Updated: October 13, 2020

Guess what? Our beloved dogs and cats have an endocannabinoid system just like we do.

The good news is that this means our pets can share in the same benefits of CBD as humans.

While it might not work for every pet, the results can be life-changing for those that it does. 

Let’s take a look at whether or not you should give CBD to your pets, what the potential benefits might be, and more.

Table of Contents

  • Is It Safe To Give CBD To My Pet?
  • What Are The Benefits Of CBD Oil For Pets?
  • Is It Safe To Give My Pet CBD Hemp Oil That Has A Small Amount Of THC?
  • Will CBD Cause Any Side Effects For My Pet?
  • What Is The Best Way To Give My Pet CBD?
  • How Much CBD Should I Give My Pet?
  • What Pet CBD Hemp Oil Should I Look For?
  • Related Pet posts

Is It Safe To Give CBD To My Pet?

Because your pets have an endocannabinoid system just like we do, pets will respond to CBD and cannabis products similarly to humans.

The endocannabinoid receptors that make up the ECS play a role in managing our pets’ appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory, and in regulating the effects of things like THC and CBD. 

THC and CBD, two major compounds are known as cannabinoids that are found in cannabis, are responsible for the majority of the medicinal benefits that pets can experience. THC has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and appetite-stimulating properties, but is also the compound that makes you feel high. CBD, on the other hand, is non-intoxicating and won’t get users high. CBD has many medicinal benefits including anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic, antioxidant, and anticonvulsant properties. 

But there is an important caveat that dog owners, in particular, must keep in mind: there is a greater concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the brain of a dog than there are in other animals or humans.

This higher concentration of cannabinoid receptors in a dog’s brain can make them have a bad reaction to THC. Dogs can develop a condition called static ataxia from a THC overdose – an inability to preserve equilibrium while standing. 

That being said – dogs can benefit from low amounts of THC, the dose just needs to be carefully controlled. It should be just enough to achieve medicinal benefits and not enough to get the dog high. Of course, the THC dose should never be even remotely near the level for an overdose. 

It’s also worth noting that drug interactions can happen with CBD oil for dogs. Therefore, if your pet is taking other medications, talk to your vet about drug interactions before you start using CBD for your pet.


CBD Side-effects on pets

What Are The Benefits Of CBD Oil For Pets?

CBD can benefit pets for many of the same conditions that it benefits humans. These include:

These benefits can be profound in different scenarios, such as in treating arthritis for dogs, while other benefits will be more subtle. Research is ongoing to prove how well CBD works in the treatment of specific conditions, but the above list shows its versatility and vast potential.

Is It Safe To Give My Pet CBD Hemp Oil That Has A Small Amount Of THC?

Yes, a small amount of THC in CBD hemp oil is safe for your pet and actually a good thing as it will provide an entourage effect. This means that the different cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds in the oil work together to provide more profound benefits for your pet.

THC is only a problem for animals if they have too much. If you decide to give your pet CBD, start with a low dose and work your way up slowly. It’s a good idea to work with a holistic veterinary doctor who has experience with dosing CBD and THC to make sure you are not using too much.


Will CBD Cause Any Side Effects For My Pet?

There is a low chance that your pet will experience any side effects from CBD, and even if they do, it is extremely rare that they will be severe. 

The most common CBD side effects for pets is sedation or drowsiness. If your pet becomes too sleepy or sedated after their dose of CBD, you may simply need to reduce the dose for next time. Conversely, if your pet has trouble relaxing, then sedation may be helpful.

One way to avoid any negative reactions is to cycle your animal off of CBD if they no longer need it. This means you should not discontinue your pet’s CBD regimen immediately, but ween them off instead to not cause any negative symptoms. 

But overall, negative CBD reactions are very rare in mammals. CBD is not processed the same way THC is, making it a much more accessible compound.

The one more severe side effect that you should watch out is if your pet has trouble walking, as we mentioned above. This can happen if a dog consumes too much THC. If you see this side effect or anything else that’s alarming, get your pet medical attention immediately.

What Is The Best Way To Give My Pet CBD?

For pets, the best method of administering CBD is via sublingual tinctures. This means you should give your pet CBD oil over other products on the market. 

CBD oil and sublingual tinctures are the best because:

All you have to do is drop the tincture into your pet’s mouth. Many pets will surprisingly enjoy the flavor of the CBD oil and be tolerant of the administration of the CBD. For those that don’t, it’s easy enough to add some drops to their food.


Dogs and CBD

How Much CBD Should I Give My Pet?

Less is more when it comes to CBD. Start low and go slow.

You should start with a low dose and increase the dose slowly until you reach the desired effect.

As with humans, different conditions may require different dosing. When dosing CBD for pets, the best method starts at a low dose. Observe what happens at that dose for a few days to a week before you increase the dose.

If you find that you should increase the dose, do so in slow increments and then observe the effects on your pet in the same fashion. Keep doing this until the necessary dose is reached for the condition being treated.

As we learn more about CBD, dosing will become more standardized. But here is a good dosing strategy we learned from the veterinarian, Dr. Robert J. Silver. 

Range of dosing: 0.05 mg per lb twice daily to 0.25 mg per lb twice daily

Notice how small those dosages are. Dr. Silver advises pet parents to start at Tier 1 twice daily and observe over a week. It may not even be necessary to go to tier 2.

But if it is, go on to Tier 2 twice daily and observe the effects for another week. If it is necessary to go higher, you can safely bump up to twice daily in Tier 3.

Here are some examples at Tier 1 dosing:



Pet Weight




CBD Dosage



Up to 25lbs/11kg

up to 1.25 mg – 2 times daily

25 – 50lb/11 – 23kg

1.25 to 2.5 mg – 2 times daily

50 – 75lb/23 – 34kg

2.5 to 3.75 mg – 2 times daily

over 75lb/34kg

3.75 mg+ – 2 times daily

*When in doubt, always start with a low dose.
*Keep in mind that every brand’s mg per drop content will be different. You will need to do some simple calculations to figure out the mg per drop of the brand you choose.


What Pet CBD Hemp Oil Should I Look For?

You should treat your search for your pet’s product the same way as you would if you were searching for a product for yourself. When it comes to the best CBD oil for your pet, we recommend the following:

If you’re ready to give CBD a try, there are many different reliable companies out there to choose from that fit these criteria. CBD for pets can come in the form of a tincture, treat/edible goodie, capsules, and even a topical solution for skin problems. As we mentioned above, the CBD hemp oil products will likely be the best for your pet.  

Many of the CBD companies online will provide you with the proper/suggested dosage amount for your pet, usually depending on the weight and severity of the condition. However, if the company you are looking at does not provide any dosage information, that’s a red flag. 

Again, while CBD has little to no recorded adverse effects, you want to find a company that has your pet’s best interests at heart, and providing proper dosage is part of that. 

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Article first appeared on cbdschool.com

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