• Joint pain in dogs is commonly linked with osteoarthritis(1). This condition may cause other symptoms such as inflammation, mobility, and behavioral issues(2)
  • CBD (cannabidiol) is purported to possess anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects(3).  
  • One study stated that orally administered CBD may help reduce pain and inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis(4).
  • However, present scientific data is still insufficient to conclude that CBD treats for dogs effectively manage joint pain. Pet owners should first consult a veterinarian on how to manage osteoarthritis and other conditions involving their dog’s health.

Why Pet Owners Give CBD Treats to Dogs With Joint Pain

Joint pain in canines is usually associated with osteoarthritis, a common type of arthritis in dogs(5)

Older dogs are more prone to osteoarthritis. This illness occurs when the cartilage or tissue surrounding the dog’s joints degenerates, leading to inflammation(6).

Dogs with osteoarthritis experience joint pain, joint stiffness, lessened mobility, and behavioral issues(7).

According to the AKC or the American Kennel Club, CBD may possess anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) properties(8)

These therapeutic effects may be helpful so dog owners can manage their pets’ medical conditions, like joint issues. 

What Are the Benefits of Using CBD Dog Treats for Joint Pain?

There is a lack of research regarding the effectiveness of CBD dog treats for joint pain. 

However, a 2018 study investigated the effects of orally administered CBD in dogs with osteoarthritis(9)

Researchers gave the canines 2 mg of CBD per kilogram of the dogs’ body weight twice a day for four weeks. The findings indicated that CBD may have reduced the dogs’ pain and inflammation. 

In addition, pet owners noted no significant side effects in their pet dogs.

In 2020, researchers from Colorado State University conducted a clinical trial to examine the efficacy of CBD oil in managing chronic pain in dogs with osteoarthritis(10).

The researchers gave the dogs full-spectrum CBD oil containing hemp extract and hemp seed oil. The findings indicated that CBD oil may be beneficial for reducing pain in the canines and improving the dogs’ comfort, mobility, and overall quality of life. 

Dogs’ joint pain may also cause behavioral problems such as aggression, irritability, and depression(11).

Meanwhile, a recent animal study shows that dog treats containing CBD may potentially induce anxiolytic effects(12)

Another research study published by the European Journal of Pain examined the effects of topically administered CBD gel in rats suffering from arthritis(13).

The study concluded that CBD may be beneficial in reducing pain and joint inflammation and preventing behaviors associated with pain in the rat subjects(14).

The findings also indicated that CBD did not cause any notable side effects.

Despite being conducted on rats, the research opens the possibility of further studies on the effects of CBD in dogs with joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Moreover, there is still a lack of conclusive scientific data on CBD’s effectiveness in helping with joint pain in dogs. However, CBD’s purported benefits may be promising for managing the condition. 

Dog owners should first consult a veterinarian for medical advice before giving CBD dog treats or CBD pet products to their furry friends suffering from joint pain or any medical condition.

How CBD Works for Dogs With Joint Pain

Cannabidiol, more commonly called CBD, is an active component of the cannabis plant and hemp plants

The compound has been hypothesized to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties(15)

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which induces a euphoric high(16).

CBD’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties may be caused by the activation of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 of a dog’s endocannabinoid system (ECS)(17).

These receptors also play a significant role in activating pain responses(18).

The ECS is present among mammals and maintains the body’s balance through the regulation of pain signals, which may also activate the system’s anti-inflammatory response(19).  

Studies have noted that canines have a significant number of cannabinoid receptors in their brain, making these animals more sensitive to cannabinoids, hence more at risk of THC toxicity(20).

However, CBD may help counteract THC’s harmful effects if the two compounds are administered simultaneously(21).

How Dogs Can Take CBD Dog Treats for Joint Pain

CBD pet treats are an easy method of administering cannabidiol to dogs.

Most pooches enjoy these treats as these edibles come in different tastes, including sweet potato, peanut butter, and bacon flavor

However, the disadvantage of using CBD treats is that these edibles do not give a measured CBD dosage compared to CBD oil tinctures(22)

Differences Between CBD Dog Treats and CBD Oil for Dogs

CBD extracts in edibles like dog treats are made similarly to CBD oils. However, with edibles, CBD oil is infused into a soft chew or treat(23)

Meanwhile, CBD oil tinctures are CBD-infused oils. These tinctures are made by infusing CBD extracts into a carrier oil, such as olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, or hemp oil(24).

CBD tinctures are available in flavored or unflavored variants, which can be mixed into dog food or directly administered under the canine’s tongue. 

Tinctures come with a dropper for a measured dose of CBD(25).

Lastly, CBD topicals like creams and salves are directly applied to the dogs’ skin for localized pain relief from joint pains(26).

Choosing the Best CBD Dog Treats for Joint Pain

Most CBD companies, such as Holistapet and Honest Paws, aim to sell the best CBD oil or pet CBD products, including CBD pet treats and calming chews

Some brands also offer a money-back guarantee for some of their products. 

Below are pertinent details individuals should consider before buying CBD or high-quality CBD dog treats for their furry friend: 

1. Individuals should know the different hemp extracts and choose the one that suits their dog’s needs. 

The AKC suggested going for broad-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolates, which are pure CBD, over full-spectrum hemp oil(27).     

Such a recommendation is due to full-spectrum CBD oil or full-spectrum hemp extracts having THC content, which may lead to THC toxicity in dogs(28).

Broad-spectrum CBD oil has all the cannabinoids and compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids, similar to full-spectrum CBD oil. However, broad-spectrum CBD oil is THC-free

2. Opt for CBD dog treats derived from organic hemp. If possible, always choose non-GMO, gluten-free treats or treats containing vegan, human-grade, or natural ingredients (organic ingredients).  

Most CBD brands claim to produce hemp plants from their farms. Grown hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC

Hemp-based CBD treats contain little to no THC, making them generally safe for pets(29).

3. It is vital to visit the CBD company’s website, check for customer reviews, and verify whether a third-party lab tests all their products. 

Their websites must include the lab reports and the certificates of analysis (COAs).

Lab testing ensures that CBD products do not contain preservatives, artificial flavors, or harmful contaminants like pesticides

4. The COA should match the CBD company’s claims. Customers should ensure that the amount of CBD in the products is accurate so that dogs can get the full purported benefits of CBD.  

5. Cannabidiol is usually infused with carrier oils like coconut oil, MCT oil, or hempseed oil.  

Hempseed oil” is different from “hemp oil.” Hemp oil is an essential oil from the leaves and flowers of hemp plants, whereas hempseed oil is made from pressed hemp seeds

Hempseed oil also has fatty acids like omega-3 and nutrients but does not have CBD(30)

CBD Dosage for Dogs Joint Pain

Currently, there is no set CBD dosage approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manage joint pain in canines. 

The size and weight of the dog may also influence the CBD dosage. Larger dogs may require higher doses than smaller dogs who need low doses. 

Dog owners should be cautious when giving higher doses of CBD to their pets. A high CBD dosage may cause side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and low blood pressure(31).

Moreover, individuals should be cautious when giving dogs CBD oil that has THC, as the compound may be toxic in certain doses(32)

How Long Does It Take for CBD Treats to Work for Joint Pain in Dogs?

The administration route, CBD potency, and the dog’s body weight may influence the effectiveness of CBD

Dog treats, soft chews, and tinctures generally have an onset time of 30 to 90 minutes(33).  

How CBD Dog Treats Compare to Alternative Options for Dogs’ Joint Pain

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to dogs to reduce pain and inflammation(34).  

However, a systematic review of NSAIDs noted that these drugs have adverse effects on canines, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia(35).

Meanwhile, a study in 2018 noted that CBD may reduce pain and inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis. Moreover, pet owners did not notice any significant side effects in their pets(36).

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD), an active component of cannabis, is derived from hemp plants(37)

CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is present in mammalian species, particularly in the nervous and immune systems.

Aside from being nearly present in all animals, the ECS also plays an integral role in maintaining homeostasis or balance(38)

Legality of CBD

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is advocating for further clinical research and for CBD manufacturers to seek authorization from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to guarantee quality and safe CBD products for dogs(39)

Veterinarians in the United States of America (USA) are not allowed to recommend, administer, or prescribe CBD products to their clients due to possible legal repercussions(40)

However, pet owners should feel free to open the conversation about CBD oil use with their vets. 

Before giving dogs pet CBD oil for joint pain, make sure to verify individual state laws regarding cannabidiol use to avoid legal consequences. 

Overview of Joint Pain in Dogs

Why Dogs’ Joint Health Is Important

Osteoarthritis is a common health issue in dogs, specifically in senior dogs and larger breeds. This condition may cause pain, inflammation, and decreased mobility in canines(41).  

Identifying the issue early and planning a suitable treatment plan can help keep dogs active and improve their quality of life(42).

Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

It is vital to monitor middle-aged to senior dogs for early signs and symptoms of joint disease. Some symptoms include(43):

  • Joint stiffness or limping
  • Lethargy
  • Hesitancy to run, jump, or play
  • Weight gain
  • Behavioral changes
  • Pain when touched
  • Uncontrolled bowel movements 
  • Loss of muscle on the limbs and spine


Any dog breed has a risk of developing joint problems or osteoarthritis. However, there are some factors that make some dogs more at risk of developing the condition, such as(44):

  • Larger breeds, like as German shepherds, labradors, and golden retrievers
  • Obesity
  • Age, especially middle-aged to senior dogs
  • Repetitive stress from activities such as fetching or diving
  • Injuries such as ligament tears or fractures 
  • Elbow or hip dysplasia diagnoses
  • Joint infections such as Lyme Disease
  • Improper nutrition
  • Genetics

How to Monitor a Dog’s Joint Mobility

If an individual’s dog is at risk of developing osteoarthritis or any joint issues, it is vital to stay up-to-date with regular veterinary check-ups. 

Veterinarians can help ensure that dogs maintain an active lifestyle and healthy weight. They can also catch early signs of medical conditions like osteoarthritis before it progresses(45).

These professionals can monitor dogs’ joint mobility through X-rays. This procedure may assess the canine’s range of motion and evaluate if there are damages to their joints(46).

Five Ways to Naturally Improve Dogs’ Joint Health  

Most dogs may experience joint pain as they grow older. Aside from using CBD oil and other pet CBD products on their canine companions, individuals may also consider the following natural treatments and their possible health benefits:

1. Chondroitin is a dietary supplement that has an essential role in cartilage elasticity and water retention(47).  

2. Glucosamine is a natural compound that may reduce symptoms of joint damage. Dogs suffering from arthritis are usually prescribed glucosamine and chondroitin joint supplements(48)

3. Turmeric (turmeric root) is a flowering plant that may help manage pain and inflammation linked to osteoarthritis(49)

4. Boswellia resin is a plant-based supplement with anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic properties. Boswellia may provide symptom relief in canine osteoarthritis(50)

5. Chamomile is an herb used as a mild sedative to reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and manage hysteria. Chamomile may also be utilized as a muscle relaxant with anti-inflammatory effects(51).

6. Superfoods are foods rich in nutrients such as coconut oil or flaxseed that may improve canines’ overall health and wellness(52). Flaxseed may also promote dogs’ healthier hair coat and skin(53)


  • Are there any side effects of CBD?

Side effects of CBD use in dogs may include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy. The compound may also induce ataxia if taken in large doses. This condition impacts the canine’s balance and coordination(54).

Other side effects of CBD in dogs are dry mouth, drowsiness, and low blood pressure(55)

  • Can dogs be given CBD oil if it is already taking medication?

CBD may interact with the dog’s other prescription medication by inhibiting the P450 enzyme in the pet’s system. This effect may hinder the metabolization of drugs(56).

It is vital to talk to a veterinarian before using any CBD product on dogs. These professionals may inform owners of any potential drug-to-drug interactions.

  • Do vets recommend CBD?

Many veterinarians have acknowledged the benefits of CBD in managing pain and anxiety in humans(57)

However, federal and state laws in the US prohibit veterinarians from prescribing, administering, and suggesting CBD to their clients. Still, pet parents are allowed and should be comfortable initiating a conversation with their veterinarians regarding the use of CBD in their dogs(58).

Meanwhile, licensed veterinarians in Nevada may recommend and administer CBD products as long as the products have less than 0.3% THC concentration(59).

  1. Managing Canine Arthritis
  2. Osteoarthritis in Dogs — Signs and Treatment
  3. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  4. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full
  5. Managing Canine Arthritis https://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/caring-for-your-dog/managing-canine-arthritis.html
  6. Osteoarthritis in Dogs — Signs and Treatment
  7. Ibid.
  8. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  9. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs
  10. The Use of Cannabidiol-Rich Hemp Oil Extract to Treat Canine Osteoarthritis-Related Pain: A Pilot Study https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339698157_The_Use_of_Cannabidiol-Rich_Hemp_Oil_Extract_to_Treat_Canine_Osteoarthritis-Related_Pain_A_Pilot_Study
  11. Arthritis in Dogs
  12. The Impact of Feeding Cannabidiol (CBD) Containing Treats on Canine Response to a Noise-Induced Fear Response Test
  13. Transdermal Cannabidiol Reduces Inflammation and Pain-Related Behaviours in a Rat Model of Arthritis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
  14. Ibid.
  15. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Daily Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Canine Osteoarthritis Pain
  16. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
  17. CBD for Dogs With Arthritis: What Does the Science Actually Say?
  18. Ibid.
  19. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Hemp Oil for Pets: Everything You Need to Know
  23. Ibid.
  24. Healing With CBD page 205.
  25. Healing With CBD page 182. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  26. Healing With CBD, Page 182. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  27. Does CBD Work for Dogs?
  28. Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs
  29. CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis, page 309.
  30. Hemp Seed Oil Properties https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-sheets/hemp-seed-oil-properties.html
  31. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/
  32. Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With Epilepsy? https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-for-dog-seizures/
  33. Healing With CBD. page, 183. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  34. Treating Pain in Your Dog https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/treating-pain-your-dog
  35. Systematic Review of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug-Induced Adverse Effects in Dogs
  36. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs
  37. Cannabidiol (CBD)-What We Know and What We Don’t
  38. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
  39. CBD for Dogs With Arthritis: What Does the Science Actually Say?
  40. How to Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD Oil for Dogs
  41. Osteoarthritis in Dogs — Signs and Treatment
  42. Ibid.
  43. Ibid.
  44. Ibid.
  45. Ibid.
  46. Ibid.
  47. Chondroitin https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/chondroitin
  48. Can Glucosamine for Dogs Help Treat Arthritis and Joint Pain? https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/glucosamine-dogs-arthritis-joint-pain/
  49. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Prospective, Placebo-Controlled Study of the Efficacy of a Diet Supplemented With Curcuminoids Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Green Tea Extract in Owner’s Dogs With Osteoarthritis https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12917-017-1317-8
  50. Dietary Support With Boswellia Resin in Canine Inflammatory Joint and Spinal Disease
  51. Chamomile
  52. Can My Dog Eat These Human Superfoods?
  53. Effects of Dietary Flaxseed and Sunflower Seed Supplementation on Normal Canine Serum Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Skin and Hair Coat Condition Scores https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-3164.2001.00234.x
  54. FAQs About CBD Use in Pets
  55. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  56. FAQs about CBD Use in Pets
  57. US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions
  58. How to Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD Oil for Dogs
  59. Nevada Veterinarians Can Treat Patients With Certain Cannabis Products
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