With all the buzz surrounding the benefits of CBD for dogs, it can be easy to forget the basics. Owners need to know fundamental things like, how exactly do I give my dog CBD, what’s the right dosage, and what’s the best type of CBD product for my pup?
To help, here are 7 tips covering when and how to give dogs CBD, to signs that a CBD product is doing its job.
1. Get the dosage right
First up, here’s how to calculate the perfect amount of CBD to give your dog. While CBD is highly safe and well-tolerated in pups, it’s important to give them an amount that’s appropriate for their size.
With no FDA guidelines to regulate CBD doses for dogs, most owners follow the guidance of CBD brands and other knowledgeable organizations. Most CBD for dog experts recommend introducing CBD to dogs at a starting dose of 0.2mg of CBD per pound of a dog’s weight.
After a dog has become accustomed to CBD oil, and owners feel confident that it doesn’t cause any side effects, dosages can be gradually increased to around 0.7mg per pound. So, for example, an average 50-pound dog might begin with a 10mg dose of CBD and then move up to a maximum dose of 35mg if necessary.
Something that’s important for owners to bear in mind here is that CBD products often contain more than CBD alone. When calculating dosage, you therefore need to find out how much CBD is contained in the oil, treat, or other product to begin with.
2. Experiment with oils vs treats
A basic decision owners make about CBD is whether to give their dog the supplement in the form of an oil or a treat. While both have their advantages, most owners normally settle on one or the other after a little experimentation.
CBD oils are especially good for dialing-in accurate dosages, especially if they come with a graduated dropper. Ensure the brand is trustworthy, and can provide lab reports showing the exact amount of CBD. Owners can then conceal that dosage in a wide range of foods, including their dog’s current favorite formulas and snacks.
For super-secret concealment, there are even flavored oils infused with beef and chicken, to help treat the pickiest dogs.
CBD treats, on the other hand, are great for convenience and portability. Because they’ve been pre-portioned with a dose of CBD, all owners need to do is reach into the packet. Having treats on hand can also be an effective way for dogs to form positive associations with CBD.
3. Experiment with full-spectrum vs isolate
While there’s far more variation in the types of CBD and cannabis in human products, not all CBD products for dogs are the same either. The main way to differentiate between the type of extract infused in a product is to check its spectrum.
Spectrum refers to the number of cannabis compounds besides CBD that are captured during extraction. Many experts believe that extracts containing CBD plus a range of secondary cannabinoids have a more well-rounded effect.
Full-spectrum pet CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids present in the original hemp plant, while broad-spectrum broads contain a small selection of them. CBD isolate products, on the other hand, contain only pure, powdered CBD.
4. Try daily supplementation
Many dogs find that CBD helps to ease the stress of certain situations, like traveling, being separated from their owner, waiting out thunderstorms, or dealing with 4th of July fireworks.
Like many supplements, however, evidence suggests that CBD tends to work the best when given as a daily dose. Used as a daily supplement, CBD can help to consistently reduce inflammation in dogs’ bodies, which is then associated with a healthy immune system, reduced stress, and improved behavior over time.
If owners are planning on using CBD to target specific events, such as 4th of July fireworks, it may be more effective to begin CBD supplementation a few days before it’s needed.
5. Apply at the site of need
Depending on why a dog needs to take CBD, certain application methods are more and less effective.
For the fastest effects, owners should try applying CBD directly to their dog’s gums. Studies, such as this one from the Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, show that taking supplements through the gums or sublingually (under the tongue) helps speed up absorption when compared to taking a capsule.
For treating skin issues and injuries, owners can apply CBD directly to the affected area. This avoids the need for CBD to be processed through the digestive system and can help pinpoint the target area. Many brands offer CBD creams and balms for this purpose.
6. Observe for signs of progress
Some dogs quickly show effects from CBD. But for most, the supplement will begin to take effect over the course of anywhere from a week to a month of regular doses.
As a result, it can sometimes be difficult for owners to judge whether CBD is having any effect. Differences can be subtle, and it’s easy to second-guess whether you’re imagining changes in your pet’s behavior.
In these cases, it can help to make a record of your dog’s symptoms before CBD supplementation, and then regularly check in to look for changes in those specific areas.
In dogs taking CBD for joint issues, owners should look for increased mobility, as well as any improvements to the general mood and willingness to move around their environment.
When CBD is working for dogs with anxiety, owners may see changes to the way their pup verbalizes, perhaps with decreased barking and whining. They may also jump and run around more, as anxiety can also inhibit dogs’ movements.
7. Observe for any mild side effects
Through the experiences of thousands of dogs and their owners, CBD has been shown to be a highly safe pet supplement. But like any natural or prescription medication, side effects are possible.
The most common potential side effects of CBD use in dogs include drowsiness, tremors, diarrhea, and nausea. Any dogs experiencing these effects should have their CBD dose reduced and be closely observed. If the side effects continue then CBD isn’t right for that pup, and other kinds of treatments and supplements should be explored.
Side effects may become more likely when dogs are given too much CBD, or when their CBD dose is increased at too fast a pace.