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CBD Oil for Dogs with Pain: How It Can Ease Discomfort

Red and white terrier laying on a white bed

There’s plenty of hype today about the endless  benefits of CBD oil for dogs in pain, and how it can ease discomfort in dogs. With so many CBD pet products to choose from, it’s best to understand a bit about all the scientific jargon out there before you decide which CBD product is best for your pooch.

Dogs like people feel pain when sick or injured. That said, pain management is a routine part of the physical examination and treatment plan in veterinary medicine. With pain comes different types of behaviors linked to a physical problem. It may be aggression, lethargy or other behavioral changes. It’s up to each pet parent to be able to recognize the signs of pain in their dogs, since dogs may act differently when in pain.

Your veterinarian will diagnose the problem, and select the right treatment plan for effective pain management in your dog. Before choosing a CBD oil for pain management, it is best to consult with your veterinarian first.

Types of Pain in Dogs

Because dogs cannot communicate in the same way as people, it makes it all the more necessary for pet parents to  spot the signs of chronic pain in their dogs. These may include the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Decreased activity
  • Lack of grooming
  • Unusual aggression
  • Reluctance to lie down
  • Anxiety or unusual restlessness
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Personality changes
  • Irritability
  • Biting, licking or rubbing against the painful area.
Black and white photo of a dog  Laying in the living room

Veterinarians will need to reduce stress and provide all-round care for an effective pain treatment regime. That said, it’s important to always discuss with your veterinarian alternate  methods of pain treatment, since traditional methods like opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and other drugs may be prescribed as the first option for pain management. With both acute and chronic pain, a combination of drug and nondrug methods may be effective in treating pain.

Hemp CBD may help with the following conditions:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Canine depression
  • Separation anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Seizures
  • Allergies
  • Lessen the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation

What is CBD Oil?

White Bichon in a grey outfit sitting on a comfy chair in the winter

Hemp refers to the cannabis varieties that are grown as an agricultural crop, and also contain low amounts of THC(tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is federally illegal in the US if it contains a higher amount than the O.3% allowed for use, though it’s been approved for both recreational and medical use in Canada, and numerous US states.  WebMD also explains further what CBD is and does.

For all CBD pet products to be legal, they need to have less than 0.3% THC. CBD is natural, safe, and is derived from hemp and cannabis. Most CBD dog products will use CBD from hemp. That said, there is no “high” and dogs will not consume THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, resulting in psychoactive effects with your dog getting “high”.

CBD is a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid and yields therapeutic and medicinal purposes for dogs. To help you understand more about the benefits of CBD oil for dogs dealing with pain, let’s look at some research.

CBD Oil for Dogs with Pain

The potency of CBD oils both in capsule form and those in bottles with droppers are much more potent and are sometimes more difficult to administer to difficult dogs that don’t take meds via droppers.

A few product lines contain phytocannabinoids, terpenes and fatty acids which support a huge range of ailments like phobias, joint pain, inflammation, digestive issues, mobility, seizures, and anxiety. Since we’re talking about CBD for pain, let’s look at the numerous benefits of CBD oil for dogs dealing with pain.

CBD Oil Benefits for Pain and Other Ailments in Dogs

Yellow dog looking worried being held by their owner
  • Pain reliever
  • May help with canine depression resulting from pain
  • May provide relief from cancer side effects like chemotherapy and radiation
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat by preventing sebaceous gland cells from secreting too much sebum
  • May provide benefits to dogs with neurological disorders
  • Helps decrease inflammation in dogs
  • May help prevent cognitive decline
  • May be beneficial for cardiac health
  • CBD may be beneficial in preventing tumor growth
  • CBD helps with diabetes prevention by reducing diabetes up to 56% and reducing associated inflammation in diabetic dogs.
  • Digestive issues
  • Blood disorders
  • Fights off free radicals, and may prevent the development of cancer

That said, there still needs to be more research done on the benefits of CBD as an effective treatment for the above-mentioned health conditions.

What to Look for in CBD Oil Products for Dogs?

French Bulldog Laying on a wood floor
  • Hemp CBD should be 100% food grade
  • Should be made using CO2 extraction
  • No solvents like butane
  • Full-spectrum lab testing by a third party for purity and potency
  • Lab certificates need to be available for all pet parents
  • Pesticide and herbicide free
  • Made with non-GMO hemp
  • Grain-free functional chews if purchasing CBD DOG TREATS
  • Numerous flavors in treats like pumpkin, turkey, sweet potato, blueberry with antioxidant properties.

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Tips on CBD Oil for Dogs in Pain?

  • Ask for proper and accurate labeling and dosage instructions.
  • Look at each CBD product and research what each CBD product does and does not contain.
  • Find out where and how it was manufactured.
  • Look at the research and find out more about the potential therapeutic effects
  • Find out more about the risks with the specific CBD product by understanding the exact composition. Just because others are purchasing it, does not mean it’s right for your dog. Consult with your vet first!
  • Look for misleading labels.
  • Look out for harmful contaminants which may be potentially deadly. (Know what to look for)
  • Research the 3rd party labs associated with your CBD product.
  • Make sure that CBD dog products are used responsibly

With all CBD dog products including edibles, the dosage will vary according to the brand you choose. Dogs will need different dosages, so it’s important to discuss with your vet first prior to using any CBD dog product. Consult with your veterinarian for safe and accurate dosage instructions.

Safety and CBD Oil for Dogs

German Shepherd laying on the floor with its head resting on a wooden step

Finding out whether your CBD oil is safe for your dog is simple enough to do! Today with the unsanctioned medical use of CBD- based products containing a variety of oils, supplements, gums, and some with a very high concentration of extracts, it is all the more important to understand safety issues related to CBD oil use in dogs, and to understand what to look out for when purchasing a safe, high-quality CBD oil for your pooch, that is free of contaminants.

With all the recent research available, you’ll become familiar with CBD dosing and safety standards, and learn more about why the purity and consistency of CBD oil are important, and also, most importantly, about any safety precautions your dog should take when consuming CBD oil in any CBD pet product.

CBD Possible Side Effects in Dogs

CBD may have the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Studies have also shown that it may also act as a blood thinner by increasing the levels of Coumadin in the blood. It may also increase the levels of other medications that your dog is on. That said, consult with your veterinarian prior to purchasing or using any CBD products on your dog. Your veterinarian will be able to discuss the recommended and safe dosing for a particular CBD pet product with you.

Numerous CBD oils will need to begin at 0.5mg/kg twice daily over a period of three days. This is increased to 1mg/kg twice daily over three days. Your veterinarian will be able to help you calculate the correct CBD dose and to convert your dog’s weight in pounds or kilograms. The dose needs to get multiplied by the number of kilograms to get the dose in milligrams. Always consult with your veterinarian prior to using CBD on your dog.

Harvard Health blog adds that “Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently being mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.”

Why Full Spectrum Oil is Best?

Old White Chihuahua Laying on a plush cushion

When looking at all the  CBD pet products, the most important consideration is if a CBD product uses an isolate or a full-spectrum oil. A full spectrum oil is the most potent and is derived from the entire plant.

The extraction of the oil takes place via a carbon dioxide process called CO2 extraction which entails using pressurized carbon dioxide to extract the CBD from the entire plant. CO2 functions as a solvent when reaching extreme temperatures, yet because it is under a boiling point, it’s cold. It is processed to create oil from the plant. It is also a clean and environmentally friendly process.

Natural Doggie is a brand of CBD pet products that uses full spectrum oil derived from non-GMO, organic colorado hemp.

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How Does CBD Oil Work in the Dog's Body?


CBD oil may be useful in numerous ways in the treatment of cancer, as well as for all the symptoms that accompany cancer treatment and that causes pain. Besides its ability to destroy certain cancer cells, and prevent the growth of blood vessels to tumors, CBD also offers antioxidant properties and may help slow down tumor growth. Recent studies demonstrate that CBD is effective in improving the efficiency of chemotherapy in people with cancer.

Recent studies published in the Harvard Health blog demonstrate that CBD oil is effective in reducing seizures. “In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD,” via Harvard Health blog. 1. Harvard Health goes on to explain how CBD is also effective in reducing anxiety and insomnia.

CBD for Cancer Pain

older cocker spaniel laying on a hardwood floor

With cancer pain being severe when tumors are affecting bone, CBD studies have demonstrated that it’s use has decreased pain and inflammation. Although CBD should not be used on its own for pain management, pet parents can add it to a regular pain treatment regime. Consult with your veterinarian for more advice.

According to theWorld Health Organization (WHO) “CBD oil may have the potential to kill certain cancer cells and stop tumor growth in blood vessels. It also may help with chemotherapy side effects in both humans and pets. Hemp contains other natural compounds like terpenes and flavonoids. That said, limonene, which is a terpene has been found to have anti-cancerous properties. CBD can be converted to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) under experimental conditions; however, this does not appear to occur to any significant effect in patients undergoing CBD treatment.”

So far, there have been no studies that show negative interactions between CBD and other drugs when dealing with pain management. The norms with pain management dosing for cancer pain is usually a “higher dose of CBD such as 2mg/kg to 3mg/kg twice daily,” via Animal Wellness, Volume 21, Issue 3, page 48.

Transdermal CBD Bioactivity

Boston terrier Laying On A White Fluffy Blanket

Another study from theEuropean Journal of Pain adds that CBD can be added to the skin to reduce pain and inflammation stemming from arthritis. Similarly, there have been numerous other studies demonstrating how CBD may be used to lessen inflammatory and neuropathic pain, which are two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat.

“Outcomes of this study indicate that topical application of CBD gel is an effective treatment for reduction in inflammation and hypersensitivity associated with the rodent adjuvant-induced monoarthritis model.” The results were in relation to the absence of psychoactive behaviors.

“CBD is a known non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and due to its low affinity for the CB1 receptors it would be expected that exploratory behavioral activity would be similar among treatment groups compared to negative side-effects associated with THC. These studies demonstrate transdermal administration of CBD has long-lasting therapeutic effects without psychoactive side-effects. Thus, the use of topical CBD has potential as an effective treatment of arthritic symptomatology,” via NCBI.

The bottom line on CBD oil for dogs is that as a responsible pet parent, it’s necessary to do the very best for your pooch, and that means asking your veterinarian if CBD oil is a good match for your dog. In short, purchasing a high-grade CBD oil that is made in the US, and consulting with your veterinarian for the correct dosing and advice about reputable manufacturers. That said, you’ll have the correct information on how to purchase the right CBD oil for your pooch!

CBD oil for pain in dogs By Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun
Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

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