October 09, 2020 15 min read

CBD has a huge array of therapeutic benefits for pets, and today CBD is often referred to as a miracle supplement. With that said, pet parents need to understand the limitations of CBD itself, and recognize the importance of working together with a holistic veterinarian to treat all health conditions in pets with both conventional pet meds and CBD for pets.

As many more pet parents become interested in holistic health care for both themselves and their furry best friends, pet parents are combining supplements like CBD with chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, herbal remedies, and natural “whole foods.”

Today, we understand that cannabidiol may be beneficial for many of the same symptoms, conditions, and diseases that affect people. CBD’s main benefits for your furry best friend are:

  • Pain relief
  • Anti-nausea
  • Anti-epileptic
  • Neuroprotectant
  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Anti-anxiety

One of the greatest benefits of cannabidiol for pets is its anti-inflammatory benefits, most especially for senior pets that have issues with their joints like stiffness and pain. Cannabidiol has also been shown to be effective in dogs suffering from anxiety due to its anxiolytic properties.

If your furry best friend suffers from skin allergies, hot spots, or irritations, CBD is also available as a topical., capsule, dog treat, transdermal or tincture. Additionally, CBD helps dogs with travel nausea from car or air travel. Today, cannabidiol is the perfect go-to in the form of CBDdog treats andtinctures.

What is Hemp Oil?

According toFido Friendly, “With CBD-rich pet nutraceuticals soaring in popularity, offering organic, non-GMO, THC-free, plant-based CBD supplements, CBD has become a valued health option among pet parents and health experts. Today, cannabidiol sales have skyrocketed, backed by countless positive testimonials and research. Past research has not only demonstrated cannabidiol’s positive impact on pet health, but its synergistic effect in treating a broader range of conditions. But, let’s face it, it’s hard making a choice between CBD brands!“ via Claudia Bensimoun, Fido Friendly. 

Bensimoun adds that “The growing interest in cannabidiol-related pet products offering terpene-rich full spectrum extracts studies are still ongoing about its uses and efficacy. We all understand that the highest-quality full-spectrum hemp products containing CBD ensures natural cellular healing, with tinctures allowing for maximum absorption and faster results to encourage optimal health and vitality in pets.”

You’ll often see products referred to as hemp oil, CBD oil, cannabidiol oil, hemp extracts, or evenCBD hemp oil. It may seem confusing when trying to find the best CBD pet product for your dog’s health condition. But to be safe, you’ll have to opt for well-recognized pet CBD brands that have good reviews, awesome 24/7 customer service, and that are transparent all the way!

Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil

First things first! Hemp seed oil is not hemp oil! That said, hemp oil can be extracted from any part of the cannabis hemp plant. This means the leaves, stalks, seeds, roots, flowers, roots, and even branches. Hemp seed oil is only extracted from sterilized hemp seeds. Here are some of the benefits of hemp seed oil.

  • Hemp seed oil is a nutritious energy dense source of fatty acids which include omega-3 ALA and omega-6 LA.
  • Hemp seed oil is not hemp CBD, and does not contain cannabidiol.
  • Hemp oil extracts contain CBD and THC with a wide variation in ratios of CBD to THC in both, depending on plant genetics and environmental conditions.
  • The final CBD product could qualify as a medical marijuana product or agricultural hemp product that will contain naturally occurring CBD.
  • To differentiate between both, you’ll need to read the supplements facts panel on the back of the bottle and make sure it says “hemp seed oil.” (NO THC)
  • The panel should indicate the amount of hemp oil in milligrams on the first line, with the second line stating the cannabidiol amount in milligrams, via the CBD serving.
  • CBD oil has to be extracted from certified legal agricultural hemp that has been cultivated properly.
  • CBD oil extracted from the marijuana flower can only be legally sold at CBD medical dispensaries and in states that have marijuana-friendly laws. Keep in mind that all these products would then have to exceed 0.3% THC limit, and these products would cause a “high.” That said, these products should never be used on pets.
  • Never use human CBD products on pets.
  • Pets cannot get high from CBD oil because it comes from hemp. Cannabidiol oils are extracted from the hemp plant, and these are safe to treat an array of health conditions in pets.
  • To be 100% safe, opt for pet-focused and reputable CBD products geared toward pet’s health only.

Shelf Life of CBD Pet Products

CBD pet products should last for as long as twelve to eighteen months when unopened, and in an airtight bottle. Once opened, CBD tinctures and products should be kept in a cool area, and away from light and heat. Some CBD pet products should not be refrigerated. You’ll need to read the labels or contact customer service if you’re not sure.

Hemp oil, like any essential fatty oil, has the potential to degrade over time, tending to have less of a therapeutic effect. It can also become rancid if exposed to light, oxygen or heat. You’ll notice this when the oil changes to a darker color, and there may be an acrid smell. If oils have expired, toss them out, and don’t use them.

How to Shop for the Best Pet Hemp Oil Products

We adore our dogs, and want the best pet cannabidiol products for them. We want our dogs to be as pain-free as possible, and to be happy. With that said, you’ve probably come across numerous hemp oil products for different health issues, and with varying potencies, that you’re totally confused as to which potency is best for your pooch?

Keep in mind that hemp seed oil has no therapeutic benefits, but is a tremendous superfood, being rich in antioxidants, high levels of Omegas, vitamins, and minerals.

But when it comes down to hemp oil or full-spectrum hemp oil, broad spectrum, or even a phytocannabinoid rich (PCR) oil containing cannabinoids, they may be effective in combating inflammation, nausea, stimulating appetite, reducing seizure activity, and reducing anxiety.

Hemp oil may also be a good alternative to pharmaceuticals that may have long-term side effects. Here are some additional benefits:

  • Helps with joint and mobility issues in dogs
  • Helps with anti-inflammatory issues
  • May optimize immune health
  • May be beneficial for canine depression and separation anxiety
  • May ease nausea stemming from cancer treatments and travel
  • May help with insomnia. Sleep is important for optimal mental and physical health in dogs.
  • Has been proven effective with seizure reductions
  • May be beneficial for skin irritations, hot spots, and hair growth
  • May relax blood vessels in the heart, allowing blood to flow more freely
  • Endocannabinoids suppress hypertension and reduce blood pressure
  • Animal studies demonstrate that CBD protects against vascular damage caused by a high glucose environment, inflammation, and type 2 diabetes.
  • CBD may be beneficial for gastrointestinal issues in dogs.

Questions to Ask About Your CBD Oil

Consumers are advised to ask whether their CBD product of choice is afull spectrum oil or if it uses an isolate. Also, if the hemp used is from locally grown USA hemp? European sourced hemp may have originated from China, and ended up being processed in Europe.

That said, hemp from China is not of as high a quality and purity, and may contain bio contaminants and heavy metals. Today, hemp mainly originates from 4 states, Colorado, South Carolina, Oregon and Kentucky. Countries like China and Romania do not have the same pesticide laws as the US.

Sold out

Mislabeling Pet CBD Products

Hemp CBD product sales continue to soar, yet with the CBD hemp market still being relatively new, you’ll need to search forpet hemp CBD products that you can trust, and that are safe for your furry best friend.

Let us give you a bunch of reasons about the importance of purchasing pet CBD products from reputable pet CBD brands that are trusted, and that are based out of the US. Here are a few:

  • Plant growing conditions will vary and you’ll need to keep in mind that soil contaminants, pesticides, molds, and heavy metals could be present in your final CBD pet product if it’s of a low-quality.
  • Extractions may not have been done properly leaving behind toxic solvent residuals that may be dangerous to your pooch.
  • Then there’s always inaccurate labelling of plenty of CBD products which could involve over or under-reporting the cannabidiol content within a product.

There’s still no national regulation for product testing today, and labels together with safety need to be explored. Pet parents should only purchase well-recognized CBD pet brands for their furry best friends.

Today, with hundreds of different CBD pet products sold online, you have to know what to look for on product labels or the ingredient list, so that you can evaluate the safety of the product, and make sure that you’re not endangering your pooch.

TheFDA’s report to Congress on the CBD marketplace underscores a trend of mislabeled products and a growing need for industry regulations addsHemp Grower. They also explain that the FDA found that after testing 147 products, the FDA found nearly half contained levels of THC above the limit of quantitation, which was 3.1 mg per serving.

Hemp Grower explains that “The FDA’s report is a response to an order from Congress’ to study the current CBD marketplace “to determine the extent to which products are mislabeled or adulterated.”

Its latest findings highlight the agency’s initiative to undertake a “more extensive CBD product sampling effort,” the report says.

In its study, the FDA tested 147 products for 11 different cannabinoids, including CBD and total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels.

Of the 102 products that indicated a specific amount of CBD, the FDA found:

  • 18 products (18%) contained less than 80% of the amount of CBD indicated.
  • 46 products (45%) contained within 20% of the amount of CBD indicated.
  • 38 products (37%) contained more than 120% of the amount of CBD indicated.

The take here according to Joe Cascone, president of Asterra Labs, a CBD product manufacturing company is that “The number of products that appear to be on the market that are inconsistent with their labeling is disturbing.” “The report mentions that several of the tested products did not contain what was on the label and that some were within 20% of the label claim. A 20% variance is unacceptable.” Cascone adds via Hemp Grower. “ Guidelines from theU.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), a pharmaceutical regulation non-profit organization, state pharmaceutical products should contain within 10% of what’s stated on the label.

Hemp Grower also explains that “The FDA also tested 133 of those 147 products for levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. Only one product—a tincture—had a lead concentration that requires additional evaluation. The rest had contaminant levels that don’t represent a health concern, the FDA says in its report. (The FDA notes that the 133 products sampled cannot be used to draw definitive conclusions.)”

Hemp Grower adds that The Minnesota Hemp Farmers and Manufacturers Association (MHFMA) tested an array of CBD products, including vape pens, edibles, tinctures, hemp flowers, topical lotions, pills, capsules and more. Of the 25 products tested, 16 had greater than a 20% deviation of CBD content from what the label stated, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies as “misbranded.” “Some products contained nearly three times the stated amount, while one of the products had no CBD at all, says Matthew Kaiser, program director of MHFMA viaHemp Grower.

Additionally, 33% of the products tested positive for pesticides or heavy metals.

“I had become increasingly frustrated with the amount of focus placed on hemp farmers to test for THC compliance, while absolutely no attention was being paid to the unregulated retail market,” Kaiser says in a news release via Hemp Grower. “While many consumers have fears of unintentional consumption of THC, the real and more concerning problem to public health is the potential for contamination by heavy metals, pesticides, microbials, molds and toxins. Until we have FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] regulation on these products, manufacturers are given little guidance as to how to label their products and can put whatever they want in them without testing for these dangers to public health.”

A Pennstudy in 2017, also demonstrated that nearly 70% of cannabidiol products sold online were mislabeled.

Penn adds “For a month, Bonn-Miller and his team of researchers conducted internet searches to identify and purchase CBD products available for online retail purchase that included CBD content on the packaging. The team purchased and analyzed 84 products from 31 different companies and found that more than 42 percent of products were under-labeled, meaning that the product contained a higher concentration of CBD than indicated. Another 26 percent of products purchased were over-labeled, meaning the product contained a lower concentration of CBD than indicated. Only 30 percent of CBD products purchased contained an actual CBD content that was within 10% of the amount listed on the product label. While studies have not shown that too much CBD can be harmful, products containing either too little or too much CBD than labeled could negate potential clinical benefit to patients. Further, the variability across products may make it troublesome for patients to get a reliable effect.”

Bonn-Miller via the Penn study conclude that“The biggest implication is that many of these patients may not be getting the proper dosage; they’re either not getting enough for it to be effective or they’re getting too much.” Similar discrepancies were found in CBD edibles.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the components of the cannabis plant that does not give your furry best friend a “high.” CBD is derived from the hemp plant, and can also come from the marijuana plant.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is what you don’t want in your CBD pet products. Legally, all CBD hemp oil supplements can only have 0.3% or less THC. THC is federally illegal in the US, but is available for medical use in several states, and in Canada with a medical marijuana card.


This label embodies both the hemp and marijuana plant, with both plants being different and carrying varying amounts of THC and CBD. Marijuana plants may have up to 20% THC.

Cannabis that contains more than 0,3% THC is considered marijuana with medical marijuana having from 5-20% THC. Hemp plants will produce more cannabinoids than THC, while marijuana plants will produce more THC than CBD.

CBD that is free of THC may be beneficial in the treatment of numerous health conditions in dogs and people, without the long-term side-effects of pharmaceuticals. CBD is a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid, and provides therapeutic and medicinal purposes for dogs, cats, and horses.

The Endocannabinoid System in Dogs

Dr. Lascelles from North Carolina State University via Animal Wellness explains that “However, dogs do have the same natural cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system as humans.” The endocannabinoid system involves physiological processes such as appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory. These receptors are found in the dog’s brain and peripheral nervous system. In fact, scientific research has confirmed that cannabis receptors exist in many different species, including dogs. viaAnimal Wellness.

How to Understand Your CBD Oil?

The best CBD oil is produced through an extraction process called CO2 extraction. The oil is extracted from the entire plant by a carbon dioxide process using pressurized carbon dioxide to extract the CBD. The CO2 is like a solvent when heated under boiling temperatures, yet because the temperature stays below boiling point, it’s considered cold. It’s then processed to create CBD oil. CO2 CBD extraction results in the purest CBD oil.

Cannabidiol for Senior Dogs

Geriatric dogs that already have joint issues will first need to be treated by their veterinarians with corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Nutraceuticals are also beneficial when combined withCBD oils for pain, massage, heat application, physical therapy, and of course, swimming. Generally, small dogs tend to be prone to patellar luxation, and larger dog breeds more apt to developing hip and elbow dysplasia.

Osteoarthritis is caused by inflammation, breakdown, and the eventual loss of articular cartilage in a dog’s joint. Physical therapy, pain meds and nutraceutical supplementation works effectively in reducing chronic pain.

Harvard Health Blog adds that "CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation stemming from arthritis." That said, another CBD study on the pharmacokinetics of CBD administration found that “CBD induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of imipramine. These effects of CBD were probably mediated by activation of 5-HT1A receptors,” via PubMed- NCBI. Keep in mind that dogs, like people, when in pain may be depressed.

Side Effects of CBD Oil

As with all medical conditions, consult with your veterinarian for advice and treatment.

CBD might make your dog sleepy, yet most times there are no side effects. There are extensive petCBD high-quality product lines that are geared towards your dog’s optimal health and maintenance.

Finding the best, high-quality CBD oil for your dog with the right potency means examining all the ingredients and asking lots of questions. CBD may cause blood pressure to drop. As usual, discuss your CBD pet products with a holistic CBD expert.

What to Look for in CBD Pet Products?

Holistic pet care via CBD supplementation is also being combined with conventional veterinary care, so that the dog gets the best of both worlds. Ensuring that dogs get the right amount of exercise, balanced and complete nutrition, as well as plenty of socialization, playtime, positive dog training, and regular veterinary care will mean the dog will live a longer and healthier life. That said, when looking at CBD supplements for pets, here’s what to look for when purchasing a pet CBD product:

  • Veterinarian approved
  • High-quality product
  • For cats and dogs
  • Third party certified for purity and safety
  • Improved absorption and bioavailability
  • Higher levels of CBD –check dosage before use
  • Rapid effect
  • Full Spectrum CBD oil
  • Organic
  • No contaminants, no carrier oils, no alcohol
  • Must be pesticide and herbicide-free.

Medical Cannabis for Pets

According to amedical marijuana pet’s article published in Animal Wellness magazine, “Scientists have so far recognized up to 60 important chemicals, or cannabinoids, unique to marijuana." TheNational Cancer Institute adds that “cannabinoids activate specific receptors found throughout the body to produce pharmacologic effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system.” These natural chemicals may be helpful in treating cancer-related symptoms such as pain.

“Dogs prescribed medical marijuana have definitely benefitted,” says Darlene Arden, a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant via Animal Wellness. “The results are almost immediate. Elderly dogs are running around like puppies, and their last months or years are far more comfortable. Those with cancer are no longer in any sort of pain. It increases the appetite. In other words, it improves the quality of life. Not surprisingly, few veterinarians are prescribing medical marijuana yet, but I think we’ll see a trend that way once some testing is done.”

Dr. Duncan Lascelles, Professor of Surgery and Pain Management at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine has spent 22 years of his professional career researching how to better alleviate pain in animals. He firmly believes that medical marijuana has a lot of potential, but there needs to be more research done.

“Just because it’s natural, does not mean it’s safe,” he says via Animal Wellness. “There are many natural products that are toxic in certain quantities, or when presented as certain extracts or preparations, and we need to remember there are many, many different formulations and strengths of marijuana.”

“Veterinarians and animal parents do not know how much to use, and we don’t know all the possible side effects or interactions with other medications,” says Dr. Lascelles. “It would be irresponsible to prescribe medical marijuana without knowing more about it. Veterinarians need to be able to carefully inform people about the benefits and side effects, and that information is currently lacking.”

Dr. Kramer via Animal Wellness also adds that “Temporary side effects of medical marijuana could include mild behavioral effects, decreased appetite, vomiting, drooling, excitation, twitching, tremors and convulsions." “The side effects would last somewhere between six to 12 hours after ingestion, although if a dog ingested a single ‘human hit’, he would be unlikely to die,” explains Dr. Lascelles.

An overdose, on the other hand, could be dangerous. “Accidental marijuana overdoses have increased over the past couple of years,” says Dr. Lascelles. “Some dogs may have hallucinogenic reactions, which may cause them to have a higher pulse rate, and muscle weakness with loss of coordination,” viaAnimal Wellness.

CBD for Pain in Dogs

CBD may be beneficial for pain in dogs, with one of the most common pains related to joint pain. As dogs age, muscles, joints, and bones age as they go through wear and tear. You’ll need to pay attention to how your furry best friend tolerates those walks, and consult with your veterinarian as to the best approach for chronic pain.

  • Weight loss and muscle atrophy due to decreased activity
  • Lack of grooming
  • Unusual aggression
  • Reluctance to lie down or run up stairs
  • Anxiety or unusual restlessness
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Personality changes
  • Irritability
  • Biting, licking or rubbing against painful area
  • Depression

Perhaps the most relevant 2018,CBD study about the effectiveness of cannabidiol comes from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine by Dr. Joe Wakshlag, who tested to see whether pain from osteoarthritis and multi joint pain could be eliminated with CBD oil. The CBD oil was made from industrial hemp or placebo hemp and dogs received every 12 hours for 4 weeks.

Cornell worked together with ElleVet Sciences that created soft CBD ElleVet Mobility chews, which are hemp based. The chews also contained chondroitin and glucosamine which are two natural compounds that help with movement in arthritic dogs. The results of this study demonstrated that over 80% of the participating dogs that used the chews had significant improvement in mobility. The product was referred to by veterinarians in the study as “a game changer that will change the face of veterinary medicine,” via Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

In the end, it’s up to you in choosing thebest CBD pet product for your furry best friend. As usual, it’s always recommended that you first visit your veterinarian for a complete check-up and diagnosis, so that your dog can be treated properly.

As a responsible pet parent, learn how to spot the signs of illness in your dog early on before it becomes serious. You’ll need to always keep your pooch in tip top condition, but to do so, you’ll have to understand your dog, and be able to spot the signs of when your dog is not feeling his usual self.

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun author of CBD Guide for Dog

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

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