CBD is completely safe for dogs when it’s made in a pet-safe way. So what counts as pet-safe CBD?
CBD oils for dogs are fast becoming one of the most popular types of pet supplements. Thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects, owners can use CBD products to help pups deal with common canine issues like stress, anxiety, and joint pain.
Despite their popularity, pet CBD products remain mostly unregulated and haven’t yet been approved by the FDA. This leads many dog parents to wonder: is CBD actually safe for dogs?
The answer: Yes, CBD is safe for dogs – as long as it’s made in a pet-safe way by a reliable manufacturer. So how do you separate the good CBD from the bad?
Why is CBD safe for dogs?
When correctly made, CBD is a highly safe supplement with an extremely low toxicity profile.
Unlike some cannabis compounds, CBD produces no psychoactive effects, so it’s not possible for dogs to become high from taking a CBD product.
Cannabis compounds like CBD don’t interact with the brain stem or the respiratory system, which means there’s no risk of fatal overdose. This differs from several common veterinary drugs, which come with more serious potential side effects.
All reputable pet CBD products are made from hemp plants – a variety of cannabis that traditionally has less potent flowers. This means that dogs aren’t consuming the kinds of high-potency cannabis products that have recently become popular in the human cannabis market.
What cannabis products are not safe for dogs?
While CBD is considered safe for dogs by animal healthcare experts, some other cannabis compounds should not be consumed (in above-trace amounts) by pets.
Chief among these undesirable compounds is THC, the cannabis compound responsible for causing intoxication and other psychoactive effects.
Cannabis products tend to contain lots of THC when they’re made from a type of cannabis plant called marijuana. Marijuana farmers breed plants to produce strains with high THC levels designed to cause an intense high.
THC can cause dogs to become confused, scared, and to lose their coordination. In more serious cases, THC has been known to cause organ damage, respiratory issues, and even death.
To ensure that a cannabis product doesn’t contain dangerous amounts of THC, CBD oils and treats for dogs should always be made from hemp plants. Unlike marijuana, hemp naturally contains very low amounts of THC (usually under 0.3%).
What makes a CBD product “pet-safe”?
When shopping for CBD oil for dogs, there are several things you can look for to help make sure that your pup is getting a pet-safe CBD product:
The most important factor in whether a CBD product is safe for dogs is the type of cannabis plant it’s made from.
Pet-safe CBD oils and treats are made from hemp plants, while products made from marijuana plants should never be given to dogs or other pets.
Read the label of your chosen product to find out the type of cannabis contained inside. The best CBD products provide detailed information about their cannabis extract – including where it’s grown, whether it’s Non-GMO, and whether it was produced by an organic farm.
- Safe for dogs: CBD products made from traceable, US-grown hemp
- Not safe dogs: CBD products made from marijuana, or cannabis plants of unknown origin
Due to federal farming laws and certifications, hemp plants grown in the US should always contain less than 0.3% THC. This amount is considered non-psychoactive and safe for dogs.
As a result, all CBD products made from US hemp should contain a safe amount of THC for dogs.
Any cannabis products – even CBD oils – that contain more than 0.3% THC are not safe for dogs. Bear in mind that many CBD products made for humans will contain varying amounts of THC and other cannabis compounds.
- Safe for dogs: CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC
- Not safe for dogs: CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC, or with unknown amounts of THC
To separate CBD and other cannabis compounds from the hemp plant, producers perform an extraction. Similar to distillation, this process involves processing hemp flowers using intense temperatures, pressures, or certain chemicals to isolate and separate cannabinoids.
Traditionally, CBD was made using chemicals solvents or alcohols. While safe when carried out by an expert, solvent extraction does come with the risk of leaving chemical residue in the finished product, as well as damaging more delicate cannabis compounds.
Today’s premium CBD companies use solventless extraction methods such as sub-critical CO2 extraction, which involves processing hemp flowers at very low temperatures. CO2 extraction is a certified food-safe method.
- Safe for dogs: CBD products made using CO2 or other non-solvent extraction methods
- Not safe dogs: CBD products made using solvent extraction (sometimes)
To ensure a consistent, pet-safe CBD oil, the best producers regularly submit their CBD extracts for independent batch testing.
These lab-performed quality tests break down exactly what’s contained inside an extract, including the precise cannabis compounds, as well as any impurities such as solvents, pesticides, or heavy metals.
All reputable CBD companies make their batch tests easily accessible to customers, so dog owners can feel confident that their pets’ CBD doesn’t contain any unsafe ingredients.
- Safe for dogs: CBD products that come with up-to-date, accessible, and independent lab test results
- Not safe dogs: CBD products that don’t come with accessible batch quality tests
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, which is why the best CBD oils for dogs are aviable in a range of concentrations.
This allows owners to accurately administer an appropriate amount of CBD for their pets.
- Safe for dogs: CBD products that come in a variety of concentrations appropriate for dogs’ sizes and needs
- Not safe dogs: CBD products that come in very large concentrations (e.g. those intended for horses or humans)
Lastly, we recommend buying CBD products for dogs from companies with a history of producing quality, pet-safe CBD.
With the wider cannabis industry booming, new brands and products are constantly hitting the shelves – some of which are made by people without detailed knowledge of cannabis or animal healthcare.
- Safe for dogs: CBD products made by brands with years of experience in pet CBD products and lots of positive feedback from real dog owners.
- Not safe dogs: CBD products made by brands without a history in pet CBD.