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Best CBD For Dogs: Benefits, Types, & Product Recommendations

Table of Contents

As dog owners, we hate to see our best friends in any kind of pain or discomfort. Unfortunately, though, we can’t shield them completely from general conditions like anxiety and pain. Just like humans, there are medications that we can give our dogs that help them deal with these conditions, namely antidepressants or painkillers.

But when it comes to modern pet wellness, dog owners are always exploring different options to improve the health of their canine friends. Supplements, raw dog food diets, and more natural options are becoming increasingly popular among pet owners. Why? In some cases, giving your dog a natural solution can eliminate some or all of the side effects that can come with certain medications.

For example, consider NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In humans, these are Ibuprofen or Naproxen. And, just like humans, NSAIDs come with certain risks. Prolonged use of NSAIDs in dogs can lead to issues with the kidneys and liver, among other conditions like drug toxicosis. On the other hand, anti-depressants for dogs, such as Fluoxetine, can cause issues like vomiting, lethargy, abnormal heart rhythms, and more.

For a dog with a chronic pain issue, anxiety, or even seizures, it’s a tough balance of ensuring that your dog is pain-free and comfortable while managing the amount of medication they are taking.

To eliminate or significantly reduce the potential for side effects, dog owners are always on the lookout for potential alternatives. Due to its success in treating pain, anxiety, and other conditions in humans, CBD products for dogs are becoming more popular.

Because of this newfound popularity, dog owners are wondering what the options are for the best CBD for dogs on the market. In addition, some pet owners have questions about how CBD for dogs works.

In this article, we explore what CBD for dogs is, how it works, the conditions it can potentially treat, types, and product recommendations for the absolute best CBD for pets.

What Is CBD for Dogs

The marijuana plant has two main active ingredients that you’ve probably heard of before—delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the “high” (psychoactive effect) that people experience when they use marijuana. On the other hand, CBD is not psychoactive, so does not cause a “high”. Instead, because of its chemical structure, CBD has a much different effect on the body—causing muscle relaxation, reduced anxiety, and an overall calm feeling.

In Canada, purchasing and using CBD products is legal in all provinces and territories, with the sale and distribution of the product controlled by each provincial or territorial government. Currently, no regulatory-body-approved CBD products are available for pets in Canada, so technically, the sale of CBD products for pets is prohibited. However, given that cannabis products are legally available for purchase for human use and that there are studies showing the benefits of CBD use in pets, some pet product companies have tried to gain customers interested in the benefits of cannabis by marketing hemp products instead (since hemp is a legal type of cannabis plant). In the United States, CBD purchase and use for pets is also prohibited, but veterinarians are able to discuss the use of and even recommend the use of cannabis products.

Benefits of CBD for Dogs

benefits of cbd for dogs

Because CBD has exhibited positive health benefits in people, it’s only natural that dog owners would wonder if their furry friend could experience the same health benefits.

There have been many studies conducted over the years regarding CBD for dogs. Many of these dog cannabis studies have found that giving dogs CBD helps improve the clinical signs associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis, pruritus (an unpleasant sensation on the skin that prompts the dogs to scratch), and epilepsy (seizures).

Cornell University is one of the first institutions to do a study on CBD’s effect on dogs. The study showed positive results with using CBD as a pain management tool, with more than 80% of the dogs with osteoarthritis in the study showing a decrease in pain.

In addition to this study, Colorado State University conducted a clinical trial where they used CBD to help significantly reduce the number of seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. The trial found that CBD can be successfully used in addition to traditional canine seizure medications as an effective seizure management plan.

All of these studies tell us that CBD is effective in helping treat or manage a variety of conditions that are prevalent in dogs. These conditions include:

  1. Joint pain management and chronic pain
  2. Seizure management
  3. Anxiety-related conditions, such as pruritus

But the other thing that these studies tell us is that even the best CBD for dogs isn’t a complete treatment solution all on its own. Whether it’s being used for seizures or pain management, CBD is a great addition to the existing medication that reduces the dosage amount and, therefore, the potential for side effects by working alongside the medication to provide positive benefits to the dog.

As we mentioned earlier, NSAIDs can cause kidney and liver damage over time in dogs, especially when the medication is taken for a long period of time in high doses. However by using CBD alongside NSAIDs, the dosage amount of the painkiller can be reduced.

It’s important to note that the combination of NSAIDs and CBD, while effective for pain management, doesn’t treat the underlying condition. Many dogs experience chronic pain because of joint issues, and these medications work to mask the pain rather than treat the condition causing it.

This is why for dog joint conditions like arthritis, incorporating a joint supplement into your dog’s diet is essential. TRI-ACTA H.A., for example, is a joint supplement with 100% active and natural ingredients. These ingredients are outlined in the following table:

TRI-ACTA H.A. Ingredient


Glucosamine Sulfate / Glucosamine HCl

The combination of both types of glucosamine for dogs provides the maximum benefit to your dog’s overall joint health with their unique formulations:

  • Glucosamine sulfate provides sulfur to your pup’s joints, which is an essential ingredient that helps maintain and repair the joint structures.
  • Glucosamine HCl is a highly bioavailable form of glucosamine, meaning that your dog’s body is able to absorb it faster and easier.


Working together with glucosamine, chondroitin promotes cartilage repair and regeneration in your dog’s joints.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

A natural anti-inflammatory, MSM reduces swelling in your dog’s joints, which helps to relieve pain.

Hyaluronic Acid

This essential acid increases the viscosity of the synovial fluid in your dog’s joints, allowing easier and more pain-free movement.

In many cases, using a joint supplement like TRI-ACTA H.A. in combination with NSAIDs works to reduce the dosage level of the painkiller and, in some cases, eliminate the need for it altogether. Another option is to use CBD for dogs in addition to TRI-ACTA H.A., which allows you to provide pain relief for your dog without having to contend with the risks of NSAIDs at all. These pain management tools will not cause serious side effects in your dog and may be enough on their own to manage your dog’s pain as a result of joint conditions.

TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets

Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.


Types and Typical CBD Dosage for Dogs

types and typical CBD dosage for dogs

Regarding the dosage of even the best CBD for dogs, it’s important to note that in the United States, although CBD products are marketed and sold for pets, the FDA has not approved CBD as a safe pet product. The situation in Canada is largely the same: veterinarians cannot directly prescribe CBD for dogs, but as a product that’s approved for human use, veterinarians can recommend CBD in “extra-label” drug use (meaning that the use of the drug differs from the approved labelling) manner.

In short, dosage amounts of even the best CBD for dogs aren’t regulated or controlled by any government authority in the United States or Canada. This means that cannabis products are not able to be sold for pets legally in Canada or the United States. However, just because CBD for dogs hasn’t been directly approved doesn’t mean that there are no studies out there proving its effectiveness in treating various conditions in pets. The previous section of this article lists various studies highlighting the evidence-based benefits of CBD for dogs. However, practicing safe consumerism is important when seeking out and purchasing these products for yourself or your pet. Only purchase from safe, highly-reviewed sources that can guarantee their ingredients, concentration, and dosage for pets.

Full-Spectrum CBD for Dogs

Considered a strong CBD for dogs, full spectrum CBD is thought to be a better option for dog owners looking for more effectiveness in the CBD they are giving their dog. Even though CBD doesn’t have a psychoactive effect, some products may have a small amount of THC in them. These products are called full-spectrum CBD products.

Full spectrum CBD is the most complete extraction of the marijuana plant, including all of the cannabinoids and terpenes (responsible for the smell of cannabis), as well as other helpful compounds, including:

  • Cannabigerol (CBG): This compound is thought to be more potent than CBD, and has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.
  • Cannabinol (CBN): Considered a “minor” cannabinoid, and although research is limited on the efficacy of this compound, there’s been some evidence to show that it has very mild psychoactive effects. Mostly, it works in conjunction with CBD by giving it a bit of a boost of effectiveness.

Some pet owners may choose a full spectrum CBD because when these two compounds are included in the CBD dose, the dog owner may observe that the dose has a greater effect. This is due to the Entourage Effect, which means that these compounds are more effective together than separately.

However, some dog owners may notice that their dog is a bit more lethargic or showcases a slight “high” when on full-spectrum CBD. This is because these products do contain a slight amount of THC—up to 0.3 percent—which, although this is usually an amount that’s too small to produce psychoactive effects, the potential is always there.

Potential Side Effects of CBD in Dogs

The potential side effects of CBD in dogs are similar to what a human would experience. The most commonly reported side effects of CBD in dogs include:

  • Changes in appetite (either increased or decreased)
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Diarrhea

In general, these side effects are usually mild and resolve on their own. If your dog is getting any of these side effects with CBD, you may need to lower the dosage that you are giving them.

There is also the rare issue of THC toxicity in dogs to consider. Just like people, the effects of a drug like THC vary from dog to dog. However, dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brain compared to people, meaning that a smaller amount of THC is needed to cause a “high”. Because the effects are heightened at smaller doses, the potential for toxicity does increase. However, it usually happens because a dog gets into their owner’s stash rather than it being from cannabis that has been formulated with the express purpose of being for dogs.

The clinical signs of cannabis toxicity in dogs are usually short-lived but can include:

  • Hyperactivity or becoming lethargic
  • Becoming very vocal
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive drool or vomiting
  • Slow or fast heart rate
  • Altered blood pressure
  • Slowed respiration (breathing) rate
  • Increase or decrease in body temperature
  • Incontinence

In rare cases, seizures, tremors, or even a coma can result from cannabis toxicity. As always, any concerns or questions should be brought to your veterinarian to discuss.

Types of CBD for Dogs

There are a variety of types of CBD products available for dogs. These different types are outlined in the table below:

Type of CBD for Dogs

Description & Use


  • Usually comes in a bottle with a dropper. Relatively easy to administer and can be mixed in with food.
  • Oil might be a good choice for beginners because it’s easier to control the dosage amount; starting slow and ramping up the dose based on your dog’s reaction is easiest with oil.
  • Can be flavoured, but like all CBD products, can have a grassy taste that your dog may not love. Masking it in food or treats (such as a spoonful of peanut butter) may help.

Topical products (lotions, gels, creams, sprays)

  • Easy to apply to specific areas where your dog needs pain relief, such as joints
  • Safe for your dog to ingest if they end up licking the area, though the effectiveness could be compromised if they remove all the product before it is absorbed into the skin


  • Flavoured so more likely to be enjoyable for your pup, but can have a grassy underlying taste
  • May take some time to work as the dog must digest the treat, so it’s important to be careful to not overfeed CBD treats

What Type of CBD Is Best for Dogs?

The type of CBD that will work best for your dog depends on your dog, but most pet owners have noticed the best results with the boosted effects of full-spectrum CBD products. These can come in any formulation, from oil to treats.

Typically, CBD oils and treats are more effective overall compared to topical products, but the benefit of topical products is that they can be used at a specific site, so you’re isolating the effects of the CBD to a particular area on your dog, such as their joints. If your dog is suffering from seizures or anxiety, then it’s better to use a form of CBD that can be ingested, like oil or treats, just because these are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Buying Considerations for the Most Effective CBD for Dogs

To be sure you’re purchasing the best CBD for dogs, it’s important to ensure you’re buying from a reputable pet CBD brand. In addition to being careful about who you purchase from, the other considerations that you should keep in mind include:

1. Choose Hemp-Derived CBD for Dogs

Wait, isn’t marijuana hemp? Well, not really. Both cannabis plants are the same species, but they are a bit different in their formulation. Hemp is defined as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3 percent or less THC, while marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 percent THC.

Because dogs are more sensitive to THC compared to humans, the best CBD for dogs is usually made from hemp rather than marijuana. It’s best to check the ingredients and even reach out to the company directly if you have any questions about the ingredients that they use for their products.

2. Opt for Full Spectrum CBD versus Broad Spectrum (Regular)

The reason why some dog owners prefer to skip regular CBD and go straight for full-spectrum is that the full spectrum CBD contains more of the beneficial plant compounds found in hemp, CBG, and CBN, which work in tandem with CBD to provide maximum effectiveness. Your pup may still have a positive response to regular CBD, but if it’s available to you, then full-spectrum is the better option.

3. The Best CBD Products for Dogs are CO2 Extracted

To get the beneficial compounds out of the cannabis plant and formulate them into oil, they must be extracted. CO2 extraction has been touted as the best method for doing this, as it’s a way to guarantee that all of the important compounds make it into the final concentrate.

There are other methods that some companies use to extract compounds, including:

  1. Toxic solvent extraction, which uses solvents like Butane (lighter fluid), Ethanol, or Acetone in the extraction process. Unfortunately, the final product usually always contains trace amounts of these toxic chemicals.
  2. CBD isolate, which expands on the toxic solvent extraction method by exposing the extracted compounds to chemicals like Pentane and Hexane, which leeches the CBD out of the plant, but destroys the other useful compounds CBG and CBN. It’s not uncommon for products that use this extraction method to contain residual traces of these toxic chemicals.

Best CBD for Dogs Recommendations

Choosing the best CBD for dogs can be a difficult task, given the wide range of products on the market and the limitations posed by importing these goods. Be aware that some of the products we recommend below may be unavailable to order directly online in your area due to customs control. Be sure to research the particular requirements for your area or take these recommendations to a local cannabis store or your veterinarian to see if they can recommend a similar product.

Best CBD Oil for Dogs With Joint Problems or Anxiety: Pet Releaf

PetreleafPetreleaf stress


Pet Releaf makes our list because of the brand’s clear usage recommendations and transparent manufacturing process. Pet Releaf does not use any harmful solvents during its manufacturing process, and the dosages are clearly listed on the product packaging, with differentiation for dosing for dogs and cats. Plus, this best CBD brand for dogs recommendation is USDA-approved. The joint relief option contains Devil’s Claw, which has been shown to help reduce inflammation.

As a side note, using this product in conjunction with a joint supplement like TRI-ACTA H.A. could make up a great pain management plan for your dog by treating the underlying issue (with the joint supplement) and providing additional pain relief and support.

Hip & Joint and Stress Releaf are each the same price. $44.99 USD / $61.67 CAD. Pricing as of November 2023.

Best CBD Treats for Dogs for Joint Problems or Anxiety: CBD North

cbd dog treats beef liver


These treats are made with just four ingredients—Organic hemp extract, chickpeas, natural vegetable glycerin, and finally, either Alberta beef liver or fresh pumpkin (depending on which flavour you choose). The treats are 100% THC-free and lab-tested to ensure the quality of ingredients. Each treat contains 10mg of CBD. Dosage recommendations are clearly listed on the website, with ranges for whether your pup needs a mild, moderate, or strong dose.

$42.64 CAD. Pricing as of November 2023.


The quest for the best CBD product for dogs is driven by a genuine desire to alleviate their pain and discomfort without the accompanying risks of certain medications. This journey involves exploring natural solutions like CBD, which have shown promise in addressing various conditions in dogs, from joint pain to anxiety and seizures.

For safer and more effective pain management, combining CBD with joint supplements like TRI-ACTA H.A. presents an alternative that not only helps manage pain but also addresses underlying joint issues, potentially reducing the reliance on traditional painkillers like NSAIDs.

Purchase TRI-ACTA H.A. online today or learn where to buy at a store near you.

TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets

Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.