The CBD for dogs market has skyrocketed in recent times. Indeed, Forbes reported that annual sales of CBD products for pets have now exceeded $600 million. However, there is little reliable information on how much cannabidiol to give a dog due to a lack of regulation and research.
This article looks into the available data on the “right” CBD oil dosage for dogs while investigating the different products on the market. Pet owners are adamant that CBD can help with issues such as chronic pain and arthritis, so let’s see how much of it is required.
Why Does Your Dog Need CBD?
There’s no universal CBD dosage that works for any condition on any dog. Like humans, the physiology of dogs is wildly complex. Even subtle differences in doses can have significant effects.
However, your first step is to determine why you feel your dog requires CBD. Most pet owners consider the cannabinoid if their faithful friend has one of the following issues:
- Chronic pain
- Mental disorder
- Lack of appetite
Dog owners also suggest CBD helps improve their pet’s general quality of life. Many people start using CBD during their dog’s old age when it is in obvious discomfort. Others prefer to administer it temporarily during bouts of sickness, fatigue, or just when something appears out of the ordinary behavior-wise.
A little later, we’ll look into how CBD could help specific conditions in dogs, including related research. However, first, let’s look at dosing.
Veterinarians can’t administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis or cannabis products for animals.
We must make one final point before proceeding. In 2019, the FDA stated it couldn’t conclude that CBD was generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in human or animal food. The Administration sent warning letters to various companies for selling pet food and treats with CBD.
Technically speaking, the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, separating it from marijuana. Nonetheless, it remains illegal under federal and state law for vets to recommend CBD oil for pets. Furthermore, veterinarians can’t administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis or cannabis products for animals.
However, you’ll find that countless brands can deliver CBD products for pets to your doorstep in most states.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog, Based on Size?
Plenty of pet owners give their dogs CBD oil tinctures made for humans. While it’s probably preferable to administer a pet-specific product, this practice is perfectly fine if the CBD oil dosage is small enough.
One factor that impacts how CBD affects a user is body weight. In general, dogs are significantly smaller and lighter than humans. Therefore, if you weigh 175 pounds and find that 40mg of CBD has a noticeable impact, it stands to reason that your 25-pound pooch needs much less.
If you administer too much CBD and it has the desired effect, you’re in danger of assuming that’s the required amount. In reality, you could be providing your dog with far more CBD than the minimum therapeutic dose.
It is also worth noting that, like humans, dogs can build up a tolerance to CBD. If you take too much, the body recognizes it as “abnormal” and launches signals to prevent the creation of further endocannabinoid receptors. The key is to hit that sweet spot where CBD can provide maximum effect without the body limiting the amount of ECS receptors it creates.
Now, let’s look into CBD dosing for dogs based on their weight. A basic starting point in terms of CBD oil for dogs is 1 mg. This point is typically only 1-3 mg in humans, and even large dogs are typically about one-third the weight of average humans.
CBD Oil for Dogs – What Does the Research Say?
One study indicated that the half-life of orally-administered CBD for dogs is between 4-5 hours. In that study, the authors say this suggests that oral CBD is bioavailable at “2mg/kg when administered at least twice daily.” Therefore, based on the research, for best results, it is necessary to administer CBD to your dog twice daily.
Dr. Chelsea Luedke, a veterinarian, says that the latest research on CBD oil for dogs indicates that approximately 1-2mg of CBD per kilogram is a good starting point. Using the example of a 45-pound border collie with joint pain, one would first need to divide the dog’s weight by 2.2 to convert from pounds into kilos (45lbs/2.2=20.45kg). Therefore, at 1-2mg per kilo of bodyweight, 20-40mg of CBD would be an appropriate dose in this case.
When calculating the dose, it is essential to take into account how many milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml) there are in the CBD product. For example, if the CBD product contains 300mg and its total volume is 30ml, then the mg/ml amount is 10 (300/30=10). In the border collie with joint pain example above, then, an appropriate dose would be 2-4ml twice daily, with the upper end being suggested for more moderate to severe pain.
Furthermore, what constitutes an appropriate dose also depends on the condition one is trying to manage and the severity of the symptoms one is trying to address. For example, a dog experiencing mild anxiety during a car journey will generally require a lower dose than a dog experiencing severe pain due to arthritis. We will discuss the appropriate doses for different conditions later in this article.
But first, let’s break down how much CBD to give to your dog based on their weight.
CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs Based on Weight
Extra Small (2 – 8 lbs)
Small dogs require a tiny amount of CBD, though they have extremely fast metabolisms. As a result, you may need to administer 2-3 doses per day, depending on the results.
Using the above formula, one would need to first convert the dog’s weight (e.g., 8lbs) into kilos, i.e., 8/2.2=3.6kg. Based on the dosing recommendation of 1-2mg per kilo of bodyweight, that equates to 3.6mg-7.2mg.
So, when using a 300mg CBD product with a 30ml volume, the dose would be 0.36ml-0.72ml (i.e., 3.6-7.2/10), depending on the severity of the symptoms one is trying to address, administered twice daily.
Small (8 – 15 lbs)
Owners of small dogs can use the same dose here for an extra small dog weighing 8lbs. However, for the top weight of 15lbs, it is necessary again to convert the dog’s weight into kilos to calculate an appropriate dose.
Therefore, 15/2.2= 6.8kg, so 6.8mg-13.6mg of CBD oil would be an appropriate dose for this sized dog. Divide by 10 to calculate the ml dose, i.e., 0.68-1.36ml of CBD to be administered twice daily.
Medium (15 – 30 lbs)
Again, begin by converting the dog’s weight into kilos For a 30lb dog, that would be 30/2.2=13.6kg. A dose of 13.6mg-27.2mg administered twice daily would be appropriate. To calculate the ml dose, again divide by 10, i.e., 1.36-2.72ml per dose.
Large (30 – 60 lbs)
Use the same formula for a 60lb dog, 60/2.2=27.2kg. A dose of 2.7mg-5.4mg is appropriate for a 60lb dog. So, 0.27ml-0.54ml administered twice daily is ideal.
Extra Large (60+ lbs)
Weigh your dog and use the exact same formula as above to calculate an appropriate dosage.
How Much CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis?
The above dosage guidelines are very general and depend on many factors, including the seriousness of your pet’s condition. Studies on CBD for dogs with arthritis recommend a dose of between 2 and 8 mg per kilogram of bodyweight. Many research papers stay on the lower side of that estimate.
As for whether CBD is effective for dogs with arthritis, the study, mentioned above, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science in 2018 suggests it is. Researchers gave dogs with osteoarthritis two different doses of CBD oil, 2 mg/kg and 8 mg/kg, or a placebo oil, every 12 hours. After four weeks, they moved into a two-week washout period.
At the end of the study, Canine Brief Inventory and Hudson Activity Scale scores revealed a significant increase in activity and decreased pain in dogs that consumed CBD. Moreover, a veterinary assessment also showed decreased pain during CBD application. Pet owners didn’t report any adverse side effects.
The researchers concluded that 2 mg/kg of CBD oil twice a day could help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis.
How Much CBD Oil for Dogs with Joint Pain?
It is tricky to determine the amount of CBD to give to a dog with joint pain. However, a study published in Pain in 2020 looked into the effects of cannabidiol on canines with OA-associated joint pain.
Over four weeks, the researchers gave dogs either a placebo or liposomal CBD. They found that 20mg of this form of cannabidiol per day was as effective in improving clinical outcomes as 50mg of non-liposomal CBD.
A liposome acts as a protective bubble that encapsulates CBD molecules. Sellers of this form of cannabidiol claim it can deliver CBD to the bloodstream at least four times faster than standard carriers. Liposomes also increase bioavailability, so you get great results with a relatively low dose.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog for Anxiety?
There is relatively little information regarding how much CBD is required to reduce anxiety in dogs. The dosage charts you see online are vague and depend on a canine’s weight, among other factors. Indeed, there isn’t much scientific research to show that cannabidiol decreases canine anxiety. Nonetheless, countless pet owners claim that CBD is useful for calming their dogs.
A study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science in 2020 looked into the impact of CBD treats on canine responses to a noise-induced fear response test. Sixteen dogs were divided into four groups. Apart from a control group, the other three groups received either:
- 25mg of CBD
- 100mg or 200mg of trazodone based on weight
- A combination of CBD and trazodone
Ultimately, the researchers concluded that CBD didn’t have an anxiolytic effect on dogs at a 1.4mg/kg dose.
What Forms of CBD Are Available for Dogs?
Keep in mind that it is VERY difficult to administer a CBD oil tincture to a dog. Most oils must be held sublingually (under the tongue) for between 60-90 seconds before swallowing. Good luck trying to get your dog to do that.
CBD pet treats contain pre-measured doses, so you know how much your dog is eating.
Some people mix the oil with food or other treats. There is a suggestion that the bioavailability of CBD consumed sublingually is overstated, with less of a noticeable difference between it and orally consumed cannabidiol, as previously believed. Therefore, it is worth trying CBD treats or biscuits to guarantee the consumption of the cannabinoid. Also, treats contain pre-measured CBD doses, so you know how much your dog is eating.
CBD topicals are another option and will likely work best for dogs with surface aches and pains.
What Brands Sell the Best CBD Oil for Dogs?
When shopping for the best CBD oil for dogs, it is best to use the same criteria as you would if buying it for yourself. These include:
- Looking for hemp-derived CBD products with a maximum of 0.3% THC
- Brands that offer up-to-date third-party lab reports
- Proof that the hemp used to create the CBD oil was cultivated on an American or EU farm
We also recommend performing detailed research into the brands themselves. What kind of reputation do they have? Do they specialize in CBD products for dogs? How long have they been in existence? Find the answers to these questions and more to get the very best products for your pet.
However, we’ve saved you some trouble by identifying five of the best brands when seeking CBD for dogs.
1 – CBDistillery
CBDistillery offers CBD oil for dogs in 150mg and 600mg concentrations, with the latter providing 20mg of CBD per ml. It is a full-spectrum product containing THC, albeit at extremely low levels. Otherwise, it consists of nothing but hemp seed oil and CO2-extracted hemp extract.
The brand also sells “Man’s Best Friend” packs, combining CBD for you and your dog in a special bundle.
2 – cbdMD
Apart from hard chews and dog shampoo, cbdMD sells CBD oil for dogs in five concentrations:
Few brands offer a larger amount of CBD for pets. The largest bottle provides an impressive 100mg of the cannabinoid per ml. cbdMD asserts that its products are manufactured in GMP-certified facilities, and its CBD oil for dogs is THC-free.
The brand also sells a CBD calming oil tincture for dogs in 250mg and 500mg concentrations. Available in blueberry flavor, this product contains melatonin, lemon balm, chamomile, passion flower, and valerian root.
3 – NuLeaf
This brand only sells one product, but its full-spectrum CBD pet oil is top quality. Available in 300mg, 600mg, and 1800mg concentrations, each bottle contains 60mg of CBD per ml and 3mg of cannabidiol per drop. It is a pure product that consists of hemp extract and organic virgin hemp seed oil. You can also save money by investing in a Pack of 2 or Pack of 6.
4 – Hemp Bombs
Apart from dog chews, Hemp Bombs sells pet CBD oils in 250mg and 1000mg concentrations. Furthermore, you can choose between beef and chicken flavors. Apart from the flavoring, the oil consists of pure CBD extract, MCT oil, and grapeseed oil. The larger concentration contains 33.33mg of CBD per ml.
5 – Medterra
While the available CBD concentrations of 150mg, 300mg, and 750mg aren’t the most substantial, what Medterra lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Its CBD oil for dogs is available in unflavored, beef, and chicken flavors, with 10mg per ml in its smallest concentration. If you don’t want your dog consuming even trace amounts of THC, this is a worthwhile purchase since it consists of flavoring, CBD isolate, and organic MCT oil.
Recommended Pick – CBDistillery
Each of the brands mentioned above offers outstanding CBD oil for dogs. However, although CBDistillery doesn’t offer the highest cannabidiol concentration, it does provide the kind of quality your pet deserves. Derived from exceptional hemp plants, this brand’s pet CBD oil comes with third-party lab reports, not to mention the chance to save 30% AND benefit from free shipping by choosing the auto-ship option.
Final Thoughts on CBD Dosage for Dogs
Whatever form of CBD for dogs you choose to administer, make sure you do it responsibly. You should not take any of the information or recommendations in this article as professional veterinary advice. Also, veterinarians aren’t allowed to recommend or prescribe CBD for dogs in any case.
We have provided ballpark dosing guidelines, but in reality, the safest option is to begin with a tiny amount. Analyze how your dog reacts to CBD before determining whether you need to increase the amount.
When in doubt, always read the labels on your CBD product carefully, and contact the manufacturer if you have any uncertainties or particular questions.