As you may have realized by now, here at Honest Paws, we're passionate about educating pet parents on how to give their companion animals the best life.

A long life with your dog or cat means more walks in nature, extra snuggles, and enthusiastic tail-wags when you get home at the end of a long day. However, taking care of your pet means nurturing their health too. 

Many pet owners have found that CBD has helped them with emotional balance, relief from strain and discomfort, sleep, focus, and general wellness. When your pet is facing health issues and drugs like NSAIDs offer harsh side-effects, it's only natural to seek an alternative. This has gotten many pet parents wondering if their pet can also take CBD oil. 

The good news is that dogs and cats can take CBD oil, provided it has been sourced from the hemp plant. Let's get into the nitty-gritty of the Cannabis sativa L. plant and why, even with its long history of medical use, we're only hearing about it for pet use in recent years. 

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabis is a plant that you may already be familiar with, or you'll at least know the association with its ability for drug usage. However, many misunderstand CBD, a naturally occurring compound of the plant.

Early studies of the plant focused on THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) because of its ability to produce typical psychotropic effects. CBD was sidelined mainly due to its complicated legal status.

Even after research on the cannabinoid began, it was restrictive. Finally, a 1940 study on the Structure of Cannabidiol (CBD) found that CBD is not responsible for the "physiological activity typical of marijuana." 

There are many cannabinoids in cannabis plants, but THC and CBD are present in the highest concentrations. For decades, federal law in the U.S. grouped all cannabis plants in the "illicit drugs" category.

Both hemp and marijuana production was illegal. Farmers and scientists finally cracked the barrier of politics and legality, and the 2018 Farm Bill was signed, allowing a change in the hemp policy. 

As stipulated by the Farm Bill, hemp is the cannabis plant that contains 0.3% or less THC, unlike marijuana. CBD that is readily available and legal is, therefore, an extract from the hemp plant. It is safe and non-toxic for humans and animals.

While humans can still take marijuana products that contain THC (think medicinal marijuana), pets should not be exposed to THC at all. It can be toxic and harmful to their little furry bodies. Extracted CBD can be included in many products, although oil is one of the most common forms for consumption in humans.

Can I Give My Dog CBD Oil?

 Yes, you can give your doggo CBD oil. But let us first hit you with some fine print:

  • Make sure you give your dog hemp-derived CBD oil and that it contains less than 0.3% THC to be safe for your pup.

  • The dosage of CBD needs to be carefully considered. Your and your pet's body weight vary, which will determine the amount of CBD you give your pet. A CBD dosing chart or calculator will help you decide where to start with dosage amounts for your cat or dog. 

  • Have a look at the strength of your CBD bottle. Usually, tinctures are available in different potencies, from 125 mg of CBD to 2000 mg of CBD per bottle. This will have an effect on the dosage for your pet. Human CBD oils will often be stronger than pet CBD oils, and so you will need to adjust the dosage accordingly. 

  • Hemp seed oil is different from CBD hemp oil. While the labels can sometimes be confusing, giving your pet hemp seed oil will not have the same benefits as whole-plant hemp oil. Hemp seed oil is still safe and suitable for your pet. Its omega fats will provide nourishment for their coat, making it healthier and shinier than before.

  • Make sure your oil is free of additional ingredients or flavorings that could cause an allergic reaction or toxicity in your pet. 

When it comes down to it, CBD oil is CBD oil. There should be no difference between a pet CBD oil and a human CBD oil. Your pet deserves high-quality oil that is suitable for human consumption. 

Does CBD Oil Need to be Given Daily?

Using CBD daily or even twice a day will deliver the best results over time. A 2020 study that reviewed Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment found that "acute treatment of CBD may not be sufficient to combat the cause of pain."

The study further stated that "Chronic CBD treatment allows for long-term therapeutic effects to be achieved, without significant side effects or tolerance development. Especially important are prolonged anti-inflammatory effects, which may have an influence more directly on the cause of the pain development and therefore provide a long-lasting analgesic effect."

Another study on the efficacy of CBD for dogs with Osteoarthritis suggested that "2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA."

Daily dosage applies to pet owners and their companion animals. Whether you're dosing for severe health conditions or general emotional balance and wellness, regular daily dosing will be more effective than ad hoc use. 

What Kind of CBD Oil Can I Give My Dog?

Whether you're looking to buy CBD products from a pet company or if you're going to share tinctures, it's important to purchase top-quality CBD oil. Some manufacturers cut corners, and the outcome of their CBD oil products are tainted with harmful chemicals, bacteria, and unsafe quantities of THC. Buying a CBD product that isn't of the highest quality is not only a waste of money, but it can be unsafe for yourself and your pet. 

Look for the following when buying CBD oil:

Full Spectrum Oil

The CBD extraction process can alter the quality of the CBD oil that you buy your dog. When manufacturers use CO2 extraction, the result is pure full-spectrum oil. Full-spectrum CBD oil, as its name suggests, contains all of the beneficial cannabinoids found within cannabis.

In addition to CBD, it also has potent cannabinoids like Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabicyclol (CBL), and Cannabichromevarinic Acid (CBCVA). This full-plant extract is preferred over isolate CBD oils or broad-spectrum oils, although those can still do some good. 

Lab Tested

To guarantee the oil's purity, dog owners can ask their CBD brand for a Certificate of Analysis. When done correctly and by a third-party lab, the COA will clearly state the oil's content (good and bad).

Organic and 100% Natural

Make sure the hemp oil came from a farm with organic practices. Ideally, you want a hemp oil that was not treated with pesticides, solvents, or fungicides. Dangerous chemicals can make their way into the oil. 

If your oil is pure and does not contain harmful ingredients, then you can share it with your pet. It's also nice to know that if you've bought your pet high quality, full-spectrum, human-grade pet CBD oil, then you can dip into their stash when yours has run dry. 

CBD Ingredients: What is Safe and What to Stay Away From?

CBD companies will flavor CBD oil products differently for humans and dogs, appealing to the different taste palettes. Humans have access to a range of CBD products, including CBD treats and edibles, beverages, oils, e-liquids and vape oils, capsules, supplements, and topicals.

Edible and liquid formations that contain CBD oil are problematic for dogs as they are more likely to have harmful ingredients, even if the THC content is low. Before you give your dog a dose of your CBD product, a pet owner must check the ingredient list. Carrier oils, flavors, and sweeteners are not as highly tolerated by pets, and some of them can even be poisonous. 

Most carrier oils are safe for pets, even grapeseed oil. Although, keep in mind that grapes are toxic, and some carrier oils can cause gastrointestinal upset. MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) carrier oil and coconut oil are the most commonly used oils and are safe for your dog. 

Unsafe ingredients for pets that may be in your CBD products:

  • Artificial sweeteners like xylitol

  • Chocolate or dry cocoa powder

  • Undiluted essential oils (Peppermint is a hot topic, and while it's unsafe as an essential oil, dried mint is fine for dogs.)

  • Nicotine

  • Alcohol

  • Hops (CBD beers)

  • Caffeine

  • The following nuts: walnuts, pistachios, pecans, pine nuts, macadamia, brazil nuts (peanut butter is safe)

  • Too much salt

If you want to share a CBD product with your pet, stick to a good quality oil. It's best to keep your gummies hidden away for personal use. 

Oops, I Gave My Pet Something They Shouldn't Have

Call your vet or the Poison Helpline if you suspect your doggo ate your marijuana gummies or a CBD product that contained something harmful. Side effects of poisoning include gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling/hypersalivation, inappetence and nausea, signs of internal bleeding, high heart rate, weakness, collapse, paralysis, difficulty breathing, seizures, and liver, or kidney failure.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs

A good dose of CBD oil works with the endocannabinoid system to support the body and balance many functions. Studies are prolific in the research of CBD and its ability to provide multiple pharmacological actions, including anxiolytic (anxiety relief), antipsychotic (psychosis relief for mental health ailments), antiemetic (anti-nausea and vomiting), and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Other reported health benefits include:

  • Help maintain physical and mental well being

  • Supports normal cardiovascular, immune, and neurological function

  • Supports a normal inflammatory response

  • Eases joint stiffness due to routine daily exercise and activity

  • Promotes the body's innate resistance to pathogens

  • Help manage everyday stress and promote calmness

  • Supports normal nerve conduction and memory recall

  • Soothes skin-related issues associated with seasonal allergies

  • And much, much more

Side Effects of CBD Oil for Dogs

Stay alert and look out for any side effects after giving your pet some of your CBD oil. Dogs and humans tolerate CBD oil with only a few side effects: mild diarrhea, low blood pressure, reduced activity level, and dry mouth.

These side effects may be caused by too high a dose and will subside after a few hours. Try a smaller amount in the dropper next time. Once your pet has become accustomed to CBD, you can try higher doses. 

A good rule of thumb for doses of CBD is within the range of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight per day.

Giving Your Dog CBD Oil, Your Greatest Gift 

Can you give dogs CBD oil? Yes! Just remember to adjust the amount of CBD oil, based on your dog's weight. Hemp-derived CBD oil is non-negotiable to ensure safety. Once you know what to look out for, you can introduce your pet to CBD oil. 

Should you want to try something that suits your pet's flavor pallet, there are many fabulous brands that have created CBD products with your pet in mind. This includes good quality CBD dog treats, oils, peanut butter, and topicals with human-grade, full-spectrum CBD oil. We hope we've answered your question about giving CBD to your dog. 

For more information about CBD for pets, browse the topics on our Honest Paws website. We want you to be informed and confident in the CBD products you choose for your pets. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my pet's CBD oil?

If you've bought your pet high-quality, full-spectrum, human-grade CBD oil, then yes, you can dip into their stash when yours has run dry. 

Can I give my dog CBD for humans?

Yes, but make sure the CBD oil you administer to your pet is from the hemp plant and contains less than 0.3% THC to be safe for your pup.

Can cats take CBD oil for humans?

The good news is that dogs and cats can take CBD oil, provided it's sourced from the hemp plant. When sharing your CBD oil with your pets, adjust dosage according to body weights.