What Is The Recommended CBD Dosage For Dogs?

Filed in Dog Health on June 26, 2020

CBD Dosage for DogsYou may be wondering what is the recommended CBD dosage for dogs?

While there are no official guidelines yet, you can get helpful dosage information from scientific studies, CBD manufacturers, and veterinarians.

This lack of information is because hemp-derived products like CBD were only removed as Schedule I drugs in 2018.

Due to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD became legal as a hemp product as long as it complies with state/federal laws.

Since that time, CBD has become an incredibly popular supplement both for humans and dogs.

However, there are only limited studies that explore how much CBD to give your dog and its benefits.

In this article, we will be sharing information from various sources on the proper CBD dosage for dogs.

Scientist working with CBDWhat Studies Say About CBD Dosage for Dogs

While there is no conclusive answer as to how much CBD you should give your dog, you can look at dosages in recent studies.

There are a handful of studies published within the last two years that discuss the safety and efficacy of different dosages.

However, these studies still caution that more research needs to be done.

Two different studies on canine osteoarthritis found that giving dogs 2 mg of CBD per kg of body weight twice daily reduced arthritis-related pain and increased mobility.

In each study, they gave the CBD in oil form.

Pro Tip: To convert pounds (lbs) to kg, divide the number of pounds by 2.2046.

One of these studies, published in July of 2018, found that CBD’s effect on dog’s bodies only lasted for about four to five hours.

Due to this limited effect, researchers concluded that a dose of 2 mg per kg of body weight should be given every 12 hours.

The second study was published more recently (in March of 2020) and it observed that most dogs benefited from a dose of about 1-2 mg of CBD per kg of body weight when given every 12 hours.

However, researchers noted that the necessary dosage varied by dog.

While some needed as little as 0.3 mg per kg of body weight, others required as much as 4.12 mg.

As mentioned, these two studies focused on CBD’s effects on canine osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, there are not many studies available about effective dosages of CBD for other ailments.

Interestingly, there is anecdotal evidence from veterinarians suggesting that low doses and high doses have different effects on dogs and address different ailments.

Such evidence was discussed in a chapter titled “Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine: Cannabinoid Therapies for Animals”¬† in Neutraceuticals in Veterinary Medicine.

At this point, there is not enough research available to determine how much CBD to give to treat each ailment.

Man in CBD aisle in storeWhat Manufacturers Recommend for CBD Dosage for Dogs

While there are many CBD manufacturers, I will provide a few dosage recommendations from popular brands.

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Honest Paws

Honest Paws is one of the leaders in this industry.

They sell dog CBD treats and oils in pet and drug stores across the U.S.

They recommend generally to use .25mg of CBD per pound of body weight as an effective amount for dogs.

However, they acknowledge that each pet is unique and may require more or less CBD.

As a result, they recommend beginning with half of the recommended dose and increasing slowly.

Holistapet

Holistapet is another leader in the dog CBD market through their organic, plant-based CBD products.

They recommend a CBD dosage between 0.25 mg (regular dose) to 0.5 mg (strong dose) per pound of body weight.

For example, let’s say you wanted to give a regular dose (.25 mg) to your 40 lb dog. You would multiple 40 lbs by .25, which equals 10 mg of CBD.

They recommend their regular dose for the following uses: boosting immune function, daily health and wellness, stimulating appetite, allergies, minor anxiety and stress, minor skin issues, old age, allergies, minor aches and pains, minor anxiety and stress, moderate joint inflammation and arthritis, and digestive issues and nausea.

They recommend their strong dose for the following uses: mobility issues, severe arthritis and joint inflammation, chronic pain, cancer-related symptoms, epileptic seizures, severe anxiety, tumors, vomiting, and extreme nausea.

As far as dosing frequency, they recommend the following:

  • Every 8 hours (or as needed) for inflammation and pain
  • 30 minutes prior to an event (such as thunder, fireworks, etc.) to help with anxiety
  • 1-2 per day for all other uses

Veterinarian with labrador on table in office with owners of labradorWhat Veterinarians Recommend for CBD Dosage for Dogs

In some states, vets can face license suspensions and penalties if advising clients on CBD.

As a result, it can be difficult to find recommendations online from vets on the proper CBD dosage.

However, I did find one recommendation in my research:

In an article by Consumer Reports, Judy Morgan, D.V.M., recommended giving 1 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight twice daily.

For a 40 lb dog, you would give 4 mg twice per day for a daily total of 8 mg of CBD.

If I find any more recommendations, I will list them here.

In the meantime, check with your veterinarian on their recommendations.

Dog taking CBD from its owner with an eyedropperHow to Determine Dosage for Your Dog

If you’re interested in giving your dog CBD, how exactly do you determine the dosage? It’s going to take some trial and error.

If you’re hoping to treat arthritis, then you may want to follow the example of the two studies mentioned earlier.

In those studies, they gave 2 mg of CBD per kg of body weight twice daily.

For instance, a 40 lb dog is roughly 18 kg. This means you should give them about 36 mg of CBD twice daily for a total of 72 mg per day (18 x 2 = 36; 36 x 2 = 72).

Whatever form you’re giving CBD in (the most popular being oil, chews, and capsules), look at the packaging to see the serving size. It will tell you how many mg of CBD are in each serving. From there you can determine how many servings you need to give your dog to provide the desired dosage of CBD.

You can also follow the guidelines offered by the brand you’ve purchased like Honest Paws and Holistapet as mentioned previously.

You can also listen to veterinarians if they are willing to share their recommendations with you.

As you can see, Honest Paws, Holistapet, and veterinarian Judy Morgan recommend significantly less than the amounts suggested in the arthritis studies.

All in all, your best bet may be to start small and increase your dog’s dosage until you see the results you’re looking for.

Side Effects

It’s important to talk about potential side effects of CBD.

According to “Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine: Cannabinoid Therapies for Animals,” the most common side effects of CBD are mild: diarrhea and sedation.

All of the studies mentioned earlier have also noted a rise in an enzyme called alkaline phosphatase (ALP), but did not seem concerned that ALP levels would get too high.

These side effects can occur even at low dosages. As a result, you should monitor your dog and determine whether or not CBD is causing any discomfort.

I have not read anything about any severe or life-threatening events.

However, I have read that CBD may interfere with some medications that your dog is taking.

As always, talk to your vet before giving anything new to your dog.

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Eyedropper with CBD bottle with hemp in the backgroundChoosing the Proper Strength of CBD Oil for Your Dog

You may have noticed that CBD oil comes in different strengths: 300 mg, 500 mg, 600 mg, 1000 mg, 2000 mg, and everything in between.

But what do all of these numbers actually mean? These numbers indicate the amount of CBD inside the bottle.

CBD is not the only ingredient. Instead, manufacturers place the CBD into a carrier oil, which makes it easier to ingest.

Most makers sell CBD oil in 30 mL bottles (meaning you get 30 mL of total liquid, not 30 mL of CBD).

However, a 30 mL bottle with 1000 mg has more CBD inside it than a 30 mL bottle with 300 mg.

If you look on the back of the bottle, it will tell you how much CBD is in one serving (one serving is typically equal to 1 mL).

A bottle labeled 300 mg has about 10 mg of CBD per 1 mL serving, whereas a bottle labeled as 1000 mg has about 33 mg of CBD per 1 mL serving.

Higher strengths are typically more expensive, so you may be tempted to opt for a lower strength. However, depending on the dosage your dog needs, you may not actually save any money this way.

For instance, let’s say that we’re treating a 75 lb (34kg) dog for arthritis using CBD oil. If we follow the dosage recommended by the studies mentioned earlier (2 mg per kg), then the dog should be getting 68 mg of CBD every 12 hours, or 136 mg per day.

Remember, a bottle labeled 300 mg has 10 mg of CBD per 1 mL serving. This means our 75 lb dog would need to get about 14 mL a day. Since the bottle only has 30 servings, you’ve just used half of it in one day!

In this case, you’d be much better off purchasing CBD oil with a higher strength, like 2000 mg.

Of course, as the studies explained, your dog may need more or less than 2 mg per kg of body weight.

As we mentioned earlier, you will have to go through some trial and error to determine exactly how much CBD works for your dog.

Still, it’s good to have some sort of guideline for choosing a strength. If you have a larger dog, you’ll likely want to opt for a higher strength.

Do I Have to Buy CBD Products Marketed For Dogs?

If you’ve been shopping around for CBD products, you may have noticed many of them are marketed toward pets. But they’re often more expensive and don’t offer high strengths.

So, do you really need to buy CBD made for dogs? The answer is no.

CBD oil is typically made of a carrier oil, the CBD, and natural or artificial flavoring.

When purchasing CBD for your dog, choose an unflavored variety and check the ingredients just to be safe. You can Google anything you are unfamiliar with.

If you choose a product marketed for dogs, then flavorings are normally less of an issue.

So we’ve talked about oil, but what about other products? Obviously, you should not give chews made for humans to dogs.

They may contain harmful artificial sweeteners. If you’re choosing an edible variety of CBD, then it would be best to choose something made for dogs.

As far as capsules go, these are usually safe to give to your dog. Most capsules have the carrier oil and CBD inside, and the capsule itself is made from gelatin. Again, you can always look up any ingredient you are unfamiliar with to be sure it is safe.

All in all, the only “human” CBD products you shouldn’t be giving your dog are flavored oils and edible products like gummies. Unflavored oils and capsules are a safe bet.

Should I Buy THC-Free CBD Oil?

You may have noticed that you can buy THC-free CBD oil.

CBD oil has less than 0.3% THC in it to begin with, so there is not enough THC in the product to have a negative effect on your dog.

You can certainly buy a THC-free oil if you prefer, but it is not necessary.

Conclusion

Determining the proper CBD dosage for dogs will involve a lot of trial and error.

Most recommendations online say to start low and increase until you see results.

The USDA previously classified hemp products like CBD as Schedule I drugs until 2018.

As a result, there hasn’t been much research done to determine what dose of CBD you should give your dog.

Luckily, most dogs will not experience side effects from CBD, which are pretty mild (diarrhea and sedation).

If you wanted to learn more about the benefits of CBD, I also wrote an article about whether CBD works for dogs.

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