Everything You Need to Know About CBD For Your Dog

Increasingly, medical marijuana is being evaluated as a viable treatment for seizures, pain, anxiety, and even cancer. Now, the ingredient CBD is seen as a potential treatment for dogs. You’ll find plenty of information dotted around the internet. Some swear by CBD oil for dogs, while others worry that it’s harmful.

But, what’s the truth?

Should you give CBD oil to dogs? And if so, why and what effect does it have?

To dispel the myth and provide our readers with accurate, reliable information, we hit the books and the web. Below we’ll answer all your pressing questions, backed with the latest scientific evidence.

What is CBD oil?

Inside marijuana, there are over 80 different chemical compounds (cannabinoids) that provide amazing benefits.
Two of the most notable are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
The former is psychoactive – giving the feeling of being high – while the latter is not psychoactive. Instead, it works like an anti-inflammatory drug – such as ibuprofen – downgrading harmful processes and soothing chronic and troubling symptoms.
So, don’t worry that if you give CBD to your dog, it won’t end up zonked out. They can’t get high (only healthy).
Is CBD oil safe for dogs?
Just because your dog won’t get high doesn’t necessarily mean CBD oil is safe. Indeed, there’s plenty of concerns raised by internet activists.

There is no evidence that CBD is toxic to dogs, however.

But as the saying goes: the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Currently, there have been few studies investigating CBDs effect on dogs. It’s suspected that CBD would work similarly to people: activating endocannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, reducing pain and inflammation.
Until it’s formally tested, we cannot know for sure.

What is the legality of CBD in Australia?

Before we even begin to discuss possible benefits and uses: can you even buy CBD oil in Australia?
Yes! CBD oil is readily available in Australia – whether from online stores or selected vendors. However, CBD remains a Schedule 4 drug, meaning you need a prescription from your vet.
That can be tricky to get.

With limited evidence, most vets will be unfamiliar with CBD and may not be willing to write a prescription. Still, a growing number of vets are aware of CBD oil and are open to prescribing it for pets. It just takes a little research.
And, as the evidence base grows, they’ll be an increasing recognition amongst legal and medical communities. Expect CBD oil for pets to be easier to acquire in the coming years.

Why give dogs CBD oil?

Owners often administer CBD oil to dogs for similar reasons as in people. Though there is limited evidence proving beneficial effects, there is a substantial volume of anecdotal evidence for its efficacy.
Here are the most common scenarios for using CBD oils in dogs:

1. Arthritis

As many as 60% of dogs show some sign of arthritis. One in four dogs will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. That’s why many owners are now using CBD to treat osteoarthritis.

CBD works as an anti-inflammatory, providing substantial pain relief when given twice daily [1]. In the study, no side effects were reported, and a notable decline in pain was observed.

2. Pain

If CBD works to relieve arthritis pain, it stands to reason it works for all forms of inflammatory pain. That includes back pain and muscle pain.
No research exists to test this hypothesis currently.

3. Seizures

One of the most miraculous effects of CBD in people is the reduction in seizures. For people with epilepsy, CBD is rapidly becoming a lifeline. The same may also be true for dogs.
In a small study, CBD was administered to dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. The effect was a significant reduction in seizure frequency compared to a placebo group [2].
Further research is being planned to assess the efficacy of CBD in epileptic dogs. In particular, whether increasing the dosage has a more pronounced effect [3].

4. Cancer

CBD is used to treat both the tumour and the secondary symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy in people. CBD is particularly effective at reducing nausea from chemotherapy, helping cancer patients live a more normal life.
One study in rats and ferrets confirmed the anti-nausea effects of CBD. So, we know the mechanism isn’t exclusive to people [4]. There’s hope that what’s true for rats and ferrets is also true for dogs.

5. Anxiety

CBD is not psychoactive. There’s been some investigation of THC’s psychoactive properties in people – evaluating its anti-anxiety effects.
CBD, however, has no such effects. It will alleviate pain and inflammation, but there’s no evidence that it is useful for mental disorders.

Possible side effects of CBD in dogs

Almost every drug comes with side effects. In the current crop of canine CBD studies, there was little evidence of side effects witnessed by owners. But then, dogs aren’t the best at communicating symptoms, nor are owners always the most vigilant.
Possible side effects of CBD in dogs (according to what occurs in people) include:
– Dry mouth. Increased thirst and decreased saliva production are common.
– Drowsiness. Though CBD doesn’t affect anxiety, it can calm by inducing mild drowsiness at higher doses.
– Lowered blood pressure. A small, temporary drop in blood pressure is not unexpected


CBD is now a legal prescription drug for dogs in Australia. Preliminary and anecdotal evidence suggests it can help dogs with arthritis, chronic pain, seizures, and even cancer.
While further evidence is still needed, there doesn’t appear to be any significant negative effects. Indeed, if the stories are to be believed, millions of dogs could benefit from a dose of CBD oil.

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30083539/
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31067185/
3. https://www.akcchf.org/research/research-portfolio/2323.html
4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11973447/

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