A few little drops of CBD oil might actually do your dog some good. Here's how to decide if it's right for your pup.
Dog resting chin on table
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While you might love using CBD oil for anxiety and joint pain relief, or perhaps for a sounder sleep, it turns out that using CBD oil for pets could also be just as beneficial. So, if your pup has his tail down lately, is recovering from an injury or can't seem to sleep throughout the night, canine CBD could be the answer for some major relief.

Of course, you should always ask the vet before giving your best bud a few drops of CBD oil or whipping up a CBD doggy treat, but as long as you have the OK from the doc, you should be able to use CBD oil for dogs and their self-care. And the "yes" is pretty promising! Experts do consider CBD oil to be safe for dogs, and even helpful in managing symptoms and promoting greater well-being.

First off, what is CBD? CBD is short for the word cannabidiol, which is a chemical that's derived from the hemp plant. Hemp is related to marijuana (which also contains some CBD), but this chemical is not psychogenic (marijuana's psychogenic component is THC) and therefore can be safe for dogs. Yet, beware giving your dog any marijuana products—dogs have been sickened by getting into their owners' stash of edibles. "THC is toxic to dogs if dosed inappropriately. Pet owners should not use any medical cannabis (marijuana) product for their pets without direct veterinary guidance," says Gary Richter, D.V.M., medical director of Holistic Veterinary Care. "Over-the-counter, hemp-based CBD supplements, on the other hand, are generally safe provided the product is manufactured responsibly," he says. And make sure what you're getting says "THC free."

Why Give CBD to Dogs?

"It is a great supplement to give to your dog. This supplement has been shown to increase the quality of life in many dogs and, as more studies are done on CBD products, the more that we are going to see that this really helps," says Sara Ochoa, D.V.M.

There are many benefits of giving your dog CBD products. Ochoa says, "They have been shown to help with arthritis, pain and inflammation, skin disease, cancer, seizures, glaucoma, increased appetite and anxiety." As for joint pain, a 2018 study suggests that CBD can help with comfort and increase activity in osteoarthritic dogs.

There's also promising research on CBD oil and seizures in dogs, as well as on CBD and cancer in dogs. CBD products "have been shown to help decrease the size of cancer cells or help make dogs feel better who are undergoing chemotherapy," says Ochoa. So, it could be a helpful aid during recovery—although, again, be sure to check with your dog's veterinarian.

How to Use CBD Medicine for Dogs

Now it's a matter of dose, as you need enough but don't want to go overboard. "Dosages range from 0.5mg/kg to 8mg/kg. No toxic level has been established with CBD products," says Ochoa.

Dosing is based on how much your dog weighs, explains Richter. "CBD is considered to be very safe, and there is not a specific dose that is too much," he says.

Usually, you give dogs CBD oil orally once or twice a day, depending on what condition you're trying to help, adds Ochoa. Your vet can help you figure out the best dosages and frequency.

Any Side Effects of CBD in Dogs?

"The main side effect that has been noticed with this medication is increased liver values. Almost all medication also causes increased liver values, as the liver is one of the main organs that break down drugs," says Ochoa. If you're worried, speak to your vet to determine the best dosage that can avoid any liver complications.

What's more, in high doses, CBD can be slightly sedating. Richter says, "Additionally, in some dogs CBD can lead GI upset or diarrhea." If there's a bad reaction, stop using it. CBD is metabolized through the liver and has the potential to affect the metabolism of other medications, too, so always consult with a veterinarian before using CBD if your dog is on any kind of other medication.