Is your dog exhibiting problematic behavior? If you are considering giving your pet CBD, CBD Clinicals has the information you need to help you decide whether CBD’s purported therapeutic effects may be worth trying for your dog’s behavior problems.  



How CBD May Help With Behavior Problems in Dogs

A survey among pet owners on the use of CBD-rich hemp products in cats and dogs showed that quality of life, neoplasia (abnormal cell growth), seizures, pain management, and behavioral issues like anxiety are the top reasons pet owners opted to use CBD(1).

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the diverse cannabinoids present in cannabis plants. It is also a cannabis constituent of significant therapeutic interest in veterinary medicine(2).

CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive compound of cannabis, has been found to interact with the ECS (endocannabinoid system)(3).

The ECS, responsible for maintaining the body’s homeostasis or balance, is pervasive in mammals like dogs. One of the three components of the ECS are the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).

The cannabinoid receptors are also present throughout a dog’s body(4). CB1 receptors in the brain reflect their control of cognition, motor function, memory, and analgesia (loss of pain perception)(5).

Although CBD has a low binding affinity for cannabinoid receptors, it may act indirectly as an agonist by inhibiting AEA (anandamide) hydrolysis(6).

Blockade of anandamide hydrolysis by FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) enzyme has been shown to reduce anxiety(7). CBD may have an inhibitory effect on the FAAH enzyme(8).

Anxiety affects dogs. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the most common causes of anxiety are aging, separation, and fear(9).

Separation anxiety, in which dogs become destructive when left alone, is a common behavior problem among dogs(10). CBD’s purported calming effect(11) may help anxious dogs.

Meanwhile, a dog may behave aggressively when in pain(12). Aside from acute painful conditions, canines with orthopedic problems, cognitive and adrenal dysfunction, thyroid abnormalities, sensory deficits, and seizure disorders can exhibit changes in aggression and irritability(13).

Although there is no definitive scientific data on using cannabidiol to treat dogs, anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may help with neuropathic pain(14), which is triggered by nerve damage.

CBD’s activity in the ECS and purported therapeutic effects may elucidate how the compound may help dogs with behavior problems. Still, more studies are warranted to determine the effects of CBD on canines.

Benefits of Using CBD in Dogs With Behavior Problems

A 2021 scientific report hypothesized that CBD may reduce sheltered dogs’ aggressive behavior towards humans(15).

Male and female dogs, either puppies or adults, can develop pain-elicited aggression(16). For instance, older dogs in arthritic pain may show signs of aggression because their muscles and joints hurt(17).

Osteoarthritis or OA is a progressively worsening joint inflammation that is common in canines, especially among senior and larger dogs(18). Joint pain can turn severe that it affects their overall well-being.

A 2021 study from Veterinary Sciences provided the first promising indication of the immunomodulatory effects of CBD in stimulated whole dog blood(19).

Immunomodulatory substances or drugs stimulate or suppress the immune system and help the body fight diseases.

The 2021 study indicated that CBD may reduce a dog’s inflammatory response by LPS ( lipopolysaccharides)(20), a glycolipid that can stimulate the immune system and create a permeability barrier at the cell surface.

The study authors suggested that CBD may attenuate the inflammatory response of canines, as seen in dogs administered with 50ml and 100ml of CBD(21).

Meanwhile, dog anxiety and noise aversion are the most common reasons pet parents seek information about CBD and the various ways to administer it to their pets(22).

For instance, some dogs have thunderstorm anxiety(23), probably because of their sensitivity to sound.

A scientific study reported that 49.3% of dog owners who used hemp-derived products to help with canine anxiety observed a positive impact on their pets(24).

However, the impact of CBD treats on a dog’s reaction to a noise-induced fear response test showed CBD did not have an anti-anxiety effect in canines supplemented with 1.4mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight(25).

Hence, the authors of the study recommended increasing CBD doses to observe any potential anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects on dogs.

Anecdotal evidence suggesting the benefits of CBD and other hemp-derived products seem promising.

Nevertheless, more longitudinal scientific research is warranted to substantiate claims regarding CBD’s therapeutic effect on dogs with behavior issues.

How to Give CBD Oil to Dogs With Behavior Issues

Dog owners can find various quality CBD products on the market, including CBD oil, tinctures, CBD dog treats and soft chews, and CBD topicals.

CBD oil or tinctures usually come with a calibrated dropper, which pet owners can use to dispense the oil and administer it straight to their pets’ mouths.

Administering CBD oil under a pet’s tongue, cheeks, or mouth lets the compound be absorbed quickly through mucous membranes(26).

However, some dogs may not like the earthy flavor of cannabidiol. If that is the case, you can mix the oil in human-grade dog food.

On the other hand, CBD dog treats and chews are easy to administer because they are usually tasty and come in flavors like peanut butter.

CBD Dosage for Dogs With Behavior Issues

Despite the growing interest in CBD’s potential health benefits, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not approved cannabis products and their derivatives for any use in animals(27).

Therefore, there is no standard CBD dosage for dogs with behavior problems.

CBD doses from 0.1 to 0.5 mg per kilogram of body weight taken twice daily may be effective for dogs(28). This dosage guideline has been derived from veterinary professionals’ experience and research data.

Still, dogs have different health issues and needs. Hence, make sure to talk with a veterinarian before administering CBD to your furry friend.

The state veterinary medical board mandates veterinarians in the USA on how much they are allowed to guide their clients regarding CBD product usage(29).

Although the current federal law may limit veterinarians’ discussion about CBD, you should always feel comfortable bringing up the topic to them(30).

How Long Does CBD Take to Help Dogs With Behavior Problems?

How long CBD takes to help dogs with behavior problems depends on the administration route, a dog’s weight, and the amount of CBD taken.

Research on cannabidiol for dogs is limited. Additionally, most studies and accounts on how soon CBD takes effect have been done on humans.

Although dogs also have an endocannabinoid system, their size and biology are different from humans.

However, a study reported that oil-based products between 2 and 10mg/kg of CBD had average maximal serum concentrations reaching about 100 to 600 nanograms per milliliter within 2 hours of treatment in dogs(31).

How Long Will CBD Help Dogs With Behavior Problems?

How long CBD will last after it takes effect usually depends on its pharmacokinetics, including half-life.

Pharmacokinetics refers to how the body acts upon the medicine. Meanwhile, the half-life is the time required for the plasma concentration of a substance to reduce to 50% of its original value.

According to a 2019 study, oil-based CBD products between 2 and 10mg of CBD administered to dogs had approximately 4 hours of half-elimination rates(32).

Choosing the Right CBD Oil for Dogs With Behavior Issues

Most CBD companies like cbdMD, HolistaPet, and Honest Paws are dedicated to offering their customers high-quality CBD oil and CBD-derived pet products.

Some brands even offer a money-back guarantee if their products do not deliver as promised.

If you want to try cannabidiol for your furry friend, here is a guide to help you select the best CBD oil for dogs’ behavior:

  1. Learn about the different hemp extracts.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the compounds naturally present in the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Full-spectrum hemp also has less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

Terpenes are compounds found in essential oils produced by many plants, including cannabis. These compounds provide distinct flavor and aroma to plants(33).

Meanwhile, flavonoids are active compounds with potential antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties(34).

Another CBD variant is broad-spectrum CBD oil. Like full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil also contains all the natural compounds found in the cannabis plant except for THC. Lastly, CBD isolates are made of pure CBD.

  1. Support CBD brands open with their farming practices.

Most CBD brands cultivate hemp plants from their farms. Before you make any purchase, ensure to visit the official webpage of the CBD brand and look for more information about its grown hemp, testing methods, and CBD extraction process.

Generally, CO2 extraction (carbon dioxide extraction) is considered the cleanest method(35).

  1. Assess the other ingredients included in the CBD product.

Ensure to read the ingredients list to determine whether there are additives, preservatives, or allergens that may trigger adverse reactions to your dog.

You can opt for gluten-free, non-GMO, and organic hemp CBD products to optimize your dog’s health.

Carrier oils are also present in most CBD products. The most frequently used carrier oils are MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides oil), coconut oil, and hempseed oil.

Hempseed oil is different from hemp oil. Hemp oil, a term often used to refer to CBD oil, is an essential oil that comes from the flowers and leaves of hemp plants.

Meanwhile, hempseed oil is made from the pressed seeds of hemp plants. Although hempseed oil does not contain CBD, it is rich in nutrients and fatty acids(36).

  1. Ensure that the CBD products you buy go through third-party lab testing.

Third-party lab testing ensures that all CBD items are labeled accordingly. It verifies whether the products are free from residual solvents, pesticides, and other harmful substances.

Risks and Side Effects of Using CBD for Behavior Problems in Dogs

While there is no scientific research on CBD’s risks and side effects on dogs, there are potential side effects based on how cannabidiol affects humans. Side effects include(37):

  • Dry mouth
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Drowsiness

Legality of CBD

Some states in the U.S.A. have passed legislation allowing medical marijuana use in humans under strict guidelines. Nevertheless, state laws legalizing cannabis use in people do not apply to animals(38).

For instance, Colorado expanded its state laws in 2012 by legalizing the adult use of recreational cannabis(39). However, it is not clear whether the state allows the use of CBD for pets.


  1. How can CBD help dogs with behavior problems?

CBD has purported calming effects(40), making it potentially beneficial to dogs with behavioral problems like anxiety and aggression.

  1. What evidence or research exists to say that CBD can help dogs with behavior problems?

Research on how CBD may help with dogs’ behavior is limited. However, a 2021 study suggested that CBD may reduce the aggressive behavior of sheltered dogs(41).

  1. Is there any evidence that CBD can make dogs’ behavior problems worse?

No evidence suggests that CBD can make dogs’ behavior issues worse. However, lethargic canines tend to move slowly and sleep a lot(42). CBD at high doses may cause dogs to feel slightly drowsy(43).

  1. Will CBD interact with any current medication my dog may be taking for behavior issues?

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication for behavioral disorders in cats and dogs(44). However, CBD may attenuate the effects of trazodone on plasma cortisol(45), suggesting a drug interaction.

Cortisol is a type of steroid hormone that helps the body respond to stress.

  1. Are there other treatments my dog can take alongside CBD to help with behavior issues?

Dogs can develop pain-induced aggression(46). Osteoarthritis, which causes joint pain, is common among canines(47).

Joint supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine are used in both humans and dogs(48).

However, make sure to initiate a conversation with your veterinarian if you are considering CBD along with other treatments. Veterinarians can provide medical advice and warn you about possible risks.

  1. What is the CBD dosage for dogs with behavior problems?

No standard CBD dosage is available for dogs with behavior issues. However, studies show that CBD doses between 0.1 and 0.5 mg/kg twice daily may be effective with dogs(49).

It is best to consult a veterinarian before administering CBD to your pets.

Although some veterinarians in the U.S. may not be legally allowed to recommend, dispense, or even discuss CBD products with their patients, you may initiate an open dialogue with them(50).

  1. How often should I administer CBD to my dog?

Administering CBD twice a day may help dogs(51). Still, it is best to initiate a conversation with a veterinarian experienced in cannabis use for accurate dosing and frequency.

In Nevada, licensed veterinarians can recommend and administer hemp and CBD products, provided they contain less than 0.3% THC concentration(52). They may even prescribe the best CBD oil to calm dogs.

  1. What are some benefits of CBD for dogs with behavior problems?

Jerry Klein, the head veterinary officer of the AKC (American Kennel Club), said that CBD is used in dogs for several factors like CBD’s anti-anxiety potential(53).

Still, more research is needed to substantiate CBD’s purported anti-anxiety effects and other health benefits.

  1. What are the side effects of CBD on dogs?

Dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, and drowsiness are common side effects of CBD in dogs(54).

  1. Will CBD mentally affect my dog? Is CBD safe for my dog?

CBD is non-psychoactive(55). Therefore, it will not affect your dog mentally. Furthermore, dogs’ tolerance to CBD has been reported(56).

However, research on the safety and risks of using cannabidiol for dogs is still lacking(57).

  1. How long will it take before CBD takes effect?

How long CBD takes effect in dogs depends on several factors, including the delivery method.

Oil-based products between 2 and 10mg/kg of CBD had average maximal serum concentrations reaching about 100 to 600 nanograms per milliliter within 2 hours of treatment in dogs(58).

  1. Is CBD legal?

Rules and regulations regarding CBD vary. Therefore, you must research your state’s stand regarding the use of CBD.

You may check government reports and journals online using a digital object identifier (DOI) to know more about CBD and the legal status of cannabidiol under U.S. law.

  1. Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine, page 18.
  2. Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine, page 30.
  3. Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine, page 11.
  4. Healing With CBD, page 179.
  5. Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine, page 9.
  6. Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine, page 11.
  7. Inhibition of Anandamide Hydrolysis: Cells Also Know How to Do It
  8. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
  9. Behavioral Problems of Dogs
  10. Separation Anxiety
  11. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  12. Aggression
  13. Ibid.
  14. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  15. Cannabis sativa L. May Reduce Aggressive Behaviour Towards Humans in Shelter Dogs
  16. Aggression
  17. Handling Aggressive Behavior in Your Dog
  18. Osteoarthritis in Dogs — Signs and Treatment
  19. Effect of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Canine Inflammatory Response: An Ex Vivo Study on LPS Stimulated Whole Blood
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
  22. US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions
  23. Dog Thunderstorm Anxiety: How to Help
  24. Consumers’ Perceptions of Hemp Products for Animals, page 44.
  25. The Impact of Feeding Cannabidiol (CBD) Containing Treats on Canine Response to a Noise-Induced Fear Response Test
  26. Hemp Oil for Pets: Everything You Need to Know
  27. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)
  28. CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis, page 319.
  29. Hemp Oil for Pets: Everything You Need to Know
  30. How to Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD Oil for Dogs
  31. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats
  32. Ibid.
  33. Healing With CBD, page 286.
  34. Healing With CBD, page 282.
  35. Healing With CBD, page 183.
  36. Hemp Seed Oil Properties
  37. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  38. Cannabis Use and Pets
  39. Legal Marijuana Use in Colorado
  40. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  41. Cannabis sativa L. May Reduce Aggressive Behaviour Towards Humans in Shelter Dogs
  42. Lethargy (Low Energy) in Dogs
  43. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  44. Trazodone
  45. The Impact of Feeding Cannabidiol (CBD) Containing Treats on Canine Response to a Noise-Induced Fear Response Test
  46. Aggression
  47. Osteoarthritis in Dogs — Signs and Treatment
  48. Ibid.
  49. CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis, page 319.
  50. Hemp Oil for Pets: Everything You Need to Know
  51. CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis, page 319.
  52. Nevada Veterinarians Can Treat Patients With Certain Cannabis Products
  53. Ibid.
  54. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  55. FAQs about CBD Use in Pets
  56. Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine, page 14.
  57. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  58. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats
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