Every day, more and more people are integrating CBD oil into their daily routines. They add it to their food, apply it to their skin, vape it, and find countless other ways to make CBD part of their lives. Unsurprisingly, some have even begun giving CBD to their pets.

Now there are “pet-friendly” oils, treats, and topical ointments, all containing CBD. They’re marketed for things like treating appetite loss and nausea, as well as making dogs feel calm and less anxious.

But are these products effective, and is it safe to give your dog CBD? Read on to find out.

Is CBD Safe for Dogs?

Dogs do not generally tolerate THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, so veterinarians list cannabis as a poisonous plant for cats and dogs. But giving your dog a CBD dog treat is much different than letting your dog eat a bunch of marijuana.

CBD pet products can be made with either CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD, which contains small amounts of THC. If you’re worried about exposing your dog to THC, just be sure to pick products made with CBD isolate.

There have not been any studies conducted specifically on the safety profile of CBD for dogs.

However, the American Kennel Club has noted a few minor side effects that dogs may experience with CBD. They include dry mouth, drowsiness, and slightly lower blood pressure.

That suggests that CBD is a low-risk, relatively safe compound for dogs. Of course, it’s best to monitor your dog closely after starting them on CBD, and take them to the vet if anything seems out of order.

How Could CBD Help Dogs?

The American Veterinary Medical Association published a report in 2014 detailing the many reasons people give their pets cannabis. The reasons include:

● Separation anxiety
● Phobias
● Irritable bowel syndrome
● Pain management
● Nausea
● Seizures
● Loss of appetite

Although scientists haven’t yet studied CBD as a treatment for most of these conditions in dogs, one that they have examined is epilepsy.

Recently, researchers at Colorado State University studied the effects of CBD on epileptic dogs. They found that about 90% of the 16 dogs in their study showed reduced seizures after taking CBD. The researchers also conducted a safety study on a group of healthy dogs before starting the trial. They did not report any major side effects or health issues from the dogs taking CBD.

Endocannabinoid System in Dogs

When you ingest CBD, it interacts with your body primarily through your endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a system of chemicals and receptors throughout the body’s brain, organs, and other tissues, and it plays a part in many different processes. These include: mood regulation, pain reduction, anti-inflammation, and cell regeneration.

Most animals on the planet have an ECS, and the similarities between the ECS in humans and dogs suggests CBD might provide similar benefits to dogs as it does to humans.

Some research suggests targeting the ECS in dogs can be an effective way to treat inflammation. Other research on rodents indicates that targeting the ECS with cannabinoids such as CBD could treat various conditions in other animals.

How to Give Dogs CBD

Delivery methods are a little more limited for dogs than humans, but there are several options out there.

The easiest method may be CBD-infused dog treats, but these tend to have lower bioavailability and can take a while to reach the bloodstream. You may see the effects of CBD on your dog more quickly if you add CBD oil directly into their food or give them CBD capsules.

For dogs with sensitive skin or rashes, you can also try CBD-infused ointments. These are usually designed to treat skin conditions and help moisturize. And since the skin absorbs CBD quickly, ointments can be an effective, targeted way to give your dog CBD.

Can Dogs Taste CBD?

CBD oil can have a slightly bitter taste, so you might be wondering if dogs can notice that. Since humans have almost six times as many taste buds as dogs, it wouldn’t be surprising if dogs couldn’t taste as much of CBD oil as we can. However, dogs have a much stronger sense of smell, so they can definitely pick up the piney scent of CBD oil.

Whether your dog will like or dislike the scent or taste of CBD will differ from pet to pet.

However, you probably don’t have to worry about getting your dog to like the flavor of CBD. Most CBD oils for dogs come in more traditional doggy flavors like peanut butter, chicken, and beef, so you can be sure to find one your pup will enjoy.


Nic Dobija-Nootens lives in New York and writes about skateboarding, podcasts, TV, and many other things he refuses to grow out of. See what ails him at @noochens.”