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  • Is CBD Safe For Dogs? Benefits and How To Avoid Side Effects

Written by The Hemp Jubilation Team

Updated on: October 16, 2022

As with any pet wellness trend, when it comes to CBD oil for dogs, there’s a great deal of information floating around the internet, and it’s difficult to know what’s accurate and what’s a misrepresentation. 

Of course, you want to do what’s best for your pet, which leads to the question: Is CBD safe for dogs, and what do I need to know about CBD oil for dogs?

We will explain what it does for dogs, its safety concerns, and potential side effects.

Potential Benefits Of CBD For Dogs

While there’s no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs and cats, there’s anecdotal evidence from dog and cat owners suggesting it can treat pain, anxiety, as well as helping to control seizures.

Some of the benefits of CBD for dogs similar to humans and are said to be:

CBD for Mobility

As your dog starts to get up in years, you may notice changes to his mobility as a normal part of aging. Maybe he’s no longer able to enjoy his daily walks the way he used to, or maybe he struggles to climb the stairs or jump on the couch in your home. Its heartbreaking to watch.

And this is why many pet parents turn to CBD for this very situation. CBD supports healthy joints and flexibility, provides connective tissue support, and can help relieve occasional joint stiffness by maintaining joint mobility and supporting bone health.

It’s no wonder so many customers of CBD success stories revolve around senior dogs who got the spring back in their step thanks to CBD!

CBD Can Decrease Pain

Can you tell if your dog is in pain? Dogs are notorious for hiding their discomfort, a trait they inherited from their wild ancestors. Usually, by the time a dog has made its pain known, unfortunately, it’s progressed to a very uncomfortable point.

Naturally, no pet parent ever wants to see their dog in pain. Whether your dog is recovering from an injury or recent operation or is experiencing occasional discomfort from normal aging or from normal daily exercise and activity, CBD may help. 

CBD helps supports a normal inflammatory response in the body, which helps with occasional stiffness and soreness while also supporting healthy cellular activity and normal muscle recovery.

And Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in dogs. Canine osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition marked by pain and limb dysfunction, stiffness, and loss of mobility. And it can leave dogs irritable and reluctant to play, run or jump.

Cats are also very commonly affected and this may be seen at a young age.

The September 2020 study, published in the journal PAIN, looked at whether different doses and formulations of CBD might help dogs suffering from osteoarthritis - and the results suggested that it could.

It is also well-reported that CBD has been effective against various types of pain, including inflammation and nerve-related pain. It can also help alleviate the effects of arthritis, helping with joint and mobility pain.

CBD Can Help Decrease Stress And Anxiety In Dogs

Just like humans, dogs experience stress and anxiety. Anxiety can affect all breeds but may affect each individual pet differently.

There are various reasons why a dog may feel stressed or nervous, including loud noises (like thunderstorms and fireworks), changes in the household (such as bringing a new baby home or having family over for a special gathering).

Along with changes to their usual routine (such as traveling, hospitalization, or moving to a new home), and separation from their loved ones at times when they’re left home alone.

Other times, you may simply have a dog on your hands who is dealing with hyperactivity. Hyperactivity is often caused by excess energy and can lead to destructive behavior.

Thankfully, CBD can help. CBD has a calming effect on the nerves, which automatically promotes relaxation in animals and supports a normal emotional balance.

It helps animals cope with external stresses (including environmentally-induced stress) and situations that may cause nervousness and helps them maintain a normal and more relaxed disposition.

CBD Can Treat Epilepsy or Seizure Episodes

In a small 2019 study, 89% of dogs had a reduction in the frequency of seizures when given CBD oil.

CBD Can Help with Appetite and Nausea

If your furry best friend isn’t showing much of an appetite, CBD can help make eating easier on your dog’s digestive tract if they’re feeling unwell. It’s also been shown to help with vomiting and nausea, even when toxins or drugs cause these symptoms.

CBD Might Help To Treat Canine Cancer

Promising Research and anecdotal evidence have suggested that CBD can cause a significant decrease in cancer cell reproduction, stopping cancerous cells from growing and increasing tumor cell death by blocking their ability to produce energy.

It’s important to take note of the effects of CBD as they are still being studied, particularly as they relate to animals.

Can I Give My Dog Human CBD Oil?

The answer is yes and no. You can give your dog human CBD oil as long as the other ingredients in it are safe for dogs to consume. However, we recommend using pet-intended CBD products for your dog to keep things simple and more importantly safe.

There are many reasons why human CBD oil might not be safe for our pets. A safe product for your dog will have (or exclude) specific ingredients, specific serving sizes, and be a specialty formula with supportive ingredients made with the help of a veterinarian.

So it is highly recommended to give your dog a pet-specific version of CBD oil. WHY?...

Along with the fact that there really is nothing to prevent a CBD company from making it flavored with an artificial sweetener like Xylitol, which is toxic for animals. So again I would definitely choose a veterinary-specific product.

For those of you who were asking, Can I give my dog human CBD oil? The answer is you shouldn't give them human CBD.

The differences between pet CBD and human CBD are significant, and human CBD oil can even be dangerous to your pet if it contains toxic ingredients or high levels of THC. 

Possible Side Effects of CBD in Dogs

While there’s no scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for dogs, there are potential side effects based on how CBD affects humans. To minimize any potential side effects, make sure you are following the proper dosage and are using a quality product from a reputable brand.

Dry Mouth: If CBD causes your dog’s mouth to become dry, it can result in poor dental health, bad breath, and even cause pain when swallowing.

Drowsiness: Many Dog owners have used CBD to treat anxiety. But the calming effect of CBD can also cause drowsiness. Generally, this is due to a dose that’s too large, so if your dog gets drowsy after a dose of CBD, you might want to reduce the dosage size.

Low Blood Pressure: High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. Even though the drop is small, it can cause light-headedness. Since this is usually dose-dependent, reducing the amount you’re giving to your dog should help to eliminate this side effect.

Vomiting: Anything your dog isn’t used to consuming can cause an upset stomach or induce vomiting. Even switching dog foods will wreak havoc on many dogs’ stomachs. CBD is no different, and especially in high doses, it can cause quite a lot of discomfort for your furry friend.

So, please keep in mind all of the potential side effects your dog might suffer before you decide to dose them with CBD.

It’s important to slowly introduce CBD to your dog, as it gives his body time to acclimate. It’s also a good rule of thumb to offer CBD at mealtime as opposed to on an empty stomach.

The important thing is to closely monitor your dog’s behavior and activity levels when first introducing CBD (and again to introduce it slowly) so that you can best determine the perfect dose for your pup.

And it’s always a really good idea to get your vet’s professional opinion first.

Risks of Using CBD Oil for Dogs and How To Avoid Side Effects

The safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not yet been researched. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD for dogs. So we don't know the proper dosing to give them.

Therefore, we do not know what size dosage would be toxic. Any medication or supplement carries the risk of a reaction.

It is always advisable, when giving your dog something new, to start out with small amounts and then closely monitor the effects by writing them down. And again always check with your veterinarian first.

What are the most common CBD products for dogs?

CBD Oils

CBD oils are commonly referred to as CBD tinctures.

CBD tinctures come equipped with a dropper (usually 1mL in size), which takes out the guesswork when it comes to giving your pet CBD. With a tincture, you always know just how much CBD oil your animal friend is receiving and can easily adjust the dose as needed.

CBD oils are best administered sublingually (under your pet’s tongue). This allows the CBD to quickly diffuse into the blood through the tissues located underneath your pet’s tongue.

Alternatively, with a pet tincture, you can also administer CBD oil into their food.

CBD Bites, Chews, and Treats

What dog doesn’t love a tasty morsel of goodness?

CBD bites, chews, and treats make it easier than ever to introduce CBD into your pet’s health regimen.

They come in various shapes and sizes and are usually formulated with delicious ingredients that pets already love — like coconut, peanut butter, chicken, bacon, and turmeric.

Some pet CBD companies even manufacture CBD-infused peanut butter and CBD-infused coconut oil. CBD oil products like this are a big hit among dogs!

What is the best pet CBD brand?

We all know that not all pet CBD products are created equally.

This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s important to know your CBD facts when purchasing a product for both you or your pet.

This is especially crucial considering the CBD space isn’t regulated by any official governing bodies, meaning it’s all too easy to come across low-quality products or even products that contain no CBD whatsoever despite what their labeling says, or even worse unsafe products.

If you and your veterinarian decide that you should try CBD as a treatment for your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD oil.

You need to be careful with ingredients, doses, and brands. You’ll also want high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working safely.

Here are are eight must-haves to tick off your criteria list and avoid side effects when you’re researching a CBD company:

1. Hemp-derived CBD only!

This not only ensures that your CBD is legal in all 50 States, but it also guarantees that your CBD product doesn’t contain high traces of THC, which can be toxic to your pet.

(Ultimately, a Certificate of Analysis will give you the most detailed breakdown of your CBD, which we discuss further down this list).

2. CBD products should be natural and organic

As with organic food, the cannabis plant’s quality can be altered by the way that it’s grown. Best practices mean plants that haven’t been treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

In addition, CBD pet products should be non-GMO and free of soy, dairy, corn, and gluten as well.

3. USA-grown hemp

Growing standards in other countries are not as high as those set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meaning CBD oils from other parts of the world could come with chemicals you don’t want your pet to consume.

4. Don’t Just Go For The Least Expensive

Higher quality and purity are usually associated with a higher cost. Cheaper alternatives could contain toxic substances such as heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides. Make sure your CBD oil is free of additives.

5. Lab Tested

Any manufacturer worth their good reputation will provide certificates to certify the amount of CBD in the product and that it has very little to no THC present. Because THC is toxic to dogs you’ll want to make sure there is little or no THC in the product and the third-party lab test will verify this.

This important document will also ensure that your CBD product contains no contaminants that can be toxic to your pet, while also providing a comprehensive breakdown of all the different cannabinoids and terpenes that are present in your CBD.

Terpenes are natural compounds that are also derived from the cannabis plant and added to CBD products to produce certain desired results; some are best for promoting relaxation, for instance, while others can be used to support the body’s inflammatory response.

6. Honest packaging and marketing

Legitimate CBD companies will never make medical claims not supported by science, and will never mislead the consumer with dishonest marketing tactics.

7. Reputable Brand

The brand needs to be well-respected with a good reputation.

8. Research any CBD company you’re considering

Make sure that the company is in the right standing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Simply search online for “FDA dog CBD,” and you’ll find a list of offenders who have made false claims about their products in the past.

Reading client reviews will also give you a clear idea of brand reputation, the effectiveness of the product, and customer service, and you should always check out a company’s rating on Better Business Bureau.

Where can I buy CBD oil for my dog?

The internet is full of CBD companies and retailers who sell hemp-derived CBD pet products.

That said, you should never purchase a CBD product without thoroughly investigating the company behind it first.

Do your homework, read reviews, and research the company in question as much as you can. Use the 8-step buyer’s guide provided above as you begin to compare different CBD brands and don’t stop searching until you’ve found a company that checks off all the boxes.

Final Thoughts: Is CBD Safe For Dogs? and Next Steps

While the limited research suggests that CBD does not pose significant risks to pets, few risks have been identified. The lack of studies is a concern.

Keep in mind that overdosing is the most common ill effect of CBD use in pets.

Because THC is toxic to dogs and cats, a large dose of THC can be very dangerous and can result in serious medical complications.

So you will want to be careful of overdosing your pet and be sure to keep any CBD products safely up and out of paws’ reach.

Fortunately, these days, our beloved four-legged friends can take part in the exciting world of CBD too, thanks to CBD pet companies that are dedicated to crafting the best CBD products for our dogs and cats to support their health and happiness.

Do your homework, research each brand before purchasing, talk to your veterinarian, and make informed choices about CBD pet products or if you're ready for the next step. Checkout our Best CBD Oil For Dogs recommendations.

If you decide to use CBD pet products, follow instructions, start with small doses, and be on alert for side effects.


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