Four vet-approved tips to consider when giving your dog CBD

Four vet-approved tips to consider when giving your dog CBD

An increasing number of pet owners are finding that dogs, like people, can experience significant benefits from taking CBD.

Some owners have found that it helps their fur baby feel less chronic or situational anxiety. This could include the separation anxiety a pet may feel when their humans work away from home or the sudden anxiety that can accompany loud noises like fireworks displays or thunderstorms. Some dog owners use CBD to help alleviate their pet’s pain caused by arthritis or other conditions. CBD can even help reduce the number of seizures experienced by dogs with epilepsy.

However, there can be an overwhelming number of CBD products on the market and curious pet owners may not always know the best way to get started.

Here are four veterinarian-approved tips to keep in mind if you thinking about giving your dog CBD:

  1. Administer the CBD along with one of your dog’s meals. According to Joseph Wakshlad DVM, who is a professor of veterinary medicine at Cornell University, animals absorb CBD better when it is taken with food. By providing the CBD at the same time as your pet’s meal, you are helping to ensure your pet’s body properly absorbs as much of the CBD as possible. This will help maximize the benefits your dog experiences.
  2. Full-spectrum hemp may offer the most medicinal benefits. Wakshlag also recommends pet owners choosing a CBD-rich product over a CBD-only product. This is because full-spectrum CBD products contain other compounds that are naturally found in hemp alongside CBD. When these compounds work together, the beneficial effects are magnified. This effect is known as the entourage effect, and it can also be experienced by humans.
  3. Select products that have been formulated for dogs. Sometimes when pet owners take CBD themselves, they are tempted to share that product with their pet. However, Laura Sypniewski, DVM, who is a professor of small animal medicine at Oklahoma State University, warns against this. She reportedly explained that some products intended for human use contain ingredients that could be toxic to dogs. Xylitol and caffeine are two examples of additives to avoid when shopping for your pet.
  4. Follow the dosage on the label. Finding the correct dose for your animal can be important to maximize the benefits while minimizing any potential side effects. The best dosage can depend on the size of your dog, the specific product you are using and the condition you are trying to target. If your veterinarian does not provide you with specific dosing recommendations, look to the dosing instructions on the product label. Stephanie McGrath, DVM, who is a professor of veterinary neurology at Colorado State University, reportedly recommends starting your pet off at a very low dose and monitoring your pet for potential reactions. Then, you can increase the dosage slowly, while continuing to watch for potential reactions.

Many pet experts reportedly agree that CBD is generally safe for dogs. Still, there is always a chance that it may not be the best option for your dog. For example, a 2019 study showed that some dogs can experience minor side effects, like mild diarrhea, when they regularly consume high doses of it.

If your dog has not used CBD before or you are unsure about your pet's reaction, it may be best to talk the option over with your animal’s regular veterinarian to make sure CBD is right for your pet.