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Can I Give CBD Oil to My Dog (and Other Pets)?

by Sonja Soderlund December 11, 2020 4 min read

Can I Give CBD Oil to My Dog (and Other Pets)?

When people first use CBD and begin to experience its benefits, they often want to spread the news. Not only that, but they realize that if CBD can help them, it might be able to help their ailing pets. 

But is CBD oil safe to give to a dog or cat? 

The short answer is usually yes. But there are several considerations to take into account before sharing your CBD oil with your pet. 

CBD for Humans vs. Pets

CBD works for humans because of our endocannabinoid system. This is an inter-related system of chemicals and receptors that interact with cannabinoids (like CBD or THC, among others) in complex ways.

But humans aren’t the only ones with endocannabinoid systems - in fact, all mammals have this system and can potentially benefit from CBD. 

That means that your dog or cat (or rabbit or horse) has the biological requirements to process CBD.

You’ve no doubt noticed that there are plenty of pet CBD brands out there. But here’s the big secret - there’s no difference between human CBD and most pet CBD. A high-quality pet CBD is just high-quality CBD marketed for pets. 

For that matter, you could use pet CBD yourself, even if it has a dog pictured on the label. (One big exception is if a pet CBD company has flavored their oils for pets. You probably won’t enjoy the fish flavor!)

Quality CBD comes from quality hemp, with no dangerous chemicals (like pesticides or residual solvents). Those unwanted chemicals shouldn’t be present in any CBD oil, whether it’s being marketed for pets or humans.

However, there are some issues you should take into account before sharing your CBD with your pet. Mostly, these have to do with correct dosing and, for dogs, paying attention to the amount of THC in the product.

CBD for Dogs: Potential Issues with THC

dog hugged by human

If you have a dog that you think could benefit from CBD, there is one factor that it is really important to pay attention to.

Dogs are extra sensitive to THC. 

The reason for this has to do with one of the two receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids and receptors generally fit together like a lock and key (with the receptor acting as the lock in this analogy).

The endocannabinoid system is home to the CB1 and CB2 receptor, and it is the CB1 receptor that is responsible for psychoactivity. It is also the receptor that THC binds to very strongly. 

You can probably see where we’re going with this. The reason THC can make you feel high (when you take enough of it) is because it binds so strongly with the CB1 receptor.

But dogs have more CB1 receptors than humans or even other mammals. So for them, a little THC can go a long, long way. And getting high for a dog is not fun. The official term “static ataxia” refers to a dog who cannot stand, acts disoriented, dizzy, and over-tired. 

It’s unpleasant, and can even be dangerous. 

For this reason, many cannabis-friendly veterinarians only recommend using THC-free CBD products for dogs. CBD does not bind to the CB1 receptor at all, so it won’t have this negative effect on your puppy (or you).

THC-free products are certainly not the only way to go with dogs, but it’s really important to check lab reports to make sure that THC is within the 0.3% range and that you’re not giving high doses of full-spectrum CBD oil to your dog.

CBD for Pets: Finding the Right Dose

CBD tincture dropper

This brings us to another really important point. When you’re figuring out a good starting dose for your pet, keep in mind that most domestic animals are a lot smaller than humans.That means that their dose of CBD oil should be much smaller as well.

If you’re looking for a place to start, you could try a starting dose of .5 mg of CBD per kilogram (of the animal’s weight), twice per day. 

  • Your pet’s weight in kilograms is just their weight in pounds divided by 2.2. If you’re not comfortable figuring out the math, check out thisconversion calculator.
  • Once you know your pet’s weight in kilos, you’ll need to calculate the correct dosage. To do this, just multiply your pet’s weight (in kilos) by 0.5. For example, if your dog weighs 15 kg, the dosage will be 7.5 mg CBD, twice per day.

Unless you have a really large animal, the dose is going to be pretty small. If you choose to use Kanibi CBD, our marked droppers should help you find that right dose.

CBD for Pets: Other Considerations

Here’s one other final thought on choosing a CBD oil for your pet. Keep in mind that your pet’s tastes are not yours. You may love the Skittles flavoring in your Kanibi tincture, but will your dog or cat? 

Thankfully, Kanibi does offer aTHC-free, unflavored CBD oil (ourIsolate CBD Oil Tincture) which should fit the bill for anyone. It’s about as simple as it comes. It’s pretty potent though, so make sure you’re measuring it out carefully.

Talking to Your Vet About CBD

bowl of dog food

It’s never a bad idea to talk to your vet before trying CBD on your pet. And if your dog or cat is on other medications or has serious medical conditions, we would strongly recommend that you do that. CBD is generally safe but can interact with other medications in negative ways.

While some vets may not feel comfortable giving advice about using CBD (like dosage recommendations), there are more and more cannabis-friendly - and knowledgeable! - vets all the time. It might be worthwhile to do a quick check around your area to see if you can find one nearby.

But even if your vet can’t give much advice about CBD use, it’s still important to keep them in the loop about everything that relates to your pet’s health. 

Sonja Soderlund
Sonja Soderlund

Sonja Soderlund is an Oregon-based freelance writer and CBD researcher. Her work has appeared in BrainWorld, CBD Hacker, Bloom & Oil, and elsewhere.