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CBD for Dogs: What Is It and What Does It Do?

CBD for Dogs Overview

With the rise of CBD’s popularity among people, is it any wonder that there’s a great deal of interest about CBD for dogs? Dog owners across the country are using CBD to treat their dog’s various health conditions including:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • & Arthritis 

But with any new health trend, there is a lot of information floating around out there. The same is true for CBD and dogs. In this post we’re going to try and answer some of the more general questions about CBD, and tell you what to look for when buying CBD for your dog.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and won’t cause intoxication. The lack of intoxication has led the World Health Organization to state, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential….” 

Most CBD products are also derived from federally legal hemp and not from marijuana; the big difference being that hemp plants by definition produce very little THC.

Read more about the differences between CBD Hemp and Marijuana here.

How Does CBD Affect Dogs?

There aren’t any FDA-approved, peer-reviewed studies on how CBD affects dogs yet— expect those in the months and years to come. 

Scientists and veterinarians do know that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system located in the peripheral and central nervous system. Both humans, dogs, as well as other animals host this native biological system.

Will CBD Make Your Dog High?

As mentioned above, there are big differences between CBD hemp and marijuana (cannabis that produces THC.) Most CBD products are made with hemp plants that contain high levels of CBD and very little psychoactive THC.

How do Dogs Benefit from CBD?

While there isn’t any FDA-approved data on CBD for dogs, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that CBD can treat your dog’s pain, neuropathic and otherwise, and help control seizures.

Seizures

Preliminary data for veterinary-specific use of CBD to treat seizures in dogs was published in 2019. Researchers found a statistically significant 89% reduction in seizure frequency in dogs treated with CBD as compared to a 43% reduction in the control group. 

The American Kennel Club is also currently pursuing additional research into CBD for dogs to evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs.

Karen writes of our 600mg Full Spectrum Pet CBD Oil Tincture:

“I bought this tincture because my miniature pinscher had two seizures. She is an otherwise young, healthy and active dog. Because of this she is not a good candidate for anti seizure medication at this time. Her seizures are not frequent and they do not last for long periods of time. I decided to put her on CBD in the hopes it would stave off more seizures, preventing the necessity of putting her on anti seizure medication for the rest of her life. She has not had another seizure since I began using Sunset’s pet tincture.”

Anxiety

If your dog has been chewing up your house, peeing inside, or generally freaking out they may have a bit of anxiety. CBD may be able to help. While many humans take it to help manage symptoms of anxiety, CBD may also benefit your dog in the same way. 

Maggie writes about our 600mg Full Spectrum Pet CBD Oil Tincture:

We’ve been using CBD products for our dogs for years now. We’ve switched to Sunset Lake to support a local Vermont business and we’ve noticed a huge difference in our dogs’ anxiety. We love the pet cbd specifically as the measuring is simple and not too overpowering. Hits just the right spot.”

Pain and Mobility

A recent study from 2018 looked into the anti-inflammatory properties and anti-pain properties of CBD for dogs with osteoarthritis. Researchers gave dogs 2-8mg of CBD per kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight. 

Eighty percent of participating dogs showed improvements in pain management and mobility, as measured by veterinarians. But, it’s important to note that this study was funded by a CBD producer. 

Cindi writes about our 600mg Full Spectrum Pet CBD Oil Tincture:

 “Our 9 year old GSD, Sierra has severe hip dysplasia and this CBD oil has been such a relief from pain and mobility issues for her. She can play with our younger GSD (her bestie) for longer stretches of time and take gentle walks again. Thank you for the ♥️ you grow into your crops.”

Are There Side Effects of CBD for Dogs?

Because there is little research into canine CBD use, veterinarians can extrapolate potential animal side effects based on how CBD affects humans. 

  • Dry mouth: CBD can slow the production of saliva. CBD for dogs could manifest itself as an increased thirst. 
  • Low blood pressure: Large doses of CBD can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. This can lead to brief feelings of light-headedness. 
  • Drowsiness: While many owners have been known to use CBD to manage anxiety, there is a possibility of overdoing it. Too much CBD could make your dog drowsy. 

The best way to avoid any unwanted side effects is to consult your vet. Based on the weight and condition of your pet, they may have some insight about whether CBD may conflict with your dog’s other medication. Also look for dosing instructions on your CBD product and start on the lower end of that spectrum. 

What do Veterinarians Think About CBD for Dogs?

A recent VIN News Service survey of 2,131 veterinarians found that at least 63% had been asked about CBD oil for dogs at least once a month. But, because CBD is still relatively new, many vets can’t prescribe it to their clients. 

Some states have relaxed said restrictions. California passed a law that prevents regulators from penalizing veterinarians for talking with clients about the potential benefits and risks when using CBD for their dogs.

How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog?

Consult your veterinarian if your dog is already on medication. We always recommend starting on the lower side and increasing dosage as needed. Start with 1-2mg of CBD for every 10 pounds your dog weighs. 

For more on CBD dog dosing check out this post of CBD oil dosing.

How to Find the Right CBD for your Dog

Check the Certificate of Analysis (CoA)

Perhaps the most crucial step: check the certificate of analysis and make sure that it’s from an accredited third-party lab. It should include the amount of CBD and THC present in the product. 

If you can’t find the certificate of analysis on the vendor’s website, and they don’t offer any when you ask, it’s time to find a new vendor. 

For help, check out our post How to Read a Certificate of Analysis.

Is it CBD or Hemp?

CBD and hemp are not interchangeable terms. A product may include hemp oil that’s totally free of CBD. Make sure that the product you’re interested in contains CBD and not just general “hemp oil.”  You can do so via the certificate of analysis mentioned above.

Check the Ingredients

Ask yourself this question: What’s in the product? Insist on seeing the ingredient list and look for any unnatural additives. Don’t be afraid, too, to reach out the vendor and ask about any ingredients you’re unsure of. 

If you wouldn’t take it, is it acceptable CBD for your dog?

Sunset Lake’s CBD for Dogs

Check out Sunset Lake’s lineup of CBD for dogs. We currently carry a 600mg Full Spectrum CBD Oil and pre-dosed, CBD dog treats

CBD dog treats on the left and the Pet CBD Oil to the rightBoth are made with the highest (and simplest) ingredients we could find, and are crafted with the high-quality, pesticide-free CBD hemp that we grow on our own farm in northern Vermont.

Sources:

  1. “CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report.” Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, World Health Organization 10 Nov. 2017
  2. “Farm Bill.” USDA, United State Department of Agriculture, 2018, www.usda.gov/farmbill.
  3. Raypole, Crystal. “Endocannabinoid System: A Simple Guide to How It Works.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 17 May 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/ endocannabinoid-system#how-it-works
  4. McGrath, Stephanie et al. “Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association vol. 254,11 (2019): 1301-1308. doi:10.2460/javma.254.11.1301
  5. Shannon, Scott et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente journal vol. 23 (2019): 18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
  6. Gamble, Lauri-Jo et al. “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs.” Frontiers in veterinary science vol. 5 165. 23 Jul. 2018, doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165
  7. Lau, Edie. “California OKs Bill to Let Veterinarians Discuss Cannabis.” News – VIN, Veterinarian Information Network, Inc. 30 Aug. 2018,