Best CBD oil for dogs: Sit, stay, chill out – Mashable

Find out why so many dog owners turn to CBD oil to mitigate their pet’s pain or anxiety — despite the lack of research.
Disclosure

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

Best overall

King Kanine seems to care about your dog as much as you do, but their krill oil-infused products get pricey.

All CBD products listed in this story are derived from hemp. Some CBD products, like those derived from marijuana, are only legal in certain states; see here to determine whether or not you can legally make a purchase. Additionally, THC/CBD edibles and additives are not necessarily FDA-approved.


Despite the fact that CBD is suddenly everywhere, the knowledge gap still isn’t closing as fast as new products are coming to the market — and we’re not down with that. We’ve covered the human side, and now it’s time for a doggy deep dive. Some 50 hours of research, more than 2,000 customer reviews, and conversations with two industry experts are to thank for this guide on the best CBD for dogs.

You know your dog freaks out on the regular — fireworks, thunderstorms, and the vet could all trigger them. And if it’s a rescue dog or a puppy, then it’s probably all of these things. It’s just a fur baby fact.

Or perhaps your dog is actually a very brave soul, but has been slowed down by an illness, arthritis, or simply from being 100 years old in people years. (If that’s the case, check out our picks for the best pet insurance.) Regardless of the problem, watching your dog get anxious, scared, or be in pain is nothing short of heartbreaking. But until taking pet sick days is a thing, people looking for alternatives are turning to things like CBD oil for dogs.

Owners of dogs, cats, horses, and even bunnies (like the three-legged bunny in one of the customer reviews for Lazarus Naturals) have written positively about the effects of CBD on their furry families. (Cats? Spastic? Never.) According to personal anecdotes and customer reviews, dog owners are turning to CBD to mitigate things like separation anxiety, arthritis, and seizures (to name a few.)

There hasn’t been much peer-reviewed research done about the effects of CBD on humans — or dogs. Numerous studies are currently underway (more on that later), but for now, most of what we have to go on are other people’s experiences. Luckily, there’s no shortage of obsessive dog moms and dads raving to the internet about CBD.

SEE ALSO: What is CBD and where can you buy it?

Mashable surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. consumers via Google Surveys in January and found that only 17 percent said they give their dog CBD. And while about 19 percent of people have tried CBD for themselves, about 40 percent of people would only give it to their dog if the vet recommended it.

The survey also found that about 60 percent of people didn’t even know what CBD stands for — and duh, people aren’t about to give CBD to their dog if they’re clueless themselves. (For these folks, we’d suggest reading up on CBD and checking out some CBD-infused gummy candy.)

A 2016 survey done by the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences found that a majority of customers who have given hemp products to their dog marked that the products were “moderately or very helpful” (as per the wording of questions in the study) in areas including pain relief, sleep help, and reduction in anxiety.

But where did those people get hemp products for a dog? How did they know how much to give them? Is this stuff even safe for animals? Let’s dive in.

How does CBD affect dogs?

An important distinction before diving any deeper: Giving CBD oil to your dog is not the same as giving marijuana to your dog. Getting your dog stoned — whether it accidentally ate an edible or you knowingly hotboxed your room with your dog in there — is very bad. You’d think this is obvious, but since emergency pet marijuana calls have increased a disturbing amount in the past year, the warning needs to be reiterated.

“At certain dosages, THC can be toxic for dogs,” says Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. “But it [CBD given to dogs] should be coming from the hemp plant, which has THC levels of .3 percent or under. Our findings tell us that small of a dosage is safe for dogs.”

Along with that small amount of THC, full-spectrum CBD contains other natural cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant. The majority of human users prefer full-spectrum CBD because for lack of a better term, it works better. When the natural compounds in hemp team up, they work synergistically to offer the body more relief. The phenomenon has been called the entourage effect, and it happens in dogs, too.

Most pet oil retailers sell full-spectrum CBD, but pet owners who are paranoid about the trace amounts of THC can opt for isolate-based oil, which has been stripped of everything but CBD.

In 2016, Dr. McGrath lead a study on CBD for dogs with epilepsy and found that 89 percent of dogs who receiving CBD during the clinical trial had a reduction in frequency of seizures. While the benefits of CBD in humans are still being researched, the FDA has officially approved the use of CBD for epilepsy and seizures with a drug called Epidiolex.

Another study, this one done at Cornell University in 2018, found that 2 mg of CBD per kilogram of dog twice a day can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis.

Experts acknowledge that only a fraction of the possibilities have been clinically tested, but as of right now, there are no known adverse side effects for dogs taking CBD. If your dog is on other medications, it’s still smart to keep an eye on your dog to ensure that there are no wonky interactions between CBD and those meds. (And you should probably talk to your vet first.)

Though we’re still waiting for official studies on dogs with anxiety or arthritis, the pet owners who have tried it seem to swear by it in the form of anecdotal reports and customer reviews.

Is it legal to give your dog CBD oil?

A 2018 farm bill made the widespread farming of hemp legal, in turn making hemp-derived CBD legal nearly everywhere in the U.S. (not to be confused with marijuana-derived CBD, which is much more of a murky subject and depends on your state’s medical marijuana stance.) All CBD oil suggested below will be hemp-derived, but you should double check your state laws and discuss with a vet beforehand.

That said, the 2018 farm bill that legalized hemp did not legalize veterinarians prescribing CBD to pets. They can recommend it, but no official prescriptions can be written.

Pet owners aren’t discouraged by this ambiguity, though: According to an online survey done across the Veterinary Information Network, two-thirds of participating vets said that patients ask them about cannabis for their pets at least once a month.

If you see a site that sells oil for people and animals, you may be wondering what the difference is. Trick question: There’s typically no difference. Flavoring, added ingredients like fish oil, or different dosage suggestions may set the pet oil apart from the regular oil, but the base product is generally identical. Nuleaf Naturals, a site that markets oil to both pets and humans, uses the same exact oil across the board and simply changes the suggested dosages.

How much CBD should dogs have?

Bad news: There are no FDA-regulated dosages for dogs taking CBD.

Good news: No adverse effects of giving a dog “too much” CBD have been found. While discussing dosage, Dr. McGrath mentioned that her epilepsy study uses higher dosages than other ongoing studies and that she saw no negative side effects from implementing this high dosage.

How well and how quickly CBD gets absorbed into the bloodstream is referred to as bioavailability, and the general belief is that orally is the quickest method for dogs (hence why nearly every retailer sells theirs with a dropper). For animals with strict diets who will notice something extra being put in their food, oil can also be absorbed through the dog’s inner ear or the gums.

Dogs can also lick oil right from the dropper itself, or right off of your hand.

Weight is currently the main deciding factor when determining how much CBD a dog should have. Recommendations vary by who you talk to, but the general idea seems to be 1-5 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight.

Min Lee, the president of brand development at Honest Paws, explains that a 75-pound German shepherd suffering from severe hip dysplasia would typically require a more concentrated delivery method (i.e. high-potency oil) than a 10-pound poodle who has anxiety. In the poodle example, edible CBD treats should be enough.

Of course, small dogs could have a list of serious problems and big dogs could have a single mild one — the rule is simply to start small and note the dosage where you see changes in behavior.

We can’t stress it enough: CBD for dogs is still essentially in beta mode. Research is still in its beginning phases, and until more clinical trials are completed, the veterinary world won’t know much more about CBD’s effects than pet owners who have tried it for themselves.

And, above all, CBD isn’t a fix-all for your dog’s pain or anxiety and doesn’t eliminate the need for vet visits. It’s undoubtedly exciting to see customers gushing about it helping their dog, but this should be taken with a grain of salt. Each dog will be affected differently, so be sure to consult a vet before use and if symptoms persist.

Here’s what to keep in mind while you shop:

  • Choose a site that sells a variety of dosages. This will make it easy to test out what works for your dog, and will be especially clutch if you’re buying for dogs of different sizes.

  • Some pet oil will be flavored and some won’t be. If your dog is picky or has a rigid diet, reviews can tell you if other people’s pets liked the oil — and if this is the case, treats or topical creams may be less of a struggle.

  • To ensure that you’re buying a quality hemp product with less than .3 percent THC, the site should have ingredients and third-party lab results posted (or at the least, offer QR codes on each product). Bonus if you see CO2 extraction listed — that’s the gold standard purification process.

  • Bigger dogs will likely require higher daily dosages than smaller dogs, and higher-potency oils are more expensive. We’ll list the true price of each product, which reflects the amount you’re paying per mg. If you’re on a budget trying to treat a larger dog, a $60 bottle that will only last a week may not be reasonable.

Here are our top picks for the best CBD oil for dogs:

Three dosage options • Comes with an easy-to-use syringe • Extremely in-depth FAQ and brand introduction
Wickedly expensive
The Bottom Line

Krill-infused oil is just an appetizer — this popular brand offers a list of other products, but it’ll cost you.

1. King Kanine

King Kanine seems to care about your dog as much as you do, but their krill oil-infused products get pricey.

  • Dosage range: 75 to 300 mg
  • True price: $0.29 to $0.54/mg
  • Infused with fish oil: Yes
“If we don’t give it to our own dogs, we won’t consider creating it for yours.” That’s the main rule behind the creation of King Kanine CBD products. Reading the brand’s introduction feels like you’re talking to a friend (a nice change of pace from having overdramatic claims shoved in your face). The brand is also backed by Green Roads, one of Mashable’s all-around favorite CBD brands.
Instead of a traditional dropper, King Kanine products use a metered syringe (minus the needle part). A syringe gives sightly more control and may be able to keep dosages more precise than estimating drop size. On rushed mornings, this quick administration could be a huge time-saver.
The essential fatty acids in King Kanine’s krill oil are said to be a catalyst for delivering CBD to the body, and many owners give Omega 3 supplements to dogs as a way to promote a healthy coat, prevent allergies, and strengthen the immune system. However, fish oil has caught flack for causing its own health problems in dogs, so consulting with a vet is super important here.
King Kanine makes it clear that they can’t legally recommend any products, but are happy to answer any questions you or your vet have. There’s a tab dedicated to lab results for each product, as well as standard, therapeutic, and medicinal dosage recommendations based on weight.
Customer Pamela C. writes:

“I’ve finished two bottles one 300mg and one 150mg and the results are remarkable. He’s back to his puppy days and active again – he seems pain -free when just three months ago, he was in pain and limping/sore almost every other day after a little too much exercise. This works for hip dysplasia and also calming his nerves.”

King Kanine oil is available in 75, 150, and 300 mg, with pet spray, topical balm, and treats also on the menu.

Decent dosage selection • Pet-specific flavors • Third-party tests are easy to find
Smells bad • Added coconut oil and artificial flavors
The Bottom Line

If you’re paranoid about THC content, this isolate-based oil is a comforting alternative with great flavors.

2. Nature’s Script Pet Oil

Beef and chicken flavors make it easy to add CBD oil to your pet’s diet, even if they’re picky.

  • Dosage range: 125 to 1,000 mg
  • True price: $0.09 to $0.23/mg
  • Infused with fish oil: No
Dogs will eat almost anything off the floor, but that doesn’t mean they’re not picky eaters. (To be fair, anyone forced to eat the same food every single day would notice if something was added to their food.) The chicken and beef flavors of Nature’s Script pet oil add an extra level of customization for your pet’s diet that most other companies don’t offer.
Known for selling strictly isolate-based oil, Nature’s Script is big on transparency, sustainability, and quality control. Third-party tests are provided for every product, which are all non-GMO, organic, and responsibly sourced. Isolated-based oils are a rarity in the pet world, so anyone worried about trace amounts of THC should consider Nature’s Script.
Adding a new step to your dog’s eating routine may be a process, but Nature’s Script has multiple tricks to make things as seamless as possible. Each flavor is sold in three dosages, which are broken down better than most in the pet dosage chart. Directions are based on weight and a standard dosage (for separation anxiety, thunderstorms, and other situational ailments) or a heavier-duty therapeutic dosage (for nausea, arthritis, or other circumstances with severe pain or anxiety involved). 
Customer Sunny P. writes:

“My pet has issues with going outside due to the sound of cars driving by. Since giving her this product she has been getting so much better. Thank you so much will continue to give this to her and watching her strive”

Nature’s Script Pet oil is available in 125, 500, or 1,000 mg, all in chicken or beef flavor.

Three dosage options • Products were designed with advice from vets • Dosage calculator and interactive buttons
Droppers are hard to fill • No readily available third-party tests
The Bottom Line

Make the process easier on yourself with Honest Paws’ vet-recommended dosages, separated by weight.

3. Honest Paws Purity Solutions

Nix the guesswork with their easy-to-use dosage calculator that’s organized by weight.

  • True price: $0.16 to $0.32/mg
  • Dosage range: 125 mg to 500 mg
  • Infused with fish oil: No
So many dosage suggestions, so little time. If it’s your first time buying CBD for your dog, stressing about not messing up the dosage is inevitable. The Honest Paws site simplifies things for you. Interactive buttons, a dosage calculator, and different concentrations of oil based on weight let you customize your experience based on what problems your dog is having. Clickable cartoon depictions include pain and inflammation, allergies, anxiety, and epilepsy.
Brand development president Min Lee says that multiple veterinarians were brought into the discussion about the dosage of each level. Honest Paws suggests level one for dogs under 25 pounds, level two for dogs 25 to 50 pounds, and level three for dogs over 50 pounds. Remember that these are unofficial dosages and aren’t guaranteed to be perfect, but it’s nice to have a vet-recommended starting point. 
QR codes and a link can be found on the back of each product, where customers can source certified lab results tied to each lot number. Third-party tests are not readily available on the site (even though you can’t scroll without seeing claims about those lab results, but we digress). Either way you take it, your confidence may be upped by the plethora of enthusiastic reviews.
Customer Robert B. writes:

“This CBD oil had an immediate effect on my dog that has been having seizures and spasms. I have been using the product for a little over a week and he has not had any seizures or signs of seizures. Before I started using the oil he would have multiple seizures just about every day. I am very happy with the results and price of this product”

Honest Paws pet oil is available in 125 mg, 250 mg, and 500 mg as level one, two, and three, respectively. The site also has a CBD oil for cats which is aptly named “Purrity.”

Human oil has great reputation • Prices are incredibly below competitors
Large gap between dosage options • Not the best taste
The Bottom Line

Known for high potencies and low prices, this is a great bang for your buck option.

4. Lazarus Naturals

Caring for a pet ain’t cheap, but this Reddit-favorite brand makes CBD affordable for any situation.

  • True price: $0.04 to $0.05
  • Dosage range: 225 mg to 990 mg
  • Infused with fish oil: No
We love our pets no matter what, but caring for another living being adds up so damn fast. You know the drill: Vet check-ups, food, toys, and a lot of times, ridiculously expensive medication. The folks at Lazarus Naturals understand and price their pet oil cheaper than most CBD for humans — because supporting a pet shouldn’t require you to live off ramen.
Many of the reviews we read were super long and quite enthusiastic — it’s clear that customers are genuinely happy with the experience. For a site that caters mostly to humans, there’s a decent amount of info for pets, including lab results.
Finicky dogs may wince at the earthy, kind of sour taste, so you may have to get creative with meal time. Luckily, the production process is much less hard to swallow than the oil itself. Lazarus Naturals is known for its organic approach and Kosher ethanol extraction, all sourced from Oregon.
Customer Linda K. writes:

“CBD oil has been an absolute blessing to my two elderly special needs Basenjis. My 17+ year old guy has severe arthritis, and my 15+ year old blind girl has bone spurs all up and down her spine. I started them on 3 drops per day each and gradually increased to the 6 drops recommended for their weight. They were both SO much more comfortable right from the beginning. I am enthusiastically recommending Lazarus Naturals’ pet CBD oil to all my friends who have older pets with pain issues.”

Lazarus Naturals Pet Oil comes in 225 and 900 mg.

Super helpful customer service • 100% organic with no additives • Low prices
Not much pet-specific info
The Bottom Line

Used by both humans and pets, NuLeaf Naturals’ CBD oil is some of the cleanest you can get.

5. NuLeaf Naturals

This brand is beloved by human CBD users for its natural approach, and the pet oil is the exact same formula.

  • True price: $0.12 to $0.16
  • Dosage range: 240 to 1,450 mg
We care about our pets just as much (if not more, TBH) as we care about our own wellbeing. Wouldn’t it make sense to hold your pet’s diet and supplements to the same standards as your own? NuLeaf Naturals thinks so, which is why their pet oil is the exact same oil as the CBD oil marketed toward humans.
A company that primarily markets to humans is much more likely to grow and process their own hemp. (NuLeaf does their thing in Colorado.) The organic, non-GMO oil is human tested and approved, and we’re not surprised by how often NuLeaf Naturals shows up in “best CBD oil” lists.
It has a tart, wood-y taste that picky animals may not find tasty, but we wouldn’t worry too much. At nearly 800 five-star reviews, NuLeaf’s pet oil has over double the number of reviews on most sites — so we guess those pets didn’t mind the taste. Customer Terry S. writes:

“Our 12 year old lab just had her check up at the vet. Our vet is amazed how much better she is doing since starting the oil. Her mobility, pain, and overall health improvement had her shaking her head in amazement. A few months ago she could barely walk and her hair was coming out by the handful. We have our puppy girl back and we couldn’t be happier!”

NuLeaf Naturals pet oil comes in 240 mg, 725 mg, and 1450 mg. 
They do give instructions for drops depending on weight, but there’s not much other pet-specific info as you’d find on a site that only sells pet oil. However, the customer service makes up for it by answering any questions you or your vet may have before purchasing.

Extremely affordable • Site is well organized and informative • Dosage calculator and flexible recommendations
No reviews on site
The Bottom Line

Four dosage options, the choice to add fish oil, and low prices make Pet Releaf an easy choice.

6. Pet Releaf

This all-encompassing brand offers four dosages made with a special strain of hemp that’s just for animals.

  • True price: $0.05 to $0.08
  • Dosage range: 330 mg to 1,700 mg
  • Infused with fish oil: Yes, depending on product choice
Dosage variety, price, and transparency all in the same product? In this CBD economy? Meet Pet Releaf, one of the best-known pet brands on the market and one of the only brands to hit every mark on our shopping checklist. We’re suckers for well-designed, aesthetically pleasing sites, but the photos of dogs playing in leaves aren’t the only reason Pet Releaf deserves a shout out.
Pet Releaf’s oil is made from PR-33, an organic strain of hemp that the Colorado-based company created and sources specifically for the way animal process CBD. The site claims that this unique strand has only .1 percent THC, which is still enough to activate the Entourage Effect. We can’t guarantee that it’s actually more helpful than any other strain, but it’s worth a try.
If this sparks your curiosity, check out the third party tests: All are grouped together in a tab and organized by product, contaminate testing, and solvent testing.
The company has received some pretty legit recognition in the industry, including a 2018 Pet Business Award for one of the best dog and cat supplements. Most of this praise is for Pet Releaf’s Professional Liposomes Hemp Oil, made with sustainably-sourced wild Alaskan salmon oil. The site claims that this bottle lasts three times longer than traditional oil when administered on food, but you should talk to your vet before testing it out.
Customer Red writes:

“I can’t say enough about the wonders of this cannibus oil for my dog. My vet was convinced my dog had early affects of dementia. He was barking with a yelp suddenly in the daytime . He also had arthritis and had scary side effects to Rimadyl. He not only stopped licking (from pain) his front leg joints with the oil, he is calmer, the barking stopped, he navigates the stairs much better, and has a spring in his step. I also notice unmistakably that his cognitive abilities are much better. This is a superfood and a miracle. Don’t give your pet a prescription. Try this first!”

The original Pet Releaf is available in 330, 700, 1,000, and 1,700 mg, and the Liposome Hemp Oil is available in 330 and 1,000 mg. There’s also a section devoted to cats.

Source: https://mashable.com/roundup/best-cbd-oil-for-dogs/

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