The natural benefits of CBD are well-established. People use it to great effect for chronic pain, arthritis or joint pain, anxiety and depression, for relief from cancer-related pain, epilepsy and seizures. There are also studies looking at CBD for the prevention of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
The only problem is that science has yet to catch up with this new natural wellness phenomenon, and even though CBD is helpful, we don’t have the information we need to understand what CBD oil dosage is most effective for most health conditions. Despite that, dog lovers have discovered that CDB works on dogs the same way as it works on people, and can be used to relieve their dog’s symptoms.
However, if you are a pet parent thinking about administering CBD to your dog, don’t just run out and grab the first CBD product you see at the gas station! There a a few things to be aware of before you buy.
Marijuana, CBD, and Hemp
CBD (short for cannabinol) is extracted from the flowers and buds of the cannabis plant. Marijuana and hemp are both cannabis plants, but marijuana contains up to 30% THC and hemp contains at the most 0.3% THC.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound that gets you high when you ingest marijuana, but it is considered “toxic” for dogs. Though THC isn’t truly toxic, dogs are more sensitive to THC and smaller than humans. Sometimes people give dogs some THC and the intoxication makes dogs nervous, agitated, sleepy, which can have other adverse effects like nausea, disorientation and more. The very small amounts of THC are safe, it’s very important to make sure the THC content of a CBD product is very low.
CBD oil for dogs shouldn’t contain more than 0.3% THC.
You may have heard of hemp oil. Be aware that hemp oil is completely different from CBD oil in that it is produced from the seeds of the cannabis plant and typically contains no CBD. Hemp oil is often used as a nutritional supplement because of its excellent vitamin, protein, and mineral content. Hemp oil is actually very healthy, it just doesn’t have CBD in it.
CBD oil, contains cannabidiol, the cannabinoid produced by hemp plants which is getting so popular for its medical and therapeutic applications. The way CBD produces the salubrious effects people experience is by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a regulatory system that manages all major bodily systems and processes, which all mammals possess.
Related article: What is CBD Oil?
How much CBD oil is safe for my dog?
Although many dog owners are treating their dogs with CBD oil, there hasn’t been much research conducted on canines, so there isn’t much proof it works. Because of the lack of scientific research, there are no officially recommended dosages anyone can prescribe. With that in mind, here are a few key things to know before you buy CBD oil for your dog, based on the experiences of dog owners and of professionals working with dogs.
- If your dog is on any prescription medication, make sure to consult your vet before giving your pet CBD, as CBD interferes with the metabolization of some drugs the same way grapefruits do.
- Consult your vet. Though vets can’t prescribe or dispense CBD products, most can discuss treatment plans with you. Ask your vet if they can discuss CBD, or ask other pet owners if they can recommend a vet with experience with CBD products.
- Consult your vet if your dog has other medical conditions like liver or kidney problems.
- When buying CBD oil, take your dog’s size and weight into account.
- Remember a dog that’s very active will metabolize CBD more quickly than people.
- Buy a high-quality CBD oil.
- Start off with a very small dosage – as little as 0.25 mg once a day.
- Monitor your dog closely to gauge the effect of the CBD.
- Buy the correct potency for your dog’s size. Potency levels vary from 75mg for small dogs to 300+mg for large dogs.
Calculating CBD oil dosage
The basic rule is to start with a small dosage and gradually increase it by small increments. High-quality products will always display the product potency, usually offering information about the amount of CBD per 1ml dropper, or the amount of CBD content per treat. Not every product offers recommended dosage, so it’s handy to have some guidelines for calculating CBD oil dosage if you want to use CBD to treat your dog’s ailment.
- First, you need to work out how many milligrams (mg) of CBD you should give your dog based on his weight. Studies about CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures use a dose of roughly 1-2 milligrams per pound of bodyweight, twice daily. For instance, if your dog weighs fifty pounds, you can start him with a dose of 10 mg of CBD.
- Scientists found this dose to be both safe and fairly effective for arthritis and seizures. Dosages for other conditions must still be verified by research.
- Next, you must work out how much oil you should give your dog based on the potency of your oil. Usually, CBD oil products list the amount of CBD per 1ml dropper on the product itself, but if they don’t, you can divide the amount of CBD by the total bottle volume (usually 30ml), to get the amount of CBD in a single 1ml dropper. For example, if an oil has 600mg CBD in a 30ml bottle, then a full dropper should contain 20mg.
- Make sure the product you purchase actually contains CBD. If it is just hemp oil, it won’t contain CBD. Ask the brand for Certificates of Analysis that show the amount of CBD in the bottle.
How to choose a high-quality CBD oil
While it’s true that there are bad apples out there trying to take advantage of the booming CBD industry, most companies are producing quality CBD products. If you read reviews of the recommended top products online, you’ll find that products comply with the following standards.
- CBD extracted from organically grown hemp.
- CBD was extracted professionally, with no chemical residues left over. CO2 extraction is the best way to avoid any chemical residues. This method uses compressed liquid carbon dioxide to extract the oil. In the process, the CO2 evaporates, leaving no residue behind, only pure CBD oil. Ask the brand to provide you with their Certificates of Analysis so you can verify the oil isn’t contaminated by any solvents.
- Certificates of analysis should come from 3rd party, independent labs, not the company itself. Labs do chemical analyses to confirm the amount of cannabinoids like CBD and THC are in the oil, and show whether it is free of contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents.
- Check the product for its THC potency. Look for products that are certified to contain less than 0.3% THC. If the CBD was derived from hemp the product should meet this requirement.
How long before it takes effect?
The answer to this question depends several factors like the condition you are using it to treat, the dosage you’re using, and your dog’s natural response to CBD. Typically, dogs given CBD oil for anxiety experience relief rather quickly. For other conditions like chronic pain or inflammation, it may be a few weeks before your dog begins experiencing consistent relief. Be patient, and observe your dog daily. Dogs generally respond very well to CBD treatment for pain.
What are the chances of overdosing your dog on CBD?
Generally speaking, there is zero risk. CBD products that made with CBD isolate containing no THC, won’t get pets high and won’t cause overdoses. However, products containing THC should be used with caution, as dogs are highly sensitive to THC and can have a bad experience if they have too much. Again, this is generally unlikely, as CBD products usually contain 0.3% THC or less. As long as you buy your CBD oil from a reliable manufacturer and stick to the recommended dosage, the chances of an overdose are slim to none.
Dogs can experience side effects from CBD if given unusually large doses. Start with a small dose. If your dog has ingested too much CBD, it may make them listless, they may have trouble with balance, get nauseous, have less bladder control, feel sleepy or look lethargic, or show heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli.
If this happens, call your vet. The most likely outcome is that your dog will just sleep the side-effects off, but if the side-effects seem very unpleasant, take your dog to the vet to make sure there are no further complications.
Should I try CBD for my dog?
Since CBD is non-toxic and non-addictive and there are very little chances of side effects, it is definitely safe to try. Many dog owners are already using CBD oil for their dogs. The key is finding a safe, reliable product from a reputable manufacturer so you know the product’s quality. If you follow the dosage guidelines above and do a bit of experimentation with the “Start low, go slow” approach, you should be able to find a dose that gives your dog significant relief from what ails them.