Cannabis for dogs is considered by many pet owners to be a therapy option for skittish pets with high anxiety levels but current research shows CBD is effective for even more serious degenerative diseases like Canine Hip-dysplasia, Osteo-arthritis, Epilepsy or Cancer.
Another reason people may want to offer medical cannabis to their dogs is for pain relief–particularly in older animals who are suffering or have difficulty moving about due to advanced age.
Like humans, medical cannabis’ success for animal patients depends on the proper dosage–and weight has the most bearing on proper dosage.
How Much CBD For Dogs?
A lot of people say they want to start giving cannabis or CBD medicine to their pet, but they’re not quite sure about the right dose. What is the best way to calculate the ideal amount of CBD for your furry companion?
The short answer is, there’s a dosing range that is recommended to start at–it’s best to begin at the low end and base the starting dosage on your dog’s body weight using a mg/kg benchmark.
Start with a minimal amount (0.25-0.5 mg / kg) of canine body weight, per day. Then, every few days, slowly increase the dose until you’ve achieved the desired effect for whatever is being treated.
Once you’ve achieved the outcome for your pet (eg. pain-relief, etc.), then you’re probably done making dosage adjustments and you can maintain that level of CBD on a regular daily maintenance schedule.
Over time, adjustments can be made, up or down, depending on the observed effectiveness.
During the next few weeks your pet will be able to take more medicine without any demonstrable side effects. Medical cannabis is not the answer for all pets. Some animals do better on it than others, just like people. For animals, the dosage must be adjusted to ensure that the tincture will be effective. When in doubt, err on the side of under-dosing because you can always slowly increase the dose and monitor the effect.
Cannabis is medicine and its dosing should be carefully calculated. It’s important to know the concentration of both THC and CBD in milligrams for one’s own pet. Once you have that information, you can look for a product that suits your pet’s needs. Again, go-low & go-slow!
CBD Dosage For Dogs
What Is The Optimal Dosage of CBD?
An effective dosage can range from as little as a few milligrams of CBD-enriched cannabis oil to a gram or more. Begin with a small dose of high CBD especially if you have little or no experience with cannabis.
Administer a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose. Use the same dose and ratio for several days. Observe the effects and if necessary adjust the ratio or amount. Don’t overdo it. Cannabis compounds have ‘biphasic properties’, which means that low and high doses of the same substance can produce opposite effects. Small doses of cannabis tend to stimulate; large doses sedate.
Too much THC, while not lethal, can amplify anxiety and mood disorders. CBD has no known adverse side effects, but an excessive amount of CBD could be less effective therapeutically than a moderate dose. Less is more is often the case with respect to cannabis therapy.
CBD Supplements for Dogs
Medical cannabis for pets comes in different forms, such as CBD capsules, CBD oils, or treats and dog biscuits.
CBD or Cannabidiol is a natural compound produced by the Cannabis or hemp plant. CBD possesses amazing healing properties due to its action on the endocannabinoid system, which is present throughout the body in all animals. When the endocannabinoid system is functioning optimally, the body is better able to preserve homeostasis or balance for enhanced health and wellness.
Some medical cannabis products in the United States are available at veterinary clinics, pet healthcare clinics, and grooming salons. In Europe, countries such as Greece, Finland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain allow medical cannabis treatments and imports, which some pet owners may use for pets.
Medical cannabis in the form of CBD Oil, which has no psychoactive effects, has not been approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and so not all veterinarians are on board with medical cannabis for pets.
However, speaking with the vet about your dog’s pain or anxiety is highly recommended prior to CBD Oil treatment.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
CBD from hemp is, in essence, a food with very beneficial effects on canine health. As such, it should be considered as just one of the many components to your dog’s total daily wellness regimen–like proper diet, exercise and behavior training.
Determining an effective dose of CBD for your dog depends on a number of different factors: size (weight) of your dog, breed, health condition, disease history, concentration of CBD plus individual variances in metabolism and delivery mechanism (see more under Sublingual Application).
1) Short-term: as needed to provide relief of symptoms like joint or muscle pain, anxiety, nausea and digestive distress,
2) Long-term: daily regular use to promote systemic balance, stress-reduction and longevity. The anti-inflammatory action of CBD is useful for managing and reducing a wide range of chronic symptoms as well.
The effects of orally administered CBD-rich cannabis oil can last for four hours or more, but the onset of effects is much slower (30-90 minutes) than inhalation.
CBD Oil For Dogs Side Effects
The most appropriate delivery system for CBD-rich cannabis is one that provides an optimal dose for a desired duration with as few unwanted side effects as possible.
Medical cannabis products with CBD and low- or zero-levels of THC have very few noticeable side effects in pets – the most severe might be drowsiness. In addition, cannabis toxicity as a result of pet consumption of cannabis edibles is nonfatal and causes no known long-term side effects.
However, due to the known side effects of high-THC strains of cannabis on animals (to which dogs are highly sensitive), medical cannabis products containing CBD oil (and no THC) are recommended for pets. Administering high-THC cannabis products to a dog can result in THC overdose, or static ataxia.
The cost of providing a constant stream of CBD oil or other CBD supplement for a pet per month is estimated at $20 to $40 per month in the US–which is less than comparable prescription drug medications to treat the same pain or anxiety with little or no side-effects.
– CBD Oil is non-toxic, non-habit forming and non-psychoactive. CBD Oil for pets does not produce a “high” as it does not contain marijuana, THC or any other psychoactive compounds. CBD is not known to interact negatively with any other medications or supplements and is considered safe and beneficial for aging and elderly pets.
– Although banned by federal law, measurable doses of potent CBD-rich cannabis remedies are available in many non-smokable forms and can be utilized in various ways. The time of onset and duration of effect vary depending on the method of administration. CBD-rich cannabis oil products can be taken sublingually, orally (as edibles, lozenges, beverages, tinctures, and gel caps), or applied topically.
– For best results, the majority of dog owners use a dropper style tincture to administer CBD to their furry friends.
Finding The Sweet Spot
It’s important to emphasize that every dog is different.
As any pet owner knows, dogs come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny Chihuahua to Great Danes and everything in between. For each breed, the dosage of CBD is always going to be different, meaning you should begin with a lowest dose and gradually increase over time.
Once you begin dosing your dog with CBD finding the optimum ‘sweet spot’ for treating your pet will require a systematic diligence on your part, so be prepared to keep a Daily Canine Journal.
Write everything down–take copious notes. Over a period of time start to look for trends. Try and notice nuances towards a change in your dog’s behavior, activity level and in the general quality of life of your dog. Be observant and write it down. Consistency is what is going to determine the window of opportunity to fully capture the healing benefits of CBD.
Since every dog is going to have a different reaction to CBD it’s important to be vigilant in the beginning to measure and document his response.
Your dog’s journal should include his daily dietary intake of food, water, treats and activity levels along with your own impressions of his moods, behaviors and personal idiosyncrasies. These interpretations are recorded at each level of CBD administration. The idea is to calibrate a regimen for your dog that uses the least amount of CBD to achieve the desired effect.
This is a period of trial and error. CBD is not so much ‘condition-specific’ (Ie. arthritis vs epilepsy) as it is an individual dog specific medication. You, the Pet Parent, are the best source to determine actual effective dosage. This is an experiment so go-low & go-slow. Start with a low amount and titrate up until you find the effective ‘sweet spot’.
Be willing to engage in the science of healing your dog. The work you put in now will be justly rewarded later when you see your dog acting, feeling & behaving infinitely better.
If after giving your dog a tiered amount of CBD (over a two week or month period) and you still don’t see the results you want or expect, just know that not all dogs respond the same–even to the same CBD source. Be aware that a different CBD may provide the long-lasting relief you and your dog were seeking. It may take two or three trials of different CBD products over a three to six month period to hone in on the best source for your specific dog.
Discovering the optimum dosage for your dog is like trying to hit a moving target–but with diligence and patience you can find your dog’s CBD dosage Sweet Spot.
Also, with animals we must avoid thinking in terms of human-sized doses. The general rule of thumb is this: give the smallest dose possible and gradually work your way up until you find the smallest yet most effective dosage level. And be prepared to alter that dosage up or down (titrate) for desired effect.
But knowing exactly what dosage you’re giving your pet can be tricky. Very few of the products you find will have an actual concentration dosage recommendation listed on the label. And because many of the products on the market are highly potent and animals have a smaller body size, we have to be extra careful.
Before starting your pet on a course of action make sure you understand the applications and limitations in using CBD.