James Barker / Unsplash
Many pet owners have shown an interest in CBD oil for dogs as a natural way to enhance the health and wellbeing of their pets. CBD, or cannabidiol, can offer a wide range of health benefits for animals, just as it can for humans. In this article we’ll offer background information on CBD oils for dogs as well our recommendations for the best brands and products.
How Can CBD Oil Help My Dog?
Pet treats infused with the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant can help dogs and other animals to manage symptoms associated with various conditions and environmental stresses. Those that have personally tried CBD for their pets say it has the potential to reduce pain, separation anxiety or stress from thunderstorms, aggressive tendencies, and seizures, among other advantages. CBD has also been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve joint pain in older dogs.
CBD oil products can be mixed in with your dog’s food from a dropper and some come in flavors like bacon or beef your dog might enjoy. CBD can also improve your dog’s coat and skin health. CBD topicals can be rubbed onto itchy or irritated skin. Hemp dog treats are perhaps the easiest to work into your dog care routine.
Note that it’s important to buy CBD products that are specifically designed for dogs. Regular CBD products contain concentrations that are too high for pets. Feeding your dog the right CBD treat or CBD tincture could result in a happier, healthier best friend.
How We Review CBD Oil for Dogs
To create our list of the best CBD for dogs, we evaluated each brand and product on six specific categories that we use for all of our CBD reviews.
- Value — Is the brand’s pet CBD oil affordable and does it work as advertised?
- Strength — How many total milligrams of CBD does each dose of CBD oil contain? Is it full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate?
- Source — Where does the company get its hemp? Is it grown in the USA?
- Flavor — Do they flavor their CBD oil? If so, do they use natural ingredients?
- Transparency — Can you view third-party lab test results and information about their extraction process?
- Customer Experience — Do they offer a satisfaction guarantee? What do customer reviews say about the product?
Learn more about our picks for best CBD oils for dogs below.
Our Top Picks for Dog CBD Oils
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall – NuLeaf Naturals Pet CBD
- Best Flavor – Cornbread Hemp CBD Oil for Pets
- Best Organic Option – R+R Medicinals CBD Pet Tincture
- Best Satisfaction Guarantee – CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture
The Best CBD Oils for Dogs
Best Overall: NuLeaf Naturals Pet CBD Oil
NuLeaf Naturals offers a clean, natural way to try plant-based relief for your pet. All of their products are certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. NuLeaf Naturals CBD comes from hemp grown organically on farms in Colorado, and they use an advanced Co2 extraction method that preserves more beneficial plant compounds without the use of chemicals. This CBD oil is also independently lab tested with results available online for each batch, helping you know exactly what you give to your dog.
Strength: 3 mg full spectrum CBD per serving, available in 300mg, 900mg, and 1800mg size bottles
Why buy: We like that this CBD oil for dogs comes in a consistent starter strength, 3 mg of CBD per mL, making it easier to measure the right amount each time. We trust NuLeaf Naturals for the purity and effectiveness of their CBD.
Best Flavor: Cornbread Hemp CBD Oil for Pets
Cornbread Hemp CBD Oil for Pets is made with vegan corndog flavoring. This makes it more appealing to furry friends than the natural flavors of some CBD oils. We love that it’s also vegan, non-GMO, and contains no fillers or preservatives. All of their products are derived from organic hemp grown in Kentucky, and are also third-party lab tested. Each product includes seed-to-sale tracking and a tamper-proof seal. Note that this contains a stronger concentration of CBD per serving than other oils, so you may not want to start out with a full serving.
Strength: 17 mg full spectrum CBD per serving, 500 mg per bottle.
Why buy: We love Cornbread Hemp CBD Oil for Pets for its vegan corndog flavoring that makes it easy to add to your dog’s diet. Cornbread Hemp is also known for their flower-only extraction process, meaning they don’t use any stems or leaves, for a cleaner, purer product.
Best Organic: R+R Medicinals CBD Pet Tincture
R+R Medicinals CBD Pet Tincture is our favorite USDA-certified organic CBD oil for dogs. It’s made with organic full spectrum hemp extract grown in Colorado and organic grape-seed oil, which makes it good for your dog’s coat and skin. We like that R+R Medicinals also uses a clean Co2 extraction method. A full 1 mL serving includes 16.7 mg of CBD and over 2 mg of additional cannabinoids like CBN, CBC, THC, and CBG, that can provide strong relief for your pet.
Strength: 16.7 mg full spectrum CBD per serving, 500 mg per bottle.
Why buy: We love this CBD oil for pets because it is certified organic and can provide powerful, full spectrum relief. It also includes a dosage guide for different sized pets right on the bottle, making it very easy to use.
Best Satisfaction Guarantee: CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture
CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture is processed in cold-pressed hemp seed oil to make it easier on your dog’s digestion. They have a 150 mg tincture for small to medium sized dogs and a 600 mg pet CBD oil made for larger breeds. Both are third-party lab tested with easily accessible results through a QR code on the bottle, as well as a convenient dosage guide. CBDistillery products are also U.S. Hemp Authority Certified.
Strength: 5 mg or 20 mg full spectrum CBD per serving, available in 150 mg and 600 mg size bottles.
Why buy: We like that this CBD pet tincture is designed to be easy on your pet’s digestion, and that they include a clear dosage guide and QR code for lab test results right on the bottle. Best of all, CBDistillery offers a 60 day money back guarantee.
What the Experts Say About CBD and Dogs
There are plenty of personal stories about the health benefits of CBD on pets, but what science is there to back up these claims?
A scientific study conducted by Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has shown that CBD oil helped decrease pain, and increase activity, in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. Additionally, a study published in the journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) in September 2020 concluded that “Cannabidiol possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties and significantly improved the mobility of large domestic canines afflicted with osteoarthritis in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled veterinary study.”
A survey by the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) included responses from more than 600 pet owners, and found that CBD use in animals also yielded positive results for:
- Pain relief
- Sleep aid
- Anxiety relief (including thunderstorm or firework phobia)
- Nervous system support
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced seizures
- Preventing vomiting and nausea
- Mitigating muscle spasms
- Helping with digestive tract issues
- Skin condition treatments
How to Shop
There are a range of CBD products designed for pet owners, and you’ll want to do your homework before buying anything. We recommend using CBD products that are solely intended for pets, as well as brands who use third-party labs to verify CBD potency and test for the presence of any pesticides, microbials, or solvents.
What to Look For
Here are some of the important factors to consider when shopping for the best CBD for dogs:
Type of CBD
CBD can come in three primary forms: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. CBD oils extracted from industrial hemp still contain trace amounts of THC. This type of CBD is known as full spectrum CBD, and it is meant to provide as many of the beneficial plant compounds found in hemp as possible. Broad spectrum CBD, on the other hand, is distilled to exclude THC while still retaining some of these additional compounds. Certain brands distill out these cannabinoids and terpenes to create CBD isolate that contains nothing but pure CBD. When possible, we recommend using full spectrum CBD extracts for a synergistic effect and greater therapeutic value for your dog. The best CBD oils for humans are not the same as the best for dogs.
Make sure you know where a product’s hemp was sourced and how it was grown. Since cannabis is a hyperaccumulator, it absorbs the elements of the ground within which it was grown. This is of particular concern when it comes to CBD oil because you certainly don’t want to feed your pet anything toxic. We recommend brands that source their hemp from farms in the U.S., and we prioritize brands that use organically grown hemp. This helps to ensure that the hemp plants are raised without pesticides and that the soil is tested for heavy metals and other toxins.
CBD oil for dogs is easy to add into your pet’s food without them detecting a difference. For ease of absorption, look for a CBD product that’s infused with olive oil. Olive oil is rich in unsaturated fats, and healthier for your pet than other options like coconut oil. Some brands use cold pressed hemp seed oil, which can be easier to digest, or grape-seed oil, which is good for your pet’s coat and skin.
CBD vs. Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is not the same as CBD oil, and this can cause some confusion. Hemp seed extract is pressed from the seeds of hemp to produce an oil that may help give your dog a shinier coat or better skin, but it does not contain any of the active cannabinoids that can promote health and wellness. Some products use hemp seed oil as the carrier oil for their CBD, which is perfectly fine. Be sure that you purchase actual CBD oil and not just hemp seed oil.
How to Read Labels
To make sure that you give your dog only the highest quality CBD oils, there are certain things to look for when reading labels.
The most important information to look for is the ingredients list. This should tell you the type of CBD it contains, the type of carrier oil it uses, and any additional ingredients like flavorings. Make sure that the CBD oil does not contain any allergens for your dog.
Next, look to see how much CBD is in each serving. This is typically measured in milligrams per 1 mL dropper. The label should also tell you how much CBD the bottle contains in total. This is important to make sure that you don’t give your dog too much CBD at once.
Many brands include a dosage guide on the bottle or the box of their CBD for dogs. This can help you to measure out the appropriate amount for your dog based on their weight and size. It’s recommended that you do not start your dog with a full serving of CBD, whatever the potency, but instead start with 1/4 of a dropper and gradually increase the amount.
Only choose CBD products that have been tested by independent third-party labs for purity and quality. This is a crucial check to ensure that the CBD oil contains the correct potency and that it is free from harmful chemicals. Many brands include a QR code to the test results for their products right on the label or box that make it easy to check.
How to Use & How Often
CBD oil for dogs can be administered in multiple ways. The most common approach includes mixing the oil in with their regular food at meal times. If your dog enjoys the flavor of the oil, you can administer it to them orally as well, but you should still give it to them with food. Use the included dosage guides to measure the correct amount of CBD oil for your dog’s size and weight. A general guideline is 0.2 mg of CBD per pound of body weight per day.
Most CBD oils are meant to be given twice a day, every day, at meals. This allows the product to build up in their system over time to provide the maximum health benefits.
Possible Side Effects
The biggest risks to pets when given CBD are usually caused by an overdose of the compound. Some adverse side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, and loss of appetite may occur in rare instances — but these can likely be avoided by supplying the proper dose, and not administering the oil on an empty stomach.
If you’re using a product that includes THC, you increase the risk that your pet may have a negative reaction. Dogs that suffer from too much THC intake can develop static ataxia, which is specific to canines and results in loss of muscle coordination, balance, and problems controlling their bowels or bladders. For this reason, proper dosing of CBD and THC products is extremely important.
It’s also important to take existing medications into consideration before using CBD on your pet, as it may alter the efficacy of these treatments for certain conditions. According to Dr. Tim Shu, CEO and founder of VETCBD, “CBD has been shown to be very safe across a wide range of doses in multiple animal species. But if an animal is on other medications, especially ones with narrow therapeutic ranges, a pet owner should discuss the concurrent use of CBD with their veterinarian prior to starting.”
The best CBD oils for dogs have the potential to help your pet manage a range of conditions, including chronic joint pain, anxiety, inflammation, and even seizure. It’s important to find the right CBD oil from a brand you trust for your dog’s specific needs. If you have any questions about giving CBD to your pet, be sure to ask your veterinarian.
Melena Gurganus is passionate health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.