How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog?
Pet owners have been using CBD oil for managing the symptoms of canine conditions like joint pain and arthritis. But how efficient is it? And how much should you give your dog?
To date, there are no clinical studies regarding the use of CBD for specific pet ailments. So, CBD is advertised as a food supplement; not medicine.
From what we do know, it’s nearly impossible to give your dog a CBD overdose. Researchers studying CBD toxicity in rats discovered they had to give them over 100 times the normal dose before they could damage their liver.
However, apart from being a waste of money, overly generous doses may cause your pet to feel sleepy or suffer CBD-related side-effects like diarrhoea, vomiting, etc.
Also, CBD can decrease the activity of liver enzymes used to metabolize many prescription drugs. If your dog is on medication, check with your vet before using CBD.
How Much CBD Should You Give Your Dog?
There are many different factors that can have a bearing on how large a dose of CBD is likely to be right for your pet. The size of your dog is one of them.
A puppy will not need as large a dose as a fully-grown dog, but it’s not just about age. An adult Shih Tzu or Toy Poodle is not going to need nearly as much CBD as an adult Afghan Hound or a Great Dane. The real deciding factor is always going to be the weight of the dog.
What other factors influence CBD dosage for pets?
The type of ailment can also influence the dose.
Milder conditions are unlikely to require the same level of CBD as chronic canine conditions do. For this reason, the top brands provide dog owners with recommendations on standard and stronger doses, along with information about which conditions are likely to require each type of dose.
Which is the best CBD brand for dogs?
The brand and type of CBD product can make a big difference (see here how to choose the right CBD brand for you).
In general, the most popular CBD product for dogs are:
- Oils & Tinctures (Drops)
- CBD Dog Treats
Fortunately, no matter which option you choose, the manufacturers of the best CBD products tend to make it easy for pet owners to get the dosage right.
Manufacturers with a strong commitment to canine welfare often provide concise dosage charts that are specific to each of their products. The doses shown on the charts are based on weight and leave no room for second-guessing.
CBD dosage overview
The dosage depends on the kind of product you use and its concentration. Below are some rules-of-thumb. However, remember the general advice regarding CBD dosage: start low, go slow. Start with the lower dosage, then gradually increase it after a week or so (read here how to choose the right CBD dosage).
Unless administered in huge quantities, CBD is not toxic. So, the real risk of getting the dosage or brand wrong is not of your dog suffering an adverse side-effect but rather of CBD having no effect at all.
Oils and tinctures
CBD oils and tinctures are normally administered by the drop. The number of drops required per dose and the frequency of the doses can vary from one product to the next. However, more often than not, the optimum dose is 2-4 drops, 2-4 times each day.
If you want your dog to get the best results from your chosen CBD product, it’s important to thoroughly read the instructions provided and take note of the information on the dosage chart.
CBD capsules usually contain 5-20 mg of CBD oil.
Again, you need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, but the dose is often one capsule one to two times each day.
One of the big differences between CBD capsules and oils and tinctures is the level of concentration.
The concentrations used in some products can be quite high, while in others it may be lower.
The level of potency is not an issue in itself. Whether your dog gets a small dose of a high-potency concentrate or a higher dose of normal-strength CBD oil, the results will be the same.
CBD dog treats
CBD dog treats tend to provide 5 mg of CBD oil per treat. The number of treats per day is generally between one and four pieces.
Again, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s recommendation for the size of your dog and the ailment you are treating.
Which type of CBD product is best for my dog?
Obviously, the important thing is getting the CBD oil into your dog’s system, not how you do so. However, there are pros and cons to each method of administration.
The pros and cons of CBD drops
CBD drops are absorbed faster than the other option and, therefore, get to work more quickly.
Ideally, the drops need to be administered underneath the tongue.
The problem is, some dogs don’t like being given medicines in this way. So, depending on your pet’s temperament and reaction to your attempts to put the drops in its mouth, this could prove to be a bothersome task—especially with a big, strong dog.
Like people, all dogs are different and some dogs that dislike having drops forced upon them may actually be quite happy to lick the drops from a plate or dish.
However, if your dog is off its food and shows no interest in treats, drops (or pushing capsules into its mouth) will be the best way to go.
Of course, in the long-term, dogs that are initially reluctant to take drops directly into their mouths may become used to taking their medicine and stop offering any resistance.
Also, since dogs are highly trainable, rewarding your dog with a post-med treat can be an effective way to modify its behaviour.
When CBD is provided via drops it can pass through the skin membranes in the mouth and directly into the blood.
Unless your dog is in obvious distress, though, speed of action is unlikely to be an issue.
CBD capsules: easy for your dog to spit out, but simple to hide
If your dog does not like taking pills or having things forced into its mouth, capsules may present more problems than drops, as they are easier to spit out.
However, the advantage with capsules is it’s easy to conceal them in your dog’s normal food or push them into the center of a meaty treat.
Capsules are slower-acting because they need to be digested before they can enter the blood. This is a process that can take 45 minutes or more.
CBD treats: the medicine your dog will be keen to take
Due to the fact that they are designed to be tasty, treats are generally the easiest way to get CBD oil into your dog.
Some of the leading manufacturers have come up with some very specialized treats that combine CBD oil with other therapeutic natural compounds such as turmeric and coconut oil.
These special treats tend to focus on certain areas of canine health such as nervousness and joint pain. The latter is a problem that can be quite common with older dogs.
Like capsules, treats are slower-acting as they, too, need to be digested before they can enter the blood. This process can take 45 minutes or more.
CBD oil benefits for dogs
CBD oil has potential value in a number of different areas. It may help calm your dog, reduce any pain, and generally alleviate various ailments and conditions.
CBD and your dog’s pain management
Many pet owners believe CBD oil can be very good for treating dogs that are in pain.
CBD oil and the products that provide it may be a way to keep your dog calm and pain-free. In addition to this, the oil may also be good for reducing inflammation.
One of the primary differences between CBD and THC is that CBD reduces pain when it binds with the receptors. However, when THC binds with them, it causes a high.
Will CBD calm my hyper dog? Calming anxiety, stress, and fear
Administering CBD oil to your dog may also be a good way to calm its nerves and get it in a better state of mind.
This makes it a good option for rescue dogs that have been abused in the past, are still healing and are, therefore, more nervous than the average pet.
However, there are certain events that can frighten and unnerve even the most stable of hounds. Thunderstorms, fireworks, and trips to the vet are just a few examples. A timely dose of CBD may help keep your dog calm during such times of stress.
Managing seizures and epilepsy
One of the few cases of CBD’s proven medicinal value concerns epilepsy. In one well-publicised case, treatment with a special strain of CBD reduced a girl’s monthly seizure count from 1,200 to just three.
CBD may have anticonvulsant properties that may prevent seizures from occurring in the first place. At the very least, there is a good chance it may reduce their frequency. This would, of course, necessitate the need for daily treatments.
CBD oil may also be useful for soothing your dog after a seizure.
Relief from joint pain and arthritis
Due to its reported anti-inflammatory capabilities, CBD may help reduce the misery caused by joint pain and arthritis.
Although these are problems that mostly affect older dogs, it’s not unheard of for younger ones to have these problems too.
Young or old, if your dog finds it painful or difficult to get around, its daily walks will become a challenge instead of something to look forward too.
A well-timed dose of CBD may make all the difference.
Help with other painful poochy situations
Dogs will be dogs. They can get themselves into all kinds of scrapes that cause them pain. Bumps and bruises happen. Granted, most of them aren’t going to stop your dog wagging its tail.
However, for the ones that do, there’s always CBD oil. It may also help treat post-surgery pain after a visit to the vet.
Easing the pain during your pet’s final days
Like people, the best of dogs can sometimes fall victim to the worst of diseases.
Although nobody wants this for their pet, dogs can and do get terminal conditions like cancer. CBD oil may help with the pain and mobility without fogging your pet’s mind.
This will help you both make the most of your final days together.
What is the best CBD oil for dogs? A FAQ
Are CBD oil and hemp oil the same?
No. CBD oil comes from leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa). Hemp oil comes from the seeds. It does not have any of the THC or therapeutic CBD cannabinoids. However, it is a good source of Vitamin E and essential fatty acids.
Is it safe to give my dog CBD?
Absolutely. In fact, experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) say that, in its pure state, CBD does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm (read more here).
How do I know my dog won’t get high?
CBD is only one of around 20 different cannabinoids and it does not have this ability. The cannabinoid that causes a high and may lead to addiction is called THC.
Is CBD for humans the same as CBD for pets?
There is no difference between the actual CBD oil used in products for pets and humans. However, the compounds supplementing the CBD oil are different.
For example, grapeseed oil and xylitol are often found in human CBD oil but are dangerous for dogs. Also, some human CBD products have flavourings which can be harmful to animals.
If you choose to give CBD to your pet, choose a CBD product that is specifically produced for animals.