Guide to CBD for Dogs: Our Firsthand Experience

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: December 15, 2022
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Best Dog ChewsOsiris Organics Dog Chews
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Key Points

  • Most CBD for dogs is derived from THC-free hemp, not marijuana.
  • Dogs, and other mammals, create chemicals called chemicals called endocannabinoids that help keep their bodies in balance. Chemicals called cannabinoids, like those found in CBD, mimic endocannabinoids and, in the correct dosage, can restore your dog’s body to a state of balance.
  • There is anecdotal evidence that CBD minimizes seizures and reduces pain, inflammation, and anxiety in dogs.
  • Veterinary research has been conducted and studies have been published — about how CBD affects a variety of diseases and conditions in dogs.
  • It’s essential that CBD products for dogs be broad-spectrum, water-soluble, and organically grown. Our first-hand experience (below) with two products that meet these criterion and more — Osiris Organics Pet Tincture and Osiris Organics Dog Chewsexplains why we recommend them without reservation.

You’ve probably noticed that CBD is now widely available in formulas for dogs. As a pet parent, you may be wondering what, exactly, CBD is, how it works, what it can treat, whether it’s safe for canines, and how to determine the appropriate dosage.

The following guide to CBD for dogs can help you understand the answers to these questions and more so you can decide whether it’s right for your furry best friend. Plus, we’ll share our first-hand experience using CBD to relieve canine pain. (Spoiler alert: The results were pretty remarkable.)

  1. Osiris organics Pet Tincture
  2. Osiris organics Pet Tincture
    • U.S.A.-grown
    • Formulated just for pets
    • Contain organic extra-virgin olive oil
    • Contain phytocannabinoid-rich hemp
    Check Price
  3. Osiris Organics Dog Chews
  4. Osiris Organics Dog Chews
    • Phytocannabinoid-rich
    • Water-soluble
    • Gets absorbed faster
    • Ease your pet's anxious feelings
    Check Price

How CBD Works in Dogs

CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. While cannabis is famous for its psychoactive properties, it’s important to note that most CBD oil for dogs is derived from hemp, not marijuana. CBD oil that’s made from hemp doesn’t contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the compound that makes marijuana psychoactive.

All mammals, including canines, create chemicals called endocannabinoids that help keep their bodies in balance. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of endocannabinoid receptors that exist throughout the body. Endocannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors in order to send specific commands to your body. For example, endocannabinoid chemicals may bind to the endocannabinoid receptors in your dog’s central nervous system in order to alleviate pain.  

Cannabinoids, including those found in CBD, mimic endocannabinoids. Taken in the appropriate dosage, they can help the body return to a state of balance.

What CBD Can Treat in Dogs

Anecdotal evidence from dog owners indicates that CBD minimizes their pets’ seizures and relieves their pain, especially neuropathic pain. Many give their dogs CBD for a wide variety of purported health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory properties. Others report that CBD relieves their pets’ anxiety during thunderstorms, fireworks, and other stress-inducing events.

Veterinary research on the use of CBD in dogs is scarce but growing. So far, researchers have published studies about how each of the following conditions or diseases are affected by CBD in dogs: arthritis, behavior, cancer, itchiness, seizures. In addition, while canine-specific studies have not yet been conducted, research on lab animals indicates that CBD can also fight infection, relieve pain, promote bone healing, and more.  

Here are some of the top research highlights:

Osiris Organics CBD Oil Bottle Facts
Active ingredients include 3.75mg of CBD

Arthritis

A number of studies, including those conducted by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and Baylor University, determined that CBD can provide significant relief from arthritic pain and dramatically improve dogs’ quality of life. This is due to CBD’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Behavior

A study by the University of Western Australia seems to indicate that CBD may stem aggressive behavior by shelter dogs towards humans. The difference between the control group of canines that did not receive CBD and those that did was not significant. But researchers concluded that additional study is warranted, especially since aggression can mean the difference between adoption and a death sentence for a shelter dog.

Cancer

A study by Cornell University indicated that CBD, combined with a standard chemotherapy drug, killed cancer cells and prevented metastasis more effectively than the chemo drug alone. Researchers also discovered that CBD-rich whole hemp extract reduced the reproduction of cancer cells in lower concentrations than CBD oil alone. They suspect that this is due to the “entourage effect” wherein multiple (in this case, naturally occurring) chemicals perform better in concert than they do solo.

Itchiness

Recent studies by two companies indicate that their CBD products reduce itchiness. One of the products also reduced inflammation and skin lesions by 51% after eight weeks of treatment. In this case, CBD works with the endocannabinoid system (see “How CBD Works in Dogs,” above) to activate CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties to alleviate itchiness.

Seizures

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence from dog owners that CBD can reduce the frequency of seizures. The results of the controlled study, conducted by Colorado State University, weren’t as positive. They administered CBD to dogs for 12 weeks. Some of the subjects experienced 33% fewer seizures than the group that received placebos. But not all dogs responded to the treatment.

Our Experience Using CBD for Canine Pain Relief

Our experience using CBD for canine pet relief was overwhelmingly positive. Our tester dog has been dealing with a chronic rear ACL injury for months. Our veterinarian prescribed low activity and zero stairs in order to prevent further injury and surgery.

Unfortunately, our excitable pup doesn’t know the meaning of “low activity.” As a result, they kept reinjuring their leg, resulting in intermittent bouts of recurring pain, whimpering, and whining. At that point, we decided to give two CBD products — Osiris Beef-Flavored Chews and Osiris Pet Tincture — a try. To our delight, in the few weeks that we’ve been using them, the products provided significant pain relief. In fact, they haven’t whimpered, whined, or given any indication that they’re in pain during that time!

We’ll discuss our thoughts about the two different types of products in detail in the section “Our Experience Using Tinctures vs. CBD Chews” below.

Osiris Organics CBD Treats Facts Panel
Each chew in Osiris Organics CBD treats contains 2mg of CBD

Potential Side Effects of CBD in Dogs

So far, researchers haven’t determined what the side effects of CBD for dogs are. Until such data exists, we can presume that the side effects would be similar to those experienced by humans. We can also take great care to minimize the risks of potential side effects by administering the proper dosage of CBD. (See “How to Determine the Correct CBD Dose for Your Dog” and “CBD Dosage Chart for Dogs” below.)

Drowsiness

The calming effect of CBD can cause humans to become drowsy. Dog owners who give their dogs CBD to relieve anxiety often note that their dogs become drowsy as well, especially on higher doses. This side effect may not be problematic if it’s safe for your pet to go to sleep at that time. If you need your dog to perform, such as at an obedience trial, however, giving them CBD to relax isn’t a good idea.

Dry Mouth

Studies indicate that CBD decreases saliva production. If your dog demonstrates increased thirst after ingesting CBD, it is likely that they’re experiencing this symptom. Chronic dry mouth can lead to other health issues, including halitosis (bad breath), poor dental health, and painful swallowing.

Lowered Blood Pressure

In high doses, CBD can cause a small drop in blood pressure that can create a brief sense of lightheadedness. This could cause your dog to lose their balance and fall, possibly resulting in injury.

Toxicity

You can minimize potential side effects by administering the proper dosage to your pet. Having said that, veterinarians report that most cases of cannabis toxicosis in canines don’t occur from an overdose of CBD administered by their owners. Instead, they happen when dogs ingest CBD edibles that are made for humans. Edibles often include ingredients that are extremely toxic in and of themselves to dogs, including xylitol, chocolate, and raisins.

Some of the signs of cannabis toxicosis are uncoordinated movement, depression, or dribbling urine. If you suspect that your dog has consumed too much CBD in any form, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

The Different Types of CBD for Dogs

CBD for dogs is available in two types. CBD treats that include a specified amount of CBD per piece in a deliciously chewy treat and CBD tincture. Based on first-hand experience, we recommend Osiris Organics Beef Flavored Dog Chews with 60 mg CBD per jar, 2 mg CBD per Chew, and Osiris Organics Pet Tincture with 225 mg CBD.

Osiris Organics Beef Flavored Dog Chews are made from organically grown, phytocannabinoid-rich, full-spectrum CBD that has more cannabinoids than regular hemp. The CBD in these mouthwatering chews is specially processed to be water-soluble. This means that your dog’s body will absorb it faster so it can go to work more quickly to provide anxiety or pain relief.

Each yummy chew features 2 mg of CBD. There’s no measuring, no mess, and no fuss.

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Osiris Organics Dog Chews
  • Phytocannabinoid-rich
  • Water-soluble
  • Gets absorbed faster
  • Ease your pet's anxious feelings
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Osiris Organics Pet Tincture with 225 mg CBD is a U.S.A.-grown, Farm Bill Compliant, premium CBD tincture formulated just for pets. This phytocannabinoid-rich hemp-derived CBD includes 225 mg CBD per bottle. It’s made of two organic ingredients: organic extra-virgin olive oil and organic hemp extract.

To use, simply mix the appropriate amount with your pup’s favorite food as needed.

Best Tincture
Osiris organics Pet Tincture
  • U.S.A.-grown
  • Formulated just for pets
  • Contain organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Contain phytocannabinoid-rich hemp
Check Price

Tinctures vs CBD Chews: Pros and Cons

In our experience with Osiris Organics Pet Tincture and Beef Flavored Dog Chews we’ve identified the following pros and cons:

Osiris Organics CBD Chews (Read full review)

Pros!Cons!
The glass jar is attractively designedStrong beef smell
30 pieces: One jar lasts one monthLarger jar not suitable for travel
Effective! No pain from our dog during usage

Osiris Organics CBD Tincture (Read full review)

Pros!Cons!
The bottle is attractively designedPups don’t consider it to be a ‘treat’ or reward
The small bottle is travel friendlyThe glass bottle is quality but can break if not packed carefully
Effective! No pain from our dog during usage
Easy to add to any dog food, wet or dry
No smell!

Our Experience Using CBD Tinctures vs. CBD Chews

As mentioned in the section above, “Our Experience Using CBD for Canine Pain Relief,” we’ve been giving our test dog Osiris Beef Flavored Chews and Osiris Pet Tincture for the past few months. From the lack of whines and whimpers, it’s obvious that its is experiencing significant pain relief from its ACL injury thanks to these products.

While we believe that both products work equally well, we slightly prefer the Beef Flavored Chews for the following reasons:

  • They’re easier to administer, with no measurement of drops required.
  • Our test dog clearly understands that they are a reward. In fact, they lie down without any commands knowing that they’re going to get a yummy Chew as a reward. (They don’t do this for any other treat!)
  • They don’t need to be measured out in droplets into our dog’s mouth or food.

Having said that, the Pet Tincture comes in an attractive, compact bottle and the dropper works well for precise application. It’s olive-oil based and can be added to any kibble or canned food quickly and easily. Our dog didn’t seem to notice that it had been added to their food.

The final consideration is that the Beef Flavored Chews come in a jar that’s rather bulky for travel. The Pet Tincture comes in a one-ounce bottle that travels well because of its small size despite the fact that it’s glass.

The bottom line is that we prefer the Pet Tincture for travel and the Beef Flavored Chews for everything else. Both products treated our dog’s pain equally well.

Osiris Organics CBD Oil With a Dropper
Olive oil is the main ingredient in Osiris Organics CBD oil and the consistency matches that of oil.

The Best CBD: What to Look for

When selecting a CBD product, look for one that is “broad-spectrum.” This term indicates that CBD contains a combination of beneficial, naturally occurring hemp compounds such as cannabinoids. Avoid purchasing “full-spectrum” products since these may contain small amounts of THC.

Another term to check for is “water-soluble.” Water-soluble CBD has been specially processed to be absorbed into your dog’s system more quickly so it can go to work to make your dog feel better faster.

Finally, verify that the product is made from organically grown hemp. That’s important because products that are organically grown are free from potentially dangerous fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy metals.

How to Give CBD to Dogs  

The easiest way to administer CBD to dogs is by giving them a deliciously chewy CBD treat. You can also give your dog drops of CBD tincture, either directly, or mixed into their favorite food or treat. While both products are equally effective, you will probably find that you prefer one form over the other for different occasions. (See “Our Experience Using CBD Tinctures vs. CBD Chews” above.)

Osiris Organics CBD Treat and A Yellow Dog
Very popular! Our pup sits without even being asked when Osiris Organics treats are opened.

How to Determine the Correct CBD Dose for Your Dog

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD for humans or animals. Thus, they have not issued a dosing chart for dogs.

The best way to administer CBD to your dog is to:

  • Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage for your pet.
  • Use the chart below as a guideline.
  • Start with a very low dose
  • Monitor the effects of each dosage closely.

Also, keep in mind that CBD products come in different potencies. For example, a 225mg bottle of tincture indicates how many milligrams are in the bottle, not in each dose.  

CBD Dosage Chart for Dogs

In general, you can give your dog 1 – 5 mg of CBD per every 10 pounds of body weight, as illustrated in the chart below.

Dog’s WeightLow DoseMedium DoseStrong Dose
About 10 pounds1 mg3 mg5 mg
About 20 pounds2 mg6 mg10 mg
About 30 pounds3 mg9 mg15 mg
About 40 pounds4 mg12 mg20 mg
About 50 pounds5 mg15 mg25 mg
About 60 pounds6 mg18 mg30 mg
About 70 pounds7 mg21 mg35 mg
About 80 pounds8 mg24 mg40 mg
About 90 pounds9 mg27 mg45 mg
About 100 pounds10 mg30 mg50 mg

How Should You Give Your Dog CBD?

For pain control, give your dog CBD every eight hours or as needed. For anxiety and other uses, administer once or twice a day or per your veterinarian’s recommendation.

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products are legal in all 50 states. The caveat is that the products must be derived from hemp and contain no more than 0.3% THC.

It’s important to note that this legislation didn’t legalize any CBD that’s derived from marijuana or CBD containing more than 0.3% THC. Since the products recommended in this guide are made from hemp containing no THC, they are covered under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Where to Buy CBD for Dogs 

You should buy CBD from a reliable manufacturer that’s committed to transparency, third-party testing, and education. Our choice for the best CBD brand for dogs is Osiris Organics, a company that was created after the founders experienced the life-changing benefits of natural products in their own lives.

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Best Dog ChewsOsiris Organics Dog Chews
Best TinctureOsiris organics Pet Tincture
About the Author

My passion is writing about animals. I’ve published articles on pet parrots, birds, and small animal care and reviews about pet food and products. I have an ever-evolving aviary and menagerie that has included cockatiels, parakeets, conures, European starlings, a chukar partridge, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. I’m also the author of Faith without Labels: a Guide to Eclectic Spirituality.

Guide to CBD for Dogs: Our Firsthand Experience FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is CBD safe for dogs?

Yes, CBD is safe for dogs. You should work with your veterinarian to determine the proper CBD dosage for your pet. They will make their recommendation based on your dog’s health issues, weight, overall health, and metabolism.

Can CBD be toxic for dogs?

THC toxicity can occur if a pet ingests too much of a hemp-based CBD product. That’s why it’s important to work with your veterinarian to determine the proper dosage for your dog. And only purchase CBD products that do not include any THC.

What type of CBD is best for dogs?

It’s important to give your pet CBD a reliable hemp-derived product that doesn’t include any THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. This will prevent side effects like feeling drugged.

Can you give your dog CBD?

Yes! As long as you give your dog a pet-specific CBD formula from a reputable manufacturer in the appropriate dosage and frequency, you can give your dog CBD.

What does CBD do for dogs?

Many dog owners report that CBD calms anxiety caused by travel, separation, or loud noises such as fireworks. Veterinary research indicates that it can help reduce the frequency of seizures, decrease inflammation and pain from arthritis, and soothe skin itchiness in canines.

Where can you buy CBD for dogs?

You can buy CBD for dogs in pet stores and online directly from manufacturers. Due to the complexity of state-specific controlled substance laws, major online retailers such as Amazon bar the sale of CBD products.

What is the best CBD for dogs?

We recommend Osiris Organics which comes in two forms: Beef-Flavored Dog Chews and Pet Tincture.

Osiris Organics features hemp-derived, full-spectrum CBD that contains zero THC.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

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