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CBD For Dogs: Revealing The Uses & Effects Of CBD For Training and Pain

July 8, 2021
July 8, 2021

CBD oil! I tested this out with our dogs to see if it works and could be used for training assistance.

CBD oil is something that’s growing in popularity in the pet care industry. So, I want to give you guys some insight into the product, what it is, why it is and answer a whole bunch of questions that you guys might have about them. You know me! Focus on transparency,  because I know you’re responsible pet parents and can make the best decisions for your pet if you have the right info. 

Throughout this piece, I’m going to chat you through everything about CBD so that you can use this confidently!

What Is CBD?

CBD is a contraction of Cana Bi Diol (usually Canabidiol, but I’m emphasising letters for obviousness). It does not create a ‘high’ in humans. But from my experience with dogs it definitely helps them to relax.

CBD is not marijuana, and it is not hemp seed. But please do be aware that hemp seed or anything labeled ‘hemp’ is not necessarily CBD based. So don’t be tricked by labels and try to know what you’re buying. You need full-spectrum CBD.

It’s very important that you follow the instructions on the package, they will advise a dosage, and I would recommend working up to the suggested dosage and monitoring the effects as you increase.

I’ve been using the Oil version here in the US – but the treats did the job in the UK really well.

CBD is not a substitute for training. They can be used as a training aid but they are not a shortcut.

Ali Smith

Not All Pet CBD Is Made The Same…

LeafReports tested a whole bunch of treats on the market to see if these so-called CBD treats were labelled accurately, and graded them accordingly. 

A shocking 56% were mislabelled, and 27% of the total sample were drastically off of their labelling. 

This means that some of them? Were not even ‘full spectrum’ (which is important by the way! Full spectrum is meant to be much more effective than an isolated).

Why Use it?

These treats and oils has a number of uses, the three main ones are training, pain management and relaxation. These actually all lean upon each other? Because essentially encouraging your dog to relax can be beneficial in many, many ways. 

cbd for vet trips
cbd for vet trips can be very effective (when coupled with training)

Training

If your dog struggles in certain scenarios – but that scenario isn’t something you can avoid, but, say, your training isn’t quite complete? Then CBD can often be the factor that tips the scales in your favour. 

An example is Shelby and July 4th Fireworks, I wasn’t happy with where Shelby’s progress had gotten to with desensitising and counter-conditioning. I added in CBD to our plans for the evening of july 4th to ensure that we didn’t lose training progress, and actually, that we could take another step forward in that training. 

This can work for a number of situations such as:

  • Vet Trips
  • Claw trimming
  • Reactivity
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Fireworks
  • Thunderstorms
  • Car related stress

*Please do not use these instead of any other measures you might put in place! Use all normal protective measures but add these in and see if they make a difference. Set up for success and keep everyone safe please!

Pain Management

With aches and pains, such as those given by arthritis, this can be a great help. There are special remedies that include other natural ingredients that can ease inflammation and pain naturally. 

Relaxation

It can be an awesome thing to use, if you use it in the right way. It can aid relaxation and abate anxiety. It’s also been shown to help relieve pain and inflammation in humans – I’ve heard great things about this for dogs, but I’ve not tested that myself.

Here are a couple of suggestions of great situations.

1️ – Nervous greeters (Remember safety first!)
2️ – Vet visits
3️ – Groomer visits
4️ – Anxieties
5️ – Fireworks

I’d always recommend you give the treats about 20 mins before the bad thing happens so that firstly they don’t associate that particular treat with a bad thing, and that the CBD has time to take effect and bring in a calming influence.

When You Shouldn’t Use CBD

  • If your dog is already on medication 
  • If your dog is already panicking 
  • If your dog is dehydrated
  • If they are suffering from Kidney disease 
  • if they are sick or have diarrhea 
  • If they have any issues with their organs.
happiness is what we aim for
happiness is what we aim for – and CBD may help take the edge off for your dog

Don’t use it too much, it could be tempting when you have a high anxiety dog, but these sorts of ‘over the counter’ solutions aren’t something I would advise the use of long term given that they are untested and unregulated at this moment.

They’re also not something that should be used in lieu of training. Proper guided training must always come first, where you research your variables and seek guidance if you’re lost. If you’re still hitting a wall? Then the CBD treats can be added in.

Like everything….

CBD Is not a replacement for training. It can in very specific instances be an assistance. 

Also remember, if you’re ever unsure, seek advice from a professional! It’s what trainers are here for!

How Much Should You Give Your Dog?

This one depends on the product. 

Knowing the weight of your dog is really important, as each product will give you a guide on how much each dog should get depending on their weight.

Please go with the packaging!

Chill-out Kong with CBD
Chill-out Kong with CBD – perfect for helping your dog relax

How To Give Your Dogs CBD

There are normally two formats that CBD comes in: 

Oil

The CBD oil tends to be stronger, for example, the brand I used (Austin & Kat, by the way, one of the industry’s leading company for pet CBD), was 45 times stronger with the oil than it was in the treats, and it’s not cheap! I preferred to have the option of the stronger one because this, to me, meant we had a higher chance of success, so long as the dogs accepted it. 

This comes in a bottle and pipette (a dropper) for easy measurement and dosage.

It’s important that this isn’t delivered forcibly? You’ll lose some of the effectiveness of the CBD (because you’re increasing stress), so make sure it’s voluntary. Whether you give it on a cracker, or a dog biscuit, or something else.

My favourite way – Chill-out Kongs

In Shelby’s Fear-Free 4th Of July, I used what I deemed to be the ultimate combo for a Chill Out Kong. This was my favourite thing. So we used:

  • Blue Ridge Raw Beef For Dogs
  • Peanut Butter
  • Milk Bone
  • CBD.

I mixed the ground beef and the CBD, filled the majority of the kong, smooshed in the milk bone, and then sealed it up with the peanut butter – really simple stuff. I froze it for a couple of hours (so it wasn’t fully frozen?) and it worked a treat to keep Shelby calm and get her little bit of extra CBD content.

Another Suggestion – Chill-Kibble

I snagged their normal dinner, added in a couple of ice cubes of bone broth, kibble and then added in the suggested dose of CBD and a bit of water too, this allowed us to mask the flavour, because Lucy was getting wise to it as we progressed. 

CBD Chill Kibble
CBD Chill Kibble – adding in some CBD into their kibble, and then some bone broth is a wonderful way to disguise the taste!

Treats

Treats tend to be less concentrated? So you may need more of these to get the same results, but they can be great to introduce your dog to CBD, and it may be enough for your dog! 

For us? It wasn’t. And it’s also good to be aware that edibles like this are harder to keep consistent in CBD content so they naturally vary more. 

CBD For Dogs FAQ

This is your questions, if you have any more than this, just let me know and I’ll endeavour to include it! 

How Does CBD Help Dogs?

CBD helps to relax, it’s a very natural medicine that doesn’t have a huge amount of research on it, so the exact story is hard to piece together. 

What’s the difference between Marijuana & CBD?

Hemp and CBD come from the same plant, Cannabis Sativa. 

So the difference is a very fine thing. It comes down to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the ingredient that gives the high marijuana is famous for. 0.3% or less THC content, the plant will be classified as hemp. More than this? It’s Marijuana. 

CBD (Cannabidiol) is actually found in higher concentrations in hemp than it is in Marijuana. Curious, no? And that’s why we know for sure that our pet’s aren’t getting high on CBD products.

What Time Of Day Is Best To Give Dogs CBD?

This depends on why you’re medicating. I’d suggest meal times for ‘general’ dosing, but if you’re giving CBD for a specific event (like for vet trips, fireworks or thunderstorms) then I would give a half dose about 6hrs before, then a full dose about 30 mins prior to the event. That can really help you to let them relax into whatever it is that might otherwise stress you out. 

CBD for nervous greeters
CBD for nervous greeters can help remove tension, that’s potentially a factor in reactivity.

Can CBD Make Dogs Aggressive?

This is a quirky question, because no, it doesn’t – unless you time it wrong? If the time between dosage, or dose them incorrectly. If applied correctly? It should really help. I still recommend training (of course), but it can definitely help take the tension out of a situation.

Will CBD Help Dogs With Separation Anxiety?

It definitely can be used as a training aid to help with separation anxiety and assist your dog in their recovery, learning and continued stress levels. Please do look at our best online training providers if you’re struggling with separation anxiety, because your dog can definitely get over it!

Will CBD Oil Help With Seizures?

This depends on the trigger for the seizure, I wouldn’t be at liberty to discuss, but do discuss it with your vet! (I will try and seek veterinary advice and add it in here! But right now, I’m not qualified to advise)

Will CBD Help With My Dogs Allergies?

This depends on the trigger for the allergy, please do discuss with your vet. Sometimes it can help? But other times, not so much. Each dog is individual.  (I will try and seek veterinary advice and add it in here! But right now, I’m not qualified to advise)

Will CBD Oil Upset My Dogs Stomach?

It actually could! Diarrhea is a common side affect of CBD usage. 

This is one of the reasons that I suggest in building your dogs dosage up slowly to test the affects. 

Take a look at Shelby’s Fear FRee 4th Of July to see what I did to ensure that all of our woofs were happy on CBD! 

Will CBD Hurt my dog?

Not likely? But it’s always good to monitor for the effects before the moment when you really need it. 

Based on side effects in humans, we can assume they’re similar in pets.

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Drowsiness

These are what you should look out for, also, they may be at a higher risk of injury due to their drowsiness.

a fear of fireworks can be helped by CBD - but it has to be part of a larger plan
a fear of fireworks can be helped by CBD – but it has to be part of a larger plan

Can CBD Help Dogs With Fireworks?

Absolutely!! It totally can. Again, we need to train our dogs, desensitise and counter condition. This is really important. CBD can help your woof and their fear of fireworks, but not as a single part without a larger plan present and being acted upon.

If you want a little more assistance with helping prepare your dog or puppy for fireworks? Here’s the info on my plan, and the results we had for July 4th.  

Fireworks: How To Prepare Your Puppy For A Fearless July 4th and Shelby’s Fear Free 4th Of July 

If you need more than that? Then feel free to book in for a puppy power hour with me and we can put together a success plan for fireworks! 

Can You Give Normal or Human CBD To Dogs?

Allegedly, there is no difference between human and pet grade CBD! It just becomes a bit of an issue when it comes to dosages. 

Can CBD Help Dogs With Cancer?

It could help with pain management, but there is no evidence of it fighting cancer. 

Can CBD Help Dogs With Arthritis Or Joint Pain?

Yep! Pain management is a great thing. The only thing would be that (as I’m sure the older of my audience know) it may make your dog prone to not knowing their limits. Know that for them because they could make things worse for themselves

Can CBD Make Dogs Worse?

If you give an incorrect dose, or dose them at the right time? It can become problematic. Or, if you put them in a stressful situation too soon (because perhaps you weren’t aware that it might be stressful for them). 

Or, if they’re overdoing it when injured, suffering with Arthritis or joint pain, it can make the injury worse.

Reactive dogs come in all shapes and sizes, CBD can help
Reactive dogs come in all shapes and sizes, CBD can help

Can You Use CBD For Reactive Or Aggressive Dogs? 

Yes! You can use it to help ease your dog’s fear, or encourage them to relax and take the tension out of the situation. However, I wouldn’t assume that this means that CBD can be a magic cure-all! Nope! Take all necessary precautions anyway – continue with your desensitisation and counter conditioning, I would just imagine that it would decrease the ‘personal space’ bubble.

Can CBD work for Thunderstorms?

Yep!! It totally can. Again, we need to train our dogs, desensitise and counter condition. This is really important. CBD can help your woof and their fear of fireworks, but not as a single part without a larger plan present and being acted upon.

If you want a little more assistance with helping prepare your dog or puppy for fireworks? Here’s the info on my plan, and the results we had for July 4th, just replace fireworks with thunderstorms and you’ll be good to ho!

Fireworks: How To Prepare Your Puppy For A Fearless July 4th and Shelby’s Fear Free 4th Of July 

If you need more than that? Then feel free to book in for a puppy power hour with me and we can put together a success plan for thunderstorms!

Can You Give Too Much CBD To Dogs?

Yes. watch out for adverse effects, such as 

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea 
  • Lack of coordination

If you do notice these sorts of symptoms? Then it might be just time to head to the vet.

Are There Any Studies Associated with CBD Usage On Dogs?

Evaluation of the Effect of Cannabidiol on Osteoarthritis-Associated Pain in Dogs—A Pilot Study

Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs 

A Report of Adverse Effects Associated With the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs

More Confident? 

I hope this has helped! There’s a lot of info out there, but there’s also a lot of poor info out there. I’ve used CBD with my dogs (as you know!) and I genuinely think there is a place for it in dog training – if you use it right. 

Again. I’ll say it every time. It’s not a shortcut! Train. Please train! There’s no substitute for it. And you didn’t get a dog to medicate them into submission. 

Training and guidance is the first step in solving problems. 

Okay? 

And that’s what we trainers here for. 

If you need any help, advice, or support with these decisions, or just a little more info? Ask away. Drop a comment below and I’ll endeavour to get it answered!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021’s worlds’ best pet blog!

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2 Comments

  1. Harry

    Thanks so much for this. I’ve been looking into CBD for some time, but this is really helpful. I’ll go see what austin and cat are like if it worked for you.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      no problem! best of luck with it.

      Reply

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