CBD for Dogs 2020: Research, Treatment, & Best Product

Having a sick dog or other ill pet at home can be incredibly stressful, especially since dog owners will naturally spend as much time as possible searching for the right options and treatments for their four-legged friend. And with the incredible advances of medicine in recent years, there are certainly a wide range of treatments available to animals. Unfortunately, dogs are unique from one pup to the next, and not every care plan prescribed is guaranteed to be effective.

It’s no surprise that so many dog owners are turning to a new holistic option in the animal world: CBD.

For humans, CBD companies have traditionally offered CBD by way of gel capsules or tablets, an easy-to-use hemp oil tincture, or as powdered dietary supplements, which many commonly mix into their drinks or meals.

Now, CBD for dogs has taken over store shelves as well. CBD for dogs, which consists of a wide range of products containing CBD oil (short for “cannabidiol” oil), are currently skyrocketing in popularity in the holistic wellness space. Dog owners can find CBD offered in a variety of forms, including CBD dog treats and chews. But CBD can also come in the form of topicals (commonly used as skin remedies) or in the form of pet tinctures, which can either be administered at mealtime or directly into your pet’s mouth. 

But exactly how safe is the average CBD product and what are its health benefits? How do you know how CBD will affect your dog? How much CBD oil is safe to administer to your dog? And how do you choose the right CBD for dogs?

Let’s take a look at all the current research on CBD for dogs product and explain everything you need to know about picking out a high-quality CBD for your dog.

CBD Oil for Dogs

Every day, more and more people are coming to understand how CBD oil and other ‘CBD for dogs’ products can be wildly beneficial for man’s best friend. Where previously there has only been anecdotal evidence of CBD oil’s effects in dogs, more and more research is showing how CBD can be an effective treatment option to turn to for a variety of issues in dogs, from stress to managing discomfort to supporting the immune system.

As previously mentioned, CBD oil products come in various forms including CBD oil for dogs (also known as a pet tincture—there are many variations of CBD pet oil products on the market today), CBD capsules, CBD treats (great for pups who love chewing on flavorful edibles), and even topical products such as rubs and other ointments. In reality, CBD for dogs products are just about the same as CBD products for humans—the only difference being the taste in many cases! 

Manufacturers typically provide dosage guidelines customized to each product, but it’s important to have a basic understanding of CBD dosage for dogs. Experts commonly recommend 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Ideally, a dog owner should start at the lower end of this range when first introducing CBD to their dog.

One important thing to also keep in mind is that there are currently no regulations or governing bodies in place to monitor the manufacturing of CBD oil products. This is part of the reason why it’s absolutely essential to have as much understanding as possible about CBD for dogs, how it works, how to safely administer it, and what side effects to look out for—all things we’ll cover in this article.

When purchasing CBD for your dog, however, the most important thing to have on your buyer’s list is a CBD oil that’s hemp-derived and that only contains 0.3% THC or less.   

Honest Paw – Top CBD Brand for Dogs

Honest Paws products are carefully crafted for dogs and cats (and even horses!).

Honest Paws provides high-quality CBD oil products, which many have called the best CBD pet products in the market today.

Founded by pet lovers for pet lovers, this CBD company is dedicated to producing the finest CBD oil product you can find, with all-natural, organic ingredients that are non-GMO, soy-free, and lab tested by a third party lab to ensure the best CBD oil quality possible. Honest Paws is also proud that their products are crafted using full-spectrum CBD oil, an important distinction from broad-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate, as full-spectrum CBD is the most potent out of all three types, ensuring your four-legged friend is getting the full measure of support for their unique needs. 

Honest Paws offers a wide range of oil products from CBD oil for dogs (also called a CBD tincture) to CBD-infused treats, CBD-infused peanut butter, and even CBD-infused coconut oil!

Their products also contain less than 0.3% THC, making them safe for dogs and cats everywhere.

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Why it’s the best:

  • 100% pure hemp oil tincture for dogs (full spectrum CBD oil, hemp-plant derived)
  • Variety of products available for specific use-cases, such as promoting relaxation, helping with occasional discomfort, supporting healthy joints, and fighting free radicals
  • Variety of potency levels for small to extra large dogs (as well as cats and horses)
  • Products contain natural ingredients (organic hemp oil, non-GMO, no additives or preservatives)
  • Co2 extraction used, ensuring safe and healthy CBD oil concentrates
  • CBD products made in the USA, from organic CBD hemp plants in Colorado
  • NASC-Certified CBD products
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Excellent customer service

Honest Paws is dedicated to using the finest quality among human-grade ingredients, which is a new change for most CBD pet products, which may explain why over 40,000 happy customers call Honest Paws CBD products the best CBD oil products on the market.

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What Is CBD Oil?

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According to the National Library of Medication, CBD, short for “cannabidiol”, is a chemical compound of the Cannabis Sativa L plant, which comes in two varieties: marijuana and hemp.

CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural ingredient from hemp plants, which are commonly raised for nutritional purposes and health benefits in light of the growing popularity of holistic wellness. 

CBD is mainly extracted from hemp paste, made from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. Some CBD companies will often turn to hemp seeds as a secondary source for their products as well, though it should be noted that hemp seeds don’t contain as much CBD as other parts of the plant.

While delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC—the psychoactive agent responsible for the feeling of getting “high”) is the primary active ingredient in marijuana, the only cannabidiol products legal in all 50 states are those produced from hemp, which contains small amounts of THC (0.3% or less, to be exact).

CBD oil is a healthy option for both humans and animals alike! This is because animals also have something called an endocannabinoid system just like we do. The main cannabidiol benefits people and pets experience are a result of the way CBD oil interacts with this system, as it regulates important functions like sleep, appetite, mood, and even pain response.

CBD Facts at a Glance:

  • CBD is short for “cannabidiol” and is extracted from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant (your CBD should ideally be sourced from organic hemp plants)
  • Hemp-derived CBD contains 0.3% THC or less, meaning you and your pet will not get high from consuming hemp-derived cannabidiol products, as they’re non-psychoactive 
  • CBD is only one of over 100 naturally occurring compounds (called cannabinoids) that can be extracted from the cannabis plant
  • Full spectrum CBD (also written as full-spectrum CBD oil) is the most potent of the many types of CBD, as it offers the most cannabinoids in its concentrations
  • CBD products have no known toxicity level and it’s generally believed that you can’t overdose on CBD oil

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is like any other regulatory system in the body such as the immune system. It was identified in the early 90s by researchers who wanted to explore the way phytocannabinoids (such as THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids found in cannabis) and endocannabinoids interact with the body

All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, and the endocannabinoid system works the same way in dogs as it does in people. The endocannabinoid system helps to maintain homeostasis in the body (a healthy and natural inner balance). This is achieved through the communication that occurs between cannabinoid receptors located all throughout the ECS and phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that come from plants like cannabis) and endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that naturally occur in the body).

CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference

THC is the chemical compound that causes psychoactive effects in users. It’s found in high concentrations in the marijuana variety of the cannabis plant. CBD derived from marijuana can contain up to 10% of THC—sometimes even higher.

Hemp-derived CBD oil, however, contains only 0.3% THC or less. These low levels of THC make hemp-derived CBD legal in all 50 states, whereas CBD oil from marijuana is restricted in many parts of the U.S.

How Does CBD Affect Dogs?

Much research has been done on the effects of CBD in humans.

There is now a growing interest in the scientific community and among veterinarians when it comes to the effects of CBD on pets. While research is still ongoing, studies have shown that CBD does in fact have remarkable effects on animals. This data has led to most veterinarians supporting the use of CBD for pets.

One recent study examined how the different methods of CBD administration affected pharmacokinetics in dogs (the movement of an agent within the body).

Researchers gave thirty purebred beagle dogs CBD, with each dog receiving one of three different types of CBD products: a CBD capsule, oral CBD-infused oil, or CBD-infused transdermal cream. Each dog received their respective CBD product daily for six weeks.

The researchers found that the oral CBD infusion led to higher plasma concentrations of CBD oil and higher systemic exposure to CBD throughout the body. These findings suggest that CBD oil formulations may have a more potent impact on dogs.   

Is CBD Oil Safe for Your Dog?

CBD research lags behind when compared to the growing enthusiasm of consumers over CBD for dogs products. The effort toward more extensive research into CBD for dogs, along with its health benefits and helpful uses, is relatively recent, as good research naturally takes time. That said, those interested in using pet CBD for their four-legged friends don’t always have the months or years to wait on definitive scientific results.

So what does today’s science say about CBD for dogs? According to Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club (AKC), who gathered specific evidence about CBD use and results directly from pet owners, individuals have reported that pet CBD, including CBD for dogs, has helped control pain and treat seizures. He additionally lists heart problems, nausea, lack of appetite, anxiety, and inflammation as further examples of issues CBD has been demonstrated to help with.

As for side effects, it’s unlikely that your pet will experience any. CBD oil is not harmful to dogs (and other animals) in itself, but like any product, administering the correct dosage is important. Always following the CBD dosage guidelines on the packaging of the product you purchase. As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to CBD for dogs, experts recommend 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Always start on the lower end of this range when first giving CBD to your dog, and then slightly adjust the CBD dosage as needed.

As long as your dog receives a suitable CBD dosage, adverse reactions to CBD oil and other CBD products are unlikely. At most, the majority of dog owners report slight lethargy in their dog when CBD is first introduced.

Other potential side effects of CBD in dogs may include:

  • Dry mouth due to reduced saliva production (always keep fresh water available when starting your dog on CBD).
  • Lowered blood pressure if a dog gets too high of a dose (always follow CBD dosage guidelines when administering CBD to your dog).
  • Drowsiness, particularly at higher doses, caused by the soothing effect of CBD when used to manage stress and promote relaxation (you can always adjust the CBD dosage for your dog at any time).

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

These days, dog owners can buy their dog pet CBD products in a variety of forms. CBD for dogs is available in the form of CBD dog treats and chews, CBD oil, and even CBD topicals like CBD-infused coconut oil.

The most common CBD product you’ll find on the market today is offered as an oil, also known as a pet tincture. CBD oil allows better regulation of the amount of CBD that your dog is receiving, since each bottle comes equipped with a helpful dropper that clearly indicates the amount of CBD given.

As previously mentioned, most products will include CBD dosage recommendations on their packaging and labels. The amount of CBD oil you give your dog will depend on the concentration of CBD in the product. For example, you’ll often find CBD oil for dogs packaged in concentrations of 125mg, 250mg, 500mg, or 1000mg. Other CBD products like CBD dog treats or CBD capsules will also come in a variety of concentrations, such as each CBD dog treat containing 5mg of CBD.

Determining the proper CBD dosage for your dog is important, both to avoid any unwanted side effects but also to fully support pet health and manage whatever unique issue your dog is currently dealing with.

Typically, you’ll choose a concentration (also called a potency level) based on your dog’s weight. A good rule of thumb is to give your dog 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Veterinarians recommend starting your dog on the lower end of this range to see your dog reacts. If your dog tolerates the CBD well, you can gradually increase the dog as needed.

Determining the right CBD dosage for your dog:

  • The weight of your dog — a Chihuahua and a Great Dane would naturally receive different CBD dosages because of the differences in their size
  • Potency of the CBD oils product – the concentration of CBD in one full dropper of a CBD oil will often be different from the concentration of CBD in a single dog treat
  • Your dog’s condition or ailment – whether you want to promote relaxation in a stressed dog, help support a senior dog’s mobility, or help an injured dog with discomfort, you’ll naturally adjust your CBD dosage to achieve more significant results

You can always enlist the help of your veterinarian as well to determine the best amount of CBD to give your dog.

Calculating CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs

In CBD for dogs products, you’ll notice that CBD calculations are provided in CBD milligrams (mg).

For instance, a CBD oil for dogs product might indicate that for every full dropper of oil, your dog will be receiving 16mg of CBD. In a CBD dog treat, the dosage label may indicate that for every treat, your dog will receive 5mg of CBD.

Each manufacturer has its own potency formula, which is something to take into account when determining which CBD for dogs product is right for you. Considering how much CBD your dog will need to take each day (we provided a helpful chart in the following section) will help you decide on the right pet CBD product for your dog’s needs.

Below is an example of the amount of CBD a dog owner can find in different potencies of CBD oil. Of course, every CBD company will be different based on their own potency formula, so it’s important to read product packaging carefully when buying CBD for dogs.

  • 125mg CBD oil potency = 4mg CBD per 1 mL (full dropper) of oil
  • 250mg CBD oil potency = 8mg CBD per 1 mL (full dropper) of oil
  • 500mg CBD oil potency = 16mg CBD per 1 ml (full dropper) of oil
  • 1000mg CBD oil potency = 32mg CBD per 1 mL (full dropper) of oil

CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs by Weight

The information above is intended to provide an overview of how CBD dosage is calculated based on the potency of CBD products.

Dog owners will still need to determine just how much CBD is appropriate to give their dog each day.

CBD oil for dogs is usually dosed by body weight. As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to start with a low dose and increase gradually from there until you achieve the desired effects.

Experts recommend giving your dog 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Here are what the starting doses would look like per day based on the body weight of a dog:

  • 10 pounds: 1 mg to 5 mg per dog
  • 20 pounds: 2 mg to 10 mg per dog
  • 40 pounds: 4 mg to 20 mg per dog
  • 60 pounds: 6 mg to 30 mg per dog
  • 80 pounds: 8 mg to 40 mg per dog
  • 100 pounds: 10 mg to 50 mg per dog

Benefits Of CBD Oil For Dogs

There are numerous benefits to using CBD oil for dogs. Below are just some of the ways that dog owners are using CBD for dogs products to help support pet health and happiness.

CBD oil supports a healthy immune system, which can help promote a normal inflammatory response in the body. This aids with issues like occasional joint stiffness or discomfort.

CBD oil inhibits the breakdown of anandamide, which regulates inflammation and helps with pain management.

Abnormal neuron function sometimes leads to tremors and seizures. CBD oil helps maintain normal nervous system function and promotes normal healthy brain activity.

CBD oil has a calming effect on the nerves by targeting serotonin receptors. This promotes relaxation and helps with managing stress.

CBD oil is useful in the control of nausea and vomiting in dogs. Since it is very common to have nausea while undergoing certain treatments, such as chemotherapy, CBD helps in this situation and may even stimulate appetite.

CBD fights free radicals, helps reduce free radical damage, and promotes long-term health. It can also provide antioxidant support.

How Does CBD Affect Dogs?

Always remember that when giving CBD to your dog, you should start off slowly. Veterinarians recommend a CBD dosage of 1-5mg per 10lbs of body weight. Start on the lower end of this range and gradually increase the CBD dosage as needed.

When first giving your dog CBD, watch for signs of any positive or negative reactions. You can always adjust the CBD dosage if your dog experiences any side effects. Speaking with your veterinarian can also be a helpful way of introducing CBD to your dog.

How can you tell if CBD is working for your dog?

If you give your dog CBD 20-30 minutes before a fireworks show to help them maintain calmness, and you find them lying comfortably during the celebration instead of pacing or drooling or hiding as they normally would, it’s safe to say the CBD has been effective.

Another example is in the case of CBD for stiffness or other mobility issues. If, after giving your dog CBD, you find that they’re able to run and play as they used to or are no longer limping, then the CBD is doing its job.

Remember that it often takes time for CBD to have positive effects on the body. While some dog owners may see immediate results after just 1-3 days, others may not see the effects of CBD until a full month or more has passed, since the specific condition they’re using CBD for may take longer to mitigate.

You can also try increasing the CBD dosage for your pet so that they can receive a more potent amount of CBD. Just remember to stay within the recommended CBD dosage guidelines so that you can avoid any unwanted side effects.


Q: Is hemp legal?

A: Yes! Hemp oil is legal in all 50 states, and thanks to the Farm Bill 2018, hemp is currently grown in 40 states.

Q: Can dogs get high from CBD oil?

A: No, your pet will not get high from any CBD dog health products. This is because CBD oil comes from the hemp plant, which contains less than 0.3% THC (the compound responsible for psychoactive effects). Some CBD products are even completely free of THC. Of the many cannabinoids found in CBD oil for dogs and cats, the most common is CBD, which does not cause the feeling of getting “high” but instead causes a sense of calm.   

Q: How long will the oil CBD start working?

A: Each pet is different, so the reaction times will vary when you’re first administering CBD oil. If your dog is dealing with anxiety or pain, it’s possible to see changes in as little as 20-30 minutes. Remember that you can always adjust the CBD dosage to meet your pet’s unique needs.

Q: How is CBD oil administered?

A: You can administer CBD oil at mealtime or directly into your pet’s mouth. Absorption into the bloodstream is quickest when the CBD is administered sublingually (under your pet’s tongue).

Q: How frequently should I give my dog CBD oil?

A: CBD dosage is based on your dog’s weight and the condition you’re managing. You can administer this dosage once a day, or spread it out into two separate dosages in the morning and evening—ideally 8-12 hours apart.

Q: What is the appropriate dose of CBD oil for dogs?

A: The correct CBD dosage for dogs depends on the weight of your pet and the condition they’re dealing with. A good rule of thumb to follow is 1-5mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. Always speak with your veterinarian for consultation and recommendations on the dosage suitable for your dog depending on the condition you are trying to treat.

Q: Can dogs overdose on CBD oil?

A: If your dog overdoses on CBD oil, you may see symptoms such as extreme drowsiness and a lowered blood pressure. Always follow recommended dosage guidelines when it comes to CBD for dogs.

Q: Can a veterinarian recommend CBD?

A: Currently, most veterinarians and pet professionals do not say much about CBD oil. But it’s not necessarily because they don’t recognize the benefits of CBD for dogs. In fact, many veterinarians have been using CBD oil with their own dogs. But because of certain restrictions, veterinarians are often not able to recommend CBD to dog owners.

CBD for Dogs: Research & Treatment Guide 2020