What is CBD Oil?

CBD is the commonly used shortened name for Cannabidiol, and is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.

While it is derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is a compound that does not share the same psychoactive properties that are usually associated with marijuana (THC)  People have begun to use CBD oil for a wide array of health issues, and because of the myriad of therapeutic benefits, pet owners are now turning to CBD oil for the health and wellness of their pets.  Dog owners are increasingly interested in finding out if CBD can have the same benefits for their pets as it does for humans, as every mammal has an endocannabinoid system, meaning all animals have the potential to benefit from CBD.

CBD Oil for Dogs

There is a growing feeling that CBD oil treatments can be used on man’s best friend – dogs. Previously, there has only been anecdotal evidence about CBD oils effects on dogs, however, there is increasing research showing that CBD can provide effective treatment for numerous behavioural and medical issues in dogs and other furry friends. Here is a list of common issues in dogs that people are hoping to treat using CBD oil:

  • Joint pain and stiffness (arthritis)
  • Allergies
  • Pain
  • Anxiety/stress

  • Seizures (epilepsy)
  • Cancer
  • Nausea
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Digestive health

  • Inflammatory conditions

  • Aggressive behaviour

  • Muscle spasms

  • Neurological disorders

  • Skin conditions

CBD based products can come in a variety of forms for dogs, including CBD oil/tincture, CBD capsules, CBD treats (chews) and even topical products like salves and ointments. Each manufacturer will provide their own dosing guidelines based on the particular product, however it is important to have a basis for understanding dosing, and how it works in relation to potency of products. There is a lot of variety on the market, and there are currently no regulations in place to monitor CBD oil products, so informing yourself is important for your dogs health and safety.

Key Factors for CBD Oil Dosage

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As CBD oil itself, as well as associated products (capsules, treats, etc.) are so new in the world of healthcare and are making their way into the health market for pets, figuring proper dosages is important. Dosages for dogs are continuously being analyzed, so exact dosage recommendations will likely undergo some changes in the future, as the research into CBD in general is still so new.

There are currently no official standardized dosage guidelines in place for dosing your pup, and different companies will give recommendations for their own products specifically. But it is always good to inform yourself and treat your dog as an extension of you, being very careful about what, and how much, goes into their body. Veterinarians recommend starting your dog on a lower dosage, to see how it responds, and gradually build up if it is tolerated well.

There are three key factors in dosing CBD oil for dogs:

Other factors to take into account when considering CBD oil for you dog:

Calculating CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs

The following will provide an explanation regarding dosing, and will give you a better understanding of how to calculate proper dose based on your dog’s weight, and the exact potency of the formula.

Calculations will be done in milligrams of CBD (mg) per pound of the dog’s weight. Generally a safe amount to start with is 0.2mg of CBD oil per pound, and you can move up from there. For example if your dog weighs 50 pounds, you could give them 10mg of CBD, and dosage can gradually increase from there if your dog tolerates it well (see general dosing guide below).

Each manufacturer will have their own formula strengths, so you may need to calculate how much oil you give your dog based on how many milligrams of CBD is in each milliliter (ml) of oil. We have provided some common formula strengths, and how much CBD oil is in one ml for each strength. (These are all approximations):

  • 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, if your dog was 50 pounds and needed 10mg of CBD, you could give him 2ml of the 150mg formula, 1ml of the 300mg formula, or 0.5ml of the 600mg formula, and so on. It is not recommended using strong formulas (greater than 600mg) with small dogs, as it can be difficult administering small amounts with the oral syringes they provide. So it is best to buy the formula suited most to your dog’s size/weight. Make sure to seek out a dosing chart for the CBD oil you purchase for your dog. This should explain how many drops to provide for your dog.

General Dosing Guidelines

Calculating dosage can be a bit tricky when first beginning to use CBD oil products.

The above information is meant to give insight into how dosage is calculated based on potency. Now we will provide some general guidelines to follow in regards to CBD oil dosages to make it easy. As a general rule, it is safe to administer a dosage of 1 to 5mg of CBD per 10 pounds of a dog’s bodyweight. Start at the low end of this range if your dog has not had CBD based products. This dosage amount should be given for two weeks at a minimum before considerations of increasing dosage. If the dosage is tolerated, meaning no side effects or adverse reactions, then the dose can be increased two twice daily (same amount x2).

This experimentation with dosage is an essential part of getting CBD to work for you, as every animal will metabolize CBD differently, and therefore may need a different amount than the next dog.

General dosage guide based on dogs weight (mg of CBD, which is different than total mls of bottle):

  • 10 pounds: 1 mg – 5 mg

  • 20 pounds: 2 mg – 10 mg

  • 30 pounds: 3 mg – 15 mg

  • 40 pounds: 4 mg – 20 mg

  • 50 pounds: 5 mg – 25 mg

  • 60 pounds: 6 mg – 30 mg

  • 70 pounds: 7 mg – 35 mg

  • 80 pounds: 8 mg – 40 mg

  • 90 pounds: 9 mg – 45 mg

CBD oil products generally take 30 minutes to metabolize, after this time therapeutic effects should begin. Since owners are administering and controlling the dosage for their dog it is important to keep track of how much CBD oil you provide to your dog, how the oil affects your dog (positive), any possible side effects (reduce/cease dose if present).

Just like most medications that humans or dogs take, we generally build up a tolerance. To maintain the positive effects, the dose may have to be raised, again, give your dog an increased dose slowly. This will give their body time to adjust. There is no toxicity that has been related to CBD, and it seems to be extremely hard to overdose from it. However, always monitor your dog when introducing or changing a dosage. Furthermore, talk to your veterinarian about potential interactions with other medications.

Evidence of the Effects of CBD Oil (Scientific Studies)

Scientific peer-reviewed studies have been steadily increasing for CBD oil to be used as a treatment for many medical conditions in humans, as well as canines and other animals.

Human studies have shown benefits for a number of medical conditions, and research shows positive results based off of the human endocannabinoid system. This system is the same for all mammals, which infers that CBD oil could have similar therapeutic benefits for dogs, as they are mammals too. As there is an increasing demand for legitimate scientific literature on the effects of CBD oil in animals by veterinarians and pet owners, the amount of studies should increase. Until then we will be relying on preliminary research, translation of effect from human studies and other animal studies, and anecdotal evidence. Here are some studies on CBD oil and its effects on different medical issues in dogs, other animals, and humans..

How long does CBD Oil take to work?

Each individual dog will respond differently to CBD oil. It is advised to start slow and small when dosing. Always watch your dog when giving them any new supplement, including CBD oil. If you give your dog food or treats with CBD in them allow for 45-90 minutes for effects to kick in. The same is true when dropping the oil onto your pup’s food, which is by far the easiest method.

If your dog has chronic issues it will likely take 2 to 4 weeks for results to be evident, if you do not see results, the dosage will most likely need to be altered.

Side Effects and Risks

Studies have shown that CBD oil is safe for the vast majority of dogs. However, some dogs can still experience side effects, especially if they are started on too large a dose, before they are used to it, or if they are given a dosage much too strong for their size. Potential side effects include:

These are side effects that can occur in both humans and animals. CBD can also have an effect on other medications your dog is taking. They can either have a positive effect, making the medication more effective, or have a negative impact. It is always advised to have a conversation with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about different medications, and how CBD oil may interact with them.

  • Diarrhea

  • Drowsiness

  • Dry mouth

  • Increased appetite

  • Lightheadedness

  • Tremors

  • Vomiting

Alternatives to CBD Oil

There are many CBD based products for your dog if you do not want the oil/tincture version of it. Some dogs may not like the grassy/nutty flavour of CBD oil, so some people choose to give their dogs CBD treats and soft chews, which is a viable alternative (however, not absorbed as effectively as oral absorption). There are also topical (transdermal creams) for targeting muscle aches and pain, and for soothing/healing dried or damaged skin. It appears you can safely use multiple forms of CBD oil for your dog at the same time, however you should stick to the general guidelines previously mentioned in this article for administering CBD based products to your dog(s).

Bottom Line for CBD Oil use in Dogs

CBD oil and CBD based products for pets appear to be extremely safe, especially if doses are administered properly. When buying CBD products always purchase from a reputable supplier, and all reputable suppliers should provide dosage instructions on the bottle or through their website to guide you. Important considerations when considering CBD oil for your dog: