Did you know there are three types of cannabis-related drugs? Or perhaps you've heard CBD comes from hemp. What about the 2018 Farm Bill? And then there's this shocking fact: Marijuana has been used by humans since 500 B.C.

Another fact you're likely hearing more about: CBD for dogs is becoming increasingly popular--both for pet owners and veterinarians. There are countless facts about CBD and its benefits. It's suggested for everything from soothing anxiety to helping reduce inflammation. It's recently become a veterinary darling, too. For more surprising facts about this popular supplement--as well as information on how it might help your dog--download our special report on CBD from Vet Candy.

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Have you ever wondered if CBD oil -- the substance often contained in hemp supplements -- could be a good option to help your dog? A good way to answer that question is to start by describing what CBD is and how it works within a dog’s body. CBD is short for active cannabidiol, which works by interacting with endocannabinoid receptors that exist in most living things on earth. Dogs have endocannabinoid receptors within them, which is why CBD is an effective way to change their behavior and reactions. In short, CBD can work within a dog’s body the same way it does with humans.

AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein says that in most cases CBD does not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannbinol (THC), the compound that produces psychoactive properties. CBD will not get your dog high, but it can affect certain aspects of your dog’s personality.

Is CBD a good option for your dog?

It’s a good idea to examine the pros and cons of CBD for dogs. Does your dog have severe pain or anxiety? If so, CBD could be a good option for your dog’s health. CBD may also be help if your dog experiences pain, anxiety, seizures, appetite issues or several other medical conditions. 

It’s important to note that CBD may come with some side effects, including allergic reactions. Check with your vet before administering. There is also no guarantee that CBD oil will work well for your dog, as every pup is an individual. 

Dogs and CBD

The author's dogs benefit from CBD.

What conditions can CBD treat?

CBD is used to treat many types of problems within humans and dogs, such as:


CBD oil might induce drowsiness, which can calm your dog’s anxiety. 


CBD oil is not proven to stop pain, but it has been shown to make some dogs less reactive. “Dogs seem to be less reactive to low-level pain stimuli such as from arthritis when taking CBD,” says Mark Verdino, DVM, senior vice president and chief of veterinary staff at the North Shore Animal League of America. 


The AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF) is studying the effects of CBD on dogs with epilepsy and frequent seizures. According to the researchers, many epilepsy medications available for dogs come with extreme side effects, which would make CBD oil appealing. CBD has minimal side effects in comparison.


Does your dog not eat enough? If so, CBD may be able to help as it’s been shown to increase a pet’s appetite. This would be helpful if your dog needs to gain weight or they have lost interest in their food. 


CBD oil contains anti-inflammatory properties which can help skin irritations, for example, and potentially reduce itchiness. 

Potential Side Effects

It is vital as a dog owner to be aware of everything that goes into your dog’s mouth. Here are some potential side effects that can come with CBD:


As mentioned earlier, this is how CBD can help calm your dog--yet perhaps that’s not your desire.  The amount of sleepiness your dog may experience depends on the dosage. 

Lowered blood pressure

CBD has been shown to lower blood pressure when given in high doses. Check with your vet before administering, to ensure it’s safe for your dog, and to determine the correct dosage.

Dry mouth

CBD can decrease the production of saliva. Ensure your dog has access to water after giving them CBD oil or a CBD treat. If your dog seems dehydrated, see your vet. 


This condition affects muscle control and has been seen in dogs taking CBD. The side effect is uncommon, yet if you notice your dog having trouble moving, immediately call your vet. 

Decreased liver enzyme activity

 Stop administering CBD and see your vet immediately if your dog experiences any of these potential, liver-related symptoms: 

Bottom Line: Find out what is best for your dog

As with anything pet related, it’s important to have an open and honest relationship about your pets with your veterinarian. According to Dr. Klein, administration of CBD oil for pets by veterinarians was against the law as recently as 2018. Some states have now legalized this practice, however. The best way to find out if your veterinarian can legally talk about CBD oil for your pet is to simply ask. More research needs to be done, but so far CBD seems to help pets in ways it helps humans. Only you know your pet best, so consult with your veterinarian if you feel CBD might be a good option for your dog. 

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