Although currently there is very little research into the effects of CBD on dogs we know that many owners with pained, elderly or anxious pets have tried using CBD to try to get them some relief.
Based on this, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence – you only need to glance through a few Facebook groups to find it – but very few scientific studies as to the facts.
The first thing to mention is that giving CBD to your dog without a prescription, in the UK at least, is currently illegal. To quote gov.uk:
“There are currently no CBD based products that have been granted a UK veterinary marketing authorisation.”
“A veterinary surgeon may prescribe a legally obtained human CBD product under the provisions of the prescribing cascade”, however, meaning that if your vet thinks CBD could help your dog, they’re allowed to write a prescription.
So, if you’re researching CBD and the potential for it to help your dog ready to have that conversation, hopefully we can give you some insight so you can make your own judgement and speak to your vet.
What Is CBD?
Let’s start with some background. CBD – or cannabidiol – is one of the many compounds that derive from the cannabis plant. The extract has grown massively in popularity over recent years and is now a widespread food supplement used worldwide for better wellbeing.
It is non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t have any sort of “high” or intoxicating effects. It is commonly used as part of a healthy lifestyle. It is usually taken in oil form as tincture drops but it also comes in water-soluble forms to add to drinks, topical applications such as creams and lotions and – for dogs – as treats.
How Might CBD Help Dogs?
Cannabidiol is thought to support the endocannabinoid system in the human body. Dogs also have an endocannabinoid system which helps keep the body well balanced. In the same way as it works in the human body, CBD binds to receptors in the dog’s nervous system and travel to the brain – interacting and changing the way that the dog responds.
Many pet owners have reported that CBD has helped their dog with nausea and loss of appetite, pain, inflammation, noise phobias, separation anxiety and seizures.
Limited scientific research means it is difficult to corroborate these happy tales with hard facts but we’ve seen plenty of examples of CBD, anecdotally at least, being a huge help for certain ailments.
Things To Consider
There are lots of things to consider when you are choosing a CBD product for man’s best friend. It is even trickier than choosing for yourself, as although you know your pet inside and out, they are unable to voice what they might need.
So, probably the most important thing to say is to trust your instinct. Nobody knows your dog better than you do. Consider any symptoms you may have noticed, any medical history and any changes in behaviour that have led you to this point.
The only thing we would absolutely stick by is that if you’re going to give your dog CBD, only do so if they’re not taking any other medications.
The age and size of your dog – as well as the reasons for buying the product in the first place – will also be factors in choosing your CBD option. The smaller the dog, the lesser the dose, as a general rule but it is worth looking into this at length to ensure you choose the right potency and amount.
You might also find some comfort in other people’s experiences. Do some research into your particular problem and look for other pet owners who may have had similar situations with their pet.
A few dog owners have reported that their pets have experienced dry mouth and some slight drowsiness following CBD treatment but these are reported to be extremely rare and very mild if they do occur. It is vital to keep an eye out for anything unusual and monitor your pet following any new treatment.
The Bottom Line
CBD products are a natural and safe way to try to find some relief for your dog if they are suffering from pain, inflammation, anxiety or seizures. There is no hard and fast guarantee that it will be of any use but there is no harm in trying, as it has been deemed to be well tolerated by the majority. It is important to speak to your veterinarian beforehand, particularly if your dog is on any kind of prescribed drugs, to ask for their advice and widen your net on information.
If you’ve spoken to your vet and they’ve given you the go ahead, be sure to choose a reputable, trusted provider, with high-quality products, that have transparent ingredients lists including a low (or zero) trace of THC – we’d recommend CBD One as they can give you details of their processes and are a lab certified brand so you know you’re getting a top-quality product.
Your pet relies on you to make the best choices for their wellbeing so it is vital that you do extensive research before you decide on the best CBD for your dog. Don’t forget – monitor them carefully once you have administered a CBD product. You are best placed to know if the product is working or is detrimental to your pet in any way. Trust your instincts.
Frequently Asked Questions
CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it cannot make you “high” or cause any intoxication. You may find that your pet is a little more drowsy than normal after taking CBD, but it is one of few rare and mild side effects.
As long as your CBD product has less than 0.2% trace of THC (the psychoactive element of the cannabis plant) as legally required, then it will not make your pet high. Ensure you buy from a trusted and reputable source to be sure of the contents of your CBD product.
Giving CBD to your pet is currently illegal without a prescription which can only be written by a qualified veterinarian. In the United Kingdom, CBD is completely legal for human use, as long as it has a THC level of less than 0.2%. CBD holds a stigma because it derives from the cannabis plant and people consider that it is illegal because of this.
Actually, the cannabis plant is made up of thousands of different compounds, CBD being just one of them.
Almost all of the cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant are considered to be controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The psychoactive element of the plant - THC - is illegal in the UK for example. CBD is not.
So, if you think CBD might be the right option for your dog we’d advise doing your research, and speaking to your vet as a first port of call.
We would always recommend talking to your vet before trying any CBD products on your pet as they may be willing to advise you on dosage and frequency of administration and give their opinion on whether or not CBD is the right option for your dog and their specific ailment or problem.
It is usually wise to start off small and build up your CBD dose so that you can closely monitor any effect it may have on your pet, whether that be physical or a change to their behaviour. It may be that even with specific dosage instructions, you need to experiment a little before you discover the right amount you give when you start off on your CBD journey.
CBD is very safe to use and is well tolerated by most humans. The same applies to dogs from the anecdotal evidence we have so far. It is highly unlikely that a dog would overdose on CBD as it would require an astronomical amount of a product to cause any lasting effects. Any mild side effects that may be experienced can be fixed by lowering your CBD dose or ceasing it completely for a few days before starting again on a lower dose.
There are thousands of different CBD products available on the market right now. For dogs they come in treat form, oil tincture drops, organic, flavoured, budget, luxury and high potency, to name a few.
It depends on your vet and on the ailment or illness that you are hoping to find relief from for your pet. The benefits of CBD are currently wholly subjective and anecdotal when it comes to its effectiveness on dogs and other pets. If you have an open minded, forward thinking veterinarian then you might find that they encourage you to try CBD for your dog, as it is a safe option that has been reported to help others. However, they may discourage you from using it if your dog is already on medication that could interact with the CBD product in question, or if they believe it wouldn’t be of help to your pet.
There are so many CBD oils on the market. It really depends on each individual as to which you might consider the best - it is very subjective. You might want a specific potency or flavour so what is best for you might not be best for all.
We're big fans of CBD One, who have a fantastic range of products available.
CBD is reported to have a calming effect because of the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, rebalancing the body. It can cause slight drowsiness in some dogs, which is likely to make them more docile.