How Do You Determine the Proper Dosage of CBD For Your Pet?

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a veterinarian or personal physician.

If you have been keeping up with our blogs, you would know how we are proud advocates of CBD and its amazing, potential benefits. We are also passionate about the health and wellness of you, our customers, and the planet as a whole — and that extends to your beloved pets, as well!

In a previous post, we set out to demystify any confusion around giving CBD to your pets and explored all of the potential positive effects it can have on your furry friends’ health and wellness. The question remains however, how do you determine the appropriate dosage of CBD to give your pet? 

So, in today’s post we are exploring the ins and outs of how to determine the right dosage of CBD for your pets, as well as answering a lot of the most common questions around this subject.

How Does CBD Oil for Pets Work?

Let’s take a step back for a moment and first look at exactly why CBD has the potential to offer your beloved pets incredible health and wellness benefits. 

Sure, our cats and dogs come in slightly more compact packages than us humans, but believe it or not, they  have the same major organs and internal systems as we do (again, just in smaller sizes). Just as in humans, pets’ bodies are also equipped with cannabinoid receptors situated near major organs. The role of these cannabinoid receptors is to maintain homeostasis (balance) throughout the body’s systems. When cannabinoid receptors gauge potential threats, such as inflammation, a virus, toxins, etc. they send electrical impulses that report findings back to the brain.  In turn, the body produces endocannabinoids and the continuous communication of these nerve impulses and endocannabinoids is known as the endocannabinoid system.

As your canine and feline friends possess the same endocannabinoid system as you do, CBD can offer the same balanced wellness in our pets as it does for you. 

What Effects Can CBD Have on Your Pets?

In humans, it has been indicated that CBD can help with various health issues including depression, anxiety, appetite loss, seizures, glaucoma, insomnia, and more. Did you know that CBD can be just as beneficial for pets as it is for their human companions? It’s true! Recent studies have shown that CBD is particularly beneficial for dogs in helping to reduce anxiety, as well as helping with seizures, pain, and inflammation, and it can even also improve skin conditions. Hemp CBD has been the drug-free solution for a happier, more relaxed life for many pets, and it’s expected to be used even more widely as more pets continue to benefit from its calming properties.

How Much CBD Should You Give Your Pet?

We understand how tricky figuring out the right dosing of CBD for humans can be, let alone determining appropriate dosing for your beloved pets! While it can be overwhelming to figure out the right dosing for your pets, don’t let confusion deter you from enabling your pets to experience the incredible health and wellness benefits they can potentially enjoy from this powerful, all-natural remedy. 

While there’s no standard dose of CBD for pets (or humans), veterinarians recommend giving .2 mg of CBD oil per pound of body weight.  Thus, if your pet weighs 10 pounds, you would give him a dosage of 2 mg of CBD oil.

CBD Dosage for Pets: The Basics

Ok, let’s break this down further. 

Below are a list of some of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best CBD dosage starting point for your cat or dog :

  1. The potency of full-spectrum CBD, or cannabinoids, in the product you’re using
  2. Your pet’s weight
  3. The severity of the condition you’re treating

Follow these additional tips from veterinarians who have experience using CBD for pets:

  • Always consult your veterinarian before you give your pet any supplements or treatments.
  • Consider your pet’s activity level — this can help you determine how your pet will metabolize CBD and other medications.
  • Consider any health conditions your pet may have which may affect his or her ability to react to CBD, i.e., liver or kidney problems.
  • Always use organic, high-quality CBD oil that’s free of toxins. Because the CBD industry isn’t yet fully regulated, it’s important to carefully research the product you decide to use before you give it to your pet.
  • You may need to experiment to find the right dose, as every pet’s health and wellness are different (just like us humans!). 
  • The ideal dosage may differ depending on the condition you’re trying to treat.  For example, higher doses are typically recommended for more serious health conditions and lower doses are appropriate for treating anxiety or helping to enhance general well-being.

It’s always best to start off with a smaller dose, and increase the dose as per your pet’s health and wellness needs and how well they are tolerating it. While CBD is generally well tolerated by pets, note that it’s possible that your pet will need, and therefore will benefit from, less CBD than that of a standard dose. 

Determining CBD Oil Dosage for Pets’ General Well-Being

If you’re using CBD to help enhance your pet's general well-being, or to calm mild anxiety, start with a dose on the low side of the recommended range and watch for any effects. You should start to notice the CBD taking effect within an hour.  If you don’t start to see any noticeable effects, you may want to give more CBD to your pet, totalling the mid to upper dosage recommendation. Once you have given the right dose to your pet, he or she should not seem lethargic, but will instead be acting more relaxed and calm with less panting, pacing, and whining.  

A low dose of CBD may be used for:

  •       Minor aches and pains
  •       Immune system support
  •       Daily health and wellness
  •       Allergies
  •       Minor skin conditions
  •       Minor stress and anxiety
  •       Digestive issues and nausea
  •       Minor arthritis and joint inflammation
  •       Old age

A medium dose of CBD may be used for:

  •       Mild skin conditions
  •       Heightened stress and Anxiety
  •       Moderate arthritis and joint inflammation

CBD Dosage for Medicinal Use in Pets

If you’re planning on using CBD for your pet for medicinal purposes (e.g. to treat arthritis pain or help ease seizures), you may want to start in the middle of the recommended dosage range and monitor your pet’s response. You can then increase the dose slowly, continuing to assess your pet's response, evaluating how well they are tolerating the dosage as well as watching out for signs that they are calmer, more relaxed and their pain has started to ease until you reach the ideal dose for your pet.   

 A high dose of CBD has been recommended for:

  • Severe arthritis and joint inflammation
  • Chronic pain
  • Extreme nausea and vomiting
  • Tumors and cancer-related symptoms
  • Mobility Issues
  • Severe anxiety
  • Epileptic seizures

Unless your pet falls into the high dosage category, we typically recommend starting off with a low dosage for the first two weeks in order to gauge how your pet responds. After two weeks, we suggest gradually increasing the dosage to reach the desired effectiveness. Remember that not all animals respond to CBD in the same manner – some may require very small doses while others may need a little extra. The key is to remain consistent.

*For inflammation and pain management, administer a dose every 8 hours for best results and optimal comfort.

*Administer a dose 30 minutes prior to high anxiety events such as fireworks, vet visits, car rides, leaving home, thunderstorms etc.

How Should You Administer CBD to Your Pet? 

As you know, some pets will eat anything you put in front of them.  For those furry friends, you could probably put the dropper right in their mouths, ensuring they don’t bite down on it! Others may be a bit more hesitant and will need you to put the oil directly into their food or hide it in a treat. Be sure your pet eats the entire treat or bowl of food to ensure he or she is receiving the full dose.

Can I Give My Pet CBD In Combination with Other Medications?

If you give your pet medications to treat anxiety or any other conditions, always first check with your veterinarian before giving them CBD oil. Holistic and integrative vets are usually familiar with CBD, and will be able to answer any of your questions.

How Long Does It Take CBD to Start Working?

Just like every human responds differently to CBD and other types of supplements or medications, every pet will respond differently to CBD as well. Typically, it takes about 30-45 minutes for your pet to start feeling the effects. Monitor your pet closely, as their response may be subtle. 

How Long Will the Effects of CBD last?

Generally, each dose will last approximately four to eight hours, though the duration can vary a lot, depending on your pet’s size, activity level, breed, and the severity of their symptoms. Older pets tend to take longer than younger ones to digest food or supplements. 

Many people take CBD before bed, and continue to notice the effects well into the next day.  Some pets may have the same experience. The more consistent you are with administering CBD to your pet, the more noticeable the results will be.

In many cases, your pet will tell you if it’s time for more. You may notice that they are showing signs of discomfort or pain from their symptoms again, and you can come to their rescue with a dropper. They’ll be grateful when you do!

How Much CBD is in a Single Dose of CBD Oil?

Remember, different CBD tinctures come in different potencies. The amount listed on River Organics’ Full-Spectrum CBD Oil label refers to the total amount of active cannabinoids in the bottle, and not a per-dose amount.  For example, our 300 mg Bacon-flavored CBD tincture contains 300 total milligrams of active cannabinoids in the bottle, with each 1 ml dose delivering 10 mg of active cannabinoids.  Our bottles have dosage info right on the label and every dropper is clearly marked.

IMPORTANT: This dosage may not apply to the product you are using from another company.

River Organics Recommendations

Small-sized pet, 50 lbs & under: 300mg bacon flavored (10 mg of full-spectrum cannabinoids per 1ml dropper)

Medium to large sized pet, 50-125 lbs: 600mg peanut butter flavored (20 mg of full-spectrum cannabinoids per 1ml dropper)

Horses & other extra-large animals: 7500mg bottle (50 mg of full-spectrum cannabinoids per 1ml dropper)

River Organics Dosing Chart

Weight

Recommended Dosage (twice a day)

(lbs)

Low

Medium

High

10

1 mg

2 mg

3 mg

20

2 mg

4 mg

6 mg

30

3 mg

6 mg

9 mg

40

4 mg

8 mg

12 mg

50

5 mg

10 mg

15 mg

60

6 mg

12 mg

18 mg

70

7 mg

14 mg

21 mg

80

8 mg

16 mg

24 mg

90

9 mg

18 mg

27 mg

100

10 mg

20 mg

30 mg

110

11 mg

22 mg

33 mg

120

12 mg

24 mg

36 mg

130

13 mg

26 mg

39 mg

140

14 mg

28 mg

42 mg

150

15 mg

30 mg

45 mg

 

In Conclusion

Dogs and cats come in all shapes and sizes. That’s what we love about them! So when it comes to CBD, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It might take some experimenting to find the right dose for your beloved pet.  Fortunately, CBD is safe and natural, so there shouldn’t be any adverse effects if your pet gets a little more or less than needed while you figure things out.

It is also worth mentioning that not only dogs and cats could benefit from the therapeutic effects of cannabis. Indeed, several studies have shown that pigs, chickens, monkeys and rats have the same exact receptors as ours, so treatments with cannabis arise as a promising option for a wide range of animals!

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