dog licking CBD oilThe benefits of CBD oil stay pretty consistent across the spectrum of CBD-related products, but methods of applying it don’t. In fact, there are several different delivery systems and dosage strategies when it comes to treating your dog. So, how exactly should your favorite pup get their CBD oil, and what are the results of each approach?


Applied to the gums

The fastest way to get cannabidiol binding to your four-legged friend’s endocannabinoid system is to apply the CBD directly to their gums. Lightly rubbing the oil into the sides of your dog’s mouth (or simply dropping it around/under the tongue, if they’re a little snap-happy!) will allow the CBD to absorb directly into the bloodstream.

This gives the CBD a chance to bypass the digestion process before being swallowed and ingested normally. Although there’s little in the way of scientific studies on this method of delivery for CBD specifically, the speediness of absorption through the mouth’s mucous membrane versus the digestive system has been shown in more general tests, such as this review from the Journal of Pharmaceutical Research.

The article notes that sublingual (under-tongue) delivery can “reduce the time for onset of therapeutic response, and considerably increase the bioavailability of the drug when compared to conventional orally administered tablets.”


Hand holding dog treat in front of dogOn treats

Applying CBD oil sublingually might be the fastest route to absorption, but it may not be your dog’s favorite. Whether they’re ok with having their mouth handled on a regular basis tends to be an individual trait, which can be difficult to train or introduce, and older, small, or in-pain dogs may resist frequent fingers between their teeth.

Instead, treats are an unintrusive (and much appreciated) way of bringing CBD into your dog’s life. Pre-infused treats are available from many retailers, but simply dropping CBD oil onto your dog’s favorite snack is a convenient method of delivering treatment. Plus, self-administering CBD oil to snacks allows you to accurately calibrate dosage.


In food

While some humans and animals seem to feel a near-instant calming effect when ingesting CBD oil, the majority of users tend to need at least a week of steady CBD treatment for the endocannabinoids to build in their system, and to therefore begin reaping the benefits (according to Healthline).

For this reason, delivery systems such as droppers or treats that are outside your dog’s normal routine may become frustrating to keep up over time. Here, pairing CBD dosage with mealtimes means there’s no need to introduce an additional element to your dog’s daily routine.


Topically

This one may be more popular among human users, but what works for us, often works for Man’s Best Friend too. Gently rubbing CBD oil directly onto the affected area (usually an aching joint, sore paw, or irritable patch of skin) can help pinpoint non-systematic issues and provide targeted healing.

Of course, whether or not this method is suitable for your pet depends on a couple of factors, including their activity level and their propensity to lick off anything applied to them—and, just how much fur we’re talking about here! If you are interested in a topical CBD product for your pet, it’s worth looking into CBD balms and creams, alongside oils.


When should I give my dog CBD oil?

Depending on the symptoms you’re hoping to combat using CBD oil, there are a few options for dosage-scheduling. Here are the most popular approaches:

How much CBD oil do I give my dog?

Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, there isn’t an official dosage guide for CBD oil, and any specific instructions will either come from your vet or the CBD companies and vendors themselves. Veterinarians usually recommend starting small—giving your dog on a low dosage, checking their response, and moving from there. Generally speaking, 0.2mg of CBD oil per pound is the accepted safe starting point.

Check out our CBD Oil For Dogs Dosage Guide for more detailed info on exactly how much CBD oil your pup should be receiving.

Senior man checking CBD oil label

Key points

  • However you plan to introduce CBD oil to your dog, consistency is key. Be sure to try out any new treatment for at least a week (and preferably longer) before looking for signs of improvement.
  • The fastest method of CBD ingestion may not be best for your dog. While some pups will have no problem with the regular handling needed to apply CBD oil to their gums or skin, others might find this approach a little intrusive. For those guys, CBD treats or drops into their dinner are more likely to be accepted.

  • CBD dosage is a personal thing. Our CBD oil dosage guide is a great place to start, and is helpful for judging the right size dosage for your dog’s size. But ultimately, how much CBD your pet needs will be an individual matter, based on some trial and error on your part. Start small and consistent, and gradually raise the dosage (within reason) until symptoms begin to alleviate.