How To Use CBD for Pets

June 03, 2017

CBD for Pets

Did you know that our beloved dogs and cats have an endocannabinoid system just like we do?

This is good news because it means pets can share in the same benefits of CBD as humans.

Keep in mind that just like with using CBD for humans, CBD is not going to work for every pet. But with the pets that it does work, we have found the results to be life changing.

As we often say about CBD – the safety profile and list of benefits always make it worth a try for your condition.

What are the benefits of CBD and cannabis remedies for pets?

CBD can benefit pets for many of the same conditions it benefits their owners:

  • Pain
  • Seizure control
  • Appetite (THC is generally better than CBD for appetite)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Anxiety-related issues
  • Inflammation
  • Cancer (THC + CBD are both important for cancer)
  • Improved quality of life

Is CBD safe to use for pets?

Due to also having an endocannabinoid system, pets will respond to CBD and cannabis products similarly to humans.

However there is one important caveat: there is a greater concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the brain of a dog than there are in other animals or humans. The higher concentration of cannabinoid receptors in their brain can make dogs react badly to THC. Dogs can develop a condition called static ataxia from a THC overdose – an inability to preserve equilibrium while standing.

This does not mean that dogs can’t benefit from some THC in their medicine, but the dose of THC must be very carefully controlled to prevent an overdose. The dose of THC should never be so high as to get the dog stoned, just enough to achieve medicinal effects.

Keep in mind drug interactions can happen with CBD. If your pet is taking other medications, talk to your vet about drug interactions before you start using CBD for your pet.


Is it okay if my CBD hemp oil has a small amount of THC in it?

Yes, a small amount of THC in CBD hemp oil is a good thing as it will provide an entourage effect. Again, THC is only a problem for animals when they have too much. Always start with a low dose and work your way up slowly. Keep in mind that you can always give your pet more but it’s a lot harder to reverse a dose once you have administered it.

It’s a good idea to work with a holistic veterinary doctor who has experience with dosing CBD and THC to make sure you are not using too much.

Can CBD cause side effects for my pet?

As with any medication, side effects from CBD are possible. The best part about CBD side effects is that they are rarely extreme. One of the most common CBD side effects for humans is drowsiness or sedation. The same side effect can happen in pets.

If your pet becomes too sleepy or sedated after their CBD dose, you may need to simply reduce the dose for next time. Conversely, if your pet has trouble relaxing, the sedation may be helpful.

What you want to watch out for is a more extreme side effect like trouble walking, as we mentioned above. This can happen if a dog consumes too much THC. If you see this side effect or anything else that’s alarming, get your pet medical attention immediately. Do not wait.

What is the best delivery method for giving my pet CBD?

Get your dog the best vape you can afford! Just kidding.

The best method for administering CBD to your furry friends is a sublingual tinctures.

Sublingual tinctures are the best because:

  • They are easy to dose
  • They are easy to administer
  • They are easy to modulate (the dose) in case you need to increase or decrease the dose

All you have to do is drop the tincture into your pet’s mouth. Plus many pets will love the flavor of the CBD oil. Come on, you’ve probably watched them eat trash and worse things, right?

Read Ellie’s story about how easy it was to give her dog Teenie CBD Oil 

How much CBD should I give my pet?

With CBD, less is more. As we always say, start low and go slow. You should start with a low dose and increase the dose slowly until you reach the desired effect. As with humans, different conditions may require different dosing. As we learn more about CBD, dosing will become more standardized.

When dosing CBD for pets (and humans) the best method starts at a low dose and observe what happens at that dose for a few days to a week. If necessary increase the dose, and then observe in the same fashion. Keep doing this until the necessary dose is reached for the condition being treated.

Here is a good dosing strategy we learned from veterinarian Dr. Robert J Silver:

Range of dosing: 0.05 mg per lb twice daily to 0.25 mg per lb twice daily

Tier 1: 0.05 mg per lb of bodyweight is the low end

Tier 2: 0.125 mg per lb of bodyweight is the middle ground

Tier 3: 0.25 mg per lb of bodyweight is the high end

Notice how small those dosages are.

Dr. Silver advises pet parents to start at Tier 1 twice daily and observe over a week. It may not be necessary to go to tier 2.

If necessary, go on to Tier 2 twice daily and observe for a week.

And again, if necessary to go higher, go up to Tier 3 twice daily.

Here are some examples at Tier 1 dosing: 

Pet Weight CBD Dosage
Up to 25lbs/11kg up to 1.25 mg  – 2 times daily
25 – 50lb/11 – 23kg 1.25 to 2.5 mg – 2 times daily
50 – 75lb/23 – 34kg 2.5 to 3.75 mg – 2 times daily
over 75lb/34kg 3.75 mg+ – 2 times daily

** When in doubt, always start with a low dose.

** Keep in mind that every brand’s mg per drop content will be different. You will need to do some simple calculations to figure out the mg per drop of the brand you choose.

What should I look for when choosing a CBD hemp oil for my pet?

You should treat your search for your pet’s product the same way as you would if you were searching for a product for your self.

Read: How to get the best CBD hemp oil

We recommend the following:

  • A reputable brand who you can contact directly for any questions about where the product comes from and how it is made
  • Clean extraction methods like CO2 or professional ethanol extraction
  • Lab reports which verify the product is free of mold, pesticides, and toxins
  • A whole plant extract (full spectrum) which will provide an entourage effect from the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids it contains
  • CBD from high-resin hemp plants as opposed to low-grade industrial hemp or CBD isolates
  • Organic growing practices

“I asked my vet about CBD/cannabis medicine and he told me he knows nothing about it…”

Your vet is just being honest with you, as he should be. The best kind of vet would be a holistic veterinary practitioner or a vet who specializes in using cannabis. They are more likely to be found in cannabis friendly states like California or Colorado. If you don’t live in a cannabis friendly state, do not fret – try to get a Skype or phone consultation with a cannabis vet you find online.

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association is a resource you can use to find a holistically minded veterinary practitioner

Other useful resources to learn more about using CBD for your pet


The post How To Use CBD for Pets appeared first on CBD School.

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