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CBD Dosage For Dogs: Clearing Up The Confusion

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Choosing the correct CBD dose for your dog can be pretty confusing. First of all, each company’s dosing guidelines can vary widely because the concentration of CBD varies in the oils they produce.

The dosage can also differ depending on the condition you’re trying to treat. For example, higher doses are typically recommended for more serious health conditions and lower doses for occasional anxiety or general well-being.

And of course, you have your dog’s weight and underlying health issues to take into consideration.

With no standard guidelines or regulated doses, how do you know how much CBD oil to give your dog? Use our comprehensive dosage guide to know you’re giving your dog the ideal amount of CBD oil. And, always check the packaging carefully to make sure you are giving the company’s recommended amounts.

Don’t let the confusion behind dosing deter you from the ultimate health benefits your dog can enjoy from this all-natural remedy.

Article Overview

  • What Are The Health Benefits?
  • Tips About Using CBD For Dogs
  • How Much Should I Give?
    • Calculating The Ideal Dosage
  • Dosing Example From King Kanine
  • Best CBD Oil For Dogs

Benefits Of CBD Oil For Dogs

CBD oil next to bowl of dog food (caption: Benefits Of Adding CBD Oil To Your Dog

Before diving into dosing guidelines, here are some of the health conditions that CBD can help treat in your dog.

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Arthritis & joint pain
  • Digestion problems (also see information about dog probiotics and tips to cure a dog’s upset stomach)
  • Nausea
  • Symptoms from cancer

Some dog owners report it also can help treat epileptic seizures but scientific studies are still underway to confirm this benefit. We recommend talking to your vet before starting treatment for this or any other of the claimed benefits to make sure CBD is safe for your pup.

Tips About CBD Oil For Dogs

There are three major factors that influence the dosing of CBD for dogs (and cats).

  1. The potency of CBD in the oil, treat or capsule
  2. Your dog’s size and weight
  3. The ailment you’re treating

Always keep these factors in mind, and follow these additional tips from holistic veterinarians, who have loads of experience using CBD for pets:

  • Consult your veterinarian before you give your pet any treatments.
  • Take into account your dog’s activity level — this can help you determine how your dog will metabolize CBD (and other medications).
  • Consider your dog’s other health conditions that may affect his ability to react to or metabolize CBD, i.e., liver or kidney problems.
  • Find a high-quality CBD oil that’s free of any kinds of toxins. Since the industry isn’t yet regulated, there are some potentially sketchy products out there.
  • Buy the correct potency for your dog’s size. Most oils come in different CBD potencies, i.e., 75mg for small dogs; 300+mg for large dogs. Each company differs in the potency levels they sell. Note: this potency is only for the amount of CBD, not THC (the CBD products we review do not contain THC).

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

King Kalm CBD oil (text in image: CBD For Dogs Dosage Guide)

The best advice we can give you is to start small and then ease into the manufacturer’s dosing guidelines for their specific products. Companies that formulate their own high-quality CBD typically give you very detailed instructions on how to dose their various products. But not all do, so it can be helpful to know how to calculate optimal CBD dosages.

Calculating CBD Oil Dosages For Medicinal Use

If you’re planning on using CBD oil for medicinal purposes, e.g., to treat arthritis pain or ease seizures, here’s how to calculate a safe and effective dosage for your pet. First, you need to calculate approximately how many milligrams (mg) of CBD your dog should have based on his weight. A safe rule of thumb is 0.2mg of CBD per pound. So, if your dog weighs 25 pounds, you’ll give him 5mg of CBD.

Then, you need to calculate how much oil you should give your dog based on how many milligrams (mg) of CBD is in each milliliter (ml) of oil. This will depend on the formula strength you’re using.

Here are some common formula strengths and how much CBD is in each:

  • 75mg formula=2.5mg of CBD per ml of oil
  • 150mg formula=5mg of CBD per ml of oil
  • 300mg formula=10mg of CBD per ml of oil
  • 600mg formula=20mg of CBD per ml of oil

So for a 25-pound pet who needs 5mg of CBD, you’d give him 2ml of the 75mg formula, 1ml of the 150mg formula, 0.5ml of the 300mg formula. We would not recommend using the 600mg formula on small pets due to the difficulty in administering 0.25ml with the oral syringe most companies provide.

How To Determine CBD Oil Dosage For General Well-Being

If you’re using CBD oil for general well-being, your dog may not need this higher dosage level. You can always cut down the dosage if you want.

CBD Dosing Example

Even with all this information, it’s hard to picture what actual dosing guidelines look like from different companies. Here, we’ve included what King Kanine, a company that specializes in high-quality CBD oils and treats for pets, recommends when dosing their pet CBD products. King Kanine’s dosage guidelines apply to both dogs and cats.

IMPORTANT: This dosage may not apply to the product you are using from another company.

First, you have to choose the formula based on your pet’s weight. This is the concentration of CBD in each bottle. King Kanine offers three formulas: 75mg, 150mg and 300mg. Each formula bottle contains 30ml of oil. (King Kanine’s CBD is suspended in krill oil, but the type of oil varies by company.)

King Kanine Formula Recommendations

  • Small-sized pet 20 lbs & under: 75mg bottle (approximately 2.5mg of CBD/1ml)
  • Medium-sized pet 21-50 lbs: 150mg bottle (approximately 5mg of CBD/1ml)
  • Large-sized pet 51-75 lbs: 300mg bottle (approximately 10mg of CBD/1ml)
  • Extra Large-sized pet over 75 lbs: 600mg bottle (approximately 20mg of CBD/1ml)

King Kanine 150mg Formula Dosing Chart

Each formula contains a detailed dosing chart that includes how many milliliters you should give based on your dog’s weight and whether you plan on using it for standard or medicinal use. The chart also includes a helpful graphic of the oral syringe you’ll use to administer the dosage. This chart is for King Kanine’s King Kalm 150mg formula.

What About CBD Dog Treats?

If you purchase CBD dog treats from a reputable company, they’ll give you serving size suggestions based on your dog’s weight. But you can still use the calculation method above to determine how many King Kanine treats will be effective for your pup.

What Are The Best CBD Oil & Treats For Dogs?

Finding the right dosage of any medication is crucial for your dog since their systems are more sensitive than humans. But the encouraging news about CBD (if you buy a high-quality product), is that pure CBD is non-toxic for dogs. And there don’t appear to be any harmful side effects from using this all-natural remedy, even on a regular basis.

Be sure to see our reviews of the best CBD oil for dogs and cats, best CBD dog treats and best CBD subscription options. We give you tips on how to find high-quality CBD products, as well as reviews of our top picks.

Did you have luck finding the optimal CBD dosage for your dog’s ailment?

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Choosing the ideal CBD dosage for your dog can be confusing, but our guide gives you an easy calculation method to get it right.

CBD for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Reviewed and updated for accuracy on March 3, 2020 by Dr. Matthew Everett Miller, DVM

In certain states, medical marijuana is an option for people seeking relief from ailments like seizures, pain, anxiety, and cancer.

Pet parents and veterinarians alike are naturally wondering whether cbd for dogs, in the form of products such as cbd oil for dogs or cbd dog treats, can provide the same benefits.

Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.

THC vs. CBD for Dogs

CBD is one of over 80 different chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” that have been derived from the cannabis (marijuana) plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), perhaps the most famous cannabinoid, CBD is not psychoactive.

Instead, CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl. These pathways control many processes in the body, from inflammatory responses to blood clotting.

Do not give dogs straight marijuana or any product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. There is simply not enough research to justify the use.

CBD-based products, however, may help improve your dog’s quality of life when used in conjunction with other therapies.

Why Use CBD for Dogs?

CBD is often mentioned as a useful therapy for a variety of conditions, including pain management, arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and even cancer. Although the use of CBD in treating each of these conditions is under-researched, there are varying levels of scientific evidence for each scenario.

Arthritis

Because CBD shares metabolic pathways with anti-inflammatory drugs, it makes sense that it would help with certain inflammatory conditions (anything that ends with -itis is an inflammatory condition).

Osteoarthritis, often abbreviated as arthritis, is one of the most common inflammatory conditions in dogs.

One in four dogs will be diagnosed with arthritis in their lifetime, and by some estimates, as many as 60% of dogs exhibit some degree of the disease.

Research has shown that CBD can provide substantial pain relief in dogs with arthritis when given twice daily at appropriate doses.

In theory, the anti-inflammatory benefit seen in arthritic dogs could also be seen in dogs with other types of inflammatory pain, especially back pain from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).

Preliminary studies in people have shown that combo products containing both CBD and THC are more beneficial for pain relief than when either drug is given alone. But no such research has been done on dogs, so THC should not be given to them.

Seizures

Seizures are probably the most-studied application of CBD in people, but limited research exists for pets. In dogs, seizures can be caused by a vast number of underlying conditions.

With regards to idiopathic epilepsy specifically, there is some research that suggests that CBD could be useful in reducing seizure frequency in these dogs. However, these benefits are only seen with dogs that are given traditional anti-seizure medications at the same time.

Cancer

Like seizures, the term “cancer” is an umbrella term that refers to an extremely diverse set of specific diseases, each with their own set of beneficial treatments.

In people, CBD has been studied for possible use in cancer patients, both to treat the tumor(s) directly, as well as to treat the secondary symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy. Very limited research has been done on the use of CBD for dogs with cancer.

However, the anti-nausea effects of CBD seen in people who undergo chemotherapy have also been documented in rats and ferrets, suggesting that dogs receiving chemotherapy may benefit from CBD treatment.

Anxiety

Perhaps the biggest misconception is that CBD is useful in managing a dog’s anxiety. In theory, it is possible that CBD, by reducing pain and inflammation, could indirectly reduce anxiety caused by pain or inflammation.

But because CBD is not psychoactive, it is unlikely that CBD has the ability to directly treat canine anxiety in the way that Prozac and other medications do. The use of CBD for anxiety in dogs, as with most conditions, requires substantially more research.

Potential Risks of CBD for Dogs

Overall, CBD itself seems to be incredibly safe in dogs and cats. However, numerous scientific papers have found that when given at the recommended doses, CBD does cause an elevation in an important liver value on bloodwork called alkaline phosphatase (ALP).

We are not yet sure whether the elevation of this liver value has any medical significance. It could signify that CBD causes irritation or damage to the liver. Alternatively, it could be an artificial finding in which the drug interferes with the way the lab measures the liver value.

Anecdotal reports do exist of dogs becoming somewhat sleepy or sedate if they receive extremely large doses of CBD, but those effects appear to resolve on their own with time.

CBD doesn’t appear to have any drug interactions when it’s given to a dog that’s on an anti-inflammatory drug like Rimadyl.

Because there is a theoretical risk of drug interaction, as with any medication, you should consult your veterinarian first before treating your dog with CBD.

THC Dangers for Dogs

Unlike CBD, THC ingestion can cause serious problems for your pet.

“The most significant [issue] is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they are high,” says Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. “Depending on how significantly a pet has been overdosed, the effects of that can be quite long-lasting, even days.”

During these episodes, a pet may not be able to stand or eat. If you suspect THC toxicity, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Secondary effects of THC, especially respiratory depression, should be monitored closely to avoid complications.

Overall, life-threatening risks for dogs from cannabis are “exceedingly rare,” Dr. Richter says. There is no documented lethal dose for THC in dogs. In fact, a dose of THC 1,000 times greater than the dose needed for a dog to feel “high” is still not lethal.

THC toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that also contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients,” says Dr. Richter.

How Much CBD Can You Give Dogs?

Though there are some topical treatments, CBD oil is typically administered orally to dogs, and giving the correct dosage is imperative. “As is the case with any medication, success has everything to do with dosing,” Dr. Richter says.

Studies on using CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures generally use a dose between 2-8 mg/kg, with most papers erring on the lower side of that estimate (roughly 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight), twice daily.

This dosage has been found to be both safe and somewhat effective for just the conditions studied (arthritis and seizures). Additional research is needed to evaluate the necessary dosages for CBD in treating other conditions.

One complication in attempting to properly dose dogs with CBD is that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that many CBD products actually contain little, if any, CBD.

The only FDA-approved cannabinoid product, Epidiolex, could theoretically be prescribed by a veterinarian for epilepsy in dogs, although this would likely be cost-prohibitive. Because it is FDA-approved, though, the CBD content of this product would be accurate, unlike most other CBD products on the market.

Can Veterinarians Prescribe CBD for Dogs?

U.S. veterinarians are forbidden from prescribing/dispensing CBD, and cannot encourage or instruct clients to purchase CBD products.

However, they are free to talk to you about the potential risks and benefits of a treatment plan you may have devised on your own. If you are considering giving CBD to your dog, speak to your vet, and you may want to also speak with a veterinarian who has experience with CBD.

Have you thought about trying CBD for your dog’s pain, seizures, or anxiety? Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.