The Facts About Dosing CBD
Today, Hernando and I want to discuss with you the #1 most asked question on the internet …
“What’s the proper dosage of CBD for pets?”
First, let’s talk about the big fear that’s out there around CBD and it’s use in our pets. People are often cautioned about CBD and worry that if they give “too much” their dog may,
- Become sick
- Or develop liver damage
In fact, this is a common battle that our team addresses far too often but my answer is always,
“NO, you can’t kill your dog.”
Hernando asked me during our podcast, ” How many animals have died from cannabis use in this area of the world?” And without pause, my answer was, “ZERO”
This is why I believe it’s so important for us to get the correct information out there. I want you as a pet parent to feel comfortable dosing CBD for your pets.
So, let’s review the facts and cover why CBD is an excellent choice to help your pet live their best life.
The Truth About CBD Dosing For Pets
As a pet owner, you need to know that you can not cause harm to your pet with a full-spectrum extract.
Trust me, even if you pour the entire bottle down your dog’s throat, they will be ok. Sure, they may have some diarrhea or vomit but then they’ll likely just go to sleep.
Even if you give “too much”, nothing is going to cause permanent damage to your dog.
What’s more concerning to me, is when pet parents aren’t giving their pet enough for what they need. If you’re reaching for CBD for your pet to …
… You want to be sure you are giving them enough of a dose to help.
This is why when I see a low dosage on a CBD product I get really upset. Hernando agrees with how frustrating this can be to hear from owners. He shared with our listeners how we often get calls about CBD not helping someone’s dog.
Hernando reminds owners that a 2 mg dose isn’t going to help a dog with seizures … but he can guide you to proper dosage and product that will. So let’s cover why the product matters.
Choose A CBD Product That Works
Unfortunately, as with all products, not everything is created equal.
The good news is, there’s a reason we, and a few others, manufacture our products a certain way. Our products were developed based on what I learned at the University of Vermont.
I learned about how much cannabis medicine needs to be in a tincture to help:
- Autoimmune disorders
- And more
This means our products are based on knowing the therapeutic amounts needed to help your pet. They weren’t just designed to be profitable products … and unfortunately, there are companies out there who focus on profit first.
So, you need to know what to look for.
So, when someone is trying to help their dog with a serious disease and they’re giving a 150 mg product … It’s not going to help them.
I think that’s a terrible thing and Hernando agrees with me, “It makes me so mad!”
Imagine, here you are believing in this medicine only to find out that you bought a product that doesn’t work … and your pet still needs help!
This is why you definitely want to make sure you’re getting a good product. You also want to know you’re giving the right dose. So let’s jump into some dosing facts now.
Just remember that you can’t give too much and that they’re not going to have permanent damage or die. But you do need to be sure you’re giving them enough to help, especially with a serious disease.
The Facts On The Proper Dosage of CBD For Pets
Hernando shared the dosing bad news with us during the podcast. He reminded listeners that dosing isn’t as simple as knowing your dog’s weight and breed. This is often the message pet parents hear or read.
We sure wish it was that simple! Instead, I want you to think about the fact that a small dog with cancer is going to need more than a big dog with anxiety.
A story we tell all the time is how my 55 lb Doberman needs 8 mg for thunderstorms and yet my 9 lb Schnauzer needs 20 mg. It really all depends on their endocannabinoid system and their specific ailments.
So don’t let anyone fool you that it’s all about size or weight. In fact, size and weight actually have very little to do with it.
Ok, you’re now probably now thinking, “Well how the heck do I figure it out this out?” But that’s just it. You have to figure it out for your unique pet. It takes time, and trial and error, but you will get there.
I had to figure out how much CBD to give a newly rescued dog that was having grand mal seizures. I knew CBD could stop the episodes, but I had to figure out how much that particular dog needed. It didn’t matter if she was a 5 lb dog or a 100lb dog. I needed to figure out the right dose for her, and we did. And you will too!
If you imagine the endocannabinoid system and the fact that it can have deficiencies just like any other body system … then it makes sense that my dog, who’s older, will have more deficiencies than my younger dog. And this is why he needs a lot more medicine to be calm in the storms than she does.
However, it’s not just age that may affect your dog’s endocannabinoid system. Some dogs are born with deficiencies and some are freaked out about a loud noise or situation. It all really comes down to their unique traits and stressors, just like us.
How To Figure Out The Right CBD Dose For Your Pet
Ok, so now that you know dosing isn’t black and white, let’s review how to figure out your pet’s dose.
Again, I don’t want you to be afraid that you’re going to give too much. I want you to feel confident that you’re going to give enough to help your pet.
Once you’re ready to start dosing CBD, it’s really just a few simple steps.
Let’s take situational anxiety as an example.
1. Give them their first dose on their gums and watch to see how they respond for the next 10-15 minutes.
2. How have they responded? Have they calmed down?
3. If the answer is no, then you can give them another dose and watch their response again.
4. If yes, then great! You’ve found the right dose for your pet.
You can always start low and gradually increase. At my rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, I tend to get animals who are in extreme pain, are having seizures or even cancer. This is when I decide to start on a higher dose. I need to make sure that they are pain-free!
I do this by starting with a bigger dose and then tailoring it down. With the older dogs, I always find I have to give them higher doses because of deficiencies.
Once you have them feeling better you can slowly decrease the dose and monitor how they respond.
Pro Tips For Monitoring Your Pet’s CBD Dosage Needs
A great tip is to keep a journal where you can track the dosage you’re giving and how your pet is responding.
For example, you may find that you give 9 mg all week for anxiety and see some improvement, but not as much as you would like. So, then the next week you increase your dose and record the response you see. You keep doing this until you find what works best for your pet.
Pictures are another great way to track your pet’s success if you’re dealing with a tumor or growth. I’ve seen people take a picture every day so that they can really see the small changes, like a tumor, shrinking. This is also great if you’re unsure of how well it’s working because you can keep looking back at where you started.
Some tumors might even get bigger before they get smaller, so this is a great way to track their progress.
Ok, I know I’ve said this already, but it’s important. You can’t overdose your dog and kill him!
In fact, there’ve been overdose studies that tried to kill chimps and beagles with CBD and THC. Sure, the higher doses made them sick, but they did not die.
My final great tip is to divide the best CBD dose you find into 2-3 doses per day. This helps to keep the CBD in their blood all day. You’ll want to give it morning and night at the very least and if you can do four times a day that’s even better.
Some people even prefer to have the bedtime dose to be higher, so they sleep well. After all, they’re just like us and sleep is important for healing and mental health.
So, let’s jump into some starting doses you can try for different ailments your pet may have.
CBD Dosing Guide Based On Ailment
The following doses are based on research and my experience in dosing the animals on my rescue farm. They’re a great place to start as you work to figure out the best dose for your pet.
Dr. Trina Hazzah is a big advocate for medical cannabis for pets. She shared with us that pets around the country will suffer from different diseases. This has a lot to do with environmental factors playing a role in their health and causing disease.
So, when we trying to support a dog who lives in L.A. vs one in New York or Orlando … they’re all going to be unique.
When it comes to fighting serious diseases like cancer, the environment is a big factor. One dog may have exposure to weed killer in their neighborhood while another lives in a smoggy city. These additional stressors on the body will mean that you need to tailor their CBD dosing also.
Ok, so let’s look at some top ailments and the CBD starting dosages to get your pet back on track.
Dosing CBD For Situational Anxiety
Situational anxiety is caused by stress that’s brought on by an event or experience your pet has. In dogs, it’s easy to notice when they’re stressed at the vet, the groomer or in a thunderstorm, etc.
The challenge can be assessing stress in our other pets, like cats and pocket pets. Cats are really good at hiding their weaknesses and when life gets hard, they tend to hide or not eat as well. You can learn more about spotting stress and anxiety in your cat here.
Starting CBD Dosage For Anxiety:
- Start with 9-12 mg applied directly to the gums.
- Wait 15-20 minutes and assess how your pet responds.
- If you see no changes, then you can give another 1/2- full dose.
- Continue to monitor every 15-20 minutes and repeat the dosage as needed.
- It may take 3-4 doses the first time and that’s ok!
- The next time they’re stressed you may find a lower dose helps. This is because their endocannabinoid system is being supported.
Dosing CBD For General Daily Anxiety
General anxiety is when your pet is anxious about many things and seems distressed most of the time. This is really hard as a pet parent to see and the sooner we can help these guys the better.
CBD is great at supporting general anxiety … but you’re going to need some extra patience while you work to find the right dose.
This one isn’t as easy as situation anxiety, but you will find success, I promise!
Step one is to make sure you have a great full-spectrum product that works. If you’ve been trying to manage general anxiety with CBD and it’s not working, you need a better product. Check out my blog, 10 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING CBD FOR YOUR PETS
Starting CBD Dosage For General Anxiety:
- Start with 9-12 mg applied directly to the gums daily for 7- 10 days.
- Monitor and assess how your pet responds using the journaling tip I shared earlier.
- If you see no changes, or not enough of improvement then increase the dose for another 7-10 days.
- Repeat this cycle until you find the dose that works best.
- Splitting the daily dose into at least two doses (morning and night) will help to keep the CBD active in the body.
- Once you have the dose that works for your pet you can always try to tailor that dose back down after a few good weeks.
Dosing CBD For Arthritis
Arthritis is painful so for these pets we want to get that pain and inflammation back under control soon. That’s why with these cases I like to start with higher dosages.
Starting CBD Dosage For Arthritis:
- Start with 12-15 mg per day divided into 2-3 doses on their gums.
- You should see them become more comfortable, active and able to do things again.
- If they still seem painful or stiff, then you can increase the dose and monitor again.
- Older pets will likely need a higher dose or a more concentrated CBD formula.
Dosing CBD For Allergies
CBD oil for pets can reduce your pet’s allergy symptoms but you will still need to get to the bottom things. Determining the root cause of their allergies will allow you to make the changes needed.
Often allergies are related to a leaky gut and a diet that isn’t suitable for your pet as an individual.
If you’re not sure where to start with diet changes, check out our favorite companies below:
The good news is you can offer some support and comfort while you work to restore the balance by using CBD. I also really encourage you to add in gut support products that help with healing. Julie Ann Lee of Adored Beast Apothecary has some amazing gut health products to get your pet back on track
Starting CBD Dosage For Allergies:
- Start with 9-12 mg daily on the gums, divided into 2-3 doses if you can.
- Monitor for one week and increase as needed until you feel like you are seeing some improvement.
- Remember, their symptoms won’t completely resolve until the allergy cause is removed and the body has healed… but they should look feel a bit better.
Dosing CBD For Cancer And Autoimmune Diseases
These pets are really sick, so you’ll want to start with higher doses at the beginning. The higher dosages allow you to support the body and kill cancer cells.
Now, I’m technically not allowed to say CBD kills cancer … but the research does show it to be effective at 50-100 mg dosages. So, when I’m working with a pet who has cancer, I like to start high.
Starting CBD Dosage For Cancer:
- Start with 45- 50 mg daily on the gums divided into 2-3 doses.
- Depending on the type of cancer you are dealing with, you’ll need to make journal notes about how they are doing.
- You may also need to take daily photos for cancers you can see so that you can tell if you are helping.
- If you’re not seeing an improvement in pain, comfort and tumor sizes, then you need to increase the dosage.
**Some aggressive or painful cancers may need some THC support to fight pain and the spread of cells. Speak with your holistic vet about the best CBD and THC combination for your pet.**
My hope is that one day veterinarians will have access to higher-level THC products. This would allow them the ability to tailor higher dosages to cancer patients’ needs.
Starting CBD Dosage For Autoimmune Disease:
- Start with 35- 50 mg daily on the gums and ideally divided into 2-3 doses.
- Monitor weekly and increase the daily dosage as needed.
Dosing CBD For Seizures
Similar to cancer, I’m not allowed to say that CBD will stop your pet’s seizures … but there’s research to show it can be very effective at seizure management. I’ve also had great success with the dogs I’ve worked with.
The reason it often appears to not work in pets … comes back to incorrect dosages being given.
You need to be using higher dosages at the beginning and then tailor them back down once you have control.
Starting CBD Dosage For Seizures:
- Start with 35-40mg on the gums divided into 2-4 doses each day.
- Start a seizure journal and record the severity, length, and the number of seizures each day.
- Increase the dosage as needed until you are having better control. Your holistic vet can guide you more on this. Some dogs can be seizure-free, others may still have the odd episode, but they should be less intense.
Key points on THE proper dosage of CBD for pets
- You’ll likely find that your pet will soon make the connection that the CBD helps, and they may even come to you for more.
- Long term doses may be able to be decreased as the endocannabinoid system is being supported.
- You need to use a high-quality full-spectrum product.
- BONUS- Dosing for any health issue helps the body as a whole too!
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.