Pet CBD Guide: What You Need to Know About CBD for Dogs

Nov 14, 2022

Are you contemplating CBD oil for dogs?

The good news is that it may help with several health issues in your pet. Unfortunately, information in the CBD industry is confusing. Don’t worry, we are here to break everything down for you. It is recommended to stay in touch with your vet for more information on how to choose the right product for your companion.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol. It is the second major active ingredient in marijuana (cannabis). While it is a critical component in medical marijuana, manufacturers can derive CBD from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana. Hemp is differentiated from marijuana by THC levels, a cannabinoid that contains psychoactive properties. Hemp-derived CBD contains a maximum of 0.3 percent THC, so your dog will not get high from consumption of hemp derived cannabidiol products. A World Health Organization (WHO) report shows that CBD may not have any potential abuse or dependence effects.

The History of CBD for Pets

The CBD compound was first isolated from cannabis by Roger Adams in 1940. By the 60s, researchers in the United States were researching the effects of cannabinoids on animals such as primates and mice. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, criminalized the production, use or possession of any form of cannabis. These inhibited researchers and scientists from exploring the plant further, reducing the number of studies on humans and animals.

Hemp laws and technology progress are now helping expand the knowledge of CBD and the effects it has on the endocannabinoid systems of animals and humans. Before the production of hemp-based products for pets, people understood the potential benefits of supplements such as CBD oil for both people and animals. Cats and dogs often experience the same issues as humans, including anxieties and discomfort. The common reasoning was if something works for humans, it should work for pets too. Pet-specific research is progressing, even to this day.

Effects of CBD on Dogs

Like humans, dogs have ECS in their molecular structure. Endocannabinoid cells tell the body systems the functions the brain wants to accomplish, including relaying instructions to the immune system. These signaling molecules also send instructions when the brain detects an imbalance such as discomfort, immune response, inflammation, disquiet, digestion problems, stress, among others.

The major cannabinoid acids are endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are in animals and humans, while phytocannabinoids are in plants such as cannabis. Phytocannabinoids in CBD can mimic the animal endocannabinoids through the communication of the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 (also known as C1 and C2) – the basis for the optimism behind CBD products. Some researchers believe CBD encourages the body to produce more of its own endocannabinoids, which may help the body deal with imbalances at hand.

How Can CBD Help Dogs?

Cannabis prohibition and the costs of human clinical trials mean that most research is performed on animals such as mice with similar DNA to dogs and humans. Ongoing scientific research suggests CBD may help with:

  • Discomfort: A dog’s lifestyle (running, playing, hiking, and other activities) makes them prone to injury and subsequent discomfort, something CBD oil may help ease.
  • Uneasiness: Dogs can also become quite uneasy. Occurrences as simple as the daily visit by a mail carrier to loud noises during festivities can make dogs worry about their environments. CBD oil has been shown to display calming effects in animals and humans.

However, there is no conclusive data on the benefits of CBD oil for dogs. Studies are still ongoing to establish the use of CBD in the management of various conditions. While these studies prompt owners to give CBD chews to their pets, are there any side effects? Like everything else in life, there are two sides to a coin, and CBD is no different.

Types of CBD for Dogs

To help pet parents looking to try CBD oil for dogs, here’s a breakdown of the various ways to administer hemp oil.

CBD Oil Extracts

They allow for precise dosage and fast reaction time. Hemp-based CBD oil for dogs provides you control over the amount of CBD your dog ingests and acts like an oil-based health supplement instead of a recreational cannabis product. Full-spectrum CBD oil extracts contain all the natural chemicals found in hemp, including various types of terpenes and cannabinoids. The result is an entourage effect that helps your dog’s body to better absorb and utilize CBD.

CBD isolate oil extracts come from pulling only CBD from the hemp plant and removing the other beneficial cannabinoids. While CBD isolate may offer certain health benefits, the effects may be less notable than when using a full-spectrum CBD product. It’s recommended to thoroughly read the packaging, labels, and third-party test results to ensure you have all the information you require.


They come in small bottles and an accompanying dropper for administering the oil to your dog. Tinctures are an excellent entry point for pet parents who are wary of hemp-based supplements. They are liquid hemp extracts that may have CBD compounds infused with oils to provide further benefits. You administer the tincture orally and a single use comprises a few drops under the tongue. CBD tinctures are great for integrating CBD into your pup’s daily dietary supplement.


CBD topicals for dogs can be a plant-based way to soothe skin, paws, and noses. Topicals may provide support for itchiness, dry skin, seasonal allergies, and discomfort. These ointments an be applied directly to the skin.


Administering a dropper to a pet’s mouth can often be difficult for pet parents. CBD edibites for dogs offer you the option of giving your pet a CBD supplement that is an enjoyable and easy-to-consume chew. Chews come in different flavor combinations, so your dog will not be able to tell the difference between supplements and its favorite chews.


CBD oil capsules for dogs offer a convenient way to supplement CBD to your pets. This makes it easy to give your dog a pre-measured capsule based on its weight range. The capsules are beneficial for the pet owner who prefers to give their dog the same measurement of CBD daily. There is no second-guessing on how much your furry friend is consuming.

How to Use CBD for Dogs

CBD use with dogs is a new sphere that brings up more questions than answers. However, there are some basic administering guidelines you can follow when using CBD products on your dog. Make sure you treat it like any other supplement and store it out of reach of children and pets.

Giving CBD to your Dog

You can add a few drops of CBD oils in tinctures to the dog’s water or food. If your furry friend is tolerant, you can simply open its mouth and squirt a drop on the tongue. There is also the option of supplements you can mix into dog feed, or tablets and capsules cleverly concealed in chews.  It’s important to read the label to see if the supplement is better administered on an empty stomach or if it can be administered during mealtime.

CBD chews are CBD-infused supplements you administer to a pet. The CBD concentration in these chews is already pre-measured. This means you only have to control how much they consume. These chews are available in a variety of flavors and provide a clean, efficient way to administer CBD for dogs, especially the picky eater.

How to Pick the Best CBD Products for your Dog

Should you and your veterinarian decide CBD may help your dog, it’s a good idea to use the guide below when comparing products on the markets. Avoid using human CBD products for your pets. The manufacturing processes may be the same for some, but labeling is different. Plus, product strengths are different and some added ingredients might harm your furry friend. For example, gummy treats contain artificial xylitol sweetener, which is toxic to dogs.

Tips for Finding Quality CBD Products for Your Dog

  • Always choose organic CBD oil that does not contain solvents or pesticides
  • Look for products that have quality seals such as from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Animal Supplement Council (NASC)
  • Don’t purchase the first cheapest option you find – better quality and pure CBD comes at an extra cost
  • Make sure the products do not contain additives
  • Ensure the products come from companies that provide third-party laboratory testings to ensure quality and potency
  • CBD in liquid form makes it easy to adjust the usage drop by drop

The Takeaway

Preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence suggest CBD may be useful in managing certain conditions in animals. Before trying CBD for your dog, talk to a vet first.

If you are not sure which Pet Releaf product and potency is the ideal match for your dog, check out our Pet Releaf Product Filter. The tool provides product recommendations based on your pet’s unique characteristics, such as weight, health, and health requirements.

Suggested Products

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist
USDA Organic
Hip and Joint Releaf 600 Hemp Oil
$79.99 or subscribe and save 15%
  • 600 mg
  • Medium & Large
  • Dogs
- +
View Product
Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist
USDA Organic
Daily Releaf 200mg Hemp Oil
$35.99 or subscribe and save 15%
  • 200 mg
  • Medium
  • Dog
- +
View Product
Need a product recommendation? Try our Product Finder