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Is CBD oil safe for dogs? 

If you’re thinking about giving your dog CBD oil, here’s what you need to know before you do.



CBD bioavailability Innocan
CBD is most often used to reduce pain and anxiety in pets

Increasingly pet owners are considering giving their dogs CBD oil, cannabis writer Jessica Reilly, covers everything you need to know before you do.

Due to conventional treatments not always being effective, dog owners are now turning to alternatives to improve the wellbeing of their pets.

Due to its anti-inflammatory and neuro-modulating effects, CBD oil is growing in popularity with dog owners, who are using it to treat pain and anxiety in dogs.

If you’re thinking about giving your dog CBD oil, here’s what you need to know before you start. 

What is CBD oil? 

CBD is a cannabinoid harvested from hemp and cannabis plants. CBD is short for cannabidiol and has a much lighter, more subtle effect on the system than THC, the cannabinoid that produces the classic high feeling. 

CBD has become increasingly popular as a wellness supplement and can provide relief to dogs in a similar way to humans. CBD oil can be used to help relieve pain, stimulate the appetite, reduce anxiety or inflammation, and provide immune support. 

CBD is not THC, and THC should not be given to dogs. 

THC can cause dizziness, vertigo, lethargy, excessive tension and drooling, loss of bladder control, abnormal heartbeat and more. THC can be poisonous to dogs, so if your dog ingests THC, take them to a veterinary professional immediately.

CBD oil & dog health 

While scientific research on the effects of CBD on dogs is limited, there is ample anecdotal evidence from happy pet owners that a CBD regimen can greatly improve your dog’s quality of life. CBD is most often used to reduce pain and anxiety in pets but may also be used to help dogs with arthritis and epilepsy. Dogs, like humans, have an endocannabinoid system to process cannabinoids. 

Reported conditions that CBD can help with include: 

  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Inappetence 

CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and anti-anxiety properties as well as cardiac benefits and appetite stimulation. It also works as a painkiller and may support joint and bone health in ageing dogs. CBD can also help improve skin health and give your dog a healthy, shiny coat. 

The science on CBD oil & dogs  

  • A 2020 study conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine gave CBD to 20 dogs with arthritis. The 4-week study found the dogs who received high doses of CBD showed significant signs of improvement including reduced pain and increased mobility. The same dogs continued to show signs of improvement after stopping treatment, suggesting the CBD treated the underlying inflammatory cause. 
  • A 2018 study of treating arthritic dogs with CBD found that 80% of the dogs who received CBD showed signs of mobility improvement and pain reduction. 
  • A 1988 study tested how CBD was absorbed into the bloodstream of dogs and found that oral administration of CBD has a low bioavailability, meaning the dogs only absorbed part of the dose they were given.  

Ongoing research

Side Effects of CBD in Dogs 

While CBD is considered safe for consumption by the general population, which can include dogs, it is not without side effects. These can include:

  • Dry mouth and increased thirst 
  • Drowsiness or sedation
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness 
  • Diarrhea or vomiting

The full possible spectrum of effects of CBD in dogs has not yet been studied. While new research is being conducted every year, there is still much we don’t know. Always consult with your veterinarian when starting a new treatment for your dog, begin with small doses, and monitor your dog carefully. 

What to Look for in CBD Oil for Dogs 

Not all CBD oils are created the same. Standardized regulations are rare in the industry, and many products are mislabeled or overrepresent the amount of CBD in them. Ensuring you’re getting a quality CBD product isn’t hard, but it does take a little work. Our dogs become family, so it’s important to give your dog the highest quality CBD oil, not a bottle from the local petrol station. 

To buy the best CBD oil: 

  • Don’t buy the cheapest option. With little regulation on CBD products, low cost is often associated with additives and toxic substances like pesticides and heavy metals. Your dog’s health is too important to risk a cheap CBD oil filled with additives. 
  • Look at the ingredients and labels. Many CBD products on the market contain a far smaller dose of CBD than advertised. You’ll also want to ensure there’s little to no THC in the product as well. 
  • Don’t buy CBD treats. Giving your dog an exact dose of CBD can be challenge with treats. Using an oil allows you to be precise down to the drop with how much they receive.

How to give your dog CBD oil

Always start with a low dose when giving your dog CBD oil. A good rule of thumb is to give no more than 0.05 mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight per day. (A 20kg dog would get 1 mg of CBD). You can drop the oil directly in your dog’s mouth or add it to their food.

Once you’ve administered the CBD, monitor your dog. Keep an eye out for any drowsiness, disorientation, or any other negative side effects. These are not common but can happen, particularly with low quality CBD oil. 

If your dog has no negative side effects but does not seem to improve in mobility, energy, or pain reduction, you can gradually up the dosage. Give the CBD up to 5 days to build up in your dog’s system, and then increase it by 0.05 mg per kilogram. Try the new dosage amount for 5 days, and repeat as needed. 

Helping a pet deal with a chronic illness or condition like anxiety can be frustrating and heart wrenching. Dogs become our family, and there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to help an anxious pup or a senior dog in pain.  It can be hard as a pet owner to watch our dogs deal with the side effects that can come from typical pharmaceuticals, along with the expensive vet bills. CBD oil doesn’t require a prescription and can be purchased online. 



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