Whether you are talking about how much CBD oil, or dog treats that contain CBD oil, to give your pet, the discussion is really about the amount of CBD the product contains. One CBD dog treat from one brand might not contain the same amount of CBD as one treat from another.
The amount of CBD, measured in milligrams (mg), you should give your dog depends on a lot of things like weight, your dog’s personal sensitivity to it, and whether you are giving it for behavioral problems like anxiety or for “illnesses” such as seizures or cancer.
Important: I am not a veterinarian. However, I’ve been studying CBD for dogs for several years, and have interviewed experts involved in the production of pet CBD products, so I consider myself pretty educated. My perspective and advice is no substitute for your vet’s though. It’s always best to consult your vet when you want to start your pet on a new supplement to make sure it’s ok for their particular health and situation.
Is CBD Safe for Your Dog?
Simply put, CBD products for dogs contain virtually no THC – the active ingredient in some strains of cannabis (marijuana) that get people high – so it won’t get your dog high.
I shared in a previous article that it’s generally safe to give your dog CBD, even in higher doses than recommended. Although CBD for dogs is considered safe, there are some possible mild, but negative, reactions.
Common CBD Dog Side Effects
If more than the suggested amount is consumed, there is a possibility of a few side effects, most commonly including:
- Lethargy and/or lack of coordination until it metabolizes in their system
- Diarrhea (usually caused by giving too much of the carrier oil, not CBD itself)
The bottom line is, there are no known long term effects (remember, we’re talking CBD extract made for dogs here with virtually no THC) so it’s considered generally safe, even in high doses.
Please contact your veterinarian if you think your pet might be having an adverse reaction of any kind.
How Much CBD is in the Oil or Treat?
The number on the front of the package of any CBD product can be a bit misleading. It usually lists the amount of total CBD in the whole package (like the whole bag or bottle) in milligrams (mg).
This can make one one product seem better than the other because it has a bigger number on the front of the package when, in fact, each treat may contain the same amount of CBD, or less.
To determine how much CBD is in each drop of oil or treat, look on the back of the package. That will list how much is in each drop, treat, or teaspoon (in the case of a solid like hemp infused coconut oil from HempMy Pet).
In the case of oil, it’s often important to know how many drops are in a dropper because some products will just tell you how much CBD, in mg, is in a full dropper. What you really want to know though is how much is in each drop so you might need to do some math.
For example, the 1000 mg hemp seed oil from HempMy Pet says it contains 32 mg of CBD per full dropper (1 ml dropper in their case).
I filled the dropper to the 1 ml mark and dispensed the oil several times to confirm there were an average of 28 drops in each one. Dividing 32 mg by 28 drops tells me that there is approximately 1.1 mg of CBD in each drop.
What is the Proper Dosage of CBD for My Dog?
In order to determine the proper dosage, you’ll need to know these things below.
The Recommended Dosage
The recommended dosage of CBD for a dog is based on weight. Each product you purchase should have a recommended dosage on the back label ( don’t buy it if it doesn’t – it’s not trustworthy).
A good chart won’t just say “X treats” or “X drops” but, instead, will tell you the actual milligrams of CBD your pet needs. Here is an example chart from HempMy Pet for their 1000 mg (bottle) of CBD hemp seed oil for dogs:
The important columns to pay attention to here are columns 1 and 2.
For a 15 lb dog, HempMy Pet recommends 4-5 mg of CBD a day (I took the liberty of cutting the lowest dosage recommendation in half since 15 lbs is half of their minimum weight listed).
Given my previous calculation – 1.1 mg of CBD in every drop of 1000 mg (remember, that’s total in the bottle) hemp seed oil from HempMy Pet – a 15 lb dog would need 4 drops of oil a day for general health.
This recommended dosage is a starting point. You can always adjust that amount up for down based on desired effect (ie. more is usually needed for anxiety) if you need to.
Quality Matters Too, Not Just Quantity
It’s also very important to pay attention to the makeup and quality of the product. Different sources, and different processing, can result in different potency.
For example, 1 mg of CBD from one company might not work as well for your dog as 1 mg of CBD from another company.
I learned this the hard way.
I’ve been giving Gretel CBD for almost two years. We’ve tried at least 10 different brands, including some claiming to be the best. To see a noticeable effect in her anxiety levels, I’ve found I have to give her 3-4 times the recommended dosage.
When we were sent hemp CBD dog treats from HempMy Pet to try, I started out with 3 times what it said she needed on the package. Once it kicked in, I was like “Whoa! Too much. Too much.” Ha, ha.
It didn’t harm her in any way but it made her a little sleepier than I wanted her to be (one of the side effects of too much CBD). Lesson learned. Now I start with only a double dose if I’m using CBD products from HempMy Pet.
Things that can affect the quality of CBD products are:
- The strain of hemp used to produce the CBD extract (influences the effect it can have on your pet)
- Whether that extract is an isolate or is full spectrum (hint: full spectrum is the one you want)
- Whether the company uses the same strain of hemp each time (using the same strain ensures that you’re getting a consistently effective product)
- The carrier oil or dog treat ingredients (freshness and synergistic benefits help)
- In the case of dog treats, the temperature they’re baked at (higher heat can break down the CBD and cause that 1 mg of CBD put in the treat to not be as beneficial as 1 mg of fresh CBD extract)
What Are You Trying to “Treat” by Giving Your Dog CBD?
Based on my own experience, I had a theory about CBD dosage for dogs. I ran this by Marc from HempMy Pet during a phone interview and he confirmed my understanding.
CBD can benefit dogs in many ways. The amount of CBD you give them, depends on the outcome you want. The outcome you want also influences how often you should give your dog CBD.
For general wellness, a lower dose over time is good. CBD has a compounding effect so giving it consistently over time allows it to build up in your dog’s system and work its best.
In this case, giving your dog the recommended dose at the same time every day is probably best. You can also choose to split the recommended dose in two and give ½ in the morning and ½ in the evening.
For behavioral issues, since they are more “in the moment”, and there is a visible change in behavior you are trying to achieve, you’ll want to give the CBD in close proximity to when the effect is needed and you’ll likely have to give a higher dose than is recommended on the back of the package.
For example, if I know Gretel will be in a situation that can make her anxious, like flying in the cabin of an airplane, I’ll give her a double or triple dose (depending on the product) about an hour before we are going to board the plane. Then I will give her a regular dose every couple hours as “maintenance”.
If you are giving your dog CBD for an “illness” such as cancer or seizures, you may want to consult with your vet regarding the effective dose. However, in most cases, it will be higher than what is recommended on the back of the package for general health.
Also, you’ll need to adjust it based on trial and error. Each dog has a different sensitivity to CBD so what works for one dog may be too much or too little for another.
With something visible like seizures, if your dog is still having them at a particular dose, you may want to consider increasing it.
What CBD Product Do I Recommend? HempMy Pet
As I said in the beginning, I’ve tried at least 10 different brands of CBD products with Gretel. Some were very disappointing, a couple were ok, and one surprised me… in a very good way.
With HempMy Pet, I saw a difference in Gretel’s anxiety after a lower dose than the others. I was able to scale back to a double dose, vs. at least triple with the others, to get the calming results she needed.
That told me right away that it was a high-quality and potent product.
One of the most unique things (and what I like best) about HempMy Pet is that they use the same strain of hemp. All strains of cannabis are good for different things and naturally contain a specific mix of cannabinoids (CBD), terpenes, and flavonoids.
By always using the same strain, I’m confident that HempMy Pet products always contain the same full-spectrum CBD profile. This consistency ensures that HempMy Pet will continue to work for Gretel.
Other important things to know about HempMy Pet are:
- Their CBD extract is from hemp grown organically, using sustainable farming practices, right in Colorado (where they are located) so they have control of the entire process from start to finish
- They ensure their carrier oils – hemp seed oil and virgin coconut oil – are the freshest of the batch so they taste good and retain all of the nutritional benefits
- Their hemp seed carrier oil is sourced from Canada and, most importantly, they make sure that it’s produced entirely in Canada, not from leaves or seeds grown in China like some are
- Their full-spectrum hemp oil contains not just CBD but also CBG, CBC, CBV and other beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids
- Their products are 3rd-party lab tested not just for potency but also for safety and purity (the lab results will be available on their website shortly).
We’re currently using:
- Hemp Seed Oil Infused with CBD Hemp Extract – 1000 mg (Gretel – daily for general health)
- Coconut oil infused with CBD Hemp Extract – 500 mg (me – for daily general health)
- Handmade Hemp Infused Organic Dog Biscuits – 5mg or 2 mg (Gretel – as needed for stress).
The Bottom Line
- Use a high-quality, full-spectrum CBD, not a product made with CBD isolate
- Choose the highest quality you can (really do your homework on this because, of course, everyone will say theirs is the best.)
- Start with the recommended dose for your dog listed on the back of the package
- Adjust the amount up or down, and/or the frequency, based on your own dog’s needs
- CBD is generally not harmful but check with your vet if you have any concerns
What other questions do you have about giving CBD products to your dog? Comment below.
Disclosure: I was compensated by HempMy Pet in exchange for my time spent sharing information about CBD for dogs and about their products. I don’t accept stuff “in exchange for a review” unless I am sure I already like it because I won’t try to make something seem better than it is out of obligation. Thanks for trusting me on that.