

But everything came to a head in June 2018 when the FDA approved CBD for treating rare and severe forms of epilepsy. It was the first time in U.S. history that the FDA approved a drug containing an active ingredient found in cannabis.

Now, people all around the country—from professional athletes to cops—are using CBD to relieve a wide variety of physical ailments and improve their overall health and mental well being. That’s because CBD offers the many therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the intoxication.

Pet owners are also turning to CBD to help their dogs. Even Martha Stewart is working on a line of CBD products for dogs.

Many people don’t mind experiencing the psychoactive effects of cannabis. But for a dog, intoxication can be a scary experience. That’s why CBD is the best way for your dog to benefit from the healing properties of cannabis without the high.

How We Process CBD

CBD is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are compounds found naturally in cannabis. For decades, doctors and researchers didn’t quite understand how cannabinoids like THC and CBD interacted with our bodies.

But then researchers discovered that we make our own cannabinoid compounds. Our bodies make cannabinoids like anandamide as part of a natural biological system called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system helps keep our bodies in balance by regulating a wide variety of processes like inflammation, immune response, sleep, mood, memory, and appetite.

Cannabis works because it mimics the effects of our bodies endocannabinoid system. When we consume cannabis, THC and CBD interact with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and throughout our body to produce their effect.

The endocannabinoid system is also very old. Even fish have it! This is good news for dog lovers because it means that dogs have their own endocannabinoid system and can also benefit from using CBD.

Therapeutic Benefits of CBD for Dogs

Researchers have discovered a long list of diseases and disorders in humans that CBD helps to relieve. But what about dogs?

There’s certainly less CBD research for our canine companions. But there is still some scientific evidence and a growing wealth of anecdotal evidence that says CBD can benefit dogs. Here’s a list of some common ailments in dogs than CBD helps to treat.


For owners with dogs suffering from epilepsy, it can be painful to watch your furry companion suffer from a seizure. CBD can help humans reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. And now new evidence points to the same benefit for dogs.


Many dogs suffer from anxiety, whether its separation anxiety when their owners leave their side or more generalized day-to-day anxiety. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of hard evidence looking at CBD and anxiety in dogs. But mounting anecdotal evidence suggests CBD is effective at calming the nerves of anxious dogs.

Joint Pain

Just like humans, when dogs age, they become prone to joint pain and inflammation. Studies show that CBD can help relieve the pain associated with aging, arthritic joints in dogs.

Is CBD Safe?

Yes, but avoid THC!

One of the biggest benefits of CBD is that, unlike its cannabinoid cousin THC, CBD is not intoxicating. THC is found at high levels in most varieties of cannabis. It’s responsible for the high that people experience when they consume the cannabis plant. However, THC can be toxic to dogs and other pets.

Luckily most CBD products available today are made from hemp, a cannabis strain with high levels of CBD and almost no THC. This makes hemp-based CBD much safer for dogs and pets to consume.

CBD Has a Good Safety Profile

Researchers have studied the safety and toxicity of CBD in depth. In general, CBD is considered relatively safe for both humans and dogs.

We’ve covered the topic of CBD safety on CannaHealth before. Patients who participated in CBD safety studies most commonly reported tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite as adverse side effects.

There aren’t quite as many studies looking at the effects of CBD in dogs. But the studies that are out there come to a similar conclusion—CBD is generally safe with few negative side effects.

CBD does have the potential to react with other drug compounds. If you’re giving your dog other prescription medications, make sure you ask your veterinarian about possible drug interactions before you start giving your dog CBD.

In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a comprehensive review of CBD. They found that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.” Additionally, the WHO concluded that CBD shows almost no potential for dependence or abuse.

The bottom line? CBD is a relatively safe compound. Don’t let fear stop you from trying something new to help your dog experience relief.

Is CBD Legal?

One question people often have is whether CBD is legal. If CBD is derived from cannabis, a Schedule I substance according to the DEA, shouldn’t it be illegal? Not necessarily. The laws in the United States are rapidly changing, especially in the last decade.

As of 2019, the majority of U.S. states have medical marijuana laws. Although the specifics vary by state, these laws allow people to use cannabis to treat certain medical conditions.

A handful of U.S. states have even legalized cannabis for adult recreational use. In these recreational states, all forms of cannabis are legal under state law.

CBD is Legal Under the 2018 Farm Bill

But what if you don’t live in one of these states with medical or recreational cannabis laws? Is CBD still legal? Although CBD exists in somewhat of a legal grey area, the answer is mostly, YES.

That’s because the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill removed hemp—the industrial variety of cannabis used for its fibrous stalks that contains high levels of CBD and nearly no THC—and hemp-derived products from the DEA’s list of Schedule I substances.

This means that as long as a CBD product is made from low-THC hemp, it’s legal at the federal level. But it’s important to note that states can pass their own laws to make CBD illegal. If you want to learn more about the CBD laws in your state, check out our comprehensive guide on state CBD laws.

How Do I Give My Dog CBD?

So you’ve decided that you’d like to give CBD a try for your dog. Where do you start? With the popularity of CBD sky-rocketing, you have your pick of products when it comes to CBD.

But for dogs, some delivery methods are better than others. For example, capsules and topicals are popular options that you’ll find online, but they’re probably not the best choice for Fido. We think CBD oil and dog treats are the best CBD options for dogs and here’s why.


CBD oil is typically made by extracting desirable compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes from the stalks and stems of the hemp plant. These compounds are then suspended in a carrier oil like coconut oil or MCT oil.

CBD oil is the most widely available and flexible choice for dog owners. You can easily dial in the dose for your dog with CBD oil. CBD oil is also great for dogs because you can easily add it to their normal food at meal times.

Dog Treats

CBD dog treats are another great option for incorporating CBD into your dog’s diet. With CBD dog treats, the CBD is baked directly into tasty treats.

Let’s face it—most dogs will not turn down a treat. This takes any fuss out of dosing your dog. Dog treats are also convenient because you can take them on the go for easy dosing throughout the day or while traveling with your dog.

CBD Dosage for Dogs

Now you’ve decided on how you’ll deliver CBD to your dog, but how do you know what dose to give? As we discussed above, CBD is relatively safe. But as the old saying goes, the dose makes the poison.

Although the side effects aren’t severe, too much CBD can still result in an unpleasant experience for your dog. And unfortunately, dogs aren’t able to communicate their symptoms to their owners.

In human patients, the most commonly reported symptoms were diarrhea, tiredness, and headache. It’s important to note that these symptoms occurred with very high doses of CBD, up to 6000 mg in a single dose.

To make sure your dog gets the right dose of CBD, always follow the recommended dosing on the product label. Try starting with the lowest possible dose and see how your pup responds.

If your dog’s symptoms don’t appear to be improving, you can slowly increase the dosage. But make sure to keep a close eye on your dog to see how they react.

It’s also important to only give your dog CBD products that have little or no THC because THC can be toxic to dogs. Only purchase CBD products for your dog from a trusted vendor.

High-quality CBD products will include information about cannabinoid testing. This allows you to verify that the product contains CBD and little or no THC (usually less than 0.3% for hemp-based products).

Best CBD Oil for Dogs

When buying CBD for your dog, you’ll want to choose a high-quality, trusted vendor. That way you’ll know you’re getting a low THC product that you can dose accurately. Here are our top picks for the best CBD oils and treats for dogs.

Honest Paws Treats and Oils

What We Liked

  • The most pet-focused products of any brand
  • The treats are scored for easy half dosing
  • Three flavors of treats with three different effects (calming, relief, and restore).
  • CBD oil comes in three concentrations based on the weight of your dog.
  • Treats: 30 treats at 5mg per treat ($0.20 per mg)
  • CBD Oil for small dogs: 30 ml/125 mg ($0.40 per mg)
  • CBD Oil for large dogs: 30mL/500 mg ($0.18 per mg)

Honest Paws is one of the few CBD brands that is entirely dedicated to helping pet parents improve the health of their four-legged friends. All of Honest Paws’ products are formulated with pets in mind. That’s why Honest Paws is our first choice when it comes to CBD for dogs.

Honest Paws CBD Treats offer 5mg of CBD relief per treat. We love how these treats are scored so that you can easily break them in half for a half dose. Honest Paws CBD Treats also offer different options for different desired effects.

And those are just the treats. Honest Paws Purity Solutions CBD Oil For Dogs offers highly absorbable CBD that’s great for dogs with separation anxiety. Their CBD oil comes in three different concentrations depending on the size of your dog.

And as a nice bonus, Honest Paws also has a super useful CBD dosage calculator on their website.

Get the best price on Honest Paws CBD Dog Treats

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NuLeaf Naturals for Pets

What We Liked

  • More reviews than any other CBD brand
  • Comes in three different concentrations (240 mg, 725 mg, and 1450 mg)
  • Easy to understand dosing guide
  • Fast and free shipping on all U.S. orders
  • 5mL/240mg ($0.16 per mg)

NuLeaf Naturals has been producing high-quality, organic hemp-based CBD oil since 2014. This company really goes above and beyond when it comes to CBD oil. That’s why they have more online reviews than any other CBD company out there.

And now you can bring that same great quality to your dog. NuLeaf’s Full Spectrum Pet CBD Oil formulation is designed for pets and comes with easy to understand, weight-based dosage recommendations. It comes in a variety of concentrations from 240 mg to 1450 mg. We find NuLeaf’s Full Spectrum Pet CBD Oil to be great for dogs with chronic pain or anxiety.

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Medterra Pet Oils

What We Liked

  • CBD Oil is completely THC free
  • 30-day money back guarantee for all products
  • Comes in three different concentrations (150mg, 300mg, and 750mg)
  • Three different CBD oil flavors to choose from (unflavored, chicken, and beef)
  • 15mL/150mg ($0.15 per mg)

Hemp-based CBD oils usually contain less than 0.3% THC. But since THC is toxic to dogs, it’s good to minimize any possible exposure.

Medterra’s CBD Tinctures are 99.6% CBD and are completely THC free. This makes Medterra Pet CBD Tinctures ideal for dogs.

Medterra’s Pet CBD Tinctures come in a range of concentrations from 150 mg to 750 mg. They also come in three different flavors: unflavored, chicken, and beef. The chicken and beef flavors are perfect for dogs with a picky palate who might not like the flavor of plain CBD oil.

Medterra is also one of the few CBD brands that offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with their products.

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CBDMD Pet Oil and Dog Treats

What We Liked

  • Most affordable option
  • Widest range of CBD oil concentrations (300mg, 750mg, 1500mg, and 3000mg)
  • Dog treats are made from simple, all-natural ingredients
  • Various CBD concentrations for dog treats (5mg, 10mg, and 25mg per treat)
  • Treats: 30 treats at 5mg per treat ($0.13 per mg)
  • CBD Oil: 30 mL/300mg ($0.10 per mg)

CBDMD is another brand that makes high-quality, full-spectrum CBD products. Like all good CBD vendors, CBDMD is fully transparent and publishes the results of their independent lab testing so you know exactly what you’re getting.

CBDMD offers a great variety of products for dog owners including CBD oil and dog treats. If your dog likes peanut butter, they’ll be a big fan of CBDMD.

CBDMD’s Pet CBD Oil for dogs comes in a yummy peanut butter flavor. They also have the widest range of concentrations from 300mg all the way up to 3000mg.

CBDMD’s CBD Dog Treats come in a variety of strengths from 5mg to treat . These peanut butter flavored treats are made from all-natural ingredients: eggs, coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, flour, steel-cut oats, water, and CBD oil—that’s it!

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CBD allows you to give your dog the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the toxic and intoxicating effects of THC. It’s safe, legal, and can help relieve your dog’s anxiety, pain, seizures, and other ailments.

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