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Cannabidiol for Dogs – Benefits and Risks

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp that has wide-ranging therapeutic effects for dogs.
  • CBD can help dogs during and after pregnancy by preventing chronic pain, treating epilepsy and seizures, boosting appetite, fighting anxiety, and potentially fighting cancer cells.
  • It is important to understand the difference between hemp oil and marijuana and to ensure that the CBD product being used has minimal amounts of THC.
  • Although research is limited, CBD is generally considered safe for pregnant dogs and does not pose significant risks. However, dosage should be monitored and high doses may induce sleep.
  • When purchasing CBD products for dogs, it is important to choose organic, non-GMO products from trusted manufacturers and to check for proper amounts of CBD as shown in the certificate of analysis.
Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Friday 15 March 2019
Last updated on
Monday 10 July 2023
cannabidiol for dogs
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Cannabidiol for dogs is quickly becoming a pet owner’s favorite supplement, and this is due to its wide-ranging therapeutic effects.

But how much do we know about CBD and its use in dogs?

This article looks at all the benefits of giving your dog cannabidiol, how CBD can help your dog through pregnancy and the potential side effects (if any?).

What is Cannabidiol or CBD?

Cannabidiol, CBD for short, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp, and which also happens to be one of the most potent natural medicines.

CBD contains a string of antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory agents, and generates a whole bunch of therapeutic effects that will help your furry friend get comfortable during and after pregnancy.

Cannabidiol is the second most potent compound in cannabis. It works just as effectively without the other hundred marijuana compounds – such as THC, the active ingredient in cannabis that makes you high. Cannabidiol is present in both cannabis and hemp but occurs in higher concentrations in hemp. It is not advisable to give your dog THC, however when extracted from marijuana, CBD oil does contain tiny amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, which may be unpleasant to animals. 

Difference between hemp oil and marijuana

Before you start giving your dog hemp supplements, it’s vital that you understand the differences between the effects of THC and CBD. While the latter is linked to higher energy levels, low anxiety, and general wellness, there is some risk in giving your pet hemp oil that contains THC in significant amounts. It’s not likely that the average hemp oil dealer will include THC in their products; however, there are still trace amounts that might not affect a person, but your dog can pick up.

THC can cause anxiety and strange behavior in people. It is safe to assume that it will do the same for dogs. But this is easy to avoid – just check for the lowest THC traces in the product and watch closely to see how the animal responds to the compound before using it consistently.

Benefits of CBD for Pregnant Dogs

Experts, such as CBD Central, recommend CBD to be used for treating existing ailments, but also to minimize discomfort. Remember, most diseases in dogs all have the same kinds of symptoms with humans– loss of appetite, change in behavior, nausea, pain, etc.

Finding a single supplement that can target all these symptoms is terrific in itself. But CBD gives you much more than that; it also prevents many diseases by strengthening the immune system, eliminating toxins, and streamlining many physiological processes.

The following are proven benefits for using CBD on your pet.

Prevents chronic pain

As strange as it might seem, dogs too, suffer from painful joints, and in particular, arthritis. This causes significant pain and inflammation – not to mention the chances of severe degenerative conditions.

CBD can be used to prevent or limit the extent of pain because of its ability to not only relieve pain, but to release hormones that make your dog feel happy – this will allow it to jump around the place even if sick. Inflammation is also common where the pain is, and the last thing you want is for your dog to have swellings while pregnant.

In addition to reducing pain, CBD also fights inflammation by changing the way the immune system responds to pain or injury. This will go a long way toward healing the cause of the pain, which is what’s needed to prepare the animal for whelping. 

CBD treats epilepsy and seizures

It can be frightening for pet owners to see their dog convulsing from seizures, and it’s worse because conventional medical science has no cure for epilepsy. But even this can be treated with CBD – keep in mind there’s an epilepsy drug currently approved by the FDA, and it works quite well. Give your pet large doses of CBD to manage the effects of epilepsy, and to get rid of those seizures entirely. 

CBD boosts appetite

Your dog needs a good appetite to get all the energy it needs for the pregnancy, but this can be a problem if there’s an issue of nausea or a general lack of interest in food. Since you don’t want to pump your pet full of medicines to get it to eat more food, the best option is to try a natural supplement that boosts appetite without any downsides. CBD regulates eating patterns without making your dog overeat, and it does this through a complex interaction with endocannabinoids and brain receptors that control things like sleep and mood.

CBD fights anxiety

Is your dog the anxious type? CBD is a calming compound that is perfect for preventing anxiety when your dog loses its nerves. Dogs are naturally sensitive to their environment, and for some dogs, this can feel can be compounded when taken to new places – so to minimize this experience, it’s a good idea to have the animal take CBD as a chewable treat before going out. It will help with obsessive pacing, paranoia, and other symptoms of anxiety.

CBD may fight cancer cells

One of the beauties of CBD is that it’s a strong antioxidant with the capacity to eliminate free radicals – and this is extremely important when strengthening the body against cancer.

There have been studies (here, too) about this and researchers have found that cannabidiol works by enhancing the immune system, which on its own can keep your dog safe from cancer; but it also helps to ease the symptoms of cancer such as nausea. Here are a few other ways CBD can be useful against cancer:

  • Reduces tumors 
  • Prevents cancer cells from generating energy
  • Strengthens the immune system to prevent cell deterioration 

Risks of Cannabidiol for Whelping Dogs

The question of how safe CBD is for animals cannot be answered definitively at this time because research up to this point has not included long term use.

What we do know from clinical trials is that it can be used safely, and we use the term safe carefully here, and does not pose a significant danger to a pregnant dog. However, the pet owner must be watchful so that the compound can be pulled the instant a reaction is noticed.

As a general rule, medication should be kept at a minimum when a dog is pregnant. However, in the case of a whelping dog, the dangers it poses can only be said to be mild at worst. CBD does not cause any hysteria, panic, or even dystocia. Instead, it relaxes the animal and makes whelping a lot less frightening. High doses may induce sleep, which may complicate things – however, small-moderate treatments are perfect for reducing stress associated with whelping.

Is CBD Safe for Pregnant Dogs?

The question of how safe CBD is for animals cannot be definitively answered at this time due to limited research on long-term use. However, what we do know from clinical trials is that CBD can be used safely without posing a significant danger to pregnant dogs. It’s important for pet owners to be vigilant and discontinue the use of CBD if any adverse reactions are noticed.

As a general rule, medication should be minimized during pregnancy. However, in the case of pregnant dogs, the potential risks of CBD are considered mild at worst. CBD does not cause hysteria, panic, or complications during whelping. Instead, it helps relax the animal and make the birthing process less frightening. While high doses may induce sleep, small to moderate treatments are ideal for reducing stress associated with whelping.

Frequently asked questions on CBD for dogs

Cannabidiol is a hyped up product and not every dog owner understands what exactly are the risks and benefits. This article explained these.

Now, we want to cover some ad-hoc questions a lot of dog breeders have about CBD.

Is CBD good for my dog?

Cannabidiol is safe because it is non-toxic and it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects.

It relaxes the animal and reduces pain and anxiety – not to mention the impact it has on the immune system, which boosts the dog’s ability to fight diseases and infections.

Is there any warning or advice about purchasing CBD for animals?

Always purchase pure CBD extract without any added chemicals or preservatives. This way, your pet won’t be exposed to unpleasant side effects. Healthy CBD extract comes from hemp that is grown in an eco-friendly environment without the use of pesticides, fungicides, or solvents. Check the product packaging for information about how the product was produced.

What is the right dosage?

Dosage heavily depends on the size of the dog. Additionally, you must take into account the initial reason for giving CBD in the first place (intense pains, anxiety, etc).

Most products will have a dosage section on the label so that should help. However, if you can’t find information about that, it’s safe to stick with a very low dose, especially when starting out. This will give you plenty of space to observe how your dog responds to the compound, and any increments will be made with full knowledge.

A dose of 5-10mg is a safe starting point for a small dog.

How likely is an overdose?

It is virtually impossible to overdose on cannabidiol. This is part of the reasons why it is such a great supplement.

However, we should mention the importance of using non-THC products. There are some products out there that you can’t trust with your pet, so do some research to be on the safe side.

What can I expect after giving CBD to my dog?

The most common effects include:

  • Dry mouth – this is only temporary and only affects some (not all) dogs. If this happens, you will notice the dog will spend more time lapping up water.
  • Reduced blood pressure – by no means is this a danger to the animal. In fact, lowering blood pressure can help when dealing with an overactive dog because they will be inclined to rest.
  • Drowsiness – this only happens when CBD is consumed in high doses, and it’s more of a calming effect that should be used to quell something like anxiety.

Is it OK to give my dog human CBD?

This makes no difference whatsoever because what we’re talking about here is the same compound, cannabidiol. As long as the compound is pure and contains no strange additives, there should be no problem. 

How to include CBD in your dog’s diet

You can find dozens of different dog treats containing CBD, but there are also different CBD products on sale, so you have different methods to feed it to your dog. Your options include:

  • Capsules
  • Topicals
  • Tinctures
  • Dog treats
  • CBD oil

The tincture might be the best way to get pure CBD oil into the dog’s system, but you’ll find that dog treats are more fun for the pet. 

Things to look out for when purchasing CBD for your pet

The most important thing is to check whether the product is organic. Dogs are just as sensitive to artificial additives as people are, so what you need is a non-GMO product from a trusted manufacturer. If the product doesn’t contain CBD in the proper amounts, it might take a huge dose to get your pet to calm down if it’s having a panic attack, or when treating a different condition. Look for the certificate of analysis (COA) to learn more about what’s in the product before purchasing.

Also, stay away from cheap products because they’re likely to contain unhealthy chemicals. Quality trumps price here, so stick with the best dog CBD you can find. This way, your pet will get full benefits without any downsides. If you’ve been hesitant about CBD, don’t be; there’s really no other extract that compares to this little wonder, so if your dog is pregnant, start giving it CBD treats today. 

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