Cannabidiol (CBD) has become an increasingly popular supplement for both humans and pets in recent years. CBD is derived from the hemp plant and does not cause psychoactive effects like THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. While CBD is generally considered safe, pet owners still have questions about the right dosage for their furry companions.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not have intoxicating effects. Instead, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a signaling system found in all mammals that helps regulate various body functions like pain, mood, appetite, and more. In humans and animals, CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-nausea, and pain-relieving effects.
For pets like dogs, CBD oils and treats are commonly used to help relieve chronic pain, arthritis, seizures, anxiety from conditions like separation anxiety or noise phobias, and cancer-related symptoms like lack of appetite and nausea from chemotherapy.
Is 500mg of CBD too much for a dog?
Whether a dose of 500mg CBD is too much depends on the size and weight of the dog. CBD dosage recommendations are not standardized, but general guidelines say to give 1-5mg CBD per 10 pounds of body weight twice per day. So for a 50 pound dog, a normal CBD dose would be 25-125mg total per day. 500mg is on the very high end of this range and may be too much.
Factors like the concentration or strength of the CBD product also matter. A 500mg CBD oil product with 30ml of carrier oil is much less concentrated and lower dose per drop than a 500mg CBD oil with only 10ml of carrier oil, for example. The dog’s tolerance to CBD and the severity of symptoms being treated are also important considerations. More severe health conditions may call for higher doses.
Potential risks of too much CBD for dogs
Giving a dog too much CBD is not usually dangerous, as the World Health Organization reports that CBD is very well tolerated in humans and animals with a wide margin of safety. However, potential side effects of too high a dose can include:
- Lethargy or drowsiness
- Appetite changes
- Dry mouth
In very high doses, CBD may cause nausea and vomiting. CBD can also interact with certain medications, so it is important to consult with a veterinarian before using.
Signs your dog is getting too much CBD
Look for these signs that your furry friend may be getting more CBD than needed:
- Lethargy, lack of energy, excessive sleeping
- Loss of appetite or disinterest in food
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Confusion or change in normal behavior
- Walking unsteadily or poor coordination
- Dry mouth or excessive thirst
Proper CBD dosing guidelines for dogs
To avoid overdosing, follow these generally accepted CBD dosing guidelines for dogs:
- Give 1-5mg CBD per 10 lbs body weight
- Start with low dose and gradually increase every 5-7 days if needed
- Give dose 2 times per day, mornings and nights are best
- Always follow label directions for any CBD product
- Monitor dog closely for 2 hours after first dose or adjustment
- Keep accurate notes on dose given and effects/reactions
- Consult veterinarian for dose advice and approval
- Never exceed manufacturer’s maximum recommended dose
For a 50 pound dog, a typical dose range would be 25-125mg total per day split into 2 doses of 12.5-62.5mg. Higher end doses from 100-125mg may be appropriate for severe pain, cancer symptoms, epilepsy or other serious health conditions under veterinary guidance.
Best practices when giving CBD to dogs
These tips will help ensure proper dosing and safety when giving CBD to canine companions:
- Always purchase from reputable brands that provide third party lab testing
- Choose organic CBD products without additives or preservatives
- Pick proper format for dog – oils, treats, capsules, topicals
- Calculate exact dose based on dog’s weight
- Start with low dose and increase slowly as needed
- Find the lowest effective dose to avoid excess CBD
- Monitor dog for 2+ hours for effects of CBD dose
- Keep CBD safely out of reach of children and pets
Are high doses of CBD safe for dogs?
Doses of CBD much higher than the recommended dosages are generally considered safe for dogs, but may cause some avoidable side effects. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center states that the upper limit where CBD shows no toxic effects in dogs is up to 20mg/kg of body weight. This would equal a 1,400 mg dose for a 70 lb dog. However, side effects are still possible at these upper level doses.
One 2021 study published in Vet Record gave dogs 20mg/kg CBD doses (full spectrum CBD oil) daily for 6 weeks. Minor side effects of diarrhea, vomiting, and dry mouth symptoms were observed in the first week but then subsided. Blood tests also showed no significant changes over the 6 week period. While considered very safe, the ASPCA does not recommend such high 20mg/kg doses as a typical starting point.
Evidence does suggest high doses of CBD like 1500mg or more may be well tolerated in dogs, but more research is still needed. Pet owners should stick with conservative dosing guidelines and monitor their pet closely when first using CBD or increasing dosage.
What concentration of CBD oil is best for dogs?
When choosing a CBD oil or tincture product for a dog, it’s important to consider the concentration or potency of the product:
- Low concentration – 100mg CBD per bottle or less
- Medium concentration – 250-500mg CBD per bottle
- High concentration – 1000-2000mg+ CBD per bottle
Higher potency CBD oils have a higher cost per volume, but allow more precise dosing by better controlling the amount given. For small and medium size dogs, low to medium concentration CBD oils (100-500mg bottles) are often best. For large 80+ lb dogs, higher potency CBD oils may be more economical and convenient.
CBD oil concentration for different dog sizes
Here are general CBD concentration recommendations based on dog size when using CBD oil tinctures:
|Dog Size||CBD Oil Concentration|
|Small dogs under 25 lbs||100-250mg CBD/bottle|
|Medium 25-50 lb dogs||250-500mg CBD/bottle|
|Large 50-80 lb dogs||500-1000mg CBD/bottle|
|Extra large 80+ lb dogs||1000-2000mg CBD/bottle|
Choosing the right CBD oil concentration for your dog’s size will make dosing easier. The package dosing chart will better match your pet’s needs versus using a very low or very high concentration oil.
Should I consult my vet before giving CBD to my dog?
It’s always a good idea to talk with your veterinarian before giving your pet any new supplement like CBD. Your vet can review all medications and supplements your dog is taking to check for any potential interactions with CBD. They can also help develop proper dosing guidelines tailored to your dog.
Reasons to consult a veterinarian before using CBD include:
- Making sure CBD won’t interact with any current medications or treatments
- Determining the best CBD dosage for your dog’s size and condition
- Monitoring your dog’s reaction to CBD and any needed dosage adjustments
- Avoiding complications if your dog has certain medical conditions
- Ensuring you purchase a high quality CBD product
Your veterinarian may request you monitor your dog’s symptoms and reactions to CBD for a period of time to determine ideal dosing and effectiveness. Keeping your vet informed about use of CBD provides the best care for your pet.
Talking with your veterinarian about using CBD
When discussing CBD use with your vet, here are some helpful topics to cover:
- Tell the reason you are interested in using CBD with your dog (anxiety, pain, cancer, etc)
- Ask about proper dosing for your dog’s size and condition
- Inform them of any other supplements or medications your dog takes
- Commit to monitoring your dog closely for reactions to CBD
- Ask for dose titration guidance to increase gradually if needed
- Discuss types of CBD products best suited to your dog
- Talk about optimal frequency – once daily, twice daily, etc
- Report any side effects or reactions to your vet
- Schedule follow up appointments to review effectiveness
Having an open discussion with your vet ensures your dog benefits from CBD while staying healthy and safe. They can provide oversight as you determine the ideal CBD regimen.
Choosing high quality CBD products for dogs
With the rising popularity of CBD for pets, more and more CBD products for dogs are hitting the market. However, not all are created equal when it comes to safety, quality, and effectiveness. Here are tips for choosing high quality CBD products for your dog:
- Buy from trusted retailers – Many pet stores and online retailers now carry CBD, but lesser known brands may have questionable quality.
- Review COAs – Ask brands for certificates of analysis (COAs) from third party lab testing to prove safety and CBD levels.
- Avoid unnecessary ingredients – Choose simple CBD oils over CBD products with lots of fillers or flavorings.
- Check hemp source – CBD should be sourced from organic, non-GMO hemp grown in the USA or Europe for safety.
- Look for full spectrum oils – Full spectrum CBD retains other beneficial hemp compounds vs. CBD isolate alone.
- Know about potency – Higher potencies allow more dosing flexibility for different dog sizes.
Doing your homework helps ensure your dog receives all the benefits of CBD without any risks from low quality additives or contaminants. Consult your vet on which CBD brands they recommend or have found to be of high quality.
Frequently asked questions about CBD dosage for dogs
What is the proper CBD dosage for a 50 lb dog?
A suitable CBD dosage for a 50 lb dog would be 25-125mg total per day according to general dosing guidelines of 1-5mg CBD per 10 lbs of body weight. This total daily dosage can be split into two 12.5-62.5mg doses given about 12 hours apart.
How many mg of CBD should I give my 35 lb dog?
For a 35 lb dog, a typical CBD dose would range from 17.5-87.5mg total per day. A good starting amount is around 35mg total split into two doses of roughly 17.5mg each.
What dose of CBD should I give my 15 lb dog?
A 15 lb dog falls into the lowest weight category for CBD dosing. Total daily dosage recommendations would be 7.5-37.5mg. A suitable dose to start with would be around 15mg per day split into two doses of approximately 7.5mg CBD each.
Should I give my 30 lb dog CBD oil or treats?
Both CBD oil and CBD dog treats can be effective ways to administer CBD to a 30 lb dog. Oils allow for more precise dosing, while treats are easier to administer. Check dosage recommendations on treats to ensure proper CBD levels for a 30 lb dog. Monitor effects with either option to find the best fit.
Can I give my dog human CBD oil?
You can technically give a dog human CBD oil, but the potency and concentration may not be ideal for pets. It’s better to purchase a pet-specific CBD oil, as the flavors and formulations will be more palatable for animals. Dosing is also more straightforward when using a CBD oil made just for pets.
How long does a dose of CBD last in dogs?
In dogs, the effects of a CBD dose can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. This is why most dosing guidelines suggest giving CBD to dogs twice per day, as the effects will fade after a few hours. Monitoring how long CBD effects seem to last in your dog can help you schedule their dosing appropriately.
What is the best time of day to give CBD to dogs?
Most veterinarians recommend giving CBD doses when your dog’s endocannabinoid system is most active – usually mornings and evenings. A typical CBD schedule is one dose early morning and one dose early evening. This covers the majority of the day while avoiding late doses that can cause wakefulness.
While CBD is very safe for dogs, proper dosing is important. A dose of 500mg CBD oil may be too much for some dogs based on their size and the concentration of the product. Smaller dogs should stick to lower doses in the range of 7.5-37.5mg twice per day. Following dosage guidelines based on your dog’s weight will provide a safe starting point. Monitoring your dog’s reactions will help determine if CBD is providing the desired benefits without any negative side effects.
Consult with your veterinarian before starting CBD, especially if your pet takes any medications or has certain health conditions. With professional oversight and high quality CBD products, your dog can safely benefit from this popular supplement.