CBD oil has many benefits. We want to help you make the best decision that you can by talking about some pros and cons of CBD for dogs. CBD for dogs is becoming more and more common as people discover the number of benefits it can provide, not only for us but for our pets as well. This article provides veterinarian advice on the pro and cons of using CBD oil. What's the latest on CBD oil for dogs? For your dog's health and happiness, get the facts, pros, and cons about CBD for dogs from Dr. Buzby.
Pros and cons of CBD for dogs
It has been around for centuries and known for its medicinal benefits in the mainstream for decades, and now the popularity of CBD oil has grown massively. You see friends talking about it online, you see it in grocery stores, and countless other advertisements just about everywhere you look. Everyone seems to be discussing the pros and cons of CBD for dogs. Chances are, someone very close to you uses it for themselves, their children, and maybe even their dogs. That’s right, my friends, many people use CBD oil for its benefits to their dogs.
Those of us with pet dogs know that, just like us, they can get sick. Of course it’s important to get a vet’s opinion of what your dog needs, but whenever you feel ready to look into the use of alternative medicines (specifically CBD oil) to help your pooch, we want to help you make the best decision that you can by talking about some pros and cons of CBD for dogs.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is CBD oil exactly?
- 2 CBD products available for dogs
- 3 Pros and cons of CBD for dogs
- 3.1 Pros of using CBD for dogs
- 3.1.1 Lower anxiety levels
- 3.1.2 Help with cancer treatment and seizures
- 3.1.3 Increase appetite
- 3.1.4 Works as a painkiller
- 4.1 What to look for when buying CBD oil
- 4.1.1 Check where the CBD was grown
- 4.1.2 View the lab results
- 4.1.3 Find out how the CBD was created
- 4.1.4 Identify the type of extract the CBD features
What is CBD oil exactly?
CBD is a cannabinoid which contains naturally occurring chemicals that can act on the brain and body. The oil is extracted from the cannabis plant.
There are two common strains of cannabis—hemp and marijuana. Hemp is a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% of THC. Marijuana has more than 0.3%. CBD products for pets are typically sourced from hemp. It has no psychoactive properties like the THC found in marijuana.
CBD is processed as an isolate or as a full-spectrum oil combined with other related cannabinoids. Oils made with full-spectrum extracts are thought to have superior therapeutic effects vs. cannabidiol-only oil.
CBD products available for dogs
Before we get into the pros and cons of CBD for dogs, let’s talk about what types of CBD products that are out there for canines. When you shop online, or head to the store, these are the type of CBD products that you will typically find for dogs.
- Oil/tincture. Oils/tinctures are an easy way to give your dog CBD to help with their ailments. The oil can be mixed into their food, given in treats, or just put directly into their mouths (although that’s not always the easiest option). Many dogs don’t like the taste of the oil, so mixing it into foods is a great option.
- Capsules. CBD oils can be put into capsules which can then be hidden in dog treats.
- Treats/chews. Just like for human consumption, CBD oils are put into edible treats made just for your dogs.
Pros and cons of CBD for dogs
First and foremost, while most states have relatively liberal laws as it pertains to CBD oil, it is always wise to do your research to ensure that you are following the law. But again, keep in mind, that most products for dogs come from hemp-derived CBD oil.
Pros of using CBD for dogs
These are just some of the pros that we have discovered in our research for using CBD for dogs.
Lower anxiety levels
If you have a dog that is prone to high anxiety, CBD may be a great option for you. The reality is, we simply cannot be with our dogs 24/7 so we just aren’t able to be there to comfort them at all times. CBD oil has been found to ease anxiety and calm some of the destructive behaviors that come with said anxieties.
Help with cancer treatment and seizures
Some promising research shows that CBD oil may help fight cancer cells and seizures. 1 , 2 With over 6 million dogs per year developing cancer, this is a battle that many can use help with. 3
If your dog is older or sick and struggles with appetite, CBD can help increase appetite.
Works as a painkiller
CBD is often used as a painkiller because it is known for its painkilling properties. 4 Many people report that their dogs move around with more ease once they begin administering CBD to them for their pains.
Dylan actually gets CBD oil twice daily with his meals. He is having some hip and knee issues. We are finding that this is helping with his mobility and pain levels.
Cons of using CBDs for dogs
What to do before giving your dog CBD
Before you make the decision to give CBD to your dog, it’s important to talk to your vet about your pet’s health and any concerns that you may have. While using CBD for dogs is a decision that is 100% up to you, it is highly recommended that if you do make the decision to use it, you use a product that is made for canines and not for humans. There are several reasons for this.
- To ensure that the concentration is appropriate for canines
- There are no harmful added ingredients. Many edible CBD treats contain products like Xylitol which can be harmful to dogs.
The fact remains that as much as we love our dogs and even though they are a part of our families, humans and dogs are different and the products we use should reflect that. You can ask your veterinarian for a CBD product that they recommend, or check with your pet supply store for a veterinarian-approved, high-quality product.
What to look for when buying CBD oil
The market seems to be flooded with new companies selling CDB oil. So, how do you know what to buy? Here are some things to consider when looking for a product to buy.
Check where the CBD was grown
When purchasing a CBD product, the first thing you should check is where the hemp was actually grown. We advocate looking for US companies certified organic. The company should have a website. And should indicate where they grow their hemp. If the company sources their hemp from outside the United States, check the farming regulations in the country of origin.
View the lab results
Every company should perform 3rd-party quality testing. They should be able to provide a certificate of analysis (COA). These certificated verify the quality and potency of the product.
Find out how the CBD was created
The CBD oil is created through extraction of the hemp plant. The two most popular extraction methods are CO2 extraction and alcohol extraction. Both methods work and are commonly argued about in regards to which is better. However, CO2 extraction seems to be a more clean and effective method.
Identify the type of extract the CBD features
CBD products can be extracted and the hemp processed in three different ways.
- Full-spectrum. This uses all of the hemp plant—leaves, flowers, and stalks. Therefore, this extract is home to all of hemp’s cannabinoids. But, there will still be less than 0.3% THC (so no one is getting high on this). Due to the wide-range of chemical components, it allows for all of the compounds in the plant work to work synergistically together for maximum benefit and effect.
- Broad-spectrum. This contains pretty much the same components as a full-spectrum, but has 0% THC.
- Isolate. This is created when a manufacturer separates CBD, a singular cannabinoid, from the rest of the over 100 cannabinoids in the hemp plant. This is the purest form of CBD, but it’s also the most processed form of hemp. It will provide the benefits of CBD, but is missing the cannabinoids that make full-spectrum and broad-spectrum oils potentially a more powerful approach.
What’s the best dosage?
While using CBD for dogs may be a relatively new thing, more and more people are opening up to the idea and many are jumping on board. We love our pets and we want the best for them. We want them to feel their very best!
Dylan uses CBD daily to help with the discomfort in his knees after two TPLO surgeries and his hip from early onset arthritis. We are happy to say that we are having great results using this with Dylan.
I would love to hear from anyone who has experience with using CBD for dogs. Has it been a positive experience for you?
CBD for Dogs: A Vet Explains the Pros and Cons
In the past few years, CBD products have been gaining popularity in both people and animals. Marijuana and other hemp products have been studied to determine their effects on people and animals. The studies show that CBD for dogs and other hemp products are beneficial.
What is CBD for dogs?
Cannabidiol or CBD is found in hemp plants. Unlike what many people believe CBD does not contain THC. THC is the compound found in marijuana responsible for the euphoric state. In recent years CBD has been explored for potential medical uses with success in both human and veterinary medicine.
Is CBD safe for dogs?
CBD oil is very safe for dogs. Many dogs show improvement with their condition after taking CBD for a few weeks. Many people have reported that using CBD for dogs or cat has significantly reduced or eliminated pain from arthritis or helped with seizures and other neurological problems.
Benefits of using CBD for dogs
Colorado State University Veterinary School has published studies showing the benefits of CBD oil in reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis. The information that we have regarding the use of cannabis in veterinary medicine has come from recent studies done on laboratory rodents (mice, rats, and guinea pigs). Studied on laboratory animals has shown benefits for disorders of the cardiovascular system, cancer, pain, disorders of the respiratory system, or metabolic disorders. There has been very little published studied on cannabis in dogs and cats. Most of the studies in companion and large animal medicine are on the toxic levels, effects, and treatment rather than therapeutic applications. Currently, some of the most frequent studies of cannabis in veterinary medicine are for the treatment of glaucoma, pain, skin disorders, and cancer.
Cannabis has been shown to have a wide variety of beneficial effects on the body in laboratory and companion animals. Most cannabis has psychotropic properties, which can cause behavior effects in animals and can become addictive. However, many other medications have these same effects and are used for medical purposes today because the benefits are much greater than the side effects. Pet owners have reported the successful use of CBD with their pets for both large and small animals. Studies are being performed to prove the benefits of cannabis in animals as well as products being produced that limit the THC content to help decrease the potential for toxicity.
Symptoms treated by CBD for Dogs
There are many different problems that CBD products can help treat, such as:
- Anxiety: CBD has been shown to help decreases stress and help with anxiety. Many people will use CBD around thunderstorms or fireworks. CBD products will help keep your dog calm
- Arthritis: One of the primary uses of CBD is for pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Colorado State Veterinary School has published studies on the effects of CBD in arthritic patients. The study showed that CBD does help decrease the pain and inflammation associated with this disease.
- Cancer: CBD may help decrease the size of your pet’s tumor. Also, if your pet is undergoing chemotherapy and feels nauseated, CBD products can help reduce nausea and even help increase their appetites.
- Seizures: A recent study has shown that CBD products can help decrease the number of seizures that your dog has. In the study, 89 percent of dogs who took CBD products saw a decrease in the number of seizures. CBD products are suitable for those dogs who do not respond to traditional medication or who cannot take conventional medicines due to the side effects or other diseases.
- Skin disorders : CBD has been shown to help repair a healthy skin barrier. When this barrier is disrupted, allergies, bacteria, and yeast are allowed to invade the skin causing all the skin disease that we see. CBD will help repair this layer and help your pet to feel much better.
Potential risks and side effects of CBD for dogs
There are studies published that show that CBD given to dog over a long period of time at very high dosages have little to no side effects. Some of the dogs taking the medication long term did show a slight increase in a liver enzyme (ALT). While most other medications used to treat dogs can have a large list of unwanted side effects. This makes CBD a great option, especially for those pets with chronic pain or other medical conditions that prevent them from taking traditional medications.
Types of CBD products for dogs
There are many different types of CBD products for dogs. These are the typical type of products that contain CBD:
CBD Oil for Dogs: Facts, Benefits, Concerns 
What are the benefits of CBD oil for dogs? What are the concerns about CBD and dogs? CBD oil has become an increasingly hot topic in human medicine and veterinary medicine. Integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby breaks down the pros and cons. Get the latest facts, concerns, and benefits that dog parents need to know.
CBD oil for dogs: a rapidly changing landscape
In 2018, the FDA approved the first naturally derived CBD product, Epidiolex®, for controlling severe seizures in children. The research behind CBD oil for veterinary use is slowly growing, but the legal aspects remain complicated and messy.
Our veterinary team at Dr. Buzby’s—The Senior Dog Company has been researching CBD oil for dogs. For years, we’ve been discussing up-to-date information with veterinary colleagues, interviewing experts in the field, and attending lectures at veterinary conferences. At the state and federal level, information changes frequently. So much so, that it feels like it’s almost daily.
This impacts veterinarians’ ability to recommend CBD for their canine patients and discuss it with clients. Though the landscape is rapidly changing, we’re proud to share what we currently know regarding CBD and dogs.
What is CBD?
Let’s start with the basics. There are over 113 different naturally occurring compounds that can be derived from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The two most well-known compounds are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Different strains of the same hemp plant can have different levels of THC and CBD. Interestingly, the body (human and animal) has different receptors for both THC and CBD.
THC is the compound we associate with marijuana. It is responsible for the psychoactive effect, or “high” feeling after an individual smokes or cooks the marijuana plant. THC binds to CBD1 receptors in the brain that are associated with emotions, coordination, movement, memories, appetite, and pain. CBD1 receptors also are present throughout the body. THC products can be toxic to dogs in high enough doses.
CBD, on the other hand, does not have the same effects on the brain as THC. The majority of the receptors for CBD (CBD2 receptors) are associated with the immune system. When CBD binds to these receptors, it can help decrease pain and inflammation as well as trigger the body to produce its own cannabinoids, which can decrease pain.
Limiting the amount of THC in hemp
The Farm Bill, signed on December 20, 2018, legalized the production of the hemp plant as long as it contains less than or equal to 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. This means that hemp with less than 0.3% THC is no longer considered a controlled substance.
Additionally, the USDA published the final rule regulating the production of hemp in the U.S. in January 2021. The final rule established requirements for licensing and testing THC concentrations in hemp. The goal is to encourage growing hemp of known chemical concentrations to stabilize CBD and THC concentrations in CBD products.
Keep in mind that legality varies at the state level. As you’re probably aware, state laws regarding marijuana are changing all the time.
What are the potential health benefits and uses of CBD oil in canine patients?
What are the pros or potential health benefits of CBD oil for dogs? Let’s discuss.
First of all, in human medicine, CBD oil is being studied and used for chronic pain management, epilepsy, cancer, anxiety, and many other uses. Regarding chronic pain, a study done in mice and rats showed that CBD oil helped reduce inflammation. Also, in a study done on humans, CBD oil reduced the use of opioids (oxycodone, for example) by 64%.
Preliminary research done in cancer cells shows that CBD may be involved in blocking the signals for reproduction in cancer cells. Finally, CBD may have benefits for patients with anxiety disorders by increasing dopamine. (It is worth noting that THC has the potential to make anxiety worse by increasing paranoia.)
The following two benefits have studies to back them up:
1. Research study on CBD and dogs shows it may help manage seizures.
In dogs, two studies have recently been published regarding CBD use for seizures and pain management.
A study by Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine showed an 89% reduction in seizures in dogs with seizure disorders. The study itself was very small—only nine dogs in the treatment group and seven dogs in the placebo group. However, it does demonstrate that CBD oil may help manage seizures in dogs. Colorado State University is currently conducting a larger study to more thoroughly evaluate CBD use in seizure dogs.
2. Research study shows improvement for dogs with arthritis.
Pet parents who have used CBD oil in their pets have reported improvements in gait, sleep, and appetite. Researchers at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine evaluated the use of CBD oil in dogs using the gold standard double-blind study. This means both the researchers and the dog owners did not know which treatment the dog was getting. Theoretically, the results are more accurate from a scientific basis.
Of the 22 dogs with arthritis enrolled in the study, 16 dogs ultimately finished the trial. Dogs received either CBD oil or a placebo oil (olive oil mixed with anise and peppermint oil to have the same scent as the CBD oil) for four weeks, followed by a two-week washout period, then the opposite treatment for four more weeks. In this manner, all dogs were given both CBD oil and “sham” oil for one month each.
Dogs were evaluated based on owner questionnaires, veterinary physical exams, Canine Brief Pain Inventory score, Hudson activity score, and blood work (CBC and biochemical profile).
It is important to note that the dogs included in the study were allowed to stay on current medications such as NSAIDs (examples include Rimadyl, Meloxicam, Deramaxx, etc.), fish oil supplements and/or glucosamine/chondroitin supplements—as long as there were no changes made within the four weeks up to the study or during the ten weeks of the study. However, dogs were taken off Tramadol for dogs and/or Gabapentin for dogs two weeks prior to starting the research.
The study yielded two key pieces of information:
- First, dogs on CBD oil showed an improvement in their arthritis symptoms compared to dogs on the placebo oil.
- Second, CBD oil was safely used concurrently with traditional arthritis management medications such as anti-inflammatory medications.
What are the concerns regarding CBD oil?
What the cons of CBD oil for dogs? There are five concerns regarding giving your dog CBD oil.
1. All CBD oil is not alike.
Because CBD oil is sold as a supplement, products are not subject to the same tight regulations and standards as pharmaceuticals approved by the FDA. There can be marked discrepancy in the CBD concentration reported on the label versus the CBD concentration in the actual product.
Why is this so important? When the CBD concentration differs from the actual product, a dog is at risk of being under or over dosed .
Three different types of CBD are available: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Full spectrum hemp products contain THC, so should be avoided for use in dogs.
CBD oil for dogs products may be human grade, contain natural ingredients, be organic, vegan, etc. These factors do not necessarily indicate whether they are good or bad pet products.
2. CBD concentrations may vary significantly from the amount specified on the label.
The FDA issued warnings in 2015-2017 to certain companies for the CBD concentration not matching the labeled amount. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) evaluated different CBD extracts online and allowed for the amount on the label to vary by 10%. 43% of products had a higher concentration than what was on the label and 26% had a lower amount than specified on the label.
3. Arsenic and other toxins may contaminate CBD oils.
Depending on how it is harvested and processed and what additives or preservatives are used, CBD oils are at risk for contamination. This includes:
- Mycotoxins (a deadly toxic substance produced by a fungus)
- Heavy metals including arsenic
However, you can request a Certificate of Analysis from the company. This document should include a cannabinoid profile with test results showing the concentration of cannabinoids in the product, antimicrobial analysis, pesticide analysis, and elemental analysis to screen for lead and arsenic.
If you use a CBD product for your dog, make sure to check the ingredients. CBD oil products should be comprised of cannabanoid oil and a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil.
4. CBD oil is a legal “grey zone” for veterinarians.
CBD oil falls into a legal grey zone with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), federal, and state regulations. Although the 2018 Farm Bill allowed for the production of specific hemp products, some states still ban CBD oil.
In the eyes of the DEA, marijuana and hemp are federally categorized as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, defined as having a high potential for abuse and no medical use. (Also on the list are Heroin and LSD, to give you a frame of reference.) However, state governments are given authority to determine if they will allow marijuana and hemp-based products to be manufactured and sold inside their state borders.
The Schedule I categorization by the DEA makes CBD the elephant in the exam room, so to speak. Many of my veterinary clients with senior canine companions suffering from osteoarthritis in dogs are asking me about pet CBD oil. Yet my hands are theoretically tied in recommending or prescribing the product. Why? Because according to federal law, medical professionals may not write prescriptions for Schedule I substances, and violators are subject to criminal prosecution.
Always make sure the read the label of your CBD product to ensure your pet is getting a quality product.
5. There is no FDA-approved veterinary CBD oil for dogs.
This categorization also makes research more difficult because there are extra hoops for researchers to jump through for Schedule I drugs. Further, there also is no veterinary CBD oil approved by the FDA. So state veterinary licensing boards default to holding veterinarians responsible for the guidelines established by the DEA. As a result, the American Veterinary Medical Association discourages veterinarians from even discussing CBD oil with pet owners due to legal concerns.
Promising results from dog owners
Anecdotally, a couple dozen of my patients are on CBD oil, in every case because their proactive owners heard about the product and decided to try it for their arthritic dogs. The dog owners have acquired CBD oil from a host of interesting sources—online, a relative, and a local lady who recently opened a side business selling CBD.
My veterinary clients pepper me with questions about how much CBD oil to give their dogs, safety concerns of using it along with other drugs their dogs take, and risks of long-term continual dosing. I apologize to my clients and defer their questions. Not because I am under a legal gag order but because I genuinely don’t (yet) have a lot of answers.
What can we hope for in the future regarding CBD oil for dogs?
Laws have significantly relaxed regarding hemp and cannabinoid products over the past several years. As more states change their laws regarding cannabinoids, more doors should hopefully open for veterinary use of these products.
Also, we’ve seen studies published indicating that CBD oil may have benefits in seizure and pain management for dogs. These are huge strides. Hopefully, laws will continue to relax to allow veterinarians to discuss CBD oil with their clients and to allow for more veterinary research.
Finally, we hope there will be more oversight for product quality and control so that consumers know they are getting a pure, safe product.
- 3.1 Pros of using CBD for dogs