Can a daily dose of CBD significantly help dogs?
- Owners are administering CBD products to dogs for overall wellness and medical purposes such as allergies, cancer, epilepsy, situational stress, arthritis, lack of appetite, skin conditions, and chronic pain.
- To date, there are several specifications and variations regarding the right dosage of CBD for dogs, depending on specific formulations of different CBD brands.
- To determine the right CBD dosage for dogs using different manufacturer CBD dosing charts and CBD dosage calculators, it is essential to
- identify the type of species,
- specify the dog’s weight in pounds, and
- indicate preferred strength of dosage (minimum to maximum).
- It is recommended to give the “starter” dose specified in the CBD product’s dosage chart for the overall well-being of dogs. Higher doses (ranging from “strong” to “maximum” levels) of CBD are required for medicinal purposes such as arthritis and joint pain, cancers, seizures, tumors, and conditions that impede mobility.
- Without a universal agreement regarding the right dosage of CBD in dogs, it is highly recommended to consult a veterinarian before initial administration.
Why Owners Are Using CBD for their Dogs
Owners are administering CBD products for their dogs either to help their furry friends achieve overall wellness or for medicinal purposes.
Many manufacturers of CBD products for dogs espouse the use of CBD in addressing various symptoms such as allergies, cancer, epilepsy, situational stress, arthritis, lack of appetite, skin conditions, and chronic pain.
The Anti-inflammatory Benefits of CBD
Owners have the option of using CBD products in place of anti-inflammatory medications.
This is because cannabinoids and anti-inflammatory drugs share the same metabolic pathways(1).
The anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD were manifested in a 2017 Cornell University Study, in which CBD oil was administered to dogs with osteoarthritis(2).
In the study, dogs appeared to be relieved of inflammatory and osteoarthritic pain after given a twice-a-day CBD dosage(3).
CBD’s significant impact on osteoarthritic pain in dogs is highly relevant since the Veterinary Science Development had published a research stating that one in every four dogs in the U.S. suffered from some form of arthritis(4).
The study attributed the prevalence of arthritis in dogs among all domestic animals to several factors, including genetic predisposition, excessive running or physical activity, and injury(5).
Aside from providing significant inflammatory and osteoarthritic pain relief to dogs with arthritis, the 2017 Cornell University study reported that hemp CBD dog treats appeared to soothe other symptoms such as pruritus (itching) and gastrointestinal issues(6).
The Anti-Anxiety Benefits of CBD
Many scientific inquiries have shown that CBD may help decrease stress and anxiety.
The Neurochemical Research Journal had reported that CBD could suppress the reuptake, defined as the absorption by a presynaptic nerve ending of a neurotransmitter that it has secreted, of serotonin in the brain(7).
This suppression of serotonin reuptake makes serotonin readily available for the body(8).
Serotonin plays a vital role in influencing moods and behavior.
It is a “feel good” chemical that reduces anxiety and evokes feelings of happiness.
The researchers of the neurochemical analysis had deduced that CBD could help modulate serotonin levels, thus balancing mood and reducing anxiety(9).
A 2012 study published in the Translational Psychiatry Journal demonstrated the ability of CBD in stimulating the endocannabinoid system(10).
This CBD stimulation helps the ECS produce higher levels of its natural cannabinoids, such as anandamide, which regulates emotions(11).
The results of the study had shown that anandamide levels had increased
in the body after being given CBD(12).
According to a 2019 study in The Journal of Neuroscience, the effects of increased anandamide in the brain are associated with a reduction in stress, fear, and anxiety(13).
The manifestations of anxiety in dogs may be caused by what dogs perceive to be stressful events and situations, such as spending long hours on the road when being taken to a distant location, and being in crowded, noisy, and unfamiliar places.
How CBD Works for Dogs
Cannabidiol (CBD) works to enhance the endocannabinoid system, molecules present in the body of all mammals, that are involved in various processes such as the immune system, metabolism, and sleep(14).
It was observed in a 2017 study published in the PLOS One Journal that the body systems of dogs and humans share a similarity(15).
The striking similarity lies in the spatial distribution of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in the central and peripheral nervous systems of both species(16).
The ECS also helps maintain the homeostasis (the stable equilibrium maintained by physiological processes) of many organ systems in the body.
The Pros and Cons of CBD for Dogs
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- Scientific data have shown that CBD has medicinal properties that benefit several symptoms of illnesses found in humans and dogs alike.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved epidiolex, a cannabis-derived drug, for managing seizure attacks in humans.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), veterinarians can similarly prescribe epidiolex on animals in accordance with the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA)(17).
- Most CBD products for dogs come with handy dosage recommendations from different manufacturers.
- Hemp-derived CBD products for dogs are authorized to be sold in over 50 states and in several other countries.
- The FDA has not approved the use of cannabis and cannabis-derived products in animals. The agency further advised owners to consult with veterinarians before administering cannabis to address symptoms of illnesses in animals(18).
- As of 2019, veterinarians are only authorized to discuss cannabis use in animals only in the state of California(19).
Due to this fact, there is scarce scientific research done in most states. Almost all veterinarians are limited from exploring various naturally derived options for animal wellness and treatment.
- CBD may cause side effects in dogs, such as diarrhea, nausea, low blood pressure, dry mouth, and drowsiness(20).
How To Choose The Right CBD for Dogs
To help owners choose the right CBD for dogs, Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting published the following guideline(21):
- Acquire ample information on cannabis laws that apply in the area where the purchase is intended. Pure CBD products from the hemp plant are available in pet stores and online stores.
- Do a background check about the standing of the CBD manufacturer. Companies with high ethical standards offer an overview of their manufacturing processes. They are usually rated the highest by consumers online.
- It is advised to select CBD products that make use of over 600 compounds of the whole cannabis plant, which is reportedly safer and more effective than products that only utilize a few compounds.
- Be vigilant for products that have passed stringent laboratory testings. Reputable brands carry clean CBD products that are free of pesticides, contaminants like bacteria, mold, and heavy metals.
- For utmost safety, purchase CBD products that are extracted through the use of alcohol and CO2 instead of other extraction methods that leave behind toxic residues.
- Verify if the product is formulated in a high-quality oil base rather than the potentially harmful alcohol base.
- Steer clear of CBD products containing additives such as preservatives and artificial coloring.
- Choose CBD products for dogs that contain 0% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to avoid giving dogs a high sensation.
How Much CBD Should Be Given To Dogs
It is important to give dogs the correct amount of cannabidiol that is both safe and effective.
There appear to be individualized specifications regarding the right dosage of CBD for dogs.
This is because companies usually have their own unique set of dosage standards.
The commonality in CBD dosing lies in classifying CBD doses depending on their purpose.
The right dose of CBD for dogs varies. Dosing for medicinal use is different from dosing for general well-being.
Calculating the CBD Dosage for Medicinal Purposes in Dogs
CBD is given to dogs for medicinal purposes such as severe arthritis and joint pain, symptoms related to cancers, tumors, epileptic seizures, extreme anxiety, nausea, vomiting, conditions that impede mobility, and chronic pain.
It is worth noting that high doses (ranging from “strong” to “maximum” levels) of CBD oil products are typically warranted for medicinal purposes.
To calculate the dosage for medicinal purposes such as relieving arthritic pain or seizures, the number of milligrams (mg) of CBD that must be given should correspond to the pet’s weight.
The medicinal CBD dosage rule of thumb is to give 0.2 milligrams of CBD for every pound (lb).
For example, the right CBD dosage for a 50-pound dog is 10 mg.
Innovet Pet recommends the correct dosage in the medium tier of 0.068 mg per pound or 0.15 mg CBD per kilogram for all chronic medical conditions such as allergies, situational stress, epilepsy, and cancer.
The strong tier of 0.136 mg CBD per pound or 0.30 mg CBD per kilogram is strongly advised for clinical insomnia, a condition that requires more CBD dosage in dogs.
Determining the CBD Dosage for General Purposes in Dogs
CBD is given to dogs for general health purposes such as daily health, wellness, immunity, moderate arthritis and joint inflammation, minor skin conditions, minor stress, lack of appetite, old age, and light pain conditions.
A lower dose than that of the medicinal dosage is the proper CBD dosage requirement for the overall well-being of dogs.
Thus, it is recommended to give the “starter” dose specified in the CBD product.
Calculating the Right CBD Oil Dosage for Medicinal and General Purposes in Dogs
After determining the right CBD dosage, the next step is to calculate how much CBD oil is appropriate for a dog’s corresponding weight.
The following guidelines should lead to the selection of CBD oil bottle formulation.
Brands of CBD oil for dogs carry different formula strength levels.
The formula strength level is the concentration of CBD in each bottle.
The scope of various formula strength levels usually ranges from the 75 mg starting point formula up to as high as 600 mg formula.
Below is a table of common formula strengths determining the amount of CBD is present in the oil.
|75 mg formula = 2.5mg of CBD per ml of oil|
|150 mg formula = 5mg of CBD per ml of oil|
|300 mg formula = 10mg of CBD per ml of oil|
|600 mg formula = 20mg of CBD per ml of oil|
The initial step is to choose a formula to match the size and weight of the dog.
|Formula Recommendations for King Kalm CBD Oil by King Kanine(22):|
|For small-sized dogs weighing 20 lbs and under:||75 mg bottle (approximately 2.5mg of CBD/1ml)|
|For medium-sized dogs weighing 21-50 lbs:||150 mg bottle (approximately 5mg of CBD/1ml)|
|For large-sized dogs weighing 51-75 lbs:||300 mg bottle (approximately 10mg of CBD/1ml)|
|For extra large-sized dogs weighing over 75 lbs:||600 mg bottle (approximately 20mg of CBD/1ml)|
Using the pound = mg table provided above, a 50-pound dog that needs 10 mg of CBD can be given one ml of oil when using the 300 mg formula, or 2 ml of oil when using the 150 mg formula, or 4 ml of oil when using the 75 mg formula.
CBD Dosing Charts for Dogs
Once a bottle formulation is appropriately matched for the weight and size of a dog, follow the specific dosing chart that comes with the particular CBD oil purchased.
There are immense inconsistencies regarding the numerous available CBD oil dosage guidelines using different formulations among different CBD companies.
To illustrate, below are King Kalm’s four different CBD oil dosing charts(23):
It must be noted that all four formulations (75 mg / 30 ml, 150 mg / 30 ml, 300 mg / 30 ml, and 600 mg per 30 ml) can be used on all dog sizes ranging from as light as five pounds to up to as heavy as 160 pounds.
The minimal specified doses (either .1 ml or .2 ml standard dosage) in each chart are given to the dog breeds that belong to the smallest in size category, for example, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Japanese Chins, and Russian Toy Terriers.
The maximum specified doses in the charts are customized for dog breeds falling in the heaviest in weight and largest in size category, such as the Dogue de Bordeaux and Newfoundland, that both weigh between 125 to 150 pounds, the Neapolitan mastiff that weighs up to 155 pounds, the Saint Bernard that reaches 180 pounds when fully grown up, and the English mastiff that typically grows up to a massive 250 pounds.
1. 75 mg / 30 ml CBD dosing chart:
|Dog Weight in Pounds||Standard Dose||Medicinal Dose|
|5||.2 ml||.6 ml|
|10||.2 ml||.8 ml|
|15||.4 ml||1 ml|
|20||.4 ml||1.2 ml|
|25||.5 ml||2 ml|
|30||.6 ml||2 ml|
|35||.8 ml||2.8 ml|
|40||.8 ml||3.2 ml|
|45||1 ml||3.6 ml|
|50||1 ml||4 ml|
|55||1.2 ml||4 ml|
|60||1.2 ml||4.2 ml|
|65||1.4 ml||4.5 ml|
|70||1.4 ml||4.5 ml|
|75||1.6 ml||6 ml|
|80||1.8 ml||6 ml|
|85||1.8 ml||6.5 ml|
|90||1.8 ml||6.5 ml|
|95||2 ml||8 ml|
|100||2 ml||8 ml|
|101-120||2.2 ml||8 ml|
|121-140||2.6 ml||8.5 ml|
|141-160||3.0 ml||8.5 ml|
2. 150 mg / 30 ml dosing chart:
|Dog Weight in Pounds||Standard Dose||Medicinal Dose|
|5||.1 ml||.2 ml|
|10||.1 ml||.5 ml|
|15||.2 ml||.6 ml|
|20||.2 ml||.8 ml|
|25||.25 ml||1 ml|
|30||.3 ml||1.2 ml|
|35||.4 ml||1.4 ml|
|40||.4 ml||1.6 ml|
|45||.5 ml||1.8 ml|
|50||.5 ml||2 ml|
|55||.6 ml||2.2 ml|
|60||.6 ml||2.4 ml|
|65||.7 ml||2.6 ml|
|70||.7 ml||2.8 ml|
|75||.8 ml||3 ml|
|80||.8 ml||3.2 ml|
|85||.9 ml||3.4 ml|
|90||.9 ml||3.6 ml|
|95||1 ml||3.8 ml|
|100||1 ml||4 ml|
|101-120||1.1 ml||4.5 ml|
|121-140||1.3 ml||5.2 ml|
|141-160||1.6 ml||6.5 ml|
3. 300 mg / 30 ml dosing chart:
|Dog Weight in Pounds||Standard Dose||Medicinal Dose|
|5||.1 ml||.2 ml|
|10||.1 ml||.3 ml|
|15||.2 ml||.4 ml|
|20||.2 ml||.5 ml|
|25||.2 ml||.75 ml|
|30||.3 ml||1 ml|
|35||.4 ml||1 ml|
|40||.4 ml||1 ml|
|45||.5 ml||1.75 ml|
|50||.5 ml||2 ml|
|55||.5 ml||2 ml|
|60||.5 ml||2 ml|
|65||.6 ml||2 ml|
|70||.6 ml||2.5 ml|
|75||.7 ml||2.5 ml|
|80||.7 ml||3 ml|
|85||.8 ml||3 ml|
|90||1 ml||3 ml|
|95||1 ml||3.2 ml|
|100||1 ml||3.3 ml|
|101-120||1 ml||3.5 ml|
|121-140||1 ml||3.5 ml|
|141-160||1.2 ml||3.75 ml|
4. 600 mg / 30 ml chart:
|Dog Weight in Pounds||Standard Dose||Medicinal Dose|
|5||.1 ml||.1 ml|
|10||.1 ml||.2 ml|
|15||.1 ml||.2 ml|
|20||.2 ml||.25 ml|
|25||.2 ml||.4 ml|
|30||.2 ml||.5 ml|
|35||.2 ml||.5 ml|
|40||.25 ml||.5 ml|
|45||.25 ml||.8 ml|
|50||.25 ml||1 ml|
|55||.25 ml||1 ml|
|60||.25 ml||1 ml|
|65||.3 ml||1 ml|
|70||.3 ml||1.25 ml|
|75||.4 ml||1.25 ml|
|80||.4 ml||1.5 ml|
|85||.5 ml||1.5 ml|
|90||.5 ml||1.5 ml|
|95-140||.6 ml||1.8 ml|
|141-160||.75 ml||2 ml|
King Kalm dosage charts only have two strength preference levels: standard or regular dose and medicinal dose.
The company Innovet offers other CBD dosing charts customized by different product forms: tinctures, treats, pellets, and capsules.
The company also has dosing charts for three different species: horses, cats, and dogs.
Innovet dosing charts can also be customized by four dosing strength preferences: minimum, average, strong, and maximum.
How to Use a CBD Dosage Calculator For Dogs
For those who prefer to use CBD dosage calculators for dogs, Innovet features a handy calculator on its website(24).
There are three steps to follow in using the calculator:
1. The initial step is to identify the type of species in the drop-down menu.
2. The next step is to specify the dog’s weight in pounds using the slider button.
If the dog is an average adult male German Shepherd weighing approximately 66 t0 88 pounds, the slider button is pushed to the far right, farther along in the category of large dogs.
3. The last step is to select the preferred strength of dosage, ranging from minimum to maximum, to give to the dog.
This preference may be attributed to whether the dosage is given for medicinal or general purposes.
For example, if the dog suffers from chronic pain due to arthritis, the pet owner can select the maximum allowable dosage in the level selector.
However, although there are CBD dosage charts and calculators, CBD dosing generally appears to be largely left up to the dog owner’s prerogative.
This is because CBD companies believe that owners know their dogs best, taking into consideration various factors such as the dog’s medical conditions, age, environment, and individual temperament.
Until the publication of new studies supporting higher doses than the current dosage recommendations available, it is advised to adhere to existing maximum dosage recommendations.
If an owner observes that their dog does not respond positively to the CBD dosage given, they might consider increasing the dose.
Before proceeding, it is advised to consult a veterinarian regarding this, especially if the owner is planning to give higher doses than 5 milligrams per kilogram.
A dog must be observed for the first few hours after introducing a CBD product into its system.
Pay attention to the dog’s response to the substance. If the desired results are not achieved, for example, when the dog still shows signs of moderate to extreme pain, the owner can adjust the dose to achieve the desired outcome.
How to Give CBD to Dogs
CBD can be given to dogs in the form of CBD oils or tinctures, capsules, treats, pellets, and chews.
CBD Oils / Tinctures
CBD tinctures or oils are the top choices among CBD products for dogs due to their precise dosing, which is calculated for the dog’s body weight.
The second most prominent advantage of CBD tinctures is that they have the highest absorption rate among all CBD dog products.
Lastly, CBD works within ten to fifteen minutes after administering with a full dropper, making it the better choice for prompt relief.
Each CBD capsule typically contains a higher milligram content of CBD (typically 5 mg CBD), making it ideal for more massive dogs weighing 40 pounds and up.
This high CBD content provides long-lasting relief of symptoms for approximately six to eight hours.
However, unlike CBD tinctures, capsules pass through the digestive tract before getting absorbed into the bloodstream.
This leads to a slight lag of about half an hour to a full hour before taking effect in the body.
CBD Dog Treats and Pellets
CBD dog treats such as dog biscuits and pellets appear to be preferred by medium-sized dogs weighing 20 pounds and above.
CBD Dog Soft Chews
CBD dog soft chews are the most popular choice of smaller dogs that weigh below fifteen pounds and senior dogs that have difficulty in chewing harder dog treats.
It entails a huge responsibility to ensure that a dog is given the correct amount of CBD dosage, owing to the fact that the canine body system is more sensitive than the human body system.
For this reason, it is strongly advised to avoid giving CBD products intended for humans to dogs due to differences in formula strength levels, ingredients, and additives.
Unsuitably using CBD formulations designed for humans may cause mild to moderate side effects such as nausea and diarrhea, or even severe harm in dogs.
In determining the right CBD dosage administration in dogs, the three major factors to consider are the type of species, the dog’s weight in pounds, and the preferred strength of dosage.
It is recommended to give the “starter” dose specified in the CBD product’s dosage chart for the overall well-being of dogs. Higher doses (ranging from “strong” to “maximum” levels) of CBD are required for medicinal purposes such as arthritis and joint pain, cancers, seizures, tumors, and conditions that impede mobility.
Without a universal agreement regarding the right dosage administration of CBD in dogs, it is highly recommended to consult a veterinarian before initial administration.
- MedlinePlus. (2020 January 21). Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/1439.html.
- Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, et al. (2018 July 23). Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front Vet Sci., 5:165. DOI:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165.
- Bland, Stephanie. (2015). Canine Osteoarthritis and Treatments: A Review. Veterinary Science Development. https://doi.org/10.4081/vsd.2015.5931
- Kogan LR, Hellyer PW, Robinson NG. (2016). Consumers’ perceptions of hemp products for animals. J Am Holist Vet Med Assoc., 42:40–8.
- Russo, E.B., Burnett, A., Hall, B. et al. (2005). Agonistic Properties of Cannabidiol at 5-HT1a Receptors. Neurochem Res, 30, 1037–1043. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11064-005-6978-1.
- Leweke FM, Piomelli D, Pahlisch F, et al. (2012 March 20). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Transl Psychiatry, 2(3):e94. DOI:10.1038/tp.2012.15.
- Morena M., Aukema, R., […], and Hill M. (2019 February 13). Upregulation of Anandamide Hydrolysis in the Basolateral Complex of Amygdala Reduces Fear Memory Expression and Indices of Stress and Anxiety. Journal of Neuroscience, 39 (7) 1275-1292; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2251-18.2018.
- Human Endocannabinoid System. (n.d.). UCLA Health. https://www.uclahealth.org/cannabis/human-endocannabinoid-system
- Freundt-Revilla J, Kegler K, Baumgärtner W, Tipold A. (2017). Spatial distribution of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in normal canine central and peripheral nervous system. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0181064.
- AVMA. Cannabis use and pets. Retrieved from https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/veterinarians-and-public-health/cannabis-use-and-pets.
- US FDA. (2020, March 11). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd.
- Peachman, RR. (2019 April 11). Should You Try CBD for Your Pet? Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/should-you-try-cbd-for-your-pet/.
- Kriss R. (2019 October 27). The American Kennel Club. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/.
- Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting. Cannabis Guidelines for Pet Parents. Retrieved from https://www.veterinarycannabis.org/guidelines-for-pet-parents.html.
- Jones, Sally. (2020 May 4). CBD Dosage for Dogs: Clearing Up the Confusion. Canine Journal. https://www.caninejournal.com/cbd-dosage-for-dogs/
- King Kalm CBD Dosing Chart for Pets. King Kanine. https://kingkanine.com/pages/king-kalm-cbd-dosing-chart-for-pets
- CBD Dosing Calculator for Pets. Innovet Pet. https://www.innovetpet.com/pages/cbd-dosing-calculator
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