CBD oil is a great option for dogs with anxiety, joint pain, and other inflammatory conditions. It’s also a highly safe supplement that’s better tolerated than many prescription medications.

But with pups coming in so many shapes and sizes, it’s important to get the dosage right.

There are three key factors in dosing CBD oil for dogs

#1. The concentration of a CBD product

#2. A dog’s size and weight

#3. A dog’s physical and/or behavioral needs

There are currently no official dosage instructions for CBD and dogs, leaving it up to brands and animal healthcare practitioners to make their own recommendations.

The majority of CBD experts, including us, recommend a starting dose of 0.2mg of CBD oil per pound of a dog’s weight.

From there, owners can gradually increase their dog’s dose to 0.7 mg per pound if they feel it’s needed. The good news is that it is very unlikely that dogs can overdose from CBD oil.

As CBD products make their way into an increasing number of homes, figuring out the right dosage for individual dogs is important.

The following guidelines are intended to help owners calculate a proper CBD dose based on product concentration and a dog’s weight.

  1. CBD is dosed in milligrams (mg) per pound (lb) of a dog’s weight.
  2. A good starting dose is 0.2mg of CBD oil per lb.
  3. If dogs tolerate the starting dose, owners can begin to gradually increase the dosage.
  4. Dosage increases should be incremental, observing for side effects.
  5. Most owners and dogs settle on a dosage of between 0.2 and 0.7mg per lb.

Here are some examples to help put those points into context. Remember, dosages should only be increased so long as benefits are observed:

Breed Starting dose* Gradually increasing up to a maximum of
Miniature poodle (10lbs) 1mg 7mg
Beagle (20lbs) 4mg 14mg
Springer spaniel (40lbs) 8mg 28mg
Australian shepherd (50lbs) 10mg 35mg
Collies (60lbs) 12mg 42mg
Bernese mountain dog (80lbs) 16mg 56mg
Bloodhound (90lbs) 18mg 63mg
Great dane (110lbs) 22mg 77mg

*calculated using minimum breed weight

Adjusting dosage for product concentration

Cannabis extracts are mixed with a carrier (oils, treats, or balms), so each product will have a certain concentration.

Because of this, owners need to figure out how many milligrams of CBD are in each milliliter (ml) of oil, or gram (g) of edible snack. Here are some common formula concentrations:

  • 75mg formula = 2.5mg of CBD per ml of oil

  • 125mg formula = 4.1mg of CBD per ml of oil

  • 150mg formula = 5mg of CBD per ml of oil

  • 250mg formula = 8.4mg of CBD per ml of oil

  • 300mg formula = 10mg of CBD per ml of oil

  • 600mg formula = 20mg of CBD per ml of oil

  • 750mg formula = 25mg of CBD per ml of oil

  • 1500mg formula = 50mg of CBD per ml of oil

For example, to get its 10mg CBD dosage, the 50lb Australian shepherd in the table above would need to take 2ml of the 150mg formula, 1ml of the 300mg formula, or 0.5ml of the 600mg formula.

The reason behind having multiple concentrations of CBD products is to help accommodate a full weight spectrum, so the largest dogs don’t need to take multiple droppers while CBD remains accessible to the smallest pups.

Almost all brands offer CBD oil for dogs in multiple concentrations, meaning it’s possible to buy the right concentration that makes the most sense for your dog.

How to administer CBD to your dog

That’s the basic dosage math, but how do you actually give your dog CBD? Here’s one version of a dosage schedule for the first month of CBD supplementation.

A schedule similar to this would be appropriate for pups who require treatment for mild to moderate ongoing inflammatory and anxiety conditions (not those using it to meet one off needs).

Again, owners should always tailor a CBD dose to the individual needs of their dog. Depending on their issue, dogs may benefit from more or less frequent dosing.

How to administer CBD to your dog

Quick reference dosage information

CBD tends to work best when given as a daily dose. To target specific events (e.g 4th July fireworks), begin administering CBD a few days before the event.

Dosages should be given for a minimum of a week before increases are considered.

Depending on the reason for CBD supplementation, dosages can be increased by is or by introducing a second daily dose. The more acute the condition, the more focused doses should be.

Careful experimentation with dosages is normal for natural supplements. Every dog will metabolize CBD differently, and therefore has individual needs.

Just like traditional medications, dogs will build a tolerance to CBD. To maintain beneficial effects, dosages may therefore need to be slowly raised over time.

Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, however, CBD is a natural compound with an extremely low toxicity threshold. This means that dosages can be raised without fear of dependency or other increased adverse effects.

How long does CBD Oil take to work?

Every dog responds differently to CBD oil, but most begin to experience effects 45-90 minutes after dosage. Effects are likely to become more reliable and longer-lasting with consistent daily dosing.

The effectiveness of CBD over time depends upon the quality of a CBD product and the severity of a dog’s condition. Chronic issues often only begin to lessen after 2 to 4 weeks of supplementation.

Depending on the issue, CBD may soothe or reduce symptoms rather than act as a cure.

Side Effects and Risks

CBD is safe and well-tolerated by the vast majority of dogs. However, side effects can and do occasionally occur, especially when dogs are given too much CBD, or dosages are increased too quickly.

The most common potential side effects of CBD include:

If your dog experiences any of these side effects, then reduce the dosage and observe for any changes. If symptoms continue, stop CBD supplementation.

In a small number of cases, CBD may have an amplifying or reductive effect on other medications. Owners of dogs on pre-existing treatments should talk with their veterinarian before starting CBD supplementation.

  • Diarrhea

  • Drowsiness

  • Dry mouth

  • Increased appetite

  • Tremors

  • Vomiting

Alternatives to CBD Oil

We recommend CBD oils over other types of CBD products because their high-fat content allows for increased absorption into the body.

However, CBD treats, balms, and other dog-friendly delivery mechanisms have their own benefits

  • CBD dog treats are great for dogs who are sensitive to the unavoidable grassy flavor of some CBD oils, or who are suspicious of any kind of new addition to their routine.
  • Topical, transdermal creams let owners apply CBD to the site of irritation, injury, or pain. In this method, CBD can bypass the digestive system and directly target the affected area.

Dogs requiring intensive CBD treatment may use multiple delivery methods, as long as the total concentration of CBD falls within dosage guidelines of a dog’s usual dose.

Dosing for canine conditions

While the science on CBD is still in its infancy, the number of published peer-reviewed papers is growing. Combined with years of owner testimonials, there’s good evidence for how to use CBD to treat some of the most common canine conditions.

Bottom Line for CBD Oil use in Dogs

CBD oils for dogs are safe, effective, and offer a long term solution for inflammation and anxiety when administered with the correct dosage.

Next up: Top CBD oil for dogs reviewed