Broad Spectrum Vs. Full Spectrum CBD for Dogs – What’s Best for Your Furry Friend?

full spectrum vs broad spectrum cbd for dogs

It can be overwhelming trying to find the right CBD product for your dog. You want one that will help your pet feel better while supporting overall health without any risks. But you also need one that will fit into your budget.

One of the first choices you should make to narrow down your search is to decide whether you want a full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate oil. Each of these has some benefits as well as some drawbacks for dogs. 

Below, I’ll walk you through the differences between broad-spectrum vs. full-spectrum CBD for dogs. I’ll also give you some tips and answer some common questions to help you find the right product for your furry friend.

CBD Types

All CBD products made for pets in the US are derived from hemp oil. This product is made by extracting oils from industrialized hemp, which is different than the closely related cannabis plant.

What kind of purification the CBD oil goes through after the initial extraction process determines whether the final product is full spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.

Full Spectrum

Full Spectrum

Full-spectrum CBD products contain all the phytochemicals present in hemp oil. 

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is the most prevalent of these chemicals. But full-spectrum oil also contains additional cannabinoids, including CBN, CBG, cannabidiolic acid, and more. 

Full-spectrum hemp oils also contain tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. But the amount of this psychoactive compound present is very small. 

Full-spectrum oils made for dogs will always have under 0.3% THC. This can be different from CBD products made for humans

In addition to cannabinoids, full-spectrum CBD oil also contains terpenes and essential oils.

Broad Spectrum

Broad Spectrum

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is very similar to full spectrum, with one key difference. 

Broad-spectrum CBD products also contain terpenes, essential oils, and a long list of phytochemicals.

These phytochemicals include cannabidiol and other cannabinoids. What these products do not contain is THC.

Most broad-spectrum hemp products are THC-free, while some may contain very tiny amounts of the psychoactive compound. Because these products are low enough in THC to be safe for pets, dogs can have human CBD products that are broad spectrum in most cases.

CBD Isolate

Broad Spectrum

CBD isolate is a third option you’ll find when shopping for CBD for your furry friend. 

This highly refined hemp oil contains only CBD. Other compounds, terpenes, and cannabidiols are present in very trace amounts or not at all.

CBD isolate contains zero THC.

Hemp and Cannabis Spectrum

Hemp and Cannabis Spectrum

CBD products can be made from both hemp oil and cannabis oil, depending on what plant type is used to extract the product. 

Both these oils have the potential to produce the entourage effect, which influences how the oils interact with the body. They are also both controlled by legislation, especially with concern to THC content.

Entourage Effect

When you give your pet a CBD product that contains other cannabinoids and phytochemicals, CBD isn’t the only compound that will affect the body.

Every mammal, including humans and dogs, has an endocannabinoid system. This system exists throughout the body and brain. It consists of cellular receptors and chemical signals that help regulate everything from memory to metabolism. 

Endocannabinoids, like those found in hemp and cannabis, can activate and deactivate these receptors. Different compounds have different effects on this system.

More importantly, different compounds taken together often have a greater effect than single compounds taken alone. In many cases, lesser compounds, like terpenes and trace cannabinoids, can enhance the effect of chemicals like CBD.

This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.

Legislation Concerning THC

In the US, products made from hemp are federally legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC. Since THC is only present in trace amounts in hemp plants, this is on par with the natural concentration of THC present in this oil.

However, some counties and states have their own legislation regarding hemp oil and THC content. So, while federally legal, hemp products may still be illegal where you live.

Products made from cannabis (commonly known as marijuana) are not federally legal. However, there are many states that have legalized marijuana. In these regions, cannabis oils, which contain high levels of THC, are legal.

When shopping for a product for your dog, only choose one made from hemp oil.

THC is toxic to dogs, and giving any product made from cannabis could hurt them.

How Full Spectrum CBD for Dogs Works

broad spectrum vs full spectrum cbd for dogs

Full-spectrum CBD products have a range of benefits for dogs. They can help ease pain, lower anxiety, and allow them to sleep better. There are even some studies that indicate CBD can fight cancer and reduce seizure activity

CBD works by interacting with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, the central nervous system, and many other parts of the body. 

It has been found to help regulate normal hormone production and reduce inflammation.

But the effects of CBD are far more powerful when it is used alongside cofactors, like other cannabinoids and terpenes, that enhance its effects.

Even THC has been proven to make CBD work better in many studies. Interestingly, CBD also affects THC, reducing the intoxicating effects of this psychoactive chemical.

When you give your dog a full-spectrum CBD supplement, you provide them with all the minor compounds it takes to make CBD work its best. 

But there are also downsides.

THC is toxic to dogs. While full-spectrum hemp oil contains less than 0.3%, which is safe for dogs, the compound will build up in their system over time. This makes giving full-spectrum CBD to dogs risky in the long run.

How Broad Spectrum CBD for Dogs Works

CBD Oil for Pets

Broad-spectrum CBD oil works much the same way for dogs as full spectrum.

The CBD interacts with chemical receptors in the body to help support health, reduce inflammation, and normalize hormone production. 

Because broad-spectrum CBD products do not contain THC, this effect is somewhat limited. 

For instance, THC-containing CBD products are associated with higher levels of pain management, especially when the spinal cord and nerves are involved. THC products are also better at reducing inflammation in some cases.

But broad-spectrum CBD is still very effective for many dogs, especially those dealing with anxiety, arthritis, and other common issues.

And since these products are THC-free, they do not come with the same risks for dogs as full-spectrum oils.

Full Spectrum Vs Broad Spectrum 

The main difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils is the presence of THC. The former contains trace amounts, while the latter is usually THC-free. 

CBD isolate is also THC-free but does not contain any other phytochemicals, either. 

The forms these three products come in also vary. Here is a comprehensive table of the differences between these three common CBD products.

full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD

Which is Better?

When it comes to which of these products is best for your dog, it really depends on their needs.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a safe choice for most dogs. It provides most of the entourage effects that make CBD even more effective. 

Because it doesn’t contain THC, you don’t have to worry about this toxic compound building up in your pup’s system. This makes broad-spectrum products a great choice for long-term daily use.

I recommend broad-spectrum products for dogs who need daily CBD to control behavior problems, like separation anxiety, reduce stress, or manage painful joints.

While full-spectrum CBD oil carries more risk for animals, it also has some benefits. 

2015 study found that full-spectrum oil was more effective for treating chronic anxiety than broad-spectrum. Other studies have shown that THC and CBD have a synergistic effect that enhances nerve pain management.

If your dog suffers from extreme anxiety or nerve pain, using a full-spectrum CBD product may be worth the risks.

In my experience, full spectrum extract works extremely well. But to avoid issues, these products should only be used for short periods or occasional treatment.

Both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum pet products can be expensive. Products that utilize CBD isolate are often more affordable.

While these products won’t provide the entourage effect, they can still be very beneficial for your dog. Quality CBD isolate can help with inflammation, help calm your dog down during specific events, such as fireworks, and can support overall health.

When shopping for products that contain CBD isolate, look for those that use hemp oil as a carrier. Hemp plant and hemp seed oil contain nutrients and trace amounts of cannabinoids that can support the action of CBD isolate.

Guidelines for Using Full Spectrum Vs. Broad Spectrum

Depending on what type of CBD extract you choose, you may need to follow different guidelines to ensure your dog stays safe.

Recommended Dose 

how to give cbd oil to dogs

The general dosage of CBD for dogs is 1 to 5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight.

This dose is the same regardless of whether you are using full or broad-spectrum oil or CBD treats. What changes is how long you should use each product. 

Broad-spectrum products can be given every day for long periods. In fact, they work best if given consistently since they have a cumulative effect. The longer you give the product, the more noticeable the results will be.

Because full-spectrum products contain THC, they are much more risky to give for long periods of time.

Just as CBD builds up in the system and has a more powerful effect with time, so does THC. Both compounds stay in a dog’s system for a significant period. This makes it easier for dogs to overdose when taking THC-containing products.

To avoid issues, full-spectrum products should only be given occasionally or for short periods. 

You can learn more about dosing and how to administer CBD by checking out how to give CBD oil to dogs.

Side Effects 

How CBD Affects the Health of Dogs

The most common side effects of CBD oil in dogs are upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. These are typically limited to dogs who are sensitive to oil in general.

But full-spectrum products may have more side effects due to the potential for THC overdose.

These include extreme lethargy or hyperactivity, drooling, dilated pupils, and disorientation. In extreme cases, a dog may start to shake, have seizures, or go into a coma.

To minimize all side effects, follow your vet’s dosing guidelines and use only pure products made for dogs.

Most Effective Form of CBD 

The most effective form of CBD for dogs is high-quality, full-spectrum hemp oil.

However, because dogs cannot metabolize THC the same way humans can, using it comes with some risks.

Whether you choose a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum product, ensure the amount of THC is listed on the label. Look for products that are third-party lab-tested with verifiable results.

CBD oil extracted using CO2 extraction methods is the most pure. These oils contain consistent amounts of CBD and are free from solvents and other toxic chemicals. 

Choosing the Best CBD Product 

CBD Oil for Dogs

When it comes to the best CBD brand for dogs, there are many great products to choose from. 

Finding the right one for your best friend depends on what needs you’re trying to fulfill. To help you, here are some of our Best CBD Product lists for common dog behavior and health problems:


Is full-spectrum CBD better than regular CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD can be more effective than regular CBD isolate and broad-spectrum products. It has a full entourage effect, which gives it holistic properties to help not just the issue being targeted, but to support overall health and well-being.

However, full-spectrum products do contain trace amounts of THC and should be given to dogs with caution.

Is broad-spectrum CBD good for dogs?

Broad-spectrum CBD is the best choice for most dogs. Broad-spectrum CBD retains all the helpful cannabinoids and terpenes of the full spectrum except for THC. Since this compound is dangerous for dogs, these products are safer while still being effective.

Final Thought

Full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate all have something to offer in terms of quality pet CBD products.

While full-spectrum can be the most effective, broad-spectrum is the safest option. It has almost all the same benefits of full-spectrum but is THC-free, making it a better choice for dogs in most cases.

CBD isolate is a cheaper option that does not provide the same holistic benefits but can still be very effective for supporting balance and calm.

Whatever product you choose, make sure it contains only pure CBD oils, quality carrier oils, and other natural ingredients. You can find some great options for your dog by following the links above.

Sara Seitz
Sara Seitz, a dedicated writer and lifelong animal enthusiast, combines a zoology and animal behavior background to offer a unique viewpoint. Her diverse animal-related experience, from dog training to animal rehab, adds depth to her writing. Advocating for improved animal welfare, Sara emphasizes education and collaboration for a thriving animal world. She's also enthusiastic about pet nutrition and natural supplements, including CBD oil, aiming to empower pet owners with informed choices for their cherished companions.

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