Here are WayofLeaf, you certainly don’t have to tell us how important your dog (or any pet for that matter) is to you and your family – we are dog lovers through and through, and we genuinely know how much their health and happiness means to you.
That being said, even though CBD for dogs has become wildly popular over the past two years or so, it’s still not an easy task trying to figure out exactly how much of the natural herb to give them, or to gauge how much effect it is having on them.
That’s why we decided to put together this article – a one stop guide on how much CBD oil to give your dog (though actually, we’ll talk about capsules and CBD biscuits in addition to oil tinctures). In today’s day and age CBD for dogs has proven to be a great remedy for everything from arthritis to chronic pain, and we’re here to help you figure how much your good ‘ol boy (or girl) needs.
First Things First:
What Are You Looking to Treat with CBD?
The first thing you need to realize is that there’s no one simple CBD dosage that will work for any condition, on any dog. Just like humans, the physiology of dogs can be wildly complex, and even subtle differences in doses can have significant effects in terms of productivity and efficiency.
That being said, the first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what you’re trying to treat. If you’ve already taken your dog to the vet and received an actual veterinary diagnosis, then all the better. However, the majority of owners who use CBD for dogs do so as a kind of simple “self-medication,” mostly due to the fact that it is illegal – in any state – for veterinarians to recommend (or even so much talk about) using marijuana for dogs.
For example, many people start using CBD during their dog’s old age, when the dog 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.
CBD for dogs has been used with great results for arthritis, chronic pain, acute injury, mental disorder, anxiety, lack of appetite, and to offer better quality of life in the event of terminal illness. As such, CBD dosing will depend largely on which of these general conditions you’re treating. Pain, acute injury, arthritis and terminal illnesses generally require the largest doses, while mental disorder, anxiety, and lack of appetite usually require far less. Of course, though, the size of dog and exact type of CBD that you’re administering (oils, topicals, capsules, biscuits, etc) will weigh in largely as well.
Types of CBD for Dogs
A lot of people simply give their dog CBD oil tinctures that are made for humans. While it’s probably preferable to administer a pet-specific product (for a number of different reasons which we’ll talk about below), this is perfectly fine as long as the dose is small enough.
We did an article not too long ago with regard to how much CBD to take (for humans), and believe it or not the same basic principles can actually be used for your pup – albeit with certain variations due to the obvious differences in size/weight.
For humans, it’s estimated that the majority of daily CBD users use between 15-35 mg of the substance per day, depending on the condition that they’re treating. However, this is far from the dosage that you want to start out with, especially for dogs that have never had the compound.
Even in humans, it has been recommended that individuals start out with between 1-3 mg of CBD as an initial dose, and move up from there. The idea is that if you start out small enough, you will be able to pinpoint the exact threshold where the effects of CBD become noticeable. If you administer too much – say, if you take 30 mg right off the bat and notice fantastic results, you will have no idea how much CBD was actually required to provide therapeutic relief. It could have just been 10 mg, and the other 20 mg was complete excess.
This is actually pretty significant, because both dogs and humans can build up a tolerance to CBD – if you take too much, your body will recognize it as “abnormal,” and will actually signal for endocannabinoid receptors to stop being made. The key, then, is to hit that “sweet spot” where CBD can provide maximum effect without the body limiting the amount of ECS receptors that are made.
How Much CBD to Give Your Dog, Based on Size
Very generally speaking, a rough “jumping off” point in terms of CBD for dogs is 1 mg. Remember, in humans the jumping off point is typically only 1-3 mg, so even large dogs will only be about ⅓ the size of average humans.
Let’s go ahead and break down how much CBD to give to your dog, based on relative weight:
- Extra small (2 – 8 lbs): Obviously, extra small dogs will require the least amount of CBD. That being said, however, tiny dogs have super fast metabolisms, so you may have to adminsiter up to 3 doses per day, depending on results.In any regard, for extra small dogs suffering from pain, an initial CBD dose of 1 mg may be a decent starting point (though please remember – these are all relative suggestions, and thus should NOT be taking as definitive advice or veterinary recommendations). For anxiety or other behavioral/psychological conditions, you can even try and measure out ½ mg of tincture, and go from there. All doses are based upon a twice daily (morning and evening) administration.If the initial dose does not seem to provide results, try increasing in 2 mg increments until improvement is noticed (though it is advised not to exceed 15 mg CBD doses in extra small dogs).
- Small (8 – 15 lbs): The same initial doses can be used for small dogs as extra small dogs, with the exception of administering a 1 mg dose for behavioral issues, instead of a ½ mg dose.
- Medium (15 – 30 lbs): For medium sized dogs, some people have had success with starting off with a 2 mg initial dose, and increasing by 3 mg increments until results are achieved (this is particularly relevant when attempting to treat pain and arthritis).For anxiety/behavioral conditions and lack of appetite, a general 1 mg initial dose is recommended, wit succeeding doses increasing by no more than 2 mg (and no more than 2 doses per day).
- Large (30 – 60 lbs): To treat large dogs with general pain, arthritis, etc, a 1-3 mg dose of CBD is generally recognized as an appropriate starting off point, depending on the severity of the pain. If no results are noticed with the initial dose, try increasing each successive dose by no more than 3 mg, with no more than two doses given in any 24 hr period.For anxiety, lack of appetite, behavioral conditions, and other psychological conditions, an initial dose of 1 mg may be suggested, with succeeding doses increasing by no more than 2 mg. (*Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior, as it can be difficult to gauge exactly when the effect of the CBD are kicking in).
- Extra Large (60+ lbs): The same general recommendations can be used for X-large dogs as for Large dogs.
Other Forms of CBD for Dogs
Keep in mind that it is actually VERY difficult to administer CBD oil tincture to a dog – most oils need to be held sublingually (under the tongue) for between 60-90 seconds before swallowing, so good luck trying to get your dog to do that.
Some people simply mix the oil up in food or other treats, but bear in mind if the oil isn’t held under the tongue for at least 30-40 seconds, the absorption efficiency (and subsequent effects) is going to be vastly diminished.
With this in mind, CBD capsules or even topicals (especially if treating arthritis) can be a better bet for dogs, as it can be much easier to administer a proper (and effective) dosage.
Of course, though, dog-specific CBD biscuits and other treats are the preferred method of administration, no matter your dog’s size or medical condition. With biscuits, you know exactly the dosage of CBD that you’re administering, and you will likely never have an issue in getting your dog to consume the medicine.
Whatever form of CBD for dogs that you choose to administer, just be sure to do it responsibly, and bear in mind that none of the aforementioned information or recommendations should be taken as professional veterinary advice. When in doubt, always read the labels on your CBD product carefully, and contact the manufacturer if you have any uncertainties or particular questions.