Humans aren’t the only species that suffers from a variety of health conditions such as anxiety and chronic pain—dogs can experience many of the same symptoms. As consumers are increasingly turning to CBD when seeking relief from these and other symptoms, it’s logical to wonder if CBD also has the potential to relieve similar symptoms in dogs.
There are a variety of CBD products on the market for humans, and a growing number of products are emerging for pets as well. CBD dog treats, CBD pet biscuits, and CBD calming chews for dogs, for instance, are a popular product pet owners turn to in an effort to address issues such as separation anxiety. But is CBD safe for your dog, and how much CBD oil should you give your dog? To learn more about CBD’s potential benefits for dogs and how to determine the right dosage for your dog, we reached out to a panel of veterinary professionals, pet experts, and pet owners and asked them to answer this question:
“How much CBD oil should pet owners give their dogs?”
Meet Our Panel of Veterinary Professionals, Pet Experts, and Pet Owners:
Read on to learn what our panel had to say about how much CBD oil you can safely give your dog.
NOTE: The information and opinions expressed below represent the opinions of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Incredible Edibles.
Dace Lace is the Editor & Co-founder of PetFoodSite.com.
“When it comes to canine anxiety, every dog is different…”
I always strive in my work to help animals feel as best as they can in a given situation. I have found CBD oil for dogs a great help, especially when traveling with a car or by plane.
My one rule when dealing with dog anxiety: prevention is better than cure. Meaning that if a pet owner can shield their pet from a situation where they experience negative emotions, they should.
However, that is not always possible. This is where calming supplements like CBD oil might come in handy.
There are many CBD products available in the form of oils, capsules, and treats. Normally, high quality oils are best as they have fewer additives and fillers and are absorbed quickest in the bloodstream. I would advise pet owners to start with 2-3 drops a couple of times per day and check on the effect. Dog size, individual character, and even breed will come into play.
An important tip: Start treatment a couple of days before the stressful event as it takes time for the supplement to take its full effect.
Chris Cates is a co-founder of Cerena who has worked extensively with hemp and cannabis for 12 years now. He also has two dogs; one is 5 years old, and the other is 13.
“The answer to this question comes down to a few variables…”
- How much does your dog weigh? On average, 1 mg of CBD per every 3-5 pounds is a safe place to start. I’d recommend giving this same amount twice a day.
- What is your dog’s current condition? If you’re giving your dog CBD for mild symptoms or anxiety, the dosing referenced above will suffice. But if it’s something more severe, you may want to use a full spectrum formula that also includes higher concentrations of CBG as it has shown to soothe pain more readily than just CBD.
- How old is your dog? In general, older dogs tend to need more CBD compared to younger and healthier dogs. This doesn’t mean they need a lot more in a single dose, just that they may need to take it more often to ensure they are maintaining the desired comfort level. Again, full spectrum formulas with CBG can greatly help with aging dogs.
Amber LaRock is a Licensed Vet Tech & Pet Expert at Pet Worshiper.
“The standard dose of CBD oil in dogs will range from 1 to 2 mg per 10 pounds of body weight…”
Most CBD products will include dosage information, such as a weight chart on the package.
We always suggest running any doses by your veterinarian just to be safe, as every pet will vary based on their specific needs. CBD oil can also come in an array of concentrations, so you always want to be certain of how much you are offering your pup each day.
Dr. Jonathan Roberts (BVSC) is a remote veterinarian from DoggieDesigner.com.
“The most important dosing tip for CBD products in dogs is getting the dosing correct…”
Owners are often not happy with the limited effect CBD has on their dogs and are quick to state that it does not work. The main problem lies with the dosing recommendations on the bottles.
Only a few studies have so far been performed to research CBD dosing in dogs. However, we do know that CBD is incredibly safe even when given in very high doses.
The correct and most accurate dose I can recommend is 1 mg of CBD per pound of dog, given TWICE daily. Giving lower doses has a limited effect. Studies were performed using doses less than 1 mg/lb and doses up to 4 mg/lb. The lower doses showed little benefit, and only once they reached 1 mg/lb were desired effects seen. There was no benefit in giving higher doses than 1 mg/lb, yet the only side effects seen were not attributed to CBD itself but rather to the carrier oil. The sheer volume of CBD oil required to reach the 4 mg/lb dose caused diarrhea side effects in dogs.
CBD is always stated in mg per bottle (e.g., 1,000 mg). This is referring to the total milligrams in the bottle. Therefore if the bottle is 20 ml, it works out as 50 mg/ml (just as an example). You can then work out how many milliliters to administer if you know the weight of your dog.
CBD has known pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects for dogs with osteoarthritis as well as dogs going through painful diseases like cancer. CBD has also been proven as a mild anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) remedy. There are currently no studies that have been able to show any anti-cancer effects of CBD in dogs; however, this may change in the future.
Due to the high cost of CBD oil and the relatively large volumes that need to be given, it is not a cost-effective solution for treating large and giant breed dogs. The average monthly cost to treat a 60-pound dog is, on average, $300 if you’re giving the correct dose (1 mg/lb twice daily). Until CBD can be synthetically created in a lab and therefore the cost to produce is reduced, it will never be my first go-to option for treating pain and anxiety in dogs.
In 2019, Gil Epstein founded Hemppy Dog with co-founder Yarden Roth. Hemppy Dog is an online retailer that specializes in hemp/CBD products formulated to alleviate dog anxiety. Hemppy Dog products repeatedly earn 4+ stars and rave reviews from relieved customers.
“CBD works in harmony with your body’s natural systems…”
Balancing the dog’s endocannabinoid system to help regulate stress levels and pain management.
You can add small drops of quality hemp seed oil to your dog’s daily diet for health and longevity. Always consult with your dog’s veterinarian before including it in their diet.
Dr. Theresa Fossum is a world-renowned veterinary surgeon. With 30+ years of practice, research, teaching, entrepreneurship, and five editions of her textbook Small Animal Surgery, Dr. Fossum recently turned to natural health. Now CEO of Dr. Fossum’s Pet Care, she is creating remedies for cats, dogs, and horses that are efficacious without the side effects of many pharmaceutical products.
“When considering how much CBD oil pet owners should give their dogs…”
We recommend a product with a higher concentration of CBD/CBG. Our medium dog tincture has 1200 mg of CBD/CBG. We recommend a dose based on the dog’s weight. For dogs, we recommend 2 mg of CBD/CBG per kg for the first 7 days, and then you can reduce the dose to 1 mg per kg as a maintenance dose.
However, every dog absorbs CBD differently, so some will require a higher dose and some may require less.
Elizabeth Crassus is the chief marketing officer at 420 Expert Adviser Inc., a U.S.-based online publication providing educational articles on the topic of cannabis and its legalization.
“Before figuring out how much CBD oil to offer to your dog, it’s important to identify the factors that contribute to the dosage…”
Your dog’s size and condition are some of the key factors you need to consider before thinking about how much CBD oil to offer. Larger dogs will need more doses of CBD oil to fully feel the effects. The less severe your dog’s condition is, the lesser the dose you’ll have to give.
However, as a general rule of thumb, 2-5 drops of CBD oil 3-4 times a day is acceptable, especially for milder cases. This measurement may increase or decrease depending on the factors that affect your dog. Keep in mind that it’s best to keep your dosage under 60 drops a day.
Daniel is one of the co-founders of The Dog Tale. He has been featured on Reader’s Digest, Strategist, Realtor.com, Chron.com, SFGate, Frontline Education, Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, MassMutual, and LendingTree.
“Follow your vet’s advice and the packaging’s instructions…”
No two CBD brands are exactly alike. One could contain 1,000 mg of CBD per bottle or package of chews, while another could contain 750 mg. These differences require precise portioning to treat your pet, so you should always carefully read and follow the dosage instructions on the supplement’s packaging. This is especially important as different dogs will need different amounts based on their size.
Do all of this under the guidance and advice of your veterinarian, who will be able to help you monitor your dog’s health to see if the CBD is improving their condition.
Andrea is the marketing manager for Nature and Bloom. She has used cannabis on and off for the last seven years. She recently shifted away from high THC strains towards more balanced cannabinoid profiles. As a marketing manager, Andrea heads up connecting with other blogs in the space and improving organic site visibility.
“When it comes to CBD oil for dogs, the dosage depends on a few things…”
This includes the size of your dog, how potent the CBD product is, the form of CBD, and your dog’s symptoms.
If you’re giving CBD oil to your dog for the first time, I recommend starting out by determining their weight first.
For extra small dogs, like chihuahuas and shih tzus, start with 0.5 mg of CBD oil twice a day for 5 days. If you want to up the dosage after that, do it in 2-mg increments and observe your dog. Make sure they don’t get more than 15 mg of CBD a day.
For small dogs who are about 15 to 30 pounds, start your dose with 2 mg of CBD oil. If you’re not seeing effects after 3-5 days, you can increase it to 3 mg.
Larger dogs usually need more to feel the effects of CBD. For medium dogs who are about 30 to 60 pounds, start out with 3 mg twice a day. If that doesn’t work, you can increase to 6 mg, but don’t go beyond 30 mg per day.
For large dogs, 3-6 mg of CBD oil is a good starting point. I wouldn’t recommend going over 45 mg per day, though.
Christopher Brooks, DVM, is the vice president of Pet Releaf Professional Sales at Pet Releaf in Littleton, Colorado. Dr. Brooks is an accomplished senior leader with 30 years of extensive experience in the pet, veterinary pharmaceuticals, pet nutrition, and pet cannabis industries. He holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree from North Carolina State University.
“CBD may promote calmness, support a healthy immune system, support hip and joint health, and support digestive tract health…”
I recommend administering your pet’s recommended usage amount daily to support their overall wellness.
How to calculate CBD dosage for dogs? Start out with the product package’s recommended usage amount based on your pet’s weight and slowly increase the amount of product given until you see the desired results. Each animal has a unique body and metabolism that impacts things like response time and usage, so results differ from pet to pet. Some pet parents see results quickly, while others don’t notice an impact until a couple of days after giving their companion the recommended dosage. While you should monitor your pet’s response to determine the ideal amount of product to use, rest assured that there are no known or documented overdoses on a full spectrum CBD hemp product.
How to find the best CBD for dogs? I recommend seeking a pet CBD brand that creates products that meet the following criteria:
- Sourced from U.S.-based farms that use sustainable and regenerative practices.
- Free from herbicides or pesticides.
- Its CBD oil is full spectrum, which means it includes all of the beneficial cannabinoids from the hemp plant including CBD.
- It uses Terpex™ technology to extract the beneficial cannabinoids from the hemp plants to ensure no toxic solvents are being used during the manufacturing process.
- CBD hemp oil by itself is very concentrated and has a consistency similar to molasses, so it must be mixed with something in order to be used as an oil. The hemp oil should only be mixed with something safe like organic coconut oil to preserve its health benefits. Avoid CBD oils that are mixed with ethanol or propylene glycol or contain flavoring such as peppermint—all of which are potential health hazards for your pet. Those are much cheaper but actually significantly reduce and even destroy the cannabinoids present in CBD hemp oil.
- Its products are tested regularly by third-party laboratories. The product testing ensures the quality and potency of the pet CBD products. Check the product’s website to see if the product tests and certifications are posted. They should be transparent and share it publicly.
Pedro M. Aponte (PM Aponte) is a DVM, Ph.D., and college professor (Veterinary Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, and Animal Biotechnology). Outside of the academic world, he runs the blog Animal Hackers where he writes about pets with emphasis on explaining the solutions to dogs’ and cats’ problems.
“From scientific studies and clinical trials, the best dose of CBD with medical efficacy and negligible side effects to give a dog is 2 mg/kg of body weight…”
To see possible effects in case of accidental overdosing, scientists tried 8 mg/kg with no differences in side effects. When dogs are treated with CBD at 12 mg/kg, they develop mild gastrointestinal signs (i.e., salivation) but no neurological or other signs.
In summary, 2 mg/kg is the smallest and recommended dose to relieve a dog in chronic pain or under anxiety. The best administration route is oral and formulated with an oil base (usually fish oil) and preferably delivered with food in order to have the best possible absorption rates and fast blood levels attained. 2 mg/kg CBD will be enough to alleviate the pain and increase mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis.
The half-life of CBD given orally is 4 to 5 hours, which means that the initial concentration in blood (100 to 600 ng within 2 hours) will drop to half in 4 to 5 hours. This opens the possibility to increase the frequency of administration to 3 times daily (instead of twice) in dogs under severe chronic pain, but a veterinarian should follow this up.
In some dogs treated with CBD, a hepatic enzyme, alkaline phosphatase, is elevated. The significance of this is still unclear, and long-term clinical trials are on the way. Therefore, a certified vet should closely monitor senior dogs or dogs with any liver disease.
Some conditions that can be relieved with CBD in dogs at 2 mg/kg include pain and inflammation-producing illnesses (like osteoarthritis), anxiety and phobias, gastrointestinal issues, and pruritus (itching). Also, CBD has the potential to alleviate allergies and seizures.
Tim is the CEO of The Healthy Place. Tim has extensive experience in the health and wellness industry with well-known industry brands, before opening his own company in 2010 and opening a chain of stores across Wisconsin.
“We suggest full spectrum CBD oil (from hemp oil), and serving sizes depend on your dog’s weight…”
Here’s how to use it: Shake well before use. Place CBD oil directly into your pet’s mouth for optimal absorption. One serving is recommended 2-3 times daily. It may also be mixed into food or water if necessary.
Serving size based on weight:
- Small <20 pounds: up to .25 ml
- Medium 20-40 pounds: .25 ml to .5 ml
- Large 40-70 pounds: .5 ml to .75 ml
- Extra Large 70+ pounds: .75 ml to 1 ml
Tim Nasimul is a pet parent and the CEO of Chill Paws.
“CBD shows real promise when it comes to improving the overall health and comfort level of dogs, but…”
As with all substances, the optimal dose is the smallest amount that is found to be helpful—just enough is perfect. We generally recommend that a dog starts with 1 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight for each dose. If the dog reacts well to it, the dose can be doubled to 2 mg per 10 pounds of body weight. This means, for example, that a 70-pound dog begins with 7 mg of CBD per dose. Then, that can be bumped to 14 mg per dose. We don’t recommend that a dose go much higher than that without first consulting with a veterinarian.
Dave Miller is a seasoned dog lover and owner of Cozy Crates.
“Cannabidiol is a supplement taking the world by storm, but many have begun asking if their furry friends can benefit from CBD like their human counterparts…”
Luckily for us, CBD seems to be well tolerated by animals, and if that weren’t enough, it shows therapeutic results with pets suffering from aches, pains, seizures, and other medical ailments.
Before you pop open your supplement stash and hand over copious amounts of CBD to your beloved friend, hear us out: while CBD can revolutionize your pet’s life, tread with caution and plan accordingly.
For most pets, a ratio of 1 mg per 10 pounds of body weight is easily tolerated. This means, in a general sense, that a 50-pound dog can withstand a dosage of 50 mg to 75 mg without experiencing side effects. Moreover, smaller pets require minuscule dosages to live their best lives.
However, each animal is unique, and the biological components of various breeds will interact with CBD in different ways. For this reason, we advise you to utilize less than the recommended dosage listed above when experimenting with your pet.
What this means, in broad terms, is that if a recommended dosage is 1 mg per 10 pounds of weight, split the dosage in half when starting their CBD regimen. Before you know it, your pet will experience a pain-free lifestyle without anxiety, stress, or inflammation getting in the way of their favorite pastimes!
Mike studies veterinary health in a large university. His role is to deal with all healthcare-related information on Good Pup Life. He is committed to making the world a safer and healthier place for both canines and humans. He believes that his profession will help him achieve that goal with minimum effort.
“CBD can be used to treat anxiety, chronic pain, or pain from certain medical conditions…”
Determining how much CBD oil to give a dog can be based on the dog’s weight. Dogs should be given between 1 and 2 milligrams of CBD per 10 pounds. If the dog weighs 50 pounds, it can generally be given 50 to 100 milligrams of CBD. However, it’s important to remember that some CBD oil is more concentrated or stronger than other oils, and the THC content varies from oil to oil. Start with a small dosage and then slowly increase the amount if it seems necessary.
Keep an eye out for any adverse reactions, such as extreme lethargy, loss of balance, or disorientation. If the dog seems to be having a negative reaction, or if the dog has ingested too much CBD, keep it in a quiet, enclosed space until the effects of the CBD wear off.
When it comes to food, treats, or just about anything your pup eats, Estrella is the go-to contributor at The Pampered Pup. She’s helped countless dogs and owners achieve their canine fitness goals, and she understands the various needs of the nation’s most popular dog breeds from early puppy life to full-fledged adulthood.
“The amount of CBD oil drops to give your dog varies between products…”
Generally, 2-4 drops taken 2 to 4 times a day are recommended. This dosage can, however, be adjusted depending on pet size and their condition.
Always confirm if your CBD company gives dosing instructions on the back of the package and if it does, follow them. It is recommended to follow the instructions and adjust the dosage as needed.
Some people prefer to use a minimal dose no matter their dog’s size and work up from there. This helps them gauge how their dogs respond. It also enables them to work their way up gradually without wasting too much CBD oil in the process. A rough starting dose for this is 1 mg.
Large dogs are about one-third the size of an average human, and considering the human dosage, the jumping-off point is about 1-3 mg, which is sensible.
How to figure out how much CBD you should give to your dog by size (measured in weight):
Small (2-15 lbs)
Extra small dogs require the least amount of CBD, though it may not be as effective as tiny dogs have a super-fast metabolism. You will need to increase the rate of CBD administration to 3-4 doses daily compared to 1 or 2 with large dogs.
If your dog is suffering from pain, a 1 mg CBD dose is a good starting point, increasing to 1-3 mg and if the effects aren’t noticeable, increase by 3 mg. In case of behavioral conditions such as anxiety, 0.5 mg CBD oil is recommended and if no improvement is seen, add a couple of drops for the next 3-5 days.
Medium-small (15-30 lbs)
The dose is 2 mg and increased by 3 mg for those suffering from pain and arthritis until you see the desired results. Use half the amount listed for dogs with psychological conditions. Do not exceed 2 doses a day.
Medium-large (30-60 lbs)
The maximum dose is about 30 mg daily. The dose recommendation is 1 mg twice a day. Do not take more than 2 mg.
Large (60-150 lbs)
The general recommendations are the same as for medium-large dogs. Work your way app slowly by 3 mg per dose until your dog has relief.
Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture & economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a pharmacy in a plant) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.
“First, make sure that you are using the best quality CBD oil you can find…”
The best CBD oils for pets are:
- Products designed specifically for dogs or cats.
- Products that carry the Certified Seal of the U.S. Hemp Authority or the National Animal Supplements Council (NASC).
A general rule of thumb for dogs (and cats as well, for that matter) in terms of dosage is 1 to 2 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of weight. A good starting dose for a 50-pound dog would therefore be about 5 mg of CBD. A moderate amount would for a 50-pound dog is 10 mg, and a high dose would be 15 mg.
It’s also worth remembering that the amount of CBD listed on the bottle is per bottle and not per serving. For example, a 30 ml bottle containing 600 mg CBD hemp oil contains 5 mg of CBD with each 0.25 ml dose.
CBD oils usually take between 30 and 45 minutes to take effect and can last 4 to 8 hours, depending on the amount ingested. Extremely high doses may cause sedation or an upset stomach in your dog, so be wary of such side effects.
Savaş Ateş is the founder of Good Cannabis Guide.
“Pet stores have just started offering CBD (as oil) for pets…”
CBD research for pets is older than many people think. The biggest problem is the lack of clinical studies in recent years. A study published in the Journal of Drug Metabolism and Disposition in 1988 by Mechoulam, Bialer, and Samara examined the action (pharmacokinetics) of CBD in the body in dogs.
In the study, dogs received an oral dose of 180 mg first and 2 doses of 45 mg and 90 mg, respectively. The cannabinoid dissipated rapidly after administration, followed by a long elimination. Strangely, the researchers did not detect CBD in the dogs’ plasma after oral administration in 3 of the 6 dogs studied. The conclusion is that CBD is difficult to absorb orally.
Looking at another clinical study, one published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science in July 2018 examined the effects of cannabis-based CBD on dogs with arthritis. Dogs received 1 of 2 treatments every 12 hours in the study: 2 mg of CBD or placebo oil per kilogram of body weight. Each treatment lasted for 4 weeks with an additional 2-week washout period.
As a result, none of the dogs had any serious side effects. 80% of dogs consuming CBD had a noticeable reduction in pain and increased activity. The researchers concluded that 2 mg of CBD per kilogram twice daily could help dogs with osteoarthritis.
Dr. James Lowder is the chief medical officer of Impact Naturals, Winner of CBD Expo West’s Scientific Advancement Award.
“Dosage of all supplements, including CBD, should be determined by the recipient’s weight and adjusted for metabolism…”
Dogs and cats have faster metabolisms than humans, but much less mass. They need a smaller dose based on their smaller size, but more than you might think because of their faster metabolism.
There is not yet a recommended dosage of CBD approved by the FDA for humans OR animals, but if we say that ‘typical human’ doses of CBD range between 5-40 mg, that converts to an approximate range of 0.1-0.6 mg/kg in an ‘average’ person. This is increased by a factor of 3.1 (0.31-1.86) for a cat and 1.8 (0.18-1.08) for a dog, due to that faster metabolism. So a 2 kg cat would receive between 0.6 mg and 3.7 mg, and a 10 kg dog would get a 1.8-10.8 mg dose. Of course, your individual pet’s concerns and health may vary, so I’d encourage anyone to talk to their vet to get the best guidance for their needs.
The last piece of advice I would offer pet-lovers regarding CBD is that consistency is important. Using CBD on a regular basis (in most cases, that would mean daily) is key to unlocking its best benefits and keeping your pet’s endocannabinoid system in its best condition—contributing to their long-term health and happiness.
Shayda Torabi has been voted best Texas Hemp Educator, Advocate, and Influencer, and she’s one of the women leading the cannabis reformation conversation building one of Texas’ premier CBD brands. She’s currently the CEO and Co-Founder of RESTART CBD, a female-run, education-first CBD wellness brand.
“Our human customers usually get their dosage through a dropper under the tongue…”
Since most people would rather not stick their hands in their pet’s mouth, that method doesn’t always translate well for animals. We recommend mixing the CBD oil in their pet’s food, water, or they can offer CBD-infused treats.
When it comes to dosing and how much to administer, the animal’s weight determines the starting dosage. The thing to understand about CBD is while there’s a minimum starting dosage, the upper limit for what ultimately provides relief doesn’t exist. Offer the smallest dosage first and work your way up, with 1 milligram per 10 pounds as a starting baseline.
Christina Wright is the Co-Founder of The Leaf Nation.
“A safe starting dose for a dog would be 2-4 drops, 2 to 4 times a day…”
The dose can be adjusted depending upon the size of the dog. Although 2 to 4 drops are generally safe for dogs, it is better to consult the vet first to ensure the foolproof safety of your furry friend.
If your dog has anxiety, chronic pain, or another condition and you’re thinking of trying CBD for its potential benefits, the tips above provide some general dosage guidelines to follow. To ensure your pet’s health and safety, it’s always best to discuss it with your veterinarian before giving a supplement—whether it’s CBD or another supplement such as glucosamine—to your dog.