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Can I Give My Dog CBD?

CBD is most often used to sooth the anxiety, pain, and itchiness dogs sometimes experience. We’ve seen pet products flooding the market in the past few years. As owners of a few anxious dogs, we are personally invested in the answer to the question: Is CBD safe for my dog?

Here is the information we found, and what has been helpful in deciding whether or not to use a product on a pet.

Sarah and Britney with their dogs on the farm

Is CBD safe for my dog?

Often, benzodiazepines and antidepressants are prescribed to dogs for the treatment of fear and anxiety disorders. My dog was on antidepressants for anxiety, but these drugs sometimes have adverse side effects and are costly. This has led pet owners to search for other options to treat their animals.

The research is still in its infancy regarding dogs’ reactions to CBD. Stephanie McGrath, a leading researcher in CBD’s effects on dogs, reported in Science Behind Cannabis that “cannabidiol seemed to be well tolerated in dogs and exposure was dose-proportional.” She also believes CBD: “has the potential to improve the quality of life of this population of dogs, as well as decrease the rate of euthanasia.

The only side effects of CBD in the study were diarrhea and changes in liver enzyme levels. While there is a great deal to learn about its effects on dogs, it seems to be well tolerated by most animals. 

Since cannabidiol is processed by the liver, it can compete with other medications in the animal’s system. Make sure to work with your veterinarian when considering CBD products.

How do I give my dog CBD?

Three common methods have been used to deliver CBD: Pill, oil, and cream. In the most referenced study from Colorado State University, CBD was found in the dog’s bloodstream at the highest levels and for longer with oil administration than other methods.

There are a wide variety of products available on the market. Oil is typically the best method of ingestion, and it is best to look for full spectrum products that contain more beneficial compounds. For more information on types of products read our article on Getting Started.

Dosage depends on the size of the dog, and it is always best to start small. The American Kennel Club recommends “0.1 to 0.2 mg per kilogram of your dog’s weight, given twice daily.” As always, speak to your veterinarian before administering.

Potential health benefits

While no conclusive research is available yet, smaller studies are looking into CBD and its use in specific cases.

Cornell University, and Baylor University have conducted studies that investigate CBD’s potential in managing pain from arthritis

Companies CannPal and ElleVet have explored CBD possibly reducing itchiness in dogs.

The University of Western Australia, Colorado State University, and the University of Kentucky have done studies examining CBD’s use in treating anxiety and fear disorders, especially noise associated fear behavior.

Colorado State University also did a study related to seizures, though it did not produce consistent results.

Though the research is young and incomplete, the field is growing and many researchers are exploring new uses of CBD.


Whatever your reason for considering giving your animal CBD, it is important you trust your source. Look for Certificates of Analysis (COA’s) from third parties to verify ingredients. Make sure the products do not make outrageous claims, and pay close attention to your dog’s behavior during the process.