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visualizes question of CBD for big dogs and small dogs

Do Big and Small Dogs Need Different CBD Doses?

The world of CBD can be a little bit difficult to navigate for pet parents. As the science is still young for CBD, vets generally can’t prescribe it for any condition, as researchers have yet to determine which dosages are effective. This can make the topic of dosage confusing. The amount of CBD you give your dog will vary according to weight. Your dog’s reaction to CBD will also depend on their natural tolerance to CBD, as well as the individual makeup of their endocannabinoid system. Meanwhile, different manufacturers sometimes recommend different dosages. It can all be a little overwhelming at first!

Why do people give their dogs CBD in the first place?

CBD has proven to be very effective for several conditions in humans, especially things like anxiety and arthritis pain. Studies show CBD performs roughly as well as prescription drugs for anxiety, but CBD doesn’t come with the harsh side effects that come with some prescription medications.

As it turns out, a lot of people using CBD for themselves own pets, and have offered it to their dogs and cats to see if it could help them with their conditions. In addition, recent years have seen a number of veterinarians, especially holistic veterinarians beginning to recommend CBD and play an advisory role in its use.

Many dogs are sensitive to pharmaceutical medications. CBD is gentle on the body and doesn’t come with serious side effects, another reason why pet owners are eschewing drugs to treat their dogs with CBD. 

So, while there is currently little scientific proof that CBD is therapeutically effective for canines, there is ample anecdotal evidence out there from pet parents who have tried CBD saying it has helped with issues like pain and anxiety in their pets.

visualizes dog owner with large dog
Are you a big dog person?

Thanks to all this positive word of mouth, there has been an upsurge in the use of CBD products for pets as pet owners. More and more pet owners are becoming aware of the benefits of CBD-based products for their pets. In fact, a quarter of U.S. pet owners now utilize CBD-based products either for themselves or for their pets.

What dog ailments are pet owners treating with CBD?

A broad number of ailments, in fact. Dog owners are using CBD to treat anxiety, pain and inflammation, and epilepsy among others. Many dog owners now treat their dog’s separation anxiety with a dose of CBD oil before they leave home to go to work. 

Hip dysplasia, which is an abnormal development of the hip joints, is a common and very painful condition among many breeds. Traditional medication has adverse effects and can be ineffective. Many dog owners successfully use CBD to alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by the condition.

Epilepsy is distressing for both dogs and their owners. Fortunately, CBD oil seems to be effective for epilepsy. There are many accounts of dog owners who have used CBD for epilepsy with great success.

Factors to take into account when deciding how much CBD to give your dog

The dosage is determined based on a range of factors.

  • The size of your dog

In general, dosages are calculated according to weight. The larger your dog, the more CBD it will need. However, manufacturers seem to differ on exactly how much CBD per pound of weight. The recommendation can range from 1-5 mg CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight.

Larger dogs may also need a higher dose depending on the severity of their ailment.

  • The condition you’re treating

The amount of CBD oil you give your dog will also depend on the severity of its symptoms. In the case of mild anxiety or mild joint pain, a small dosage may be enough. In the case of chronic pain related to arthritis, You could consider administering a larger dose. In this case, you’ll find a high potency CBD oil more effective.

  • The potency of CBD

The potency of a CBD product is measured in milligrams (mg). This measurement refers to the strength of the product. So, a high milligram per volume means a strong dosage. For example a 1 oz. vial containing 1000mg of CBD is much more potent than a 1 oz. vial with 250mg of CBD.

So, as a general rule, choose a low potency if you have a small dog, and a strong potency if you have a large dog.

  • Your dog’s activity level

Take this factor into account as well, as active dogs metabolize anything they ingest quickly, including CBD. It’s probably a good idea to speak to your vet if you are in any doubt as to the effect your dog’s activity level might have on its metabolism.

an educational chart displaying CBD dosage for dogs of different weightsHow much CBD should I give my dog?

The best person to pose this question to is your veterinarian. Unfortunately, many vets are barred from discussing CBD. It’s wise to call ahead to ask if your vet is allowed to discuss CBD. Holistic veterinarians are usually happy to discuss CBD.

CBD dosage for dogs is not an exact science. You will hear time and time again to start with a small dosage, monitor your dog for reactions, and gradually increase the dosage. But how much do you give it to start off with? As mentioned before, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Different manufacturers have different guidelines.  

Related article: CBD Oil Dosage, How Much Should I Give My Dog?

For instance, some manufacturers put the basic dosage for cats and dogs at 1-5 mg CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight, while others recommend 0.2mg of CBD per pound of body weight. Others claim their dosages are veterinarian-approved. A dosage chart should take into account the weight of the animal and lay out low/starter dose, medium dose, and high dose to make it easy to judge what safe range of doses would be for your pet. 

To administer CBD, either give them a treat with a dosage in the right ball park, or if using a tincture, do some quick math to see how much CBD a full 1 ml dropper contains. Most tinctures come with measured droppers, making it easier to administer an accurate dose. If the dose isn’t 100% accurate, don’t worry. 

The general rule of thumb is: start your dog off with a low dosage, keeping it up for a week or two to see how the dog reacts to the CBD, and then increase the dosage incrementally. Repeat this process 3-5 times and observe your pet carefully to determine which dose seemed most effective for them. 

What are the reasons against trying CBD Oil for my dog?

That’s a common question most people ask themselves at first. But the truth is, there is little risk associated with trying CBD for your pet. CBD is non-toxic, non-addictive, and potential side-effects from very large doses are mild; limited to things like nausea,  change of appetite, restlessness, sleepiness, and occur rarely overall. If you follow the general guidelines on dosage, side-effects are not likely to be a problem.

So long as pet parents do their due diligence and consult a veterinarian or holistic vet prior to trying CBD, they should enjoy a positive experience with CBD. Always remember that CBD can interfere with some prescription medications in the same way that grapefruits do, which again underlines the importance of having a vet involved and advising you, especially if your dog is currently on medication.

So long as you use common sense and follow general guidelines, trying CBD should be a low-risk affair.

visualizes improbable big guy / little dog relationship
Or are you a little dog person? Image Source: People Magazine

Any questions?

Though the science of CBD is still in its infancy and we still do not know how to dose cannabis medicines with the accuracy of prescription medications, there are easy guidelines we can follow for dogs of different sizes that are safe. Just remember to do your due diligence and follow guidelines. 

If ever you have questions about your product, check a company’s ratings on Google, Facebook, etc… and send them emails with questions about their products directly.

Curious about learning more about CBD for dogs? Check our news page, the articles there are a wealth of information!