How to Use CBD for Dogs

How to Use CBD for Dogs

"How much CBD should I give my dog?" This is THE question we hear from health-conscious pet parents seeking a natural way to treat and support their faithful fidos. CBD is a relatively new concept for many humans, as well as our dogs and cats - so it's understandable that it can feel a little intimidating when just starting out.

The good news for you is that we're a small-batch pet supplement company, and we've been making holistic CBD dog treats and CBD oils since 2014 - so, if you're looking for a beginner's guide to finding the right CBD dosage for dogs and the best advice on getting the desired results, you're in the right place!

Basics of CBD for Dogs

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the hemp plant. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system in both humans and animals, offering potential benefits like reducing anxiety and relieving pain.

Most pet products include CBD as part of a full or broad spectrum hemp extract. Full spectrum refers to the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes in the hemp plant - which means it also contains a small amount of THC. At Austin and Kat, we use broad-spectrum hemp extract, which retains all the goodness of the hemp plant except the THC, which is removed with a cold extraction method.

Read more about our hemp extract here!

How does CBD help dogs?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS), is a complex network of receptors and transmitters that helps maintain various bodily functions. CBD interacts with ECS receptor activity and enzyme function. In particular, it interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are more prevalent in the immune system and peripheral organs.

CBD's interaction with these receptors help regulate processes like pain perception, immune response, mood, and appetite in dogs. Additionally, it can promote the production of natural cannabinoids within the dog's body, further assisting in maintaining balance and overall well-being (homeostasis). While the exact mechanisms are still understudied, the potential benefits for dogs are becoming increasingly apparent, making it a promising option for managing various health conditions.



Benefits of CBD for Dogs

CBD's extraordinary potential stems from its interaction with the endocannabinoid system—a complex network found not only in humans but also in our loyal canine friends. This interaction opens the door to a wide range of wellness possibilities including...

Anxiety and Stress

Many dogs suffer from anxiety due to separation, loud noises, or changes in routine. CBD can help dogs alleviate anxiety by promoting a sense of calm, making stressful situations more manageable.

Pain Management and Joint Health

CBD's anti-inflammatory properties can assist pets in managing pain associated with conditions like: arthritis pain, joint pain, or injuries, ultimately improving mobility and enhancing your dog's comfort.

Relaxation and Focus

CBD may contribute to a relaxed state of mind in dogs, making it easier for them to concentrate and stay focused during training sessions and other activities.

Overall Wellness

CBD's interaction with the endocannabinoid system can promote a state of balance and homeostasis in your dog's body, supporting their overall health and immune function.

It's important to remember that while CBD offers many potential benefits, its effectiveness can vary from one dog to another. Finding the right dosage for dogs, and product is crucial, and consulting with a veterinarian before starting any CBD regimen for your dog is advisable, especially if your pet has underlying health issues or is taking other medications.

With the right approach, CBD can be a valuable addition to your dog's healthcare routine, contributing to a happier and healthier life.



How to Give Your Dog the Right CBD Dosage

When it comes to selecting the perfect CBD for your beloved canine, there are several crucial factors to consider - including the daily CBD dosage, the format of the CBD (treats or oils?), and finding something that your dog will love!

Your dog's health and happiness are the top priorities, so let's explore some essential aspects to ensure you make an informed decision.

Hint: Our Tail-Wagging CBD Selection Makes the Choice Easy!

Part 1: Picking a CBD Product for Your Dog

Dosage Matters

When it comes to finding the appropriate CBD dosage for your dog, it's not just about their well-being but also ease of serving.

CBD products come in a range of strengths (for large dogs, small dogs and cats, and every size in-between!) It can be difficult to get right dose, for example, if you have small pets, and the product you picked up has strong dose intended for large dogs - forcing you to break out the CBD dosing calculator and break a chew into 8ths or even smaller doses. Likewise, you don't need to give your large dog handfuls of CBD treats when there are chews packed with enough CBD in one bight.

To simplify the process, it's essential to estimate how many milligrams of CBD your pet requires (we'll dive into this shortly) and find a product that allows you to administer CBD in an easy daily dose. Most pet parents aim for a supply that covers a few weeks to a month.

Ensure you select CBD products that clearly state the amount in milligrams (for example: "10 MG CBD") per serving.

If you're purchasing CBD treats or soft chews, it should list how much CBD per chew. If you're purchasing CBD oil for dogs, you'll likely see how much CBD per dropper (most droppers are 1 ml) somewhere on the CBD oil bottle.

Consider Your Routine (Chews or Oils?)

Administering CBD will become part of your regular routine so when choosing between CBD oils or soft chews, consider your lifestyle and your pet's preferences. Keep in mind that the CBD molecule itself is the same regardless of the product type.

While CBD dog treats (or soft chews) are convenient and easy to give to your pet on the go, CBD oils offer precise dosage control, allowing you to administer the exact CBD dosage your pet's weight requires. (Especially if the oils come with graduated droppers, like ours!) This level of control is the best way to ensure the CBD dosage is exactly what your pet's weight requires.

The ideal approach may involve having both options available in your pet care toolkit, allowing you the flexibility to give your pet their regular dose with a CBD oil at home and a "CBD treat" when you're out in the world.

Transparent, Trustworthy Pet Products

When purchasing CBD products for your dog, it's crucial to thoroughly vet the company. Unlike pet foods, CBD products for pets aren't regulated as rigorously, making it essential to look for businesses that prioritize transparency and quality. Here are some key factors to consider:

Ingredient Transparency: Always review the product's ingredient list to ensure it contains high-quality, natural ingredients. Avoid products with unnecessary additives, fillers, or artificial flavorings - it's just not necessary! You should also be able to access 3rd party test results of CBD's potency and purity easily.

Pet-First Mindset: The best CBD products are developed specifically for pets, ensuring they are specifically designed for the unique needs and preferences of our four-legged friends. This approach extends to sustainable and ethical practices, creating a better world for pets to thrive in.

Customer Reviews: Seek recommendations from friends who have experience with CBD brands for dogs, and read genuine customer reviews and testimonials. These can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and quality of a CBD product.

By considering these factors, you'll be well-equipped to identify a high-quality CBD product that aligns with your dog's needs and your values. Choosing the right CBD product is a significant step in ensuring your furry friend enjoys a healthier and happier life.

Part 2: How to Calculate CBD Dosage for Dogs

Start with 2mg of CBD for every 10 lbs of body weight.

If you've never given your dog CBD before, this is the perfect amount to start with. Keep in mind that every canine companion is unique, so a bit of trial and error to find the right CBD dosage for dogs, is perfectly normal. We'll delve into our top tips for determining the optimal dose in just a moment.

It's important to note that rounding up or down to simplify serving CBD to your dog is absolutely acceptable. If the math suggests your dog should start with 5.6 mg of CBD, and it's more convenient to measure out 6 mg of CBD - go ahead and do it!

Depending on the severity of your dog's health concerns, higher doses of CBD and giving a dose of CBD multiple times each day is common. However, for daily support, a lower dose is typically sufficient.

CBD Dosage for Dogs Cheat Sheet

Not in the mood to break out the calculator? Here's a handy cheat sheet of popular dog breeds and their general weights. If you'd like specific advice about building a healthy routine for your pet - please don't be shy about reaching out to our friendly customer service team.

This cbd dosage chart should be a good start:

Austin and Kat guide to CBD for Dogs - 2mg CBD per 10 lbs of weight

Part 3: How to Administer CBD to your Dog

Giving your dog CBD is a breeze if you've followed our guide to choosing a product with the appropriate dose of CBD, in a form that works for your dog's weight and lifestyle. Here's our quick-start guide to help you get your dog on the path to hemp-based wellness:


CBD works best when it's not competing with a full stomach, give CBD to your dog at least 20 minutes before mealtime for best results. Most dogs start responding to CBD within 30-40 minutes so we recommend giving CBD an hour before stressful events (such as a trip to the groomer) to be safe.

Giving CBD Soft Chews (aka yummy treats!)

Most dogs will gladly scarf down our CBD soft chews (especially since they're all made with a dog-favorite peanut butter and apple base.)

However, if your dog has a tough time chewing anything, you can try crumbling the chew into a bit of milk or broth.

And if you've got a really picky eater on your hands, we recommend our oils which are easier to hide in a favorite food.

Giving CBD Oils

For beginners, CBD oils may seem intimidating - but they make giving consistent, custom doses of CBD really easy, especially if you usually administer it at home. Many dogs will lick CBD oil straight out of a little dish. Otherwise, it's simply a matter of mixing their oil with a bit of peanut butter, goat milk, or other enticing dishes.

If you want to use CBD topically, make sure you choose a product that does not contain any animal-based ingredients. Our extra strength oils have a limited ingredient profile that's suitable for topical use.



How to Find the Ideal CBD Dose for Your Dog

There is no one-size-fits-all CBD solution - factors such as your dog’s size, metabolism, and condition will all impact how CBD works for them. Finding a CBD oil dosage for anxiety may be different than finding one for joint mobility.

So, although we're here to help make supporting your dog with CBD as easy as possible, it's really important to spend some time observing your dog when first starting out with CBD.

Give CBD Consistently

Whatever dose you decide to try, be consistent while you evaluate the results.

Give your dog the same dose of CBD, at the same time for at least 3 days to get a good understanding of how it works for them. After about 30 minutes, take note of how they respond. How long does it take for them to respond? And how long until it seems to 'wear off'?

Once you have a good understanding of how your dog responds to CBD, you can adjust the dosing frequency and monitor for how much CBD oil to give your pet, as their needs change.

Maybe you'll continue to give CBD to your dog everyday. Or maybe you'll decide they only need it ahead of stressful events (like 4th of July weekend.) But knowing how your dog responds to CBD under normal conditions will help you to help them effectively, especially when they really need it.

How to Adjust Your Dog's CBD Dosage

If your dog isn't responding in the way you'd hoped, increase the dosage by half and observe them some more. Continue until you find the ideal dose that works for your dog's weight.

You may also find that your dog does well with an extra dose on tough days or before stressful events. Warning - be careful not to ONLY give your dog CBD before those stressful events, you don't want them to learn to associate CBD with a scary trip to the groomer, for example.

Your dog may also need an extra dose of CBD occasionally (think: 4th of july, or extra cold days that make their joints stiff), or their needs may change as they get older.



Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for CBD to start working?

Most dogs start responding to CBD within 30 - 45 minutes. This depends on different factors, including your dog's metabolism, if they're taking CBD on a full or empty stomach, and the type of CBD product you've chosen.

As a general rule, oils tend to kick in a little faster than a treat (soft chew) because there are fewer ingredients for furry bellies to break down first. But there’s no difference in effectiveness between the two.

How long does CBD last?

Each dose—whether from oil or chews—lasts from 4-8 hours. That’s a big spread, we know, but the duration can vary a lot depending on your pet’s size, activity level, metabolism, and the severity of their symptoms. But as a good rule of thumb: older pups and larger dogs tend to take longer than younger ones to digest food.

In many cases, your pet will tell you if it’s time for more. You’ll notice they’re having symptoms again, and you can come to the rescue with a dropper or soft chew. You can give your pet CBD as often as needed - many pet owners give CBD morning and night, plus an extra dose on tough days or before stressful events (like a visit to the groomer.)

When should I give my dog CBD? Should I give CBD to my dog once or twice a day?

The timing, dosage, and frequency of CBD administration for your dog depend on their individual needs and how they metabolize CBD. If you're using CBD for general wellness, a once-daily dose may suffice. However, for specific issues like anxiety or joint pain, splitting the daily dosage into two servings may provide more consistent relief. Keep in mind that each dog's metabolism is unique, so observing their response will give you the best answer.

You may also find it helpful to give your dog an extra dose of CBD on tough days or before stressful events (many dog owners give extra CBD throughout 4th of July weekend to help their pets deal with neighborhood fireworks.)

Will CBD get my dog high? Can my dog overdose on CBD?

CBD is considered safe for dogs and is non-psychoactive (that means it won't get them high like THC.)

We’ve worked with thousands of owners and veterinarians and we have only ever seen positive things happen when pets are given CBD. It might surprise you that for most pets (and humans alike) there is no negative consequence to consuming too much CBD, except you'll have used up all of your chews.

Of course, while nothing serious can occur, we always advocate administering the recommended serving size and monitoring your pet when introducing anything new. And please be sure to consult with your veterinarian when changing your pet's wellness routine, especially if your pet is on medication or being treated for a specific condition. If your vet has any questions about our CBD or ingredients, we're happy to help answer them!

Should your pet eat an entire package of our soft chews (let me guess, you have a labrador) we do recommend that you consult your veterinarian and be possibly prepared to treat them for an upset tummy, simply from eating too many chews!

Can I give CBD to my Cat?

Yes! Cat and canine CBD receptors are very similar. For cats, start with 3mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight. For more information on cats and CBD, click here.



Every dog is different. They come in all shapes and sizes. That’s what we love about them! But it does mean that when it comes to CBD, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It will take some experimenting to find the right amount to give your own fuzzballs. That’s okay—CBD is safe and natural, so no worries if your pet gets a little more or less than needed while you figure things out. 

Ready to dive in? Try our our cbd oil for dogs.

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