As more people have begun using marijuana and marijuana extracts for medicinal purposes, an increasing number of dog owners have started wondering if these products – particularly CBD oil — may be helpful for canines too.
We’ll help you learn about CBD oil below so you can decide whether it is a good option for your pet.
In this guide, we’ll explain what CBD oil is, how it differs from hemp seed oil, and the conditions it is thought to treat.
We’ll also recommend a few of the best CBD oils for dogs on the market, so keep on reading!
CBD is an abbreviation for a substance called cannabidiol.
Cannabidiol is one of at least 113 cannabinoids, or active ingredients, found in the marijuana plant. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system – a series of receptors found throughout the mammalian nervous system.
Different cannabinoids trigger different responses from the endocannabinoid system.
The most famous cannabinoid – tetrahydrocannabinol (better known by the abbreviation THC) – is responsible for causing most of the plant’s psychoactive effects. It is the active ingredient in weed that gets you high.
Other cannabinoids cause different bodily reactions. CBD, for example, causes a variety of anti-inflammatory and sedative-like effects. CBD does not get you high, and there’s some evidence that suggests it actually counteracts the effects of THC.
Accordingly, CBD oils will not get you or your dog high, but they may provide a number of health benefits.
CBD oil is a liquid extracted from hemp plants. This oil can be harvested in several different ways.
Alcohol was formerly one of the most common ways to extract CBD oil. Essentially, the plant material would be soaked in alcohol, which would draw the oil out of the plant’s fibers. The alcohol was then allowed to evaporate, leaving behind CBD oil.
However, most CBD oil manufacturers now extract CBD through a complicated process involving supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2). The exact process is rather complicated and of little interest to dog owners, aside from the fact that it is widely considered to be the preferred method for producing safe CBD oils.
In either case, the harvested oil is often mixed with a “carrier oil,” such as coconut oil, to make it easier to package and administer.
When you start shopping for CBD oil, you’ll likely see some products labeled as CBD oil, some labeled as hemp seed oil, and others labelled as cannabis oil.
Unfortunately, this creates a lot of confusion for first-time buyers who don’t understand the differences between the products.
Here’s what you need to know:
→ CBD Oil
CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants rather than typical marijuana plants (hemp is an industrial variety of cannabis that has been selectively bred to contain very little THC). The oil is extracted from several different plant tissues, including the stems and leaves.
CBD oils are rich in CBD yet contain very little THC (legally, hemp plants must contain less than 0.03% THC, so we’re talking about trace amounts — not enough to get you or your dog high). You can purchase these oils from a number of online retailers.
If you are trying to supplement your dog with CBD, you want to use a CBD oil.
→ Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is extracted from hemp seeds in the same basic way that oil is extracted from olives, almonds, or peanuts.
However, hemp seeds do not contain much CBD or THC to speak of, so they’re primarily used as nutritional supplements, because they’re rich in several vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids.
Some people may wish to give their dog hemp seed oils, but it is important to understand hemp seed oils will not provide your dog with any CBD.
→ Cannabis Oil
Cannabis oil is extracted from typical cannabis plants, rather than hemp plants. This means that it often contains high amounts of THC. This type of oil can provide the medicinal benefits CBD oils provide, but it’ll also get you or your dog baked.
This is not what you want for your dog – THC is not safe for dogs, and they don’t like to get high. While the idea of medical marijuana for your dog may sound appealing to those who personally enjoy smoking marijuana, your dog will not be a fan of getting high.
You’d have to buy this type of oil in a dispensary in a weed-legal state anyway.
There is plenty of hype surrounding CBD oil, and the internet is full of questionable claims about the health benefits it provides.
However, there is also a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that the oil does provide legitimate medicinal value.
For example, CBD oil has been experimentally shown to provide some value in treating the following conditions:
Unfortunately for Fido, mice, rats, or humans were the test subjects in most of the studies listed above. The effects of CBD oil in dogs haven’t been researched very much thus far. But that’s starting to change.
Because research into the use of CBD in dogs is still in the early stages, a consensus regarding the proper dosage has yet to materialize.
However, one Cornell University study investigated the efficacy of CBD oil for treating osteoarthritis and produced some empirical data about the issue.
In the study (the paper is awaiting publication and peer review, but you can read a vet’s comments about it here), researchers administered two different dosages of CBD — either 2 or 8 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight – to dogs.
The researchers found that both dosages were well tolerated, and no negative side effects were noted.
This shouldn’t be considered the final word on the issue; instead, you should factor this information in with your vet’s advice and the dosing information provided by the particular product you choose.
Most commercial CBD oils are designed for oral use, although topical creams are also available. From a practical standpoint, most owners should probably stick to products intended for oral use. The creams would likely be hard to apply through your dog’s fur and ridiculously messy.
Most oils marketed for pets come with an eye dropper or feeding syringe to facilitate easy dosing.
You can just squirt the medicine into your dog’s mouth or mix it in with your pet’s food. You can also add it to your pet’s water, but because dogs tend to splash water all over the place while drinking, some of the CBD oil is likely to end up on your kitchen floor, rather than inside your dog’s body.
Cannabidiol is cannabidiol. So, theoretically, you should be able to give your dog CBD oils intended for humans without problem. But, in practice, this probably isn’t a good idea.
A lot of typically harmless ingredients used in human products are toxic to dogs. This not only includes some artificial sweeteners, but things like onions, walnuts, and chocolate too. You won’t find these things in most CBD oils, but many CBD oils do have one troubling ingredient for dogs: grapeseed oil.
As you may know, grapes can be toxic for dogs. And, while the quantities involved are quite small, there’s no reason to take chances. Particularly with something you may end up administering to your dog over a lengthy period of time.
Besides, most CBD oils made for dogs are priced similarly to those made for people (and they’re sometimes cheaper), so there isn’t really a good reason to give your dog a CBD oil intended for human consumption.
There is no shortage of CBD oils on the market.
In fact, that’s part of the problem – there are so many choices available that many owners are sure to feel overwhelmed when they start shopping.
But we’re here to help. The following three CBD oils are among the best ones on the market and are likely to suit you and your pet well!
About: Honest Paws Purity is a fast-acting, 100% full-spectrum CBD oil specifically designed for pets (including dogs and cats). It is made from sun-grown hemp grown in Colorado.
Oils include 30 servings and are made without soy or GMOs. Oils also come with a 1ml dropper so you can easily add the oil to your dog’s favorite food or treats.
Price: $40 – $80 depending in dosage level (1-3)
Honest Paws Purity comes in three different levels, each of which contains different concentrations of CBD.
The manufacturer recommends administering one eye-dropper full (1 milliliter) of oil to your pet each day.
About: RX CBD Extract is a CO2-extracted high-CBD hemp oil sourced from Colorado-grown hemp plants.
RX CBD contains 300 milligrams of CBD per 1 ounce of liquid. It is recommended for medium to large dogs who weigh at least 45 pounds.
And just in case it influences your choice, the Bark Shop – the retailer who sells RX CBD Extract – donates 5% of the proceeds from sales of the oil to pets in need.
CBD oils aren’t the only way to get your pet some CBD; in addition to CBD oils, Honest Paws produces CBD Dog Treats that may be more convenient for some owners.
Each treat contains 5 milligrams of CBD, and the manufacturer recommends giving one to four treats daily, depending on your dog’s body weight. Packs approximately contain 20 treats each.
All the CBD oil dog treats are made with 100% pure full-spectrum CBD oil and tasty ingredients dogs love like like peanut butter, eggs, and malted barley.
Honest Paws CBD Dog Treats come in three different versions of the treats:
About: Innovet PurCBD+ is a CBD oil designed for pets, which is produced from 100% organic hemp grown in Germany and the U.K. It also contains hemp extracts from Oregon-based growers.
Price: Approx $25
Innovet PurCBD+ comes in three different strengths:
The manufacturer also offers a 125-milligram version that is packaged differently to comply with the laws of Indiana and Virginia.
Be sure to discuss the use of CBD oils with your vet before you start using one on your dog. CBD oils are likely safe, but it is always best to err on the side of caution and work with your vet anytime you consider using a supplement or medication.
Do you already use CBD oils to treat your dog’s health problems? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Tell us what product and strength you use, how much you administer to your dog, and what conditions you’re trying to treat!
The use of CBD oil for dogs is a relatively new endeavor, and your experiences may help other readers navigate these unfamiliar waters more successfully.
Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.