How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

4 min read

Approximately one in five dogs (20 percent) exhibit some type of evidence that they are in pain according to research published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. [1] This pain is even more prevalent in canines that weigh more or are getting up there in age.

As a pet owner, it can be extremely difficult to watch your furry friend struggle with chronic pain. But how can you tell whether your dog may be having pain-related issues?

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management shares that there are a few signs that may indicate that your dog is likely be in pain. These include: [2]

In an effort to ease their dog’s pain, some pet owners give them whatever pain relievers happen to be in their own medicine cabinet. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that pain pills meant for humans can actually cause more harm than good.

According to the FDA, giving dogs pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can make them vomit, give them diarrhea, reduce their appetite, and cause them to move around less. [3]

Other side effects of this category of drug can be even more serious for pets, sometimes resulting in stomach and intestinal ulcers or perforations (holes), kidney or liver failure, and even death.

That’s why some animal lovers are turning to CBD oil to help their four-legged friends when they’re in pain due to issues such as injury, arthritis, hip dysplasia, or some other type of chronic medical condition.

If you’re unfamiliar, CBD stands for cannabidiol and is just one of many compounds found within the hemp plant. CBD has been linked to multiple health benefits in humans, some of which include pain relief, reduced anxiety and depression, alleviation of cancer-related symptoms (and fewer side effects of cancer treatments), neurological protection, and more. [4]

The way CBD works is by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which is the system that is tasked with helping the body maintain homeostasis or stability despite any potential changes in our environment that could do us harm.

In fact, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for a number of life-sustaining and life-enhancing processes, some of which include the regulation of mood, appetite, stress, sleep, and metabolism, as well as processes involving immune function, reproductive function, and pain. [5]

But what types of benefits does CBD offer dogs specifically?

According to the research, CBD offers dogs a number of health benefits. For instance, one 2018 study published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science looked at dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. In this case, after the animals received CBD oil as a form of treatment, researchers noted “a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity.” [6]

Other studies have found that CBD also has a positive effect for dogs struggling with medical conditions such as epilepsy. One such study was published in June of 2019 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and it indicated that CBD helps reduce seizure frequency in dogs. Specifically, it found a 33 percent decrease in seizure activity in dogs given actual CBD versus those receiving a placebo. [7]

But how much CBD oil should you give your dog so he or she can enjoy these types of benefits?


Many pet owners wonder, how much CBD oil should I give my dog? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not an easy one.

For instance, the size of your pet matters as small dogs typically require less CBD than large dogs. So, the animal’s body weight should be considered when determining proper CBD oil dosage. Like humans, some pets also have a greater sensitivity to CBD, where others need a larger amount before realizing a therapeutic effect.

The amount of CBD necessary for effective pain relief can also change based on how the CBD oil is given to the pet, or its delivery method. As an example, when CBD oil is taken orally, not all of the CBD is able to be used by the body. This is partially due to ‘first pass metabolism,’ which is when the digestive system metabolizes some of the ingredients during normal digestive processing, making the product less effective since the total amount of CBD is not available to be absorbed.

In the case of dogs specifically, one study found that oral bioavailability ranges from 13 to 19 percent. [8] This is important to keep in mind when administering CBD to your pet orally, whether via CBD capsules, CBD dog treats, or some other method that involves the digestive process.

The proper dose of CBD to give your dog is also dependent upon what type of condition you’re trying to help relieve or treat.

In the research mentioned previously on dogs with osteoarthritis, scientists reported positive effects when the dogs were given 2 mg of CBD twice a day. Researchers further noted that the dogs’ owners did not report any negative side effects at this dosing level.

On the other hand, if the pain is caused by arthritis, some animal studies have found positive effects at higher doses. For instance, one study involving mice found that the best results were seen at dosages of 25 mg CBD per day. [9]

CBD Oil Dosage Chart

To find the right dosage of hemp oil for your pet, New York-based nutrition writer Christine Ruggeri, CHHC, suggests that you consider starting with a dose that is based on his or weight. [10]

Dog’s Weight Starting Dosage of CBD
5 pounds 0.25 mg
10 pounds 0.5 mg
20 pounds 1 mg
40 pounds 2 mg
60 pounds 3 mg
80 pounds 4 mg
100 pounds 5 mg
120 pounds 6 mg


As you can see, large dogs have higher starting doses of CBD than smaller dogs because they generally need higher doses in order to be effective.

However, keep in mind that this is just a basic guideline as each pet is different. So, if your regular dose is in line with these recommendations and you don’t see any changes in your dog, you may need to increase it. Alternatively, if the CBD product is having too great an effect, you may need to lower it a bit.

Just as CBD dosing is important, so too is the type. The two general types of CBD oil are full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. What’s the difference?

Full spectrum CBD products contain extracts from the entire hemp plant (which includes other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that each provide their own health benefits) whereas CBD isolate is a product that contains only CBD and nothing else.

Research has found that full spectrum CBD can sometimes offer the most benefits because all of the ingredients combined create what is known as “the entourage effect.” [11] This effect essentially says that the combination of extracts from the whole cannabis plant are able to provide greater results than CBD by itself.

Dogs can be finicky, making it difficult to get them to take their CBD oil, regardless of the dose. That said, many pet owners have found that the best way to get their four-legged family members to take their regular dose of CBD is to place it in their food.

Another option is to put it on their favorite treat or, if you make the treats yourself, incorporate the CBD oil into the recipe. This makes CBD dosing even easier because you control it yourself.


View Sources Last Edited: January 14, 2020

[1] Muir, W.W. 3rd, Wiese, A.J., & Wittum, T.E. “Prevalence and Characteristics of Pain in Dogs and Cats Examined as Outpatients at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. May 1, 2004; 224(9): 1459-63.

[2] “Common Signs of Pain in Dogs and Cats.” International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. Accessed May 21, 2019.

[3] “Get the Facts About Pain Relievers for Pets.” Food and Drug Administration. Accessed May 21, 2019.

[4] Kubula, J. “7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects).” Healthline. Feb 26, 2018.

[5] “Human Endocannabinoid System.” University of California, Los Angeles Health: Cannabis Research Initiative. Accessed May 21, 2019.

[6] Gamble, L.J. et al. “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs.” Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Jul 23, 2018. Doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00165.

[7] McGrath, S. et al. “Randomized Blinded Controlled Clinical Trial to Assess the Effect of Oral Cannabidiol Administration in Addition to Conventional Antiepileptic Treatment on Seizure Frequency in Dogs with Intractable Idiopathic Epilepsy.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Jun 1, 2019; 254(11): 1301-1308. Doi: 10.2460/javma.254.11.1301.

[8] Samara, E, Bialer, M, Mechoulam, R. “Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Dogs.” Drug Metabolism & Disposition. May-Jun 1988; 16(3): 469-72.

[9] Malfait, A.M. et al. “The Nonpsychoactive Cannabis Constituent Cannabidiol is an Oral Anti-Arthritic Therapeutic in Murine Collagen-Induced Arthritis.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Aug 15, 2000; 97(7): 9561-9566. Doi: 10.1073/pnas.160105897.

[10] [11] Ruggeri, C. “CBD Oil for Dogs: 6 Benefits and Dosage Recommendations.” Mar 13, 2019.