Can I give my dog CBD?

Like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system. This means they can receive many of the same benefits from CBD that humans can, including relief from pain and seizures. Like any remedy or treatment, there are also side effects to be aware of, and you shouldn’t give your pet CBD for no reason.

Can my dog benefit from CBD?

There is evidence that your dog could benefit from CBD if they suffer from chronic pain or seizures. In one study, researchers found that a small dose given twice daily to dogs with confirmed osteopathic showed measurable decrease in pain and increase in activity levels after two weeks of treatment. If your dog suffers with symptoms of osteoarthritis or other inflammatory pain, they could be a good candidate for CBD therapy.

A limited study also showed a high effectiveness when using CBD to treat seizures in dogs with epilepsy. This is exciting, given that epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological condition in dogs. In a study of three dogs, researchers found a significant decrease in seizures in two out of three of the dogs after eight weeks of treatment. One dog showed no positive or negative effects. If your dog is one of the many dogs diagnosed with epilepsy, CBD could be a good option for them.

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Is it safe to give CBD to my dog?

Yes, studies have shown that it is safe to give your dog CBD. For some dogs, CBD can help support mobility and alleviate pain associated with old age. You should always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any new supplements, including CBD. There have been some reported side effects of CBD that your vet can help you keep an eye on.

In one study of 30 dogs, all 30 of them displayed symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea and vomiting. Researchers speculate the upset stomach can be attributed to the changes in diet and environment the dogs underwent while participating in the study combined with the CBD. Other studies have not replicated those same symptom results. If you decide to give your pet CBD, watch their stools for the first few days and call your vet if something seems off.

Limited research has also shown that giving CBD to your dog can increase a certain liver enzyme, called alkaline phosphatase, or ALP. Elevated ALP levels can be caused by many things, including certain diseases and medications, and typically aren’t serious. However, every case is different. That’s why it’s important to development a plan with your vet if you intend to give your dog CBD.

How can I give my dog CBD?

Like humans, there are many ways dogs can ingest CBD:

  • CBD or hemp infused treats: CBD infused treats are becoming more widely available as public demand for CBD products increases. CBD treats are an easy way to administer CBD to your pet. What dog doesn’t love a good treat? Check our pets page or your local pet store to see what’s available.
  • CBD Tinctures: Tinctures are CBD infused oils that you put under your dogs tongue. While you can administer CBD this way, studies found limited effectiveness (13% to 19% absorption rate). Plus, it’s messy! If you do want to give your pet CBD via tincture, a spray applicator can reduce the mess. Make sure to have a towel handy to clean up any excess slobber.
  • Transdermal creams: This is a cream or salve that you apply directly to your pet’s skin. Creams and salves are a more localized method of administrating CBD to your pet. They can be useful for targeting your pet’s specific pain points, such as their paws.
  • *Intravenously: CBD can be administered via IV, similar to other pain medications. While it is the most direct method, it should only be used by your vet as they can monitor your pet for any side effects, and ensure the dosage is correct. *Do not try this at home!

The Bottom Line

When used in consultation with your veterinarian, CBD can have an effective place in your treatment plan for your pet’s osteoarthritis or epilepsy diagnosis.

The quality of CBD products is not regulated, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any over-the-counter CBD products. Be sure to check the label to confirm the product has received third-party testing for quality. CBD supplements can interact with other medications, so it is important to talk with your doctor before beginning the regular use of any CBD products.


  1. Cannabinoid treats as adjunctive therapy for pets: gaps in our knowledge. Greb & Puschner. March, 2018.
  2. A Report of Adverse Effects Associated With the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs. McGrath, et el. October, 2018.
  3. Cannabidiol as a potential anti-epileptic dietary supplement in dogs with suspected epilepsy: three case reports. Mogi and Fukuyama. November, 2018.
  4. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Gamble, et el. July, 2018.
  5. A cohort study of epilepsy among 665,000 insured dogs: incidence, mortality and survival after diagnosis. Heske, et el. September, 2014.
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