Pets and CBD: The Basics and More

Want to give your pet CBD but don’t know where to start? Let us help! First we’ll cover the reasons people are giving their pets CBD, and then we’ll move on to helping you figure out what kind of dose to start with. Knowing what dose to use will make it easier for us to look at which options may be best for your pet! After we have the basics down, we’ll get into detail on the options available to you, how to use them, and possible side effects. There will be an FAQ section at the bottom, but feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!

Why Use CBD for Pets?

Humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the use of CBD! Colorado State University veterinarians used CBD to reduce seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Frontiers in Veterinary Science found that CBD usage prior to separation and car travel lessened canine stress. A 2021 survey conducted by veterinary researchers in Fort Collins, Colorado found that anxiety, stress, joint pain, and inflammation were the most commonly reported conditions that people were giving their pets CBD for. CBD was shown to lessen the inflammatory immune system response in horses with no negative side effects. We also get to hear firsthand from customers about their successes in introducing CBD to their pets for ailments such as nausea, neurodegenerative diseases, tumors, and cancer. You can find additional research and information in our blog CBD Oil for Dogs as well.

Selecting a Dose

Below we have information to help you find a starting dose of CBD for dogs and cats. Every animal is unique and dosing needs can vary from pet to pet. We see most people start with a low dose and slowly increase it until the desired effects are achieved. Most of the time people will start with the dose listed on the chart, but it’s okay to start lower if your pet is sensitive or you want to be extra cautious. When increasing the dose, people will usually adjust by small amounts, like 0.5 mg in cats and smaller dogs and 2.5 mg in medium to large dogs.

A chart with suggested starting doses of CBD for dogs and cats. Dogs under 15 pounds, 2.5 mg. Dogs 15 to 50 pounds, 5 mg. Dogs 50 to 75 pounds, 10 mg. Dogs over 75 pounds, 15 mg. Cats under 4 pounds, 0.5 mg. Cats 5 to 8 pounds, 1 mg. Cats 9 to 12 pounds, 2.5 mg. Cats over 12 pounds, 3 mg.

In the study we mentioned earlier with horses, researchers gave each horse 2 mg of CBD per 1 kilogram of body weight. So for example, if they used a horse in the study who weighed 1000 pounds (454 kilograms), they would have been using a dose of 908 mg. Something we have observed is that studies often use what we would consider to be high doses. With this in mind, you could always start with 1 mg of CBD per kilogram of weight or even 0.5 mg of CBD per kilogram of weight. We have also heard feedback that some customers are starting their horses out at a 50 mg dose and adjusting as needed. If you’re unsure of where to start with your horse, you can always consult your veterinarian.

Selecting a Product

When purchasing a CBD product for your pet, it’s important to understand the different types of CBD products available to you. We offer full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate based products. Full spectrum products are made using the entire hemp extract and include trace amounts of naturally occurring THC. Broad spectrum products are made using the hemp extract after it has gone through an additional process to remove the THC. CBD isolate products are made using just the CBD and no other components from the hemp extract. You can read more about the different types of hemp extract used to create our products in our blog titled What is the Difference Between Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and CBD Isolate?

Most people opt to give their pets broad spectrum or CBD isolate products, as they both contain zero THC.

Another useful tool for selecting what products to try is customer reviews! All of the products discussed in this blog have customer reviews on their product pages that you can check out. Just click the product link, scroll down to the description, and select the tab that says “Reviews.” Don’t forget that CBD can affect every pet differently, so what works best for one person may not be what works best for you.

What Makes A Product Safe For Pets To Use?

THC is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses and can cause loss of coordination, inactivity, incontinence, and increased sensitivity to lights, noise, and touch. This means that it’s very important to select a CBD product free from THC for your pet.

Due to the toxicity of THC and varying quality from brand to brand, it’s also best to make sure the product you select has been tested by a third-party lab. When a batch of product is tested by a third-party lab, they produce a COA, or certificate of analysis, stating the cannabinoid profile of the product tested. Not only can this COA assure you that the product you’re giving your pets is THC free, but it will also show you exactly how much CBD is in your product. You can find the certificates of analysis for our products at activecbdoil.com.

Products Made for Your Pets

It’s important to keep in mind the difference between milliliters (mL) and milligrams (mg). Milliliters indicate volume, or the amount of oil. Milligrams indicate mass or weight, in this case of CBD. This is crucial, as 1 mL of chicken oil and 1 mL of bacon oil contain vastly different amounts of CBD, being 10 mg and 4 mg respectively. But no worries! Every bottle of oil has a diagram on the side that tells you how many mg of CBD per 1 mL of oil.

Savory Pumpkin CBD Dog Treats

Our dog treats are popular with the pups! The pumpkin and chicken flavor is hard for dogs to resist. We make our dog treats using CBD isolate, so you can rest assured that they are THC free. A lot of people like the treats because they are arguably one of the easiest ways to give your dog CBD. No oil, no dropper, no measuring out a dose: just 5 mg of CBD per dog treat. These heart shaped treats can also easily be broken in half for little dogs that only need 2.5 mg.

120 mg Pet Tincture - Bacon

Do you have a cat or small dog? You might find this next section useful. Cats and small dogs tend to need smaller doses, and our bacon flavored tincture is made with this in mind. Due to the lower concentration of the bacon flavored oil, it can be much easier to accurately measure out small doses than with other oils. Similar to the dog treats, this oil is also made using CBD isolate and is THC free. If you have a cat under 4 pounds who only needs 0.5 mg at a time, this may be one of the most convenient to use options available.

300 mg Pet Tincture - Chicken

We use more of the hemp extract to make our chicken flavored tincture than either of the first two pet options! This pet tincture is made using broad spectrum CBD. You may recall that broad spectrum products are made using the majority of the hemp extract after the THC has been removed. Research suggests that the more parts of the hemp plant you have working together, the better results it could potentially produce. This is called the entourage effect and our blog Cannabinoids and Their Effects has additional information regarding some of the minor cannabinoids found within the hemp plant.

That being said, it’s common for people to express to us that they find the chicken flavored pet tincture to be more effective than our other two pet specific options. We see people using this tincture for pets of all sizes. It can be a bit tedious to measure out a dose less than 2.5 mg, but it can be done! For smaller or more precise doses, you may find it easiest to use a 1 mL graduated syringe. A graduated syringe has measurements marked on its side that make it possible to measure down to 0.1 mL and even lower. If you’re stopping by one of our stores, just ask us and we’re happy to give you one if we have any on hand! And if you’re ordering online, there should be a little drop-down box for order instructions where you can leave us a note asking for some to be included in your shipment.

Additional Pet Friendly Options

Is your pet really picky? Does your pet have an allergy or sensitivity to the flavors we use? We have more options available that are safe for both pets and their people!

We offer a container of 1000 mg CBD Isolate Powder. CBD isolate powder is CBD in its purest form. It is odorless, tasteless, and one of the most versatile forms of CBD available. Measuring out an accurate dose requires more time and care than the oils, as we will discuss a little further down.

We also offer 300 mg MCT Oil and 1250-2500 mg MCT Oil. These oils are made using only two ingredients: CBD isolate and MCT oil. As stated above, CBD isolate is odorless and tasteless. MCT oil, or medium-chain triglyceride oil, also has virtually no taste. This makes it a popular option for picky pets! You can read more about MCT oil and its potential benefits in our blog titled What is MCT Oil? Our 1250 mg and 2500 mg MCT oils are commonly used in larger pets or with pets who don’t like oil. This is because the higher concentration of CBD requires less oil to achieve the desired dose. You can see the amount of CBD per 1 mL of oil for these three oils in the picture below.

A picture of three different CBD tinctures on a glass table in front of a potted plant. The text in front of the bottles reads: 300 mg MCT Oil 1 mL = 10 mg, 1250 mg MCT Oil 1 mL = 20.8 mg, 2500 mg MCT Oil 1 mL = 41.7 mg

In addition to our above tinctures, we also have 500-3000 mg MCT/Hemp Seed Oil. We make the “Natural” of this line using only CBD isolate, MCT oil, and hemp seed oil. (We also offer these with added natural flavors such as Peach Mango, Pineapple Smoothie, and Sweet Grape, but those options are more for humans than their pets!) Hemp seed oil is made using the seeds of the hemp plant and provides additional amino acids and vitamins. You can read more about hemp seed oil and its traits in our blog What Is Hemp Oil? While it does add some potential benefits of its own, hemp seed oil does not have a strong flavor. This makes our MCT/Hemp Seed Oil flavorless as well.

A picture of three different green bottles of CBD oil on a white counter with flowers on the left. The text in front of the bottles reads: 500 mg MCT/Hemp Oil 1 mL = 16.7 mg, 1000 mg MCT/Hemp Oil 1 mL = 33.3 mg, 3000 mg MCT/Hemp Oil 1 mL = 50 mg

Pets who require larger doses or are dealing with more intense, chronic issues are sometimes given our 250 mg Gold Oil. Our Gold Oil is 250 mg of broad spectrum CBD made from non-GMO hemp with no fillers, preservatives, solvents, or additives. One tenth of a mL (0.1 mL) contains 25 mg of CBD. This product has a natural, earthy taste that pet owners like to cover up by mixing the gold oil into peanut butter or other food for their pets.

An image of three separately packaged syringes of 1000mg Active CBD Oil on a white counter. The text reads 1000 mg 25% Gold Oil 0.10 mL = 25 mg

How to Administer CBD Oil to Pets

If you are using CBD oil, there are two different ways you can administer it to your pets. The first way is by mixing it into their food. You can mix it into wet food, drop it onto dry food, or even drop it onto a treat for them. When using this ingestion method, most people notice activation within 30 to 90 minutes and effects that can last for 6 to 10 hours.

The second way is by putting it directly into your pet’s mouth. You can lift your pets lips and apply it to their gums or put it between their gums and cheek. This is considered oral use. When given this way, the CBD absorbs through mucous membranes present in your pet’s mouth and is able to enter the bloodstream more quickly, resulting in a faster activation time of 15 to 20 minutes and a duration of effects around 4 to 6 hours.

If you choose to put CBD oil directly into your pet’s mouth, it’s important to keep in mind that the droppers in our CBD bottles are made of glass. If you shop in-store with us in Colorado Springs or Denver, we typically have 1 mL plastic syringes on hand that we’re more than happy to give you for free to make CBD oil administration safer. Don’t forget that if you’re ordering online, there should be a little drop-down box for order instructions where you can leave us a note asking for some to be included in your shipment. If you don’t have a plastic syringe, the oil can be rubbed onto your pet’s gums with your fingers.

a picture of 7 wrapped plastic syringes on a white counter

How to Administer CBD Isolate Powder to Pets

CBD isolate powder can be slightly more difficult to work with than CBD oil. Due to the high purity of our CBD isolate powder, most people will round up the total amount of CBD in the container to 1000 mg. This can help make the math easier when figuring out how much CBD to use for a recipe. If you would like to be more precise with your recipes or dosing, you can always check the certificate of analysis at activecbdoil.com to see exactly how many milligrams your CBD isolate powder contains. In order to get an accurate dose, you will need a kitchen scale capable of measuring in milligrams. Once the desired dose is measured out, the powder can be sprinkled onto your pet’s food or put directly into their mouth. CBD isolate powder is not water soluble, so if you try to put it in their water it won’t dissolve and will instead clump up.

You can also use CBD isolate powder to make your own dog treats and cat treats!

Potential Interactions and Side Effects

CBD has the potential to interact with medications in humans, so it’s best to play it safe and assume the same is true for pets. If your pet is currently being given any medications, it’s best to discuss the use of CBD oil with your veterinarian prior to starting so that you can be aware of any potential interactions.

Potential side effects of CBD use in pets include lethargy, changes in digestion, and loss of appetite. A common side effect of CBD oil is diarrhea. With most pets, this is due to the MCT or hemp seed oil. One way to combat this is by selecting a higher concentrated oil so that less oil is needed to achieve the desired dose. Discontinue use and contact your veterinarian in case of negative reactions.

A small light brown and white chihuahua standing atop a table in a veterinarian's office, being held in place by someone out of image to the right.

F.A.Q.

Here we have some common questions that we get. If you do have additional questions, reach out to us! We’re always happy to help and our contact information is listed a little farther down.

Q: How do I know if CBD is working for my pet?

A: Observation is the key to knowing if it’s working! Since our pets can’t tell us how they feel, it’s up to us to watch for changes in their behavior. For example, we often hear from people who are giving their pets CBD for pain that when it starts working, they notice their pets being more active and playful. People using it for digestive discomfort often notice the return of their pet’s regular appetite. When used for anxiety, people report that their pets appear to be calmer. Although it may not completely eradicate your pet’s anxiety, we often hear of pets that are still a little nervous but no longer so fearful that they’re at risk of injuring themselves while trying to get away from what is scaring them.

Something that we often tell people is that CBD doesn’t have a specific “feeling” to indicate that it’s working, but more of a lessening or absence of what was being felt before. So when monitoring your pet, you’re looking for them to feel less of what they were before and an increase in regular activities.

Q: How many times a day should I give my pet CBD?

A: This will vary from pet to pet! Some pets don’t need CBD daily, as their triggers can be environmental or situational. Examples of these triggers include fireworks, car rides, storms, and separation. In these cases, we see people giving their pets CBD ahead of time, usually about an hour before the event.

When being given for things like pain or seizure prevention, we often see people stick to a more consistent dosing schedule. Observation will again be the most important factor to finding out what kind of dosing schedule to maintain. We like to suggest that when you first introduce CBD to your pet to take note of the dose, time, and approximate duration of effects over the course of a few days so that you may use this information to find what works best for your pet.

Above we talked about CBD that is ingested working for around 6 to 10 hours, and CBD that is taken orally working for around 4 to 6 hours. This time frame can be affected by your pet’s metabolism and their specific body chemistry. We see some people giving their pets CBD once a day and seeing great results, and others give their pets CBD multiple times a day depending on the needs of their pet. It may take some experimentation to find what works best for your pet.

picture of a tiger patterned kitten cowering under a fuzzy blanket

Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

Q: I gave my pet CBD one time and nothing happened. Now what?

A: While there are some people and pets who experience relief the very first time they try CBD, this is not a universal experience. It can take time to find the best product, dose, and method of administering CBD to bring out the full potential benefits. It can sometimes take a few weeks to notice the full effects of CBD. Many people find that consistency provides them the best results.

Q: I’m already giving my pet a medication prescribed by the vet. Can I still give them CBD?

A: We see many people who use CBD in conjunction with prescription medications for pets without difficulty, though this varies depending on your specific situation. If you have any questions or concerns about using CBD with your pet’s medication, you should consider giving your veterinarian a call.

Q: My pet has dry skin and I would like to try CBD topically on them. What products can I use?

A: We see a lot of people opting to use our MCT tinctures and our MCT/hemp seed oil tinctures topically on their pets for things like dry skin and allergies. Due to the simplicity in ingredients, there are typically no concerns about pets ingesting the oil if they decide to lick it off.

We also offer a broad spectrum salve that some customers use on their pets. In moderation or low amounts, the essential oils used in our salve are generally considered safe for pets, both topically and ingested. When not diluted, essential oils can be toxic to pets. You can rest assured that reputable brands, such as our Active CBD Oil products, properly dilute essential oils when used in all of our products.

Another option would be to make your own salve! This way you would be able to decide for yourself what ingredients you want to use on your pet’s skin. Grab some CBD isolate powder and head over to our blog about how to make your own CBD topical.

Talk With Us

There’s a lot that goes into figuring out how to start using CBD for your pet. Don’t let that intimidate you! If you still aren’t quite sure which product to start with, why not start a conversation with us? We’re happy to take your pet’s weight and circumstances into consideration and discuss the benefits of different options that may suit your pet’s needs.

Stop By or Call Your Local Retail Location!

North Colorado Springs 3438 N. Academy Blvd (719) 358-7553
South Colorado Springs 3215 S. Academy Blvd (719) 358-7750
 Mon - Fri 10AM to 6PM Sat 10AM to 5PM Sun 10AM to 4PM
Denver 7537 E. Iliff Ave (720) 524-3930
Tues - Fri 10AM to 6PM Sat 10AM to 5PM Sun - Mon Closed

All times listed are in Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).

Chat With Us Online!

If you chat with us online, you will be connected with someone who can answer questions you may have and even assist in putting together an invoice for you to make sure you’re getting everything you want. Just scroll back up to the top of the page and select the icon that says “Chat” to get started!

If you have experience giving your pet CBD, we encourage you to share your feedback and results in the comments below to continue the conversation.

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