CBD Oil For dogs: A Veterinary Medicine Alternative

CBD Oil For dogs: A Veterinary Medicine Alternative

Alpha Paw Sale

Nov 09, 2021
AUTHOR Dr. Merliza Cabriles, DVM

Reviewed by Dr. Merliza Cabriles, DVM

Dr. Meliza is a Licensed Veterinarian, Writer, DVM, and Vet Nutritionist


  • Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a compound present in cannabis and hemp.
  • CBD does not contain THC ( delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), a compound that is responsible for the psychoactive properties of marijuana.
  • Most CBD products for dogs are sourced from hemp and not from marijuana.

What Is Dog CBD?

One of the latest and fastest-growing trends in dog supplements these days is CBD oil. It’s also being used in humans for a plethora of conditions– from pain relief to easing anxiety to seizures, and a variety of other issues. Since humans and dogs host a similar endocannabinoid system, it is thought that they will reap the same benefits of CBD oil as well.

CBD is just one of the many chemical compounds that are derived from the cannabis (marijuana) plant. These compounds are collectively called “cannabinoids”.

Unlike the most famous cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not possess psychoactive properties.   CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl (Miller, M.E., 2020).

The positive health effects and benefits of CBD are the results of the oil’s interactions with the endocannabinoid system.

CBD Oil For dogs: A Veterinary Medicine Alternative

Ways To Use CBD Oil For Dogs

CBD oil is given in dogs to address a wide variety of health and wellness needs. Although there are not a lot of scientific studies done on the effects of CBD oil in dogs, its use has been shown to greatly improve wellness and overall quality of life in dogs.

There are several ways to give CBD oil to dogs. These include the following:

CBD Oil Treats For Dogs

What better way to make sure that your dog gets the desired dose of CBD oil than to add it to his favorite treat.

Give the oil some time to soak in before offering the treat to your pet. This works best for porous treats because the oil can be easily absorbed compared to flat or round dog treats.

Putting CBD oil on dog treats is the best way to give it to small dogs because they only require a small dose. This may not be ideal for dogs that need larger doses. An entire dropper of oil on top of a treat can be really messy.

There are also commercially available CBD-baked dog treats that already have CBD oil mixed in their recipes. Just make sure they’re made by a reputable source who knows the right dose of CBD that should be added to the baked goodies.

You can also make your own dog treats but there are some things that you should keep in mind when adding CBD oil. Baking can cause the evaporation of CBD oil. No-bake treats or baking them at a lower temperature for a long time can keep the CBD  oil intact as well as all of its benefits.

Oral Application Of CBD Oil For Dogs

CBD oil can be given to your dog orally using a dropper or dose syringe. If your dog does not have any problem getting his CBD oil this way, this is certainly a good way to give it. Just make sure to be gentle and exercise caution.

Your dog should accept it willingly without you having to force his mouth open or squeeze his mouth tightly so he will swallow it.

Be quick to offer a bite of his favorite treat after so he will know that you’re please with his behavior. This is also a good way to ensure that your dog has thoroughly swallowed every drop of the oil that was placed in his mouth.

CBD Oil For dogs: A Veterinary Medicine Alternative

Mixing CBD Oil With Pet Food

Ideally, CBD oil should be mixed with wet dog food. If your dog hasn’t been given CBD oil before, it is recommended to start with small doses and slowly build up to the right dose. It’s best to introduce it gradually to prevent digestive upsets and other adverse reactions. This will give time for your dog’s system to get used to the CBD oil.

For some dogs, CBD oil might not be as appealing particularly during the first few times. But with consistency, they will eventually enjoy the taste. It’s a good idea to let the food sit for a while after mixing the CBD oil before serving.

Mixing CBD Oil With Peanut Butter

If your pet loves peanut butter, you can mix the right dose of CBD oil in and give it to your pet. Be sure to check that the peanut butter does not have any xylitol in it. It’s a very common sugar substitute that is very toxic to dogs.

Using CBD Oil for Certain Health Conditions

CBD Oil As Treatment For Dog Seizures

Medications that are usually prescribed for dog seizures such as diazepam, phenobarbital, and other anticonvulsant drugs have a high risk of producing serious side effects.

Also, even with appropriate medication, about  30% of dogs diagnosed with epilepsy continue to have seizures.

The use of CBD Oil in veterinary medicine lacks a relevant scientific foundation. There is, however, plenty of anecdotal evidence of pet owners using CBD oil in pets with epilepsy and seeing positive results.

A study conducted by Dr. Stephanie McGrath of the Colorado State University James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital holds promising and exciting results. The study used CBD oil for seizures in dogs and results showed that 89% of dogs that received CBD during the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.

CBD Oil As Treatment For Pancreatitis In Dog

Pancreatitis can be a life-threatening condition, particularly in senior pets.

It occurs when pancreatic enzymes become activated before they leave the pancreas and reach the lower intestine via the pancreatic duct. The activation of the enzymes can cause inflammation of the pancreas.

Affected dogs suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and discomfort.  There are two types of pancreatitis based on the duration of the condition —  acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. Dogs with pancreatitis require immediate veterinary attention.

CBD oil is an excellent natural option for mild to severe pain and inflammation associated with pancreatitis. Agonist-activated cannabinoid receptors, modulate nociceptive thresholds, inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory molecules, and display synergistic effects with other systems that influence analgesia, especially the endogenous opioid system (Manzanares, J. et al, 2006).

CBD Oil For dogs: A Veterinary Medicine Alternative

CBD Oil As Treatment For Osteoarthritis In Dogs

Osteoarthritis in dogs is an inflammatory condition of the joints. Affected dogs suffer from pain, stiffness, and mobility issues. The pain and discomfort can make dogs lethargic and have distinct behavior changes. They become irritable and won’t be as active as before.

CBD oil possesses anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties which can help dogs suffering from osteoarthritis and improve their quality of life.

The safety and efficacy of CBD-based oil on dogs with osteoarthritis (OA) were assessed using 2 different doses (2 and 8 mg/kg) given every 12 hours. After a four-week treatment, results showed that there was a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity of dogs that were given CBD oil. There were also no side effects reported by the pet owners. The results of the study (done in 2018) suggest that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA.

Another study using different doses and formulations of CBD oil for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis was performed by researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine.

After one month of treatment, dogs that were given higher doses of CBD or used liposomal formulation of CBD were observed to have significant improvement in terms of their mobility and quality of life.

According to Dr. Matthew Halpert,  Faculty with the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine and the one who designed the experiment, in dogs that were given higher doses, “almost every dog saw significant improvement in their conditions, in regards to reduced pain and increased ability to move around. And the dogs seemed happier and were able to do more.”

Final Thoughts:

The use of CBD oil for dogs is a  fast-growing trend that still lacks adequate scientific and clinical evidence. Most therapeutic and holistic claims are anecdotal and need to be further verified by scientific studies and clinical trials.

CBD oil may, however,  help improve your dog’s quality of life when used in conjunction with other therapeutic regimens.

Just make sure to ask for your veterinarian’s approval to ensure that there are no adverse interactions with other medications and your pet’s response can be properly monitored.

Alpha Paw Sale
author image

Dr. Merliza Cabriles, DVM

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Meliza is a Licensed Veterinarian, Writer, DVM, and Vet Nutritionist

Top Posts

Dog Eye Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention
Dog Eye Infections: Symptoms, Causes
Dog Sneezing? Here’s Why Dogs Sneeze – And What To Do About It
Dog Sneezing? Here’s Why Dogs
Dog Ear Yeast Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention
Dog Ear Yeast Infections: Symptoms,
Can Dogs Eat Avocado? Our Vet Weighs In
Can Dogs Eat Avocado? Our Vet Weighs
Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Our Vet Weighs In
Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Our Vet Weigh

Welcome to our Vet Corner

Each week, we publish high-quality, helpful content written & reviewed by our team of board-certified veterinary specialists. Think of us as your partners in pet parenthood: we’re here to provide you with expert medical answers to your pet health questions, so you can continue to give your pets the happy & healthy lives they deserve.

The Vet Stamp of Approval

Ah, the coveted Vet Stamp of Approval. We live for this badge. When you see it, you’ll know you’re in good hands. (Not seeing the badge on an article that needs it? Reach out to us and we’ll get right on it!)

Disclaimer

The medical, nutritional, or behavioral advice we provide is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our editorial content is not a substitute for formal or personalized medical advice from a veterinary professional. Only board-certified veterinary specialists who have examined your pet should diagnose medical conditions, provide personalized treatment, or prescribe appropriate medication. For questions regarding your pet’s health, or if your pet is exhibiting signs of illness, injury, or distress, contact your veterinarian immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.