Hemp CBD Oil and Treats Are All the Rage; Can CBD Benefit Your Dog?

Should you give your pet hemp CBD?
Photo credit: Depositphotos/karnauhov

My adventure down the Cannabidiol, aka. CBD, knowledge road started when I visited my first recreational marijuana store a few months ago. I live in Washington State where recreational pot is legal now, which is still feels really strange to me, so I thought I might as well see what a “pot store” looks like on the inside.

I snooped around in the store a bit and discovered some CBD dog treats. I thought the idea of giving Chester and Gretel legal “weed cookies” was a bit funny and the health benefits listed on the package were intriguing.

Now. let me be clear. These cookies were not really “weed cookies” in the classic sense.

CBD is a compound found in Cannabis plants – both marijuana and industrial hemp. Both types of cannabis contain CBD and THC (the compound that gives people a high) but marijuana has been cultivated to contain high concentrations of THC and very little CBD.

The CBD in dog treats should be derived from industrial hemp, which contains virtually no THC, so CBD dog cookies will not get your dog high.

If you want to know more about what CBD is, where it comes from, and the legality of it in your state, read my previous article Hemp Cookies for Dogs? My Dog is Not a Stoner!

After discovering the hemp CBD dog treats in the pot store, I started to see CBD dog treats popping up all over the place.

I received two emails asking if I wanted to feature a particular CBD dog treat on my blog; I found the same CBD dog treats I bought at the marijuana store on the shelf of local pet store; and CBD products for pets was certainly a trend I saw when I attended the Global Pet Expo trade show in Orlando last month. I saw CBD in topical form, treat form, and as an indigestible oil when I was there.

Hemp CBD for pets has become quite the rage. Is this supplement just a trendy ingredient or can it actually benefit your dog?

ARTICLE UPDATED: AUGUST 13, 2018

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. You should check with yours if you have any questions about CBD and your dog. It’s always suggested you check with your vet before starting your dog on a new supplement.

The History of CBD

CBD is not new. The use of CBD dates back to the 19th century.

Queen Victoria used cannabis to alleviate menstrual cramp and relied on it frequently.

In the 1980s, studies hinted that CBD could alleviate certain types of pain, anxiety and nausea.

In 2010, highly concentrated CBD oil showed some success in shrinking a child’s cancerous tumor.

In 2013, CBD-rich oil was able to treat 99% of a young girl’s severe seizures.

In 2014, a dog receiving CBD supplements seemed to have reduced seizures.

I haven’t seen any official scientific studies done on dogs proving the claimed benefits CBD (if you know of one, please share in the comments) but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that makes it appear to be a pretty promising health supplement.

However, there have been various pre-clinical, general cannabis research done on both humans and lab animals that prove there is some medical benefit in those cases. It’s not a large leap of faith to assume that dogs can experience similar benefits as humans and lab animals.

Dachshund getting a health checkup. Photo courtesy: Depositphotos/Remains
Photo credit: Depositphotos/Remains

How does CBD work on the human and animal body and systems?

Each living being has an endogenous cannabinoid system. This system is potentially the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining health.

Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.

The cannabinoid system also helps cells talk to each other to do things like calm the senses and heal.

What are the benefits of CBD for pets?

Benefits of CBD for your dogPotential benefits of CBD oil for dogs include:

  • Improving general wellness and health
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Increasing muscle repair after strenuous exercise
  • Improving circulation
  • Promoting bone growth
  • Reducing pain
  • Reducing stress and anxiety (including separation anxiety)
  • Reducing nausea
  • Stimulating appetite
  • Lowering blood sugar levels
  • Minimizing aggression disorders and noise phobias
  • Combating degenerative diseases and aging
  • Increasing cognitive function
  • Reducing or helping to control seizures
  • Inhibiting cancer cell growth

Although I know that supplements can work differently with different pets, I was sold on the benefits. In fact, I was sold on the benefits for me too. CBD works for both pets and people!

DSC_0276AWhy we’ve been using CBD

I’ve been giving Chester and Gretel CBD for a couple of a months now. I started out with the treats that I bought at the recreational marijuana store.

As I saw several more of these products pop up, I decided to do more research on them. I’ve spent so much time learning, I feel like a “doggie cannabis” expert. Ha, ha.

I found that I wanted a higher dose of CBD for Chester and Gretel than is found in the CBD dog treats so I decided to go with a CBD oil instead.

It’s important to me that I give Chester a higher dose of CBD because he is a senior. I want to help him with his old, achy joints. Also, I am pretty sure he is slowly developing a bit of dementia. It’s mild but noticeable.

He grumps more now than he used to and sometimes it’s clear that he is confused. For example, this morning I went out to the couch and my hubby got in the shower. The bedroom door was closed but Chester was standing there grumping to get in because he thought one of us was still in there. Poor little buddy 🙁

I hope that the CBD helps him to be mentally sharper or at least to slow the progression of his “doggie Alzheimer’s”.

I started giving Gretel CBD mainly for overall wellness and to help in recovery after our long hikes.

However, it’s more important for her to have it now than it ever was because of her Intervertebral Disk Disease diagnosis.

I’m hoping that it helps reduce her inflammation, back pain, and that it helps her stay more relaxed while she is confined to a crate.

Have you thought about trying hemp CBD for your pets? Why or why not?

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.

42 Comments

  1. I was intrigued with the doggie CBD when we were in Washington, and looked for treats on the web. The oils does sound like a better option though, and a higher dose would be good for Roxy and her old age, and bad back. I’ll have to check out that company.

    1. I bet the oil would be better too. I have been putting it on Chester and Gretel’s food but it does say it can work better if given separately. I’ve tasted a few different CBD oils myself and some make me want to gag. Since the base for the pet Releif oil is coconut oil, it has a much better taste to me. I don’t think Chester and Gretel would have any problem licking it up. We’ll see.

  2. This is the first time I am reading about hemp CBD oil and treats for dogs. Your thorough article makes me think I should look into this for my girls. I hope your dogs get the health benefits from the oil. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Thanks for the information. I had read your post a while back on the CBD dog treats and was curious how they were working. We live in one of the few cities in Colorado that does not have a recreational shop, I’ll be checking out the link you posted for the oil.
    Chopper I think would benefit as she is having leg tremors the Vet can’t seem to figure out. At first we thought they might be back inflamation but after trying meds the tremors don’t seem to stop. She is now taking Tramadal (sp) which keeps her from licking her paws and rubbing her face which are the only signs the tremors bother her (they both us humans more, they look uncomfortable). Maybe if she does have some inflammation the CBD will help. (Plus she’s 13+ now).

    1. I hope CBD helps Chopper if you try it. I didn’t see a lot of CBD products at our pot shops so you probably aren’t missing much there. I would just order it online.

  4. Honestly no, I’ve never thought of it at all but did find it interesting at Global. It seems to be a great option for you to try with Gretel and Chester. It will probably take years for it to become commercially accepted if ever due to the stoner label you mentioned. I think if I had a senior dog or maybe one suffering from cancer I would definitely give it a try. We are thinking of you and Gretel every day.

    1. Yes, so many people think it’s a drug and/or that it’s illegal in their state. That’s an uphill battle makers of CBD products know they have to face.

      Thanks for thinking of Gretel. She is doing good. If she had her way, she would be out of the crate and back to hiking but I want to do this “by the book” to reduce the chance of re-injury down the road.

    2. I believe in using it as a preventative, I don’t want wait till my dog gets cancer, I’d much rather use as a supplement to try to prevent any cancer from forming!

  5. I started my foster dog on Pet Releaf oil about a week ago. I have had him for 2 months and he has had constant seizures every day. He has gone five days without having a seizure since I started the oils:) He did have a small one this morning but it was very humid out and he was running around the yard with my crew. I honestly think the oils are helping his seizures.

    1. That is great to hear and thanks for letting me know. Seizures can be really scary and upsetting so I hope they continue to be reduced.

    2. Hi Sarah:
      I am thinking of starting my fur baby on CBD treats for seizures. Wondering if this continued to work for you? I am excited to try to get my girl some relief. Thanks for posting!

      1. We’ve been using this brand with our Chorkie for about 6 months and his seizures have progressively diminished. We give him a third of a dropper twice a day which has made him almost seizure free. If he has one it’s much milder. Also our groomer noticed a huge difference in his demeanor and noted he was so calm this time.

  6. I was recently contacted by a company too and my first stop was to your blog because I remembered you did a post about it! I actually assumed it would not be legal in my state (Illinois) because I don’t believe it’s legal for human use. My Molly is turning 13 next week and she’s been showing the signs of her age the past year or two. I will definitely be looking into this further.

    1. I’m not positive about human use but I believe it is legal if the same protocol is followed – the CBD is extracted from imported industrial hemp. I have read articles that say that it is though (there is a lot of misinformation out there about the dog version too so I don’t necessarily believe it) because the one for human use can, apparently, still have a trace mount of THC in it. Anyway, if you end up giving it to Molly, come back and let me know what you think.

  7. While my dog is still sharp as a whip, she is definitely well in to her senior years so hemp oil might not be a bad idea for her. Thanks for sharing the tips!

  8. I recently started using CBD oil (coincidentally I purchased the same brand you spoke of…pet.releaf) for my 11year old Weimaraner whom has arthritic hips. I’ve been treating him for about 4 weeks now with no obvious change one way or the other. With that being said I’m hoping that someone might have a recommendation as to how much I should be using based on personal experience? The directions on the label seem vague considering the wide weight range in cats and dogs. Serving suggestions say: 1/2 dropper for cats, 1 full dropper for dogs, but my boy is 90 lbs so it seems unrealistic that 1 dropper would have the same effect on him as say a 10lb dog.

    1. Hi Sara. I think the directions on the label are vague because the “right” dose can vary so much from dog to dog. I think you just keep increasing the dose until you see a difference. I also know that CBD might not work for every dog so if you increase it a lot and still don’t see a difference maybe your pup needs something heavier-duty.

      I use the oil with Chester more for cognitive reasons (dementia and anxiety) rather than mobility issues. Honestly, I have the 300 mg oil (the stronger one) and need to use half the dropper before I see any difference and he is only 13 lbs. The strange thing though is that one or two treats has the same effect, if not a more significant effect, and the treats theoretically have less CBD in them than the oil. When my oil runs out I am going back to just the treats. They are coming out with “extra strength” treats for bigger dogs too so I can’t wait to try those (that way I can give him a “double dose” of CBD without the double dose in calories).

      Good luck

    2. My 6 lb yorkie is on petreleaf cbd oil. She takes 1/2 dropperful morning and 1/2 dropper in the evening, for itchy skin and allergies. I would try increasing the dosage

  9. Hi Jessica,

    I have a 14 year old Pug, Milo. He has slowed down a lot in the last two years. No more long hikes in the mountains, just wandering around the yard makes him happy now. About a month ago I bought CBD oil from our local pet store here in Colorado. I decided to give it a try for his arthritis. I bought the 250 mg. He is 25 lbs and I give him half a dropper in the morning and half the dropper for dinner. The store owner told me to give him one full dropper once a day but since he has a hard time walking after he first walks up I decided to break up the dosage. I still see him limping around so I am wandering if I should up his dosage to maybe 3/4 dropper in the morning and 3/4 for dinner. I hate to put him on meds from the vet’s office since a lot of those can cause other damage. You said you were going to give up the oil and just go with the treats. I am wondering if I sould do the same. What are your thoughts? Thanks, Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa. Sorry to hear Milo is facing some arthritis issues. With the CBD, every dog is so individual. For example, I notice a difference with Chester before Gretel. She’s a bit smaller than him and I have to give her almost 3 times as much to see the same difference! You can definitely try increasing his dose and see if that helps. It’s been shown in tests that it’s not harmful in large doses so increasing a bit would not be a problem in that regard. I know it can be expensive though. Especially the oil. The thing with the treats is weird. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me in that there is actually LESS CBD in each treat than a dropper of oil. However, I am sure I see a bigger difference when I give them a couple of treats than I do when I give them a half dropper of the oil… or at least the same. The treats are more convenient for me so that is why I plan to switch back. I will note that we tried several different kinds of CBD treats and the ones from PetReleaf were one of the only that ones that had any effect on them (and one even claimed to be “clinical strength”). Good luck to you and Milo. I also like to go with a natural option if I can before actual medication.

  10. That’s really interesting. I wouldn’t doubt that CBD oil could benefit dogs, and a lot of other animals for that matter. Thanks for enlightening us! I’ll definitely have to give this a try!

  11. Look into Iron Horse, they do not use industrial or imported hemp. CBD can do wonders for inflammation & seizures!

    1. Hi Liz. Hemp is hemp whether it’s “industrially” cultivated or not. Hemp is the a a strain on cannabis plant with very low THC (higher THC cannabis is classified as marijuana). The brand of CBD treats are made from organic imported hemp, which is the same quality the Iron Horse hemp looks to be (the company we use is from Colorado but they don’t use hemp from there for legal reasons). I’m always on the lookout for brands that I haven’t heard of though so thanks for sharing.

  12. My French Bulldog is going through a rough patch. Wallace (my frenchie) had 3 seizures two weeks ago. Before the seizures, he was a happy healthy dog. He had another seizure today. He’s currently taking anti seizure and anti nausea medicine. When he’s not sleeping, he paces around the house like a zombie. The vet believes it’s a brain tumor, it could be a hemorrhage? Until we do an MRI, we won’t know for sure. I’m really interested in CBD for Wallace. From what I’m reading, sounds like the way to go. Any thoughts or advice you can give me? Thank you! Israel in San Diego.

  13. I’ve been giving my Yorkie CBD drops for about 6 months and I’m very happy with the results. The level and frequency of anxiety has gone down significantly since we tried the drops. I’ve tried the anxiety vest and other supplements but the CBD drops work and is easy to administer. i got mine at amazon.

    1. Hi John. I’m glad to year the CBD helped your pup. I’ve really only heard good things about it.

  14. Hi!
    Just wanted to share my CBD oil experience. My doggie Layla is over 16! She’s a 6lbs Yorkie:-) I started to give her CBD oil about 6 months ago and she’s a changed dog! She’s no longer having seizures or even tiny little ticks (important to mention that I took her completely OFF her seizure medication) She now walks and runs super fast and lays down normally- she used take like 3 minutes to lower down to the ground- poor thing:-( It took a little while for it to work I must say, well over a month…I give her two drops a day of the AC/DC Dr. Snooks oil, which is actually intended for people, but she’s doing really well on it. I didn’t know it doesn’t work as well mixed with food, which is what I’ve been giving her-so, I’m gonna try to just put it on her tongue directly from now on. It seems that it really helped with any joint paint, arthritis, and overall mood. Her appetite really increased, but that’s a good thing, because she’s got kidney disease so it’s actually a good sign. She also has signs of dementia and I only saw a minor improvement with CBD- she’s on Sergiline for that, so I can’t tell what’s actually making a difference, but I am upping her dose to 3 drops a day so we will see. The way I know she’s still struggling with that is, that for about 2hrs a day she’s confused, walks around and wines. Brakes my heart, but I found if I just come over to her and make her look in my eyes, she gets calm…Also, it helps if I give her some sort of an activity, like a bone smeared with peanut butter (she can only lick is, cause she has no more teeth- haha) It seems to focus her mind on something…Her hearing improved as well. She sleeps a lot, but when she’s awake, she’s so happy and running around, nobody can believe it’s the same dog, that 8 months ago was almost ready to give up. Very grateful for CBD! Highly recommend it! Now, I just have to figure out the whole dementia situation:-) Wishing all of you success stories like mine!

    1. Hi Izabella. Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad to hear that CBD has helped your pup. I’m especially glad to hear that it’s been making a difference even though you give it to her in her food. Mealtime is really the only time I remember to give it to my dogs consistently. As for the pacing and whining, I don’t have any insight. My Chester has mild dementia and often “grumps” (kind of a grunt-whine) for seemingly no reason. If I can get him to lay down, he sleeps. Otherwise he seems “dissatisfied” with something but I can’t figure out what… so I’m just attributing it to dementia. If you’re looking for help, you might want to join this Facebook group and ask there. They’ve been really supportive and helpful. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CanineCognitiveDysfunction/

  15. Hi I have been thinking about trying CBD for dog aggression. I’m curious to hear if anyone has experience in this department and how it went. I have two female larger dogs that lived together peacefully and happily as friends and one day they both just snapped and attacked eachother. I have had to keep them seperated ever since. It has been almost two years now. It is a horrible feeling and I would give anything to be able to have all my dogs together in the same room with me again, instead of rotating them around the house all day trying to spend equal time with them all. I feel like this is never going to happen and I am hoping to hear some positive feedback! Thanks!

    1. Hi Kameo. CBD helps some dogs with anxiety or fear. I can’t say why your dogs are acting like that. Sometimes, two pets just don’t get along, even if they used to (something usually happens to scare one or both and stress them out in the future). If you think fear or anxiety might be contributing to their behavior, then I would go ahead and give CBD a try. I’m not a trainer or vet though so you may want to consult with one to see if there is an underlying cause for this behavior or what else you can be doing to help. I do seriously doubt that CBD will eliminate the problem… It just might help the other things you are trying to be effective. Good luck.

    2. Hi Kameo, I had a very similar situation. I have an older dog who was 10 when we introduced a new 2 year old rescue. It didn’t go that well and she attacked him, he fought back. We worked with a dog psychologist and dog trainers, kept them separated and things got a little better, but when we thought things were better, they fought again. It went on for two years like that. I was a total wreck, rotating them through the house and always nervous. Then, I heard about CBD oil and that it might reduce anxiety. I’ve been giving just a little bit in the older dog’s food every morning (3 drops of 20:1 TreatWell for my 40 pound dog) and it has really helped! My older dog (12 now) is calmer, happier, bouncier and does not lash out. The younger dog, now 4 is also more relaxed and has learned he doesn’t need to fear being attacked. I have also used a single drop for the younger dog when I know he’ll be in a stressful situation, like fireworks, when he used to run and hide under the bed, shaking violently, for an hour. He was able to manage the sounds of the firework show (from a safe distance inside) without needing to run and hide. The CBD oil has changed all of our lives!

  16. I just want to share our experience with CBD products. My dog Daisy-Mae was suffering from kidney failure- so badly that she couldn’t even walk. I started her on the water soluble BioCBD and now within 24 hours she is a complete nut- running around, pawing my face at night because she is so excited she wants to play. This has been a complete God-sent to us! – Annie

    1. This is awesome to hear! I have a girl who has KD for some time and is pretty much non symptomatic except for recent incontinence.

  17. Looking for more information on dosing for dog aggression!I have a 72 pound America bulldog who is dog aggressive! We spend our time camping and Atving and she travels with us! She loves people and her brother who is a cocker spaniel, but is a challenge with other dogs! She has been on 7 months of Prozac with no difference

    1. Hi Michelle. That sounds frustrating. Honestly, if Prozac isn’t helping, I seriously doubt the chance that CBD will. While CBD can be an alternative to something like Prozac, I consider it’s effects more subtle. It sounds like your pup might need more help than that.
      Have you talked to your vet about a higher dose of Prozac or a different medication with the same effect? Have you talked with a dog behaviorist?

      That being said, you can certainly try CBD. I don’t think it’s 100% out of the question that it will help. If you use it in conjunction with the Prozac it might be just what your pup needs.

      Almost no one, except maybe a holistic vet or a manufacturer of the CBD product you choose, can give you the “right” dosing recommendation. Even then, it’s still a guess. CBD works different on different dogs. I can say that I always have to give Chester and Gretel 2-3 times what it says on the bottle/package (there will be a general recommended dose there) to see any difference in their anxiety and theirs sounds like it might be mild compared to your dog.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help. Good luck.

  18. Pingback: H Cbd Oil Benefits – CBD Health
  19. My understanding is that you will not see immediate results. It has to build in the system. It’s important that it be given on a consistent basis to be effective.

    1. It depends on why you are giving it. You are right if you are giving it to your pet for health benefits like general health, brain health, seizures, cancer, etc. For anxiety, it can be given as needed. For example, I give it to Gretel an hour before I know we will be in stressful situations and it visibly reduces her anxiety level. In my experience, the amount you give also depends on intention. For general health, a lower dose over a long period can be effective. Whereas when I give it to Gretel for anxiety, I typically need to give her 2-3 times the recommended dose (depending on brand – it’s not bad to do that if your pet tolerates it well) to see a visible reduction in her anxiety.

  20. My golden retriever dog started to have his first seizure 9 months ago and every week it was getting worse, I didn’t know what to do. After a month of his consistent seizures, by chance, I learned about CBD on pets and since then his seizures have decreased to a bearable discomfort. I use CBD for my chronic pain personally but I didn’t know it will turn out to be such a miracle cure for my dog as well. His seizure makes me upset but I’m happy that he is quite good now 🙂
    Anyways, do you know or can recommend me of any good brand of CBD for dogs?

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