CBD Dosage for Dogs: What's the Ideal Dose?
CBD oil can have many positive effects on your dog. Once you have found a trusted CBD product, the next step is to figure out your dog's ideal CBD dosage.
The answer to this question is not straightforward because dogs come in many different shapes and sizes. Even the dog’s breed can impact how the dog responds to CBD oil. But finding the right CBD dosage for dogs is possible if you know where to start.
Here is a comprehensive guide that helps you to find the right CBD dosage for your dog.
What Is CBD Oil Used for in Dogs?
You may be wondering what kind of symptoms CBD is useful for when used with dogs. CBD can be effective for the following conditions:
- Pain (e.g., joint pain)
- Anxiety and stress
- Nausea or vomiting
How CBD Absorption Affects the Dose
The amount of ingested CBD that gets absorbed into the bloodstream is referred to as bioavailability. Bioavailability highly depends on the delivery method. Tinctures directly applied under the tongue (sublingual) have a much higher bioavailability than CBD taken with food or given as capsules.
You’ll need a higher dose when your dog is fed CBD rather than when applied directly under the tongue.
Tinctures that are added to food and CBD-enriched snacks are expected to have similar bioavailability.
Indications from the Scientific Literature
It is hard to find a consistent dose recommendation from the literature about pet CBD. The effective dose depends on many factors, such as the CBD formulation, delivery method, and dog breed. The condition being treated is also a factor. For example, the treatment of mild anxiety requires a lower dose than considerable pain.
Having said this, around 2 mg/kg (0.9 mg/lb) is a dose that repeatedly appears in the scientific literature.
However, this dosage does differ. One study showed that a 2.5 mg/kg (1.1 mg/lb) CBD is effective as an accompanying treatment for epilepsy (1).
Another study showed that a dose of 2 mg/kg (0.9 mg/lb) relieves osteoarthritis-related pain (2), and a third study showed that a dose of 2 mg/kg (0.9 mg/lb) leads to a pharmaceutically effective concentration of CBD in the blood (3).
The dose that is used in scientific studies is considered a high dose. Generally, it is recommended you start with a much lower dose.
There are a few general recommendations you can follow. If you are giving your dog CBD for the first time, you should always start with a low dose. From there, you can gradually increase to a medium and high amount until you see the desired effect.
CBD is typically given twice per day, roughly every 12 hours. The indicated amounts below are per dose so that the daily dosage would be twice the amount.
- 0.1 mg/lb (or 0,22 mg/kg): low dose
- 0.25 mg/lb (or 0,55 mg/kg): medium dose
- 0.5 mg/lb (or 1,1 mg/kg): high dose
Tolerability of CBD Oil in Dogs
CBD oil is well-tolerated and usually doesn’t cause side effects, even at high doses. One study even used a dose of 20 mg/kg/day (4). Since CBD products for dogs contain relatively small amounts of CBD, there is little risk of overdosing.
In rare cases, CBD consumption can lead to loose stool or vomiting (5).
How to Calculate the Right CBD Dosage for Dogs
To accurately calculate the right CBD dosage for your dog, it starts with the product itself.
Pure CBD Oil Tinctures
CBD tinctures come in a bottle, and the dose is counted in drops. To know how much you need, you need the following information:
- The volume of one drop
- How much CBD one drop contains
You should find both pieces of information on the bottle or in the accompanying leaflet. It usually states either the amount of CBD per drop or per ml. If you only find the amount of CBD per ml, you have to do an additional calculation.
As an example, let’s say you have the following information:
- 0.5 ml corresponds to 14 drops.
- You have a 30 ml bottle that contains a total of 250 mg.
Your dog weighs 40 lbs, and you want to start with a low dose. That would be 4 mg per dose.
To know the volume per drop, you have to divide 0.5 ml by 14:
0.5 ml/14 = 0.035 ml per drop
The amount of CBD per drop may be written on the bottle. If not, you can easily calculate it.
If the bottle contains 250 mg, just divide 250 mg by 30 ml:
250 mg/30 ml = 8.3 mg/ml
Since one drop corresponds to 0.035 ml, you have to multiply the amount per ml (8.3 mg) by 0.035:
8.3 mg/ml * 0.035 ml = 0.29 mg.
To know how many drops you need, divide the total dose (4 mg) by the amount of CBD per drop (0.29 mg).
4 mg/0.29 mg ~ 14 drops (13.8 to be exact)
Tablets or Capsules
The accompanying leaflet should contain information on how much CBD one tablet or capsule contains. You then have to divide the total dose by the amount of CBD per capsule.
If one capsule contains 4 mg CBD, you need one capsule for a total dose of 4 mg.
If your vet prescribed the CBD, follow the vet’s dose recommendations.
The dose in CBD-enriched foods is usually straightforward to calculate. Typically, the package states the amount of CBD per treat.
If one treat contains 2 mg CBD and your total dose is 4 mg, you would have to feed your dog two treats for one dose.
The Bottom Line
CBD oil can improve the wellbeing of your dog in many ways. Finding the right dosage can be a bit tricky and may take some time. However, since CBD is very well-tolerated, there is not much that can go wrong. Just start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you see the desired effect. If CBD does not help your dog, even at higher doses, you should consult your vet.