You may know a good bit about how CBD can help you, but how much do you know about how it can benefit your dog? Here, we’ll give you a rundown of the science of CBD in dogs and talk about those increasingly popular CBD dog treats.

CBD for Pets: The Science Behind the Claims

The reason dogs can benefit from CBD is that they, like us (and all other mammals) have an endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of different types of receptors that interact with cannabinoids like CBD and regulates many of the body’s processes like mood, sleep, inflammation, and pain, among others.  We should note that, while CBD is completely safe for dogs even in large doses, THC should be avoided for its intoxicating effects. THC can even be fatal to dogs in high concentrations, so keep THC brownies out of your dog’s reach!

So what are the specific effects of CBD on your dog’s system? We’re about to get a bit technical but bear with us. First of all, CBD acts on your dog’s vanilloid, adenosine, and serotonin receptors, which together improve their mood and create a sense of calm. Adenosine receptors are especially important to anxiety, and CBD’s action on those receptors helps boost dopamine levels, producing antidepressant and anxiolytic effects and making your pooch feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Speaking of comfort, CBD can also help with pain in dogs. This is because CBD activates a receptor called TRPV-1, which affects inflammation, pain perception, and temperature. CBD regulates the action of this receptor and eases pain and inflammation caused by a variety of conditions, from arthritis to diabetes to gastrointestinal illness.

CBD can also be beneficial for dogs with cancer, as it blocks GPR55 signaling, a type of chemical messaging within the body that encourages cancer cells to multiply. Without this signaling, some cancer growth can be slowed or halted altogether.

What Can CBD Help My Dog With?

Since CBD helps soothe inflammation systemically, it can help ease a wide variety of common conditions, including:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Appetite loss and digestive problems
  • Arthritis, and other joint and mobility issues
  • Cancer or tumors
  • Skin issues
  • Seizures and epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Muscle spasms

Which CBD Product Is Right for My Dog?

Here is a little secret: you don’t have to buy pet-specific CBD products because, aside from possibly being shaped like a dog biscuit, there is no difference between CBD for dogs and CBD for humans—it is the exact same active ingredient!

As you would with CBD for yourself, shop for a product that has a short ingredient list, limited to a carrier oil and CBD or hemp extract (avoid flavored products for your pet). Steer clear of tinctures or capsules with extra unpronounceable ingredients (though gelatin in the capsules is okay; it’s necessary to keep the CBD oil contained), which could potentially be bad for your pet and will definitely decrease the purity of the product you’re getting. This is one of the reasons we recommend adding the CBD yourself over buying pre-made treats, as it’s easier to ensure that the CBD used is of high quality. Similarly, avoid any “Human” CBD Oil that has flavors, for example, peppermint, lemon, citrus, etc.  For more information on selecting a reputable company or product, check out our comprehensive CBD buyer’s guide.

CBD Dog Treats: Worth the Hype?

Don’t get us wrong:  CBD dog treats are great for a lot of reasons. They make incorporating CBD into your dog’s routine simple for you, not to mention delicious for them. They’re also convenient since you just need to buy one product. That said, CBD dog treats can be expensive, and because of their long ingredient lists, it can be difficult to determine the purity of the CBD or hemp extract used to make them.

If you’re looking for the same easy dosing without the guesswork, you can add CBD to your dog’s favorite treats yourself. The simplest way to do this is by using CBD tincture: simply apply a few drops to your dog’s preferred treats, then serve and let them know who’s a good boy! CBD tincture is available in a variety of dosage strengths, allowing you to purchase a concentration that suits your pet’s needs.

Dosage: How Much CBD to Give your Dog

When it comes to figuring out what dosage your dog needs, you’ll need to consider the size of your dog and the severity of their condition. It is generally accepted that a reasonable starting dose for your dog is 1-5mg CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. You won’t overload them, and you can always take the dose up from there if you need to. If you’re using a tincture, this amounts to just over half a dropper full. If you’re using 1000mg strength, about two drops will suffice.

If you have a larger dog, CBD soft gel capsules are also an option, allowing you to give larger doses without dousing a treat in CBD tincture. Available in 15 or 25mg CBD dosages, these squishy gel capsules can be enveloped in anything from a pill pocket to a slice of deli meat or cheese to peanut butter and given to your dog. If you have a large breed dog, or one suffering from chronic ailments such as arthritis, heart disease, or cancer, CBD softgels may help make dosing easier for both you and your pet.


CBD dog treats are a wonderful delivery mechanism that can have a measurable impact on your pet’s health while staying palatable. You don’t need to fork out for fancy dog treats made with CBD though; you can get the same effects from adding the CBD yourself, just before consumption.

Kat Austin

Kat Austin

After a difficult pregnancy, simultaneously worsening back injuries, increased anxiety, and more intense migraines, Kat was seeking relief but was being offered a myriad of prescriptions that left her, like many others, with unwanted side effects. Upon discovering the medical benefits of cannabis and CBD, she has seen a complete transformation in her life. Through her writing, extensive research, and analysis, Kat hopes to give you the tools you need to design your most effective health regimen.