CBD has a well-deserved reputation as a natural, powerful, anti-inflammatory. Researchers have shown its ability to soothe swollen joints, aid mobility, and reduce discomfort in clinical settings.

While any quality CBD oil will have an anti-inflammatory effect, some products are more relevant to dogs with inflammatory conditions than others.

At a glance? Our favorite CBD oil for dogs with arthritis is CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture.


How does CBD oil works for dogs with arthritis?

Cannabis extracts can reduce the pain and damage that results from internal inflammation around joints by stimulating receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a regulating mechanism shared by humans, dogs, and most mammals. It’s responsible for sending pain signals and activating inflammatory responses.

CBD and certain other cannabis compounds are particularly effective at stimulating the ECS. One of those is CBD-A.

  • CBD-A has been shown in studies to tackle inflammation through a similar strategy to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Right now, GW Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the first FDA-approved CBD medication, has two CBDA patents filed—one for inflammatory skin conditions and another for cancer.

For chronic pain CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture

For chronic pain
CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture

Runner up (chronic pain) – Charlotte’s Web Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Drops

Runner up
(chronic pain)

Charlotte’s Web – Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Drops

For inflammation Innovet Pet PURCBD

For inflammation
Innovet Pet PURCBD

Runner up (inflammation)- HempMy Pet Hemp Seed Oil

Runner up
(inflammation)

HempMy Pet Hemp Seed Oil

Another compound that works with CBD to modulate pain and inflammation is THC. Dogs should never consume products made from plants containing more than 0.3 percent THC, as they may cause intoxication. But studies have shown that smaller quantities trigger immunosuppression.

Because these compounds show anti-inflammatory properties, we look for CBD, CBD-A, and safe levels of THC when recommending the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis & pain.

In addition, we also review each CBD brand for:

  • Label accuracy
  • Owner reviews
  • 3rd party lab certifications

See our full CBD oil ranking system for more on how we score CBD oils for dogs.

Best CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis, Pain & Inflammation in 2021

For chronic pain

  • Label Accuracy
    96.2% Accurate

  • Cannabinoids
    6/7 beneficial cannabinoids

  • Carrier Oil
    Hemp seed oil

  • Owner Reviews
    3.9/5 stars from 448 reviews

  • Shopping experience
    Free shipping on orders over $75
    Subscribe and save 20%

  • Safe THC
    Safe for dogs

When it comes to specifically targeting pain, CBDistillery’s Pet Tincture is hard to beat.

That’s because of the cannabis compounds CBDistillery captures in their extraction. Thanks to careful production processes, they keep an impressive amount of CBD-A, along with high yet safe and legal levels of THC.

The combination of these two cannabis compounds, alongside CBD, makes this our top pick for treating chronic pain.

It’s true that even small amounts of THC have been known to cause side effects in dogs, such as difficulty walking, clumsiness, confusion, tremors, urinary incontinence, and seizures.

However, the risk of adverse effects in hemp-made CBD remains low and we think that owners of dogs in moderate daily pain should seriously consider the benefits of small amounts of THC.

CBDistillery’s overall score is slightly affected by labeling accuracy, and the brand also scored a B for their owner reviews, thanks to a couple of customers voicing concerns about cost and effectiveness for their dogs.

But overall, feedback is positive, with many owners commenting on CBDistillery’s ability to reduce joint pain.

What are customers saying?

4.4/5.0 394 reviews

Chelsea S.
“This works wonders for my aging dog. Helps to manage his arthritis and he loves it. As soon as I touch the bottle he starts drooling!”

Vivian G.
“I’m really seeing some great results for Roscoe–he’s peppier and appears to be getting up, from lying down, easier.”

For inflammation

  • Label Accuracy
    97.6% Accurate

  • Cannabinoids
    5/7 beneficial cannabinoids

  • Carrier Oil
    Hemp seed oil

  • Owner Reviews
    4.87/5 stars from 412 reviews

  • Shopping experience
    Free no minimum shipping
    Subscribe and save 15%

  • Safe THC
    Safe for dogs

Our best value choice in our overall CBD oil rankings, Innovet’s PURCBD oil is a cost-efficient option for owners looking to reduce their dog’s inflammation.

At between 3 and 17 cents per mg of CBD depending on which of their 125mg—6000mg bottle sizes you go for, value for money is competitive (if a little inconsistent) across the whole range.

We think that Innovet is owners’ best bet for fighting inflammation, thanks to the levels of CBD-A found in their extract.

With more CBD-A than any other oil we’ve tested, this brand’s selection of full spectrum cannabinoids is not only an indication of potency but also product quality, with Innovet doing a great job of preserving fragile compounds in the end product.

We’re also big fans of Innovet’s shopping experience, which includes free, no-minimum shipping and a 15 percent discount for owners who subscribe to their products.

All in all, Innovet offers a rich, inflammation-busting oil for a highly competitive price.

What are customers saying?

4.9/5.0 7012 reviews

Robbin H.
“My big 9 yr old rescue Amstaff has bad knees, arthritis, and other trauma from his hard life on the streets. Once he blew out his second knee and we knew surgery would not be an option, we investigated and tried Innovet CBD oil. It has worked wonders. He doesn’t limp anymore and there are days when he acts like a 2-year-old, jumping and leaping around.”

Amy S.
“I have a 7-year-old Rottweiler who has hip dysplasia and arthritis. He has been n prescription medication for years to help with pain management. We started him on Innovet CBD oil two months ago and he is no longer in need of the prescription medications! His pain is being managed and he is much more active.”

Runner up (for pain)

  • Label Accuracy
    100% accurate

  • Cannabinoids
    7/7 beneficial cannabinoids

  • Carrier Oil
    MCT/Coconut oil

  • Owner Reviews
    Minimal independent reviews

  • Shopping experience
    Free shipping on orders over $74
    Subscribe and save 10%

  • Safe THC
    Safe for dogs

Rarely a day goes by when we don’t speak about Charlotte’s Web to owners! The brand features in nearly all of our Best Of lists, thanks to its comprehensive extraction, which makes it one of the most versatile oils around.

As a result, the brand gets top scores for ingredient accuracy and cannabinoid range.

That said, Charlotte’s Web oils only contain around half the CBD-A levels of Innovet, and less THC than CBDistillery—which is why they’re a runner up here. So, if you’re sold on the effects of these compounds in particular, you’re probably better off with one of the products above.

However, with a wide range of other cannabinoids, we think this thoroughly full spectrum product is likely to have similar pain-relieving effects.

Charlotte’s Web does fall down in terms of owner feedback, although this is more due to a lack of owner reviews for the brand’s size, rather than the content of the reviews themselves.

Reading them over, it’s clear that many owners have had great success when using this brand as a treatment for pain and discomfort.

What are customers saying?

3.5/5.0 115 reviews

Katherine S.
“A couple of years ago our dog was having trouble rising and her hind legs were stiff. After a week or so on CBD oil, she was back to being the active dog she always was. We take our walks, she hunts the yard, and no one can believe she is 12 years old.”

Jill M.
“Love the product – My 14-year-old Goldendoodle is doing so well because of it!”

Learn more about these factors in our full review of Charlotte’s Web.

Runner up (for inflammation)

  • Label Accuracy
    95% Accurate

  • Cannabinoids
    5/7 beneficial cannabinoids

  • Carrier Oil
    MCT/Coconut oil

  • Owner Reviews
    Minimal independent reviews

  • Shopping experience
    Free shipping
    Subscribe and save 30%

  • Safe THC
    Safe for dogs

HempMy Pet doesn’t contain the highest amounts of CBD, THC, or CBD-A, but levels all rank above average, and together make a great alternative option for treating inflammation.

As suggested by the presence of CBD-A, HempMy Pet are extraction experts, working with their own proprietary strains of hemp grown in organic Colorado Hemp farms.

The result is a full spectrum oil that contains high levels of CBD along with other cannabinoids, plus an impressive bouquet of terpenes—aromatic oils with their own anti-anti-inflammatory effects.

Like Charlotte’s Web, this brand only scored a C for owner feedback, due to having fewer than 100 reviews on Google and Facebook, and a rating of less than 4.0. But the vast majority of recent posts are positive, with several owners highlighting HempMy Pet’s effect on inflammation.

What are customers saying?

Renee S.
“The Hemp Seed Oil for my lab, Abby, has helped with her arthritic shoulder. She doesn’t limp as like as she did without it. She still limps, but is comfortable to play like a youngster again.”

Donna M.
“My English Mastiff could barely walk because of arthritis. We started giving her 1 ml daily on a Tuesday and by Friday we were taking short walks. A week later we are up to 2 walks per for a total of 1 mile a day. Pretty good for a 170 lb 7-year-old dog.”


CBD and Arthritis in Dogs

Chronic, ongoing pain is a common problem for dogs and their owners.

The most common source of chronic pain, especially in senior dogs, is swollen or degraded joints. In fact, as many as 60 percent of all dogs are thought to experience joint degradation as they age.

While there are a few main types of canine arthritis, the vast majority of cases are age-related. Osteoarthritis is a thinning of cartilage that triggers the production of enzymes, causing excess inflammation.

While swollen joints and other types of arthritis aren’t necessarily life-threatening for dogs, they can stop our four-legged friends from doing all the things they love best. Walks, playtime, and even laying down to sleep or going to the bathroom can become highly uncomfortable.

Here, CBD is showing real potential as a non-intrusive, effective treatment. Unlike many areas of cannabis research, the studies on arthritis and joint conditions are mounting up:

  • In 2018, a study at Cornell tested CBD on dogs with osteoarthritis, and found dogs supplementing with cannabis extracts experienced increased comfort and activity levels, as assessed by veterinarians.

  • In 2020, a study on dogs already taking anti-inflammatory drugs for joint pain found that CBD could significantly improve outcomes.

  • A second 2020 study by Baylor College of Medicine looked at how CBD affected dogs with arthritis over a four-week dosage schedule. The study confirmed CBD’s ability to relieve arthritic pain and was so successful that improvements were recorded for two weeks after supplementation was stopped.

CBD and Inflammation

A big part of CBD’s success with arthritis is the way it combats inflammation. Research suggests that cannabis compounds work a lot like NSAIDs—without the associated side effect profile.

In studies on CBD and other cannabinoid’s immunosuppressant potential, CBD has proven successful in fighting inflammation caused by:

  • Auto-immune issues
  • Stress
  • Injuries
  • Cancer
  • Joint disease

Even for dogs who are already on successful courses of treatment, CBD provides additional benefits, removing residual inflammation and helping to soothe anxiety and stress.

CBD and Pain

With evidence of CBD’s effectiveness growing, it’s worth comparing the benefits of cannabis supplementation against existing treatments.

Currently, the majority of dogs diagnosed with acute or chronic pain are prescribed courses of pet-specific NSAIDs or opioid medication. While effective, both types of drugs frequently cause unwanted side effects.

According to the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, the most common adverse effects include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of interest in food
  • Lethargy or low activity level

More rarely, NSAIDs and opioids can cause stomach ulcers, as well as kidney and liver failure.

Because it’s a proven anti-inflammatory, CBD can have a similar effect to NSAIDs without the risk of adverse reactions. So, while pharmaceutical medications may still have a role to play, CBD offers a natural alternative for dogs in need of daily pain relief.

Why not traditional pain medication?

Chronic pain is on the increase among pups. Veterinary scientists estimate that 60% of all dogs show signs of joint degradation as they age. Canine cancer rates are also increasing, with around half dogs over the age of ten developing the disease.


Getting real about risks and side effects

Despite the need for effective pain management, standard treatments often cause unwanted side-effects.

Research confirms CBD elicits the same internal response as many anti-inflammatory drugs, by using safer internal mechanisms.

  • CBD works via the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a modulating system responsible for maintaining homeostasis across organs.
  • The ECS modulates the intensity of pain signals and reduces the sensitivity of pain receptors. The activation of cannabinoid receptors also helps reduce inflammation.
  • While researchers still aren’t sure exactly how CBD affects the ECS of dogs, they do know that CBD use is associated with reduced pain and inflammation.

Always consult a veterinarian before undertaking any new treatment plan with your dog.

How to spot a dog with joint pain

Chronic pain can be tricky to treat in dogs because they’re evolutionarily wired to hide their discomfort (a trait that may stretch back to their wolfpack days).

But there are some key signs and signals suggesting things aren’t quite right. Be on the lookout for:

  • Anti-Social or aggressive behavior.
    If dogs are stressed without cause or retreat from interactions, they may be in pain.

  • Changes to eating, sleeping, and drinking habits.
    Tooth or gum pain often causes appetite loss. Sleepiness or lethargicness can mean they’re trying to rest and heal.

  • More Vocal Than Usual.
    Dogs in pain may increase whining, yelping, snarling or barking.

  • Increases In Self-Grooming.
    Dogs may repeatedly clean or nurse a tender area, even if the injury is internal.

  • Agitation or Restlessness.
    Dogs that can’t seem to get comfortable, or are pacing a lot, may be in discomfort.

  • Breathing Changes.
    Breathing changes such as heavy panting (without exercise) or quick, shallow breaths can be indicative of underlying conditions.

  • Mobility Issues.
    Dogs may be slower in getting up, climbing, running, jumping, or in their general reflexes.

  • Swelling or Rapid Weight Loss.
    Noticeable changes in a dog’s body can be an immune response to pain-causing conditions.

  • Postural Changes.
    If a dog becomes rigid or hunched over they may be hurting. Some dogs may try to stretch out abdominal pain by taking the ‘downward dog’ position.

Disclaimer

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