Can You Give CBD to Dogs?
Dogs hold a special place in our hearts; they enrich our lives and are constant sources of happiness. As caring and responsible dog owners, we always want what is best for them. If you are currently giving your dog cannabidiol (CBD) as a health and wellness supplement, then it is important that you determine the proper dosage.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from industrial hemp (a variant of the cannabis plant with high levels of CBD). It belongs to the class of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that play a variety of functional roles in the mammalian body.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) via cannabinoid receptors located throughout the mammalian body. Consequently, research suggests that CBD may be effective in treating:
- Pain and inflammation
- Auto-immune disorders like arthritis
- Various forms of cancer
- Side effects from chemo- or radiation therapy
- Agitation (separation anxiety)
- Seizure disorders like epilepsy (anticonvulsant)
- Nausea and/or vomiting (antiemetic)
Furthermore, CBD helps promote an overall state of healthy balance in the mammalian body known as homeostasis. This benefit is most pronounced when the CBD is administered on a daily basis.
Can I Give My Dog too Much CBD?
CBD is an exceptionally safe compound. Most studies on its safety profile have been done on humans, but we share a great deal of biological similarity with our furry friends (including a fully-functioning ECS). Consequently, there has never been a recorded case of an overdose from CBD alone and a 2011 study in the peer-reviewed journal Current Drug Safety indicated that:
- Doses up to 1,500 mg a day were well-tolerated in humans (no serious side effects).
- A toxic dose would have to be about 20,000 mg (20 grams) in a very short period of time.
Because your dog is a mammal, its kidneys and liver will break down CBD before its levels can become toxic to their system. Furthermore, if you give your dog “too much” CBD, they will most likely feel fatigued and fall into a deep sleep.
As with any supplement, it is best to use CBD under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian to ensure that it does not interact with any medications or pre-existing conditions.
Can I Give My Dog too Little CBD?
In order to properly help your dog, it is important that you give them enough CBD so that it is actually effective. Some owners end up administering too little for fear of causing negative side effects.
However, the side effects of CBD are generally minimal, including:
- Changes in appetite
- Slight agitation and/or restlessness
- Gastrointestinal distress (nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea)
- Lowered blood pressure (CBD is a vasodilator, meaning it expands blood vessels)
- Fatigue and/or drowsiness (especially at a higher dose)
- Increased thirst due to a dry mouth
These side effects are generally temporary and will resolve themselves in a few days. It is important to remain observant and vigilant in case the side effects persist and a visit to the veterinarian becomes necessary.
Furthermore, researchers and veterinarians generally agree that there is a minimum effective dose of CBD for your dog: 10% of body weight. That means that the minimum effective dose for a 10-pound dog would be 1 milligram. Anything less than that and the CBD will have no meaningful effect on your dog’s health and will be effectively wasted.
What is the Correct CBD Dosage for My Dog?
Here comes the important part: determining how much to give your dog. We have established that CBD has an excellent safety profile, so let’s go over correct dosage amounts.
Veterinarians suggest this general rule of thumb: “go low and go slow”. Start at a low dose and increase it in 1 to 5-milligram increments until the desired effects are reached.
Furthermore, you will have to take into account your dog’s body weight in order to use the following formulas:
- Regular dose (mild to moderate symptoms): 0.25 (1/4) milligram for every 1 pound of weight.
- Strong dose (moderate to severe symptoms): 0.5 (1/2) milligram for every 1 pound of weight.
So let’s calculate these amounts for a dog that weighs 40 pounds:
- Regular dose: 40 X 0.25 = 10 milligrams
- Strong dose: 40 X 0.5 = 20 milligrams
Remember that these are just starting doses and they may always be decreased or increased, depending on the particulars of your dog’s health and metabolism. You may also use this convenient guide as a handy starting point.
As a loving and responsible dog owner, you can rest assured that CBD is a natural, effective, and especially safe supplement. Remember: a healthy dog is a happy dog!