You’ve probably heard about all the amazing things CBD has to offer. But not many people know their dogs can experience all the same benefits. CBD oil for senior and disabled pets may improve arthritis and overall pet health. CBD helps with pain management and improves mobility.
Best CBD for Dogs with Pain – Top 3 Picks (2020)
You’ve probably heard about all the amazing things CBD has to offer. But not many people know their dogs can experience all the same benefits.
CBD is a powerful natural painkiller. It’s used to alleviate chronic joint pain, hip pain, cancer pain, and much more.
But not all CBD products are created equal. Many CBD oils, capsules, and dog treats don’t provide enough of the active ingredient to provide these benefits.
Learn how to find CBD products for your dog that work for pain and spot scam products that aren’t worth the money.
Let’s start with our list of the top three CBD products for helping your dog cope with chronic pain.
- Royal CBD – Award Winning, Best CBD Oil Overall
- Gold Bee – Runner Up, Quality Product at a Good Price
- Blessed CBD – Potent CBD, But Only Ships to the UK
1. Royal CBD Dog Treats — Editor’s Pick
These CBD-infused dog treats provide 5 mg of CBD per treat and come in three distinct formulas depending on what your health goals are for your dog.
You can get treats for supporting joint mobility (Active Treats), for stress and anxiety (Calming Treats), or protect cardiovascular and brain health (Hearty Treats). Royal CBD also makes a line of CBD pet oils well-suited for managing pain. Its CBD pet product lineup has already won several awards and is mentioned as the top brand on websites such as CFAH, VentureBeat, SF Weekly, Daily CBD, SF Examiner, and Weed News.
The best option for managing pain is the Active Treats — which are formulated with ingredients like boswellia, hemp seed extract, and turmeric.
Both boswellia and turmeric are potent painkillers on their own. They work through a similar mechanism as Aspirin by blocking key enzymes needed for inflammation (COX and LOX enzymes). Both of these herbs work great when combined with the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD.
- Small Dogs (under 15 pounds) — 1 Treat Per Day
- Medium Dogs (15 to 30 pounds) — 1 – 2 Treats Per Day
- Medium-Large Dogs (30 – 60 Pounds) — 1 – 3 Treats Per Day
- Large Dogs (Over 60 Pounds) — 2 – 4 Treats Per Day
2. Gold Bee CBD Oil — Runner-Up
Gold Bee is best known for the high terpene content in its CBD oils. Terpenes are small, aromatic compounds produced in plants that offer a host of therapeutic benefits on their own.
Many of the terpenes in Gold Bee CBD oils offer powerful painkilling and anti-inflammatory benefits of their own. Some even offer direct therapeutic effects on the connective tissue of arthritis joints.
These terpenes work to support CBD’s overall benefits for managing chronic joint pain, hip pain, and inflammatory pain in dogs.
Gold Bee doesn’t make ‘pet-specific’ CBD products, but all the regular oils offered by this brand are perfectly safe for dogs.
- Small Dogs (under 15 pounds) — 300 mg CBD oil
- Medium Dogs (15 to 30 pounds) — 300 mg CBD oil
- Medium-Large Dogs (30 – 60 Pounds) — 300 mg CBD oil
- Large Dogs (Over 60 Pounds) — 600 mg CBD oil
The main selling point of Gold Bee CBD oils over other brands is the combination of high-quality (organic hemp, high terpene content, premium carrier oils) and low cost. These oils are listed well-below the industry average for CBD pet oils — especially of this quality.
You can find mentions of this brand on LA Weekly, Observer, Orlando Weekly, SA Current, Metro Times, Cleveland Scene, and more.
3. Blessed CBD Oil — UK’s Best CBD Brand
Blessed CBD is a UK-based CBD brand with an impressive lineup of full-spectrum CBD products. The company’s 500 mg CBD oil is well-suited for use with dogs.
This oil is made from organic European hemp and extracted using state of the art supercritical CO2. This produces some of the highest-quality hemp extract possible, without risking contamination of the oil with solvents like propane, butane, or hexane.
This 500 mg CBD oil is distributed into just 10 mL of oil, bringing the potency up to around 50 mg of CBD per milliliter of oil.
That works out to roughly 1.5 milligrams per drop.
Using higher potency CBD oils with dogs means you have to count each drop individually to determine the best dose for your dog. I recommend administering this oil by mixing it in with their food.
CBD Dog Treats vs. CBD Pet Oils For Pain: Which is Better?
The two most common ways of using CBD products with dogs are CBD pet oils and CBD dog treats.
So which one is better? When should I use pet treats over oils, and vice-versa?
Compliance: Winner — CBD Treats
Overall, both options work perfectly fine, but for picky dogs, CBD-infused treats tend to do a little better. Treats contain lots of other flavors that mask the hemp extract’s taste, and most dogs are already sold on a treat no matter what’s inside.
CBD oils are also a good option, and you can mix the dose in with their food to help mask the flavor a little more. However, picky dogs may not like the taste it gives their food and will avoid eating it.
Cost: Winner — CBD Pet Oils
In terms of cost, CBD oils are almost always cheaper upfront. This is because there are fewer ingredients in them that add to the price. A CBD pet oil consists of a CBD-rich hemp extract and a carrier oil — that’s it.
CBD pet treats contain other herbal and nutritional additives, flavors, and base ingredients that make up the bulk of the treat itself. This brings the overall cost up.
Dosing Precision: Winner — CBD Pet Oils
When it comes to dosing, CBD oils offer the ultimate level of precision. They allow you to administer any dose to your dog, and you can tweak the dose by single milligrams of CBD at a time.
To dose CBD oils, you just need to know how much CBD is in each drop. Then you can just count the dose up to the amount you want. For example, if a CBD oil provides 0.3 mg per drop (300 mg CBD oil), and you want to give a 2 mg dose of CBD. Just count out seven drops of oil.
Pet treats come in specific doses, so you have much less control over how much you’re giving. If you wanted to give your pet 8 mg of CBD and have 5 mg treats, you either have to cut it short (1 treat at 5 mg) or give extra (2 treats at 10 mg).
A few mg difference isn’t going to have a big impact most of the time, but for smaller animals, even slight changes to the dose are significant.
The Benefits of CBD For Pain in Dogs
CBD offers painkilling benefits in three main ways for dogs:
A) CBD is a Powerful Anti-inflammatory Agent
Inflammation is the primary underlying cause of pain. Short term inflammation, such as after an injury, is helpful. It increases blood flow to protect the area from further damage and initiates the healing process.
However, long-term inflammation isn’t as helpful. It can lead to further damage to the area and cause chronic pain for months or years. This is the most common underlying cause for conditions like arthritis or chronic hip pain in dogs.
CBD works to block the inflammatory process and reduce the burden of chronic pain over time.
This effect takes several weeks or months to reach its full potential, so it’s important to be consistent with your CBD dose.
B) CBD Directly Blocks Pain Signals
CBD has been shown to activate the vanilloid pain receptors in the spinal cord and brain. These receptors work closely alongside the opioid pain receptors to control the volume of pain heading towards the brain.
Activating these receptors works like the volume control knob, reducing the signal that reaches the brain. When this signal is muted, your dog’s perception of pain is decreased.
C) CBD Promotes the Regeneration of Connective Tissue
The most common cause of chronic pain in dogs is arthritis. With this condition, the cartilage that protects the joints from rubbing together begins to break down, usually due to chronic inflammation.
As the cartilage breaks down, other cells start to die as well — such as the chondrocytes, which are tasked with producing the slippery synovial fluid that lubricates the joints.
Without adequate cartilage or synovial fluid, the bones start to rub against each other, causing pain and reduced mobility in the joint.
CBD helps by stimulating the repair process to restore lost cartilage tissue and regenerate chondrocytes in the joints.
This effect offers a long-lasting improvement in joint pain, but it can take several weeks before you start to notice any improvement. The regeneration of cartilage tissue takes time. It’s important to remain patient and consistent with the dose of CBD to take advantage of this effect.
How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog?
- The size and weight of your dog — larger dogs need more CBD
- The age of your dog — older dogs, may need higher doses of CBD due to poor absorption
- The severity of symptoms — more severe symptoms may require larger doses of CBD
- The breed of dog — some breeds have a lower fat content and may need smaller doses of CBD.
Every dog is different, so it’s up to the pet owner to find the best dose for each dog individually.
The easiest way to find the optimal dose for your animal is to start with a low dose and increase slowly over time.
Most pet owners will start with a low dose (2 mg) and increase by 2 mg every day until they see signs of improvement.
If using CBD treats, start with half a treat and increase by half a treat every day until you find a dose that works for your dog.
Some dog owners add cannabis terpenes to their dog’s CBD oils. This is done to increase the potency of the oil and helps custom tailor the formula for their dog’s specific symptoms. In general, you’ll want to use about half the recommended dose of terpenes listed on the side of the bottle when administering to dogs. Check out Finest Labs for a good selection of dog-friendly terpene concentrates.
How to Shop for CBD Pet Products
There are a lot of excellent CBD products on the market for dogs. However, there are a lot of really poor products as well. So how do you tell the difference?
Here are three key questions to ask when shopping for CBD pet products to rule-out low-quality or low-value brands:
1. What do Past Customers Say About This Brand?
Whenever shopping with a new brand for the first time, you should do a quick Google search for any brand mentions or customer reviews. You’re looking for indications that people who have already bought from the company are happy with their purchase.
Look for positive customer reviews (keeping in mind there will always be at least a few negative reviews — this is normal). Most of the reviews should be overwhelmingly positive.
It would help if you also looked for mentions or recommendations on reputable media outlets.
If you can’t find a single review or mention, this is a red flag on its own. It could be a sign the company is brand new, or that it’s a scam. I would avoid these companies if you can’t find a single mention online.
2. What’s the “Cost per Milligram” (Value Metric)
The price of CBD products are important, but you should also be looking past the price and checking the value of the product as well.
The best way to measure value is with a metric called “cost per milligram.” This metric shows you how much money you’re spending for every milligram of CBD in the formula.
Many CBD brands are charging a premium for their pet oils, but if you only go off the initial price, you may not notice this.
For example, you can buy CBD pet oils for as low as $30 per bottle, but each bottle only offers 80 mg of CBD. This seems cheap at first, but when you calculate the cost per milligram (total cost divided by total CBD content), you end up with close to 40 cents per milligram — which is way overpriced.
- CBD Pet Oils — 15 to 25 cents per milligram
- CBD Pet Treats — 20 to 30 cents per milligram
3. Has This Product Been Third-Party Tested?
Third-party testing is a voluntary step most reputable CBD brands will take to provide transparency for its products.
It works by sending a sample from every batch to an independent lab (no affiliation with the brand) to conduct thorough tests on the extract’s chemical makeup. These tests will check the CBD level, other cannabinoid concentrations, terpene profiles, and check for contaminants in the extract.
The results are then sent back to the company.
Always look for evidence of these tests, which should be posted live on the company’s website. If these tests are missing, you should ask yourself why the company refuses to publish the results and what they might be hiding.
Summary: What’s the Best CBD Product to Manage Pain in Dogs?
CBD is a powerful health supplement to use with dogs. It’s useful for managing many different types of pain, ranging from joint pain and arthritis to cancer or inflammatory-related pain.
You have two options when searching for CBD products for dogs. You can get a CBD-infused dog treat, such as the Active Treats by Royal CBD. Or you can go for a CBD-infused oil — such as the pet oils from Royal CBD or the full-spectrum CBD oils by Gold Bee.
If you’re in the UK, you’ll need to order from a local alternative like Crush CBD instead. Most US-based CBD companies don’t ship to Europe.
Always check for positive reviews, brand mentions, evidence of third-party testing, and look for value when shopping for CBD products to get the most for your money.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis and Other Mobility Issues
The fastest growing health trend for both humans and pets in 2021 is CBD oil. Perhaps you have seen it on the shelves of your local pet boutique or even at your vet’s office.
If you have a mobility impaired or senior dog struggling with conditions such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, you may be wondering if this is just another passing fad, or if there is any science to support its use. Of course, you want to do all you can for your pet. But you also don’t want to waste your money or risk your beloved pet’s health.
It turns out that CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol or hemp oil, has been extensively researched. This article will give you a basic primer on what CBD oil is, how it works, and what sorts of health benefits it may offer your dog with joint pain, arthritis, chronic inflammation, and other mobility issues.
Our hope is that if your dog has arthritis, hip dysplasia, or another condition that includes chronic pain and inflammation, that you will learn more about how CBD may be a good choice for your canine companion.
All CBD products are not the same. For example, full spectrum CBD oil may offer your dog more relief. If you decide to work with your vet to give it a try, we hope this article will also help you find the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis and mobility issues.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is derived from a special strain of cannabis known as hemp. You may be thinking: “Wait. I thought marijuana was toxic to dogs.” You are right to have this concern. Strains of cannabis grown for recreational and medical use in humans usually contain high amounts of THC, a psychoactive compound that is toxic to dogs in large doses.
However, hemp is special. This strain of cannabis is regulated by law to contain less than 0.3% of THC, far too small an amount to harm your pet when hemp oil is properly dosed.
Hemp is high in another cannabinoid found in hemp: Cannabidiol. This compound is not psychoactive and it won’t get your dog high. But it does have several scientifically researched health benefits. This article will explore those most relevant for our senior and disabled canine companions, including those struggling with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and other conditions that can reduce mobility. Wondering if dog CBD is right for your pooch? Read on.
The Endocannabinoid System
The use of cannabis for its medicinal qualities goes back centuries. However, the scientific exploration of the healing qualities is much more recent. The last few decades in particular have been marked by a surge in laboratory studies on tissues, animals, and humans.
One of the biggest breakthroughs was the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in the early 1990’s. It turns out that this system acts with a series of receptors, transmitters, and specialized enzymes to regulate several bodily functions including: metabolism, immunity, digestion, skin health, allergic reaction, anxiety, and more.
Many people think that it sounds like a scam when they see that CBD oil may have so many health benefits, however, it is precisely because the Endocannabinoid System regulates so many other functions in the body that it can have a broad stabilizing effect on these same systems.
Your dog, like all mammals, has her own endocannabinoid system (ECS). In addition to producing her own endocannabinoids, her ECS responds to the introduction of cannabinoids such those found in hemp oil. These can be introduced via food, supplements, and applied topically.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
High quality CBD oil may play an important role in a vet approved plan for your dog’s health. CBD may be especially useful in canines who suffer from mobility issues, persistent pain and inflammation, or chronic conditions that often come with age such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the science:
For many disabled and senior dogs, pain management is a key component of treatment to maintain quality of life. Pain can be caused from injury, surgery, and chronic and progressive disease such as IVDD, hip dysplasia, and arthritis. Reducing pain is important for your special needs dog’s quality of life.
Generally, pain management will include prescription medications such as opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although these medications are very effective, they also come with serious side effects. Side effects include chemical dependence, long term liver damage, and the potential for a lethal overdose. On the other hand, the natural supplement cannabidiol has demonstrated in multiple studies to be effective in reducing pain with minimal side effects.
Inflammation is a significant source of pain for many of our handicapped and older dogs suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Typically, these conditions are treated aggressively with NSAIDs.
Unfortunately, this class of drugs has come under recent controversy concerning the safety of their use, particularly for aging dogs and those experiencing organ dysfunction. This is particularly a concern for long term pain management. Long term NSAID use can have serious side effects on the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and kidneys. In fact, renal failure and death are possible risks of the long term use of this class of drugs. When choosing a treatment regimen for your pet, you and your veterinarian must always balance the risks and benefits of any medication to determine the best course of action for your pet.
Adding CBD to your pet’s treatment plan may be beneficial with minimal risk to your pet. Several studies have shown that cannabidiol has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, both when taken orally or when applied to the skin. One study showed CBD to be effective against inflammation caused by osteoarthritis, that it slowed the progression of this degenerative disease by preventing the nerve damage caused by inflammation! And, with fewer and less severe known side effects than many approved NSAID drugs commonly prescribed to senior pets.
Reduce the Use of Pain Medications with CBD Oil
CBD oil is thought to enhance the activity of opioids and NSAIDS, making it possible to reduce the dose of these drugs without compromising on pain control.
This is great news for dog owners looking to avoid complications from long term use of these drug classes. It certainly warrants a conversation with your veterinarian!
As our dogs age, they begin to show less interest in activities they once enjoyed. Daily walks, a swim in the pond – may become too much for a dog in pain to handle. It is heartbreaking to watch the process unfold and we all want to prolong our pet’s mobility as long as we can.
Because it can address both pain and inflammation, CBD oil may help to improve your aging dog’s mobility. One study on dogs showed that 2 mg of CBD administered twice daily improved mobility for dogs affected with osteoarthritis.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition in dogs, especially seniors and large breeds. Symptoms of arthritis in dogs can include:
- Joint pain
- Decreased mobility
- Difficulty jumping or using stairs
- Reluctance to engage in activities
- Irritability or aggression
Arthritis pain can sadly have a significant impact on the quality of life of many senior dogs. CBD oil for arthritis is a relatively new treatment that has shown some benefit for dogs with arthritis pain.
Is there any veterinary research on CBD oil for dogs with arthritis? Great question!
Veterinary medicine tends to follow trends in human medicine, often lagging by years from testing to approval of veterinary drugs. The FDA has not approved a veterinary drug to treat arthritis based on CBD or hemp based compounds.
However, that is not to say that there is no research to support the use of CBD for arthritis. There are several promising studies that demonstrate that cannabidiol is effective at reducing inflammation in rat models of arthritis. One study showed that CBD was effective at reducing inflammation and slowed the progression of degeneration in rats.
Medical researchers are investigating how some cannabinoid receptors, such as the GPR55 receptor, may be directly implicated in the progression of joint problems in arthritis. One study showed that CBD interacts with this receptor in a way that seems to slow down the progression.
Although there is less research to be found specifically on CBD and dogs with arthritis, a study conducted by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2018 showed that 2 mg of CBD administered twice daily to dogs with arthritis resulted in decreased pain and increased activity levels. The dogs in the study also had no reported side effects from the treatment.
The Arthritis Foundation released a report giving some guidelines on the safe use of CBD for people suffering from arthritis. They note that: “Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated in quality studies in humans.
Although large clinical trials have not yet taken place, it is also fair to say that early research on the use of natural CBD for dogs with arthritis is promising. For dogs with arthritis, CBD may be another treatment option in addition to traditional arthritis medications and supplements.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is another common joint issue that begins during puppyhood. And, like arthritis, hip dysplasia is a condition that involves joint pain and inflammation.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that occurs due to uneven growth of the hip joints. This results in arthritis of the hips, often at a young age. Just like dogs with arthritis, dogs with hip dysplasia experience joint pain, loss of mobility, and chronic inflammation. Other symptoms of hip dysplasia are also similar to those in dogs with arthritis, including:
- Reluctance to rise from sitting or laying down
- Difficulty with jumping or using stairs
- Lameness in the hind legs
- Decreased range of motion in the hips
- Loss of muscle mass in the rear limbs
We know that CBD products can help with pain and inflammation. Many vets and pet owners are using CBD oil for dogs to help alleviate symptoms of hip dysplasia. This is giving our pets a better quality of life with less discomfort and more mobility.
Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD Oil
Canine CBD oil is available ‘over the counter’, but always talk to your vet before adding a medication or supplement. This is especially important since CBD oil can interfere with the metabolism of other drugs your canine may need for proper treatment.
You may have been told, or heard not to eat grapefruit at the same time you take medications. The chemicals in grapefruit can temporarily inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver which are critical for metabolizing these medications. Cannabidiol can have a similar inhibiting mechanism so timing your dosing may be very important.
Some dogs experience mild side effects from the use of CBD oil products. These may include symptoms such as mild sedation, seeming drowsy or “out of it”, vomiting, or diarrhea when first starting the product. If these side effects occur, or if you have any other questions or concerns about CBD oil for dogs, stop giving the product and contact your veterinarian for further advice.
If you do decide to give your dog CBD oil for arthritis or mobility issues, make sure you show the product you’ve chosen to your veterinarian first. Your vet will want to make sure the product is third-party lab tested, contains an appropriate dose of CBD, and is THC-free. Some CBD pet products do not meet these safety and clinical efficacy standards. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations to help you choose the best CBD products, or check out our guidelines below.
Best CBD for Dogs with Arthritis
If you want the best CBD oil for dogs for arthritis, be sure that you know what to look for.
Unfortunately, thanks to all the recent science on this supplement, demand is high and supply is still trying to catch up. This makes the market ripe for fake and low-quality products, a situation the FDA has warned pet owners about.
To choose the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis, be sure to buy a safe product from a trusted company that makes high-quality CBD oil for dogs specifically, such as LolaHemp. If you decide to do your own research on a brand to try, be sure it checks off all of these important quality considerations:
Quality Considerations when selecting a CBD Oil
Made just for dogs: Avoid CBD oil products made for people which can include flavorings and other ingredients that can be harmful to canines. Dog owners should also be aware that many CBD oils made for people can also contain high levels of THC, which can be fatal to pets. The best CBD oil will be one made specifically for dogs.
Organic sourcing: Refined hemp oil can contain harmful pesticides and herbicides routinely used in industrial hemp farming. Pet owners should look for full-spectrum CBD oil products made from organically sourced hemp, such as LolaHemp products.
Third-Party Lab Tested: You should verify the quality and concentration of any hemp oil before you buy. Look for a product that has recently been third-party lab tested to be sure you are getting a high-quality CBD product tested for purity and concentration. The label should specify the mg of CBD and the product should be THC-free.
Full Spectrum: Full-spectrum CBD oil is the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis, and it is considered superior to CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD oil – sometimes referred to as broad-spectrum CBD oil – contains all of the vital compounds found in the whole hemp plant. Even in trace amounts, these compounds improve the overall healing qualities of hemp, known as the “Entourage Effect.”
MCT Coconut Oil: Widely believed to boost the ability to metabolize CBD oils, an MCT coconut oil carrier oil is a sign of high quality. Look for a broad-spectrum CBD or full-spectrum CBD oil with an MCT carrier made specifically for dogs to ensure you’re getting a quality product.
Commitment to Animal Welfare
Put your money where your heart is. Support companies that make animal welfare a priority through service and donations to rescue pets in need. The best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis also helps other pets, too!
Dr. Elizabeth Racine, DVM
Elizabeth Racine, DVM is a small animal veterinarian with a passion for improving the lives of pets. She has worked in the veterinary field in various roles for more than a decade. Dr. Racine’s professional interests in behavior, nutrition, and palliative care. As a writer, her work has been featured by several world-renowned pet health and wellness brands. Dr. Racine shares her home with her dog Dasher – a beagle with his own storied career training new veterinary students – and her trouble-making orange cat named Julius.
Joey DiFrancesco is an animal lover, rescue advocate and entrepreneur. He is the founder of natural pet products brand Lolahemp, as well as online pet novelty shop, Lolawawa’s. Both brands are heavily active within the rescue community and contribute a portion of proceeds to animal rescue efforts.