Is CBD Safe For Dogs: Just the Facts & Recommendations!

are hemp chews safe for dogs

You’re not alone if pestering questions about CBD safety are on your horizon. As concerned pet parents, we make decisions for our canine and feline family members every day, and when our pets undergo a health crisis, we look for answers that resemble miracles. 

A thousand questions about CBD products crowd our minds. Can dogs have CBD, and what exactly does CBD do for dogs? One of the best answers to those questions lies with your veterinarian.

While miracle recovery stories surrounding CBD dog treats abound, choosing the right NASC-approved CDB products is crucial for your pet’s health.

Here’s what you need to know about the right CBD pet product.

What is CBD?

is cbd harmful to dogs

Cannabidiol is the long name of CBD. CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant or marijuana plant and is a naturally occurring compound. The marijuana or hemp plant is nature’s most talked about miracle cure and has fallen under the scrutiny of medical science and the law for over a century.

The plant contains over 80 biologically known ingredients, and CBD is the second most active and prevalent compound in marijuana or hemp. The most active compound is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (in marijuana plants), which should never be given to your pet.

CBD and THC come from the same plant, but CBD doesn’t deliver that THC high. THC contains psychoactive properties, which are dangerous for dogs and cats.

Therefore, when sourcing CBD doses for dogs, it’s vital to choose a quality and certified brand and not a homemade remedy without quality or ingredient control.

CBD might be the miracle cure pet owners seek for their beloved pets to overcome debilitating health issues like chronic osteoarthritis, seizures, dermatological allergies, and anxiety from behavioral or environmental influences.

Cannabis is often an oil substance from marijuana or its plant relative, hemp. CBD is also synthetically produced in labs. Many people and pets treated with CBD enjoy relief from chronic pain, anxiety, and inflammation and sleep aid. CBD is not FDA-approved or regulated (other than a human seizure prescription medication).

Research on what CBD oil does for dogs is ongoing and shows promising results but needs further investigation. Human research into medicinal properties shows CBD attaches to receptors in the central nervous system, intestine, organs, and bone and muscle tissue. 

Here is the tipping point: While we make our canines part of the human family, there are significant differences in the physiology of people and dogs. Therefore, caution is always best, and working with your veterinarian on treating a dog’s health condition is part of the cure. Early studies found that CBD pet products may interfere with the efficacy of prescription medication in dogs.

How Does CBD Affect Dogs?

is cbd dangerous for dogs

Without overloading you with scientific and medical data, here is the simple answer. Our bodies and those of our pooches are made up of an endocannabinoid system. This system consists of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. When we administer CBD, these cannabinoids communicate and interact by binding, activating, or affecting bodily actions.

These interactions produce the potential benefits humans and animals can experience when introducing CBD products. In fact, dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain than we do, making them more vulnerable to toxic effects—hence don’t buy Bob’s homemade THC-contaminated CBD products.

Human and animal bodies are amazing machines, and CB1 and CB2 receptors fire vital body organs like the brain and lungs and trickle down to the immune and vascular systems.

For example, CB1 attaches to the brain, lungs, liver, bone marrow, pancreas, muscles, digestive, reproduction, and immune systems.

CB2 affects these organs and functions: spleen, skin, bones, liver, pancreas, bone marrow, and immune system. Since CBD oil consumption affects organs, it also affects liver enzymes (cytochrome P450) that metabolize prescription medications making them less potent or effective.

While researchers have poked the cannabinoid factors for over a century, studies on the effects of how much CBD for dogs we give is uncharted territory, aside from a few promising university studies. 

THC Vs. CBD for Dogs

This is the most significant piece of understanding that pet parents must learn: To differentiate CBD products from marijuana plants and hemp plants. THC is a marijuana plant compound consumed to get that “infamous high” that spawned the deadly drug war.

Is CBD safe for dogs—yes, hemp-derived CBD contains 0.3% or less THC. Both THC and CBD are compounds in cannabis. Dogs should never be given THC products—ever. THC is toxic to your pet and can lead to death. The Pet Poison Hotline has seen an increase of 448% in pet accidental THC consumption.

Hemp is legal in every state. Ensure it comes with a Certificate of Analysis. The worst documented risk of CBD consumption is that it can affect liver enzymes that metabolize other medications (which can build toxic levels) and bouts of diarrhea.

Is CBD Safe for Dogs

cbd ok for dogs

Certified CBD products and treats for dogs are safe. Always have this discussion with your veterinarian and monitor your dog’s reaction when you administer the recommended dosage for your dog’s weight and health condition.

Like people, not all cats or dogs react similarly to medications or food. CBD oils and CBD oil-infused treats can have side effects. Look for these symptoms after administering a CBD product:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pacing or restlessness
  • Increased or reduced heart rate
  • Changes in breathing
  • Pale mucus membrane or gums
  • Or any other behavior and symptoms you find worrisome

You know your pet best. Especially after giving CBD as an initial introduction, it’s prudent to monitor your pet’s reaction. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you have concerns. Can dogs overdose on CBD, it depends on uncertified pet CBD tainted with THC or your furry friend and their constitution and health.

Scientific Research on CBD Usage for Dogs

If you’re interested in veterinarian research studies, Cornell University College is a leader in studying and publishing CBD oil-related treatments and their responses.

While dog CBD oil products show some preliminary benefits, and according to Dr. Joseph J. Wakshlag, a professor of clinical nutrition at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, family pet vets can legally discuss or recommend CBD oil and CBD chews.

The downside to the explosion of CBD oil products is that uncertified brands may contain heavy metal contamination, may not contain any cannabinoids, or have inconsistent concentrations. For those reasons, at WAF, we’re cautious about the brands we recommend.

Scientific research at Cornell and other reputable institutions found that hemp CBD oil products may provide treatment alternatives for osteoarthritis, seizures, pain relief, canine anxiety, cancer, and dermatitis. At Cornell University, researchers found that more than 80% of dogs with osteoarthritis had decreased pain symptoms and increased activity and comfort.

Dog owners who deal with seizure activity welcome news that dog CBD may help prevent or control epileptic events in conjunction with prescribed seizure medications, promoting a better quality of life.

CannPal, a therapeutic company from Australia, is testing CBD oil on dogs who experience itching and chewing from dermatologic allergies. Their results show that 65% of study participants had a 50% reduction in symptoms, and as many as half recovered from all signs of itch.

When my first Dobbie, Cooper, was diagnosed with bone cancer, I would have welcomed even the smallest window of hope. Studies researching CBD as a cancer treatment supplement find that it may be helpful when used with chemotherapy drugs. CBD oil may affect a dog’s cancer cells and growth,according to initial study results.

Cornell University also found that dog patients who received CBD chews before a stressful event like fireworks, separation, or thunderstorms showed a significant 83% reduction in the dog’s anxiety. Further extensive research into varying dosages and CBD products must be evaluated to understand how to help dogs with anxiety and hyperactivity.

Ensuring Safety by Using CBD 

Bob may be well-intentioned when he recommends both CDB oils and CBD chews he manufactured in his basement, but he can’t ensure the safety and consistency without a third-party NASC quality seal.

Here are a few tips when choosing both CBD oils and CBD treats. Read the product label or online descriptions and verify the CBD treatment:

  • Organic and GMO-Free hemp premium brands
  • CO2 extracted (more expensive but gentle on active ingredients)
  • Third-party certified (including heavy metal and THC content analysis)
  • A client-reviewed reputable company
  • Safe for human consumption and safe for pets
  • Provides details about how much CBD concentrations
  • Vet endorsed

Since CBD products aren’t FDA regulated, people must double-check their dog’s CBD sources. The good news is that even the top-notch products are inexpensive.

As part of CBD safety, you should also understand that oils and CBD tinctures aren’t exactly the same formulae though some people use the term interchangeably.

Tinctures are alcohol-based herbal extracts, and the CBD content is suspended in an alcohol format, while CBD oil has an oil base. Typically, CBD oil is nearly always an oil like medium-chain triglyceride (coconut) (MCT oil for dogs) or other carrier oil. Full-spectrum CBD means other terpenes and flavonoids from the same plant get mixed into the oil carrier.

CBD isolate is different in that it contains all the compounds of the hemp plant, including the low 0.3% THC which attributes to the entourage effect.

Tip: In the world of fake internet information, I like to check the About Page on a website. If the personality seems real (I always scour the internet for verification), and their story resonates, I’m more likely to trust them.

Dog Health Problems Treated by CBD

is cbd toxic to dogs

This is the meat of the CBD debate. Can this wonder remedy help our furry family members when other treatments can’t? For the following ailments, can puppies have CBD?


Watching a dog have a seizure is heart-wrenching and makes you and your dog vulnerable. Hemp-derived CBD may help reduce and control seizure events from epilepsy or seizure disorder. 

In a Colorado State University (CSU) study, a staggering 89% of dogs had fewer seizures when treated with their traditional anti-seizure medications and given CBD supplementary doses.

This preliminary study provides so much hope for pet owners and future pet generations. In a companion study at CSU conducted by a veterinary neurologist, the team evaluated the safety and efficacy in dogs who underwent uncontrolled seizures and how CBD affected their medications. 

The study is yet inconclusive, and it’s essential to work with your vet.

Anxiety and stress

Behavioral issues that contribute to anxiety and stress in dogs aren’t a new topic. Pet owners know their pets experience various emotions like separation anxiety and stress from fireworks or other loud noises.

Cornell University has unearthed some positive results and discovered that CBD chews can help 83% of dogs overcome stressful situations better. Of course, the panel is digging deeper to find how CBD products from different sources and dosages can also impact the outcome.

In Australia, they’re working with shelter dogs and using CBD to help aggressive dogs overcome their behavioral issues. Although the study is promising, it’s still best to engage your vet and consult a professional dog trainer and work on behavior modification with medications or training activities.


My beautiful dog died from bone cancer when he was only six. Cooper was an affectionate dog, and when we first noticed his limp, it was already too late. CBD didn’t exist, but I’m 99% sure we would have tried it.

CBD is the remedy we’ve all been waiting for, and cannabinoids may promote cancer-cell death and prevent metastasis. Cornell University found that CBD administered with standard chemo drug therapy reduced cancer cells in vitro. Anecdotal reports from vetted sources claim that CBD shrinks cancer cells or helps put dogs into cancer remission.

Here is the sad catch: the evidence that CBD promotes bone healing, fights infection, treats inflammatory bowel disease, combats nausea, assists in pain management, and helps with other ailments and conditions isn’t verified in dogs and involves laboratory animal testing.


Arthritis is a common ailment in senior dogs, and CBD may be the new miracle treatment we all wish for. Studies at Cornell University College Veterinary Medicine had positive results using a CBD dose of 4.4 mg per pound given twice daily for a month.

CBD for dog arthritis reduces pain and improves the quality of life, and spares many dogs from being euthanized early due to concerns from worried pet parents.

Baylor University also found that CBD (delivered in liposomal formulas) improved a dog’s wellness. 


CannPal from Australia conducted a double-blind placebo study on dogs and found that dogs experienced a vast reduction in itchiness and inflammation from allergic dermatitis. After eight weeks of treatment, 51% reported reduced skin lesions. Another company testing CBD combined with another cannabinoid, CBDA, found improved itchiness in dogs, as submitted by their pet parents.

Side Effects of CBD

is cbd poisonous for dogs

Just because CBD is natural doesn’t automatically make it safe or free of side effects. We’ve already discussed that THC is dangerous for dogs, and CBD for pets is THC-free (less than 0.3%). If you’re wondering, can dogs overdose on CBD?Not likely!

Always monitor your dog after dosing, and for first-timers, start with a small introductory dosage.

Common side effects can include:

  • Dry mouth–provide fresh water to quench increased thirst
  • Lethargy–relaxation is perfect for helping with stress, but for a happy, healthy dog, adjust the dosage
  • Low blood pressure may cause your dog to feel off-balance; adjust the dosage according to weight or reduce it
  • CBD seldom causes diarrhea but can be from a byproduct like oil. Use a small introductory dosage and use it with food
  • Appetite can also increase or decrease, so monitor your dog’s habits

How to Look for the Best CBD Oil? 

is cbd safe for pets

We’ve been there too. Our WAF team tries products and shares recommendations so our audience doesn’t have to weed through the internet blindly.

A word of advice: look for a product that answers your pet’s specific needs and doesn’t make false claims like curing cancer.

Honest Paws Well Oil is one of the products that help boost your dog’s pep and alleviates skin conditions and seasonal allergies. It’s a full-spectrum hemp oil formulated with organic, non-GMO ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re putting into your dog.

The product lineup has bites, tinctures, extra strength oil, cat CBD, probiotics, and other excellent sample packages you can try.

For pets that require occasional help with stress and anxiety, try Penelope’s Bloom Pet CBD Treats. They are wonderfully organic, full-spectrum 300 mg CBD for small and medium-sized dogs that suffer from fireworks, thunderstorms, and dreaded vet visits.

Penelope’s Bloom provides oils for cats and CBD for puppies, treat formulas, bundles, and even peanut butter-infused CBD.

If you’ve had a devastating cancer diagnosis, we’ve found the CBD oil product for dogs suffering from cancer. Penelope’s Bloom 250 mg to 1000 mg organic CBD gets our best overall vote.  Honest Paws CBD oil tincture is our choice as the best All-Rounder.

If you’re coping with dog seizures, we’ve done the legwork for you by finding the CBD Oil For Dog Seizures.


CBD is safe if you don’t confuse it with marijuana for dogs.

How Much CBD Can I Give to My Dog?

CBD is easy to administer, and dosages are calculated based on a dog’s weight. Usual recommendations start with 2 mg per 10 pounds (pending compound strength). Talk to your vet and follow packaging recommendations and begin with a small dosage.

Is THC Dangerous for Dogs?

Yes. THC is toxic for all pets. Pets that consume THC require medical intervention or may die from marijuana poisoning.

Do Vets Prescribe CBD for Dogs?

Vets can prescribe CBD (not in Canada) and can work with you on finding a CBD treatment and traditional medications to treat specific ailments. Since there is still limited scientific evidence surrounding CBD, consulting a vet is essential. 

How to Give CBD to Dogs?

You can give CBD with a dropper directly into your dog’s mouth (for faster absorption) or disguise it with food like peanut butter. Aside from pet oil CBD, there are many yummy treat options with bacon or salmon flavor.

Final Thought

For pet parents, nothing is as heart-wrenching as seeing our pets in pain. We hope you found the information presented in this article as valuable as we found it when we researched the topic ofhow to give CBD oil to dogs and how to differentiate the best CBD for hyper dogs.

As a WAF team member, I spend hours researching these topics so you can have peace of mind when you choose to help your pet with CBD dog treats. I may not be the dog whisperer, but I care as much.

Monika Martyn
Monika Martyn is a nomadic minimalist and published author. Her pet portfolio includes experience with over forty cats and dogs, and she becomes their surrogate and a valued pack member. One of her proudest accomplishments is typing while petting a fur baby on her lap. She also excels at dog-speak and cat-talk and is working on mastering fish lingo. Aside from her animal advocacy, she is passionate about the environment, plastic pollution, and living with less (not including chocolate and coffee). She practices yoga and meditation faithfully. She’s experienced living abroad and believes that together people can evoke change for the better. Or at least be kind to one another despite our differences. She has an uncanny knack for remembering people’s names. She’s proud of her two Pushcart Nominations, her debut novel, and her marriage. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. Monika believes that education is the biggest gift to humanity at any age.

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