CBD for Dogs: Safe or Hard Pass?

Beagle dog licking young man's face.

When it comes to pain management for dogs, Berkeley Veterinary Center is all ears. Anything that could possibly help (wo)man’s best friend be a little more comfortable can’t be bad, right? When it comes to CBD for dogs, it can be hard to know if it is a valid treatment option or a waste of money. Keep reading to learn about whether CBD is safe for pain management for dogs or if you should keep looking. 

Understanding CBD and Pets

The use of CBD is a hot topic, and one that we are still learning a lot about. There is evidence in human medicine that it may be helpful for managing everything from seizures to pain to anxiety. But is CBD for dogs effective?

The topic of CBD in animals is one that is still a little murky. While CBD and cannabis are legal in New Jersey, the actual legality of these products being prescribed by veterinarians is questionable. 

As of now, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies all cannabis products inclusive of CBD oil as a schedule I drug and categorically illegal for veterinarians to prescribe. The cannabis act that allows it to be prescribed to humans does not explicitly include pets.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t readily find CBD products marketed for your pet since they are legal to sell, just not to be prescribed. 

So, Is CBD for Dogs Safe?

Many pet owners are using over-the-counter CBD for their pets. There are still really no available studies documenting what dose of CBD might benefit dogs with arthritis or other conditions, however. Likewise, since CBD is not federally regulated, there is little-to-no mandatory quality control for CBD products. 

We also have little data on how safe CBD is long term and whether or not there may be interactions with drugs or contraindications for certain conditions. In general, though, CBD appears to be largely safe. 

While your staff at Berkeley can’t directly prescribe CBD for your pet, we can help you decide how to most safely use it.  

When choosing a CBD product for your pet:

  • Look for a certificate of guaranteed analysis that shows the company is monitoring the CBD content of its products
  • Choose a CBD product that lists its cannabinoids and their actual concentration
  • Avoid using products that use solvents to extract the cannabinoids
  • Beware of products that promise specific claims as these are not within the bounds of the law
  • Start at a low dose and increase slowly
  • Share with us if your pet is taking CBD
  • Keep a journal to better understand side effects or benefits of CBD in your pet

We don’t know how effective CBD might be for inflammation in dogs or for pain management. We do know that it shows a lot of promise as a potentially useful compound, and hope that one day we will have the information we need and legal guidance to best use it to help our pet patients. 

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