Should You Give Your Dog CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol oil, commonly referenced as CBD oil, is the hottest trend on the natural health market these days. One of many cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant, CBD is NOT tetrahydrocannibol, or THC, which intoxicates the user. But like THC, CBD is currently being used and studied for its healing properties. It’s known for relieving pain, easing anxiety, helping with cancer symptoms, and even strengthening the brain and slowing the negative effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

CBD can even reduce seizures in people—including children—who live with epilepsy.

It seems like a wonder drug, especially because it doesn’t come with the psychoactive properties found in THC. You can reap the benefits of CBD without altering your consciousness. How cool is that?

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Hemp plant with oil. 

But should you give it to your dog?

Both dogs and humans have an endocannabinoid system in the body that functions as a receptor for cannabinoids such as CBD—and THC.

And dogs can suffer from many of the same ailments that afflict humans. They get anxious, they suffer from cancer, and they can experience seizures.

It’s possible that CBD oil can help your dog feel better without the harmful side effects of stronger drugs, but you need to know a few things before giving your dog CBD oil. (Hint: I’ve given my Alaskan shepherd, Eira, CBD oil. Read on to find out if it helped her or not!)


CBD Oil Studies Are Limited, But Growing

Due to its popularity, CBD oil is being researched now more than ever. And it’s not only its effects on humans that researchers are interested in—they’re also studying how CBD oil helps dogs.

One researcher, neurologist Stephanie McGrath from Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, conducted such a study in 2018. Dr. McGrath wanted to know how CBD oil affected dogs with epilepsy. Out of the sixteen dogs who participated in the study, nine received a dose of high-quality CBD oil. The other seven took a placebo. McGrath conducted a double-blind study to ascertain unbiased results, and she found that “89 percent of dogs who received CBD in a clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.”

That is compelling evidence! Scientists will only continue to study CBD as it grows more popular, and a quick Google search can keep you updated on the latest information.

CBD Oil Is Not FDA-Approved for Animal Use

While it’s sold in pet stores across the country, CBD oil has not been given the FDA seal of approval. The American Veterinary Medical Association currently steers vet owners away from general CBD oil usage, mostly because of the limited research that’s been done. The AVMA does, however, appear to endorse the use of the one specific strain of CBD that’s FDA-approved for human use. Mostly, the organization wants to make sure pets stay safe, because…

Not All CBD Oil Is Created Equal

There are loads of CBD products on the market, but before you choose any of them to help your ailing dog, you need to know what to avoid and what to look for in a quality CBD product.


  • Buy CBD oil from the same plant that produces psychoactive cannabis. You want CBD oil derived from the hemp plant, which contains THC levels of 0.3 percent or less. Psychoactive cannabis has between 5 and 30 percent THC, and THC can be dangerous for dogs. It’s better to stay on the safe side and only seek out CBD oil that comes from a hemp plant. This CBD oil is often called ‘hemp extract.’
  • Give your dog CBD oil meant for humans. You need to instead buy it from a reputable, ethical seller that manufactures it for pets and provides a dosage chart and a certificate of analysis so that you know exactly what is in the oil you’re giving to your pet.
  • Expect CBD oil to cure any diseases. It can help relieve stress and inflammation and seizures, but it is meant to be used together with other treatments, such as veterinary care, a healthy diet, exercise, and lots of love and attention from human companions.


  • Purchase organic CBD oil. The extra cost is worth the peace of mind in knowing that your pup is getting toxin-free CBD.
  • Check to make sure the CBD has been extracted from the hemp plant either by cold press with water or dry ice or by using carbon dioxide extraction. Stay away from oils extracted by using ethanol or other potentially harmful gasses, as those methods are cheaper, signaling a less-than-quality CBD seller.
  • Know your dog’s weight and give him an appropriate dose of CBD oil accordingly. (Find a convenient, quick-to-use dosing chart here.)
  • Make sure you talk to your veterinarian before purchasing CBD for your dog. Alert your vet immediately if your pup shows any signs of CBD overdose, which is really THC overdose, as even the best CBD will contain trace amounts of THC. If your dog gets into the CBD oil container or a CBD or hemp treat bag, check for these signs:
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Inability to control urine
    • Lethargy
    • Ataxia (is your dog stumbling around like she’s drunk? That’s ataxia.)
    • Hyperesthesia (is your pup nipping at you or yelping when you touch him? He could be experiencing extreme sensitivity to touch and other senses—hyperesthesia).

My Personal Experience With CBD Oil

The first person to introduce me to CBD oil was my grandmother, who at the time had a big, beautiful Old English Sheepdog and Great Pyrenees Mix named Jolie. This massive, curly-haired dog got so terrified during thunderstorms that she turned into a whimpering pup, unable to do anything but howl and hide or run wildly through the house until the thunder stopped.

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The lovely Jolie. Photo credit: Anita Strawn de Ojeda.

After doing some research, my grandma decided to try quality CBD oil on Jolie during thunderstorms. Because Jolie was so big—she weighed over 100 pounds—she could’ve been given up to 25 milligrams of CBD oil, but my grandma just gave her a couple drops at the first sign of the next desert storm.

Almost magically, the CBD oil calmed Jolie enough that she ate a big bowl of chicken and rice and then slept right through that thunderstorm. From then on, Jolie only needed CBD oil to get her through thunderstorms without losing her mind.

When I got Eira as a puppy last fall, she had major separation anxiety. Anytime we’d leave the house, Eira would howl in her crate. I hated leaving her like that, and even worse, coming home from the grocery store to hear her still howling. I’d burst in the door with my toddler on my hip and Eira would jump into my arms like a second toddler, crying and howling. I felt terrible leaving her, but I needed to be able to go to the store.

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Little Eira used to leap into our arms anytime we got home, terrified and yowling that we’d left her behind.

I could’ve brought her in the car, and at first, I tried. But here’s the thing: she howled in the car, too, and my two-year-old absolutely hated the sound. He’d start screaming and crying so hard he gagged, which only made Eira howl louder. I nearly got into a car accident on more than one occasion simply by trying to comfort one or the other of them.

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Eira might look like she’s enjoying the car, but she hated it. (She does much better now!)

So, I knew I needed to get her used to staying home. But I didn’t want her to suffer.

First, I tried melatonin chews. On a trip to Petco with Eira (and without my toddler), I fed her the recommended dose of melatonin chews, expecting her to calm down after half an hour or so.

She didn’t. The melatonin chews literally did nothing but hurt my wallet, so I returned them.

My grandma had given me a small amount of her pet-friendly CBD oil in a little squeeze bottle, so I put one drop on Eira’s tongue ten minutes before we left the house for my son’s gymnastics class the next day.

To be honest, after the melatonin, I didn’t expect much from the CBD oil. But as we walked out the door, Eira—in her crate—whined a few times and then laid down with her treat-stuffed Kong.

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Eira with a toy shortly before going in her crate.

I held my breath, waiting for her to start howling the second I closed the door.

And she did—but only once. Then she quieted down.

When we got home after gymnastics, Eira was yelping with excitement instead of howling in despair. I started giving her a drop or two of CBD oil each time I left the house, and each time, Eira didn’t go right to sleep or anything but she did calm down enough to not howl frantically the entire time I was gone.

Now that she’s eight months old, Eira rarely needs CBD oil for separation anxiety, but I do like to give it to her before longer road trips where Alaska’s infamous frost heaves can make her feel ill.

Even though she’s a lot bigger than she was as a young puppy, I still only give her 2-5 drops with a favorite treat. Just as with any other medication, natural or not, I don’t want to give her more than she needs to take the edge off her car sickness.

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Eira and my toddler playing after a successful CBD-oil-led separation.

Conclusion: Yes, You Can Use CBD Oil, But Do So With Care

Now that you know the basics of giving your dog CBD oil, you can do so with confidence and watchfulness. If you want to be even more cautious with giving your dog—especially if you have a puppy—CBD oil, start out with the minimum amount and keep track of your dog’s behavior in a journal. That way, any reactions will be noted and you can easily report them to your veterinarian.

To get you started on your CBD journey, I’ve rounded up two high-quality pet-safe CBD oils/hemp extracts you can purchase.

VetraPet Hemp Extract for Dogs and Cats

VetraPet’s hemp extract is a USA-made, toxin-free hemp plants. It’s also got added omega-9, omega-6, and omega-3 fatty acids to help keep heart disease at bay in your dog.

Some companies don’t allow sellers to label CBD oil as CBD oil, but if you look for the milligrams of hemp extract per bottle, you’ll know that it’s high-quality hemp extract (a.k.a. CBD oil) and not hemp seed oil, which is NOT CBD oil and does not have the same health benefits.

VetraPet’s hemp extract contains 8.35 milligrams of pure hemp extract, making it a perfect supplement for your nervous or in-pain dog.

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Benny’s Hemp Oil Extract for Dogs and Cats

This hemp oil extract is also a legitimate extract/oil, and like VetraPet it’s third-party lab tested to ensure it’s free of toxins.

Benny’s Hemp Oil Extract is also 100% organic.

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Do you use CBD oil with your dog? Let us know in the comments!

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