Is CBD Oil Good for Dogs?

Dog staring at Cannabis plant up close.

Svetlana Sarapultseva / Getty Images

CBD has quickly risen in popularity for use in pets, but there is a lot of confusion as to what it's for, whether or not it is legal, and the difference between hemp, CBD, Cannabis, marijuana and THC. Knowing whether or not a product is safe, effective, and legal for your dog is of utmost importance prior to purchasing and utilizing it.

Is CBD Oil Good for Dogs?

Since very little research has been done supporting the safety of CBD use in dogs, there is a lot that is still unknown, such as whether or not there are side effects, especially with long-term use, the efficacy for use in supporting a variety of bodily systems, contraindications with medications, and dosages for specific uses in dogs. The legality of purchasing CBD oil is also a concern, even if the CBD in question is contained in hemp oil from the specific strain of Cannabis sativa known to contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Until there are more solid research results, it's best to hold off on giving CBD oil to your dog.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid, or specific component, that is extracted from Cannabis plants. When extracted, CBD can be made into an oil that can be consumed orally by a dog. It often contains coconut, hempseed, olive, avocado, or palm oil that acts as a carrier oil.

What is the Difference Between CBD and Hemp Oil?

This can get confusing since CBD and hemp oil are both sourced from types of Cannabis plants. Hemp oil may or may not contain CBD but it is always extracted from a specific strain of Cannabis sativa, commonly referred to as the hemp plant, that contains less than 0.3 percent THC. CBD, on the other hand, is a component that is found in many types of Cannabis plants. So CBD can be found in hemp as well as other Cannabis plants and is a naturally occurring compound. Some hemp plants are specifically grown to contain higher levels of CBD while others are grown to have low-to-no CBD. Many people are actually seeking hemp oil that contains CBD since hemp oil has low to no THC.

Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

THC is the abbreviation for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and is a psychoactive component of some Cannabis plants. Cannabis plants used for marijuana often contain around 10 percent THC. Like CBD, THC is a type of phytocannabinoid that is naturally found in Cannabis plants. But depending on the type of plant used to make CBD oil, it may or may not contain THC. Many people who want to use CBD oil specifically look for THC-free or low-THC CBD oils which is why they are usually actually purchasing hemp oil. In order for a product to be considered hemp oil, even if it also contains CBD, it must have less than 0.3 percent THC.

Is CBD Found in Marijuana?

Since the amounts of THC as well as CBD will vary from plant species to species, some marijuana will contain CBD but most growers are more concerned about the THC content. Marijuana is not safe for dogs.

Why is CBD Oil Popular in Dogs?

There is a constant search for new ingredients that may help our dogs since pet owners want to find solutions for the problems their dogs may experience. Products sometimes have negative side effects or simply don't provide the level of support a dog needs so alternative solutions can quickly grow in popularity if they have been shown to be helpful. Effectiveness, price, safety, ease of use, and other factors determine whether or not a dog owner decides to use an item but safety and effectiveness should ultimately top this list.

CBD oil has been widely discussed in media and among pet owners after success stories in humans came to light. This has drastically grown its popularity but safety and effectiveness are still being explored for a variety of uses in dogs.

What is CBD Oil Useful For in Dogs?

CBD oil has been used in dogs for pain relief, seizure control, anxiety relief, help with nausea, cancer support, heart health, appetite stimulation, and inflammatory support. Very little research in dogs has been performed on most of these uses, but research is ongoing. Some research suggests potential benefits of CBD for dogs with seizures and pain.

Choosing a CBD Oil Product for Dogs

The most difficult part of extracting CBD is getting a consistent plant source. Many products are inconsistent in their amounts of CBD so providing appropriate administration amounts can be difficult. Manufacturers are working to produce products that contain consistent amounts of CBD so consumers should look for a company with strict quality control departments to ensure products meet label claims.

However, it must be emphasized that although there are CBD oil products on the market for use in dogs, none of these have been tested for safety or efficacy in dogs and have not been approved by the FDA. Due to the confusing legality of the purchasing of CBD oil in many states as well as its unknown safety impacts in dogs, unless directed otherwise by a licensed veterinarian in your state, it's best to not purchase and use these products in your pet.