It’s International Dog Day: does your pet really need CBD?

There is a growing market for CBD products for our canine friends. So, it’s clearly a big business. But is it supported by science?


Photo at right by Monica Click/iStock/Getty Images Plus


Reams have been written about the purported benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) for human health and wellness. The jury is still out on some of the science behind the claimed benefits. However, the cannabinoid has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and and anticonvulsant properties. There is a growing market, as well, for CBD products for dogs and cats.

When Martha Stewart attaches her name to something, that’s a sure sign that there’s money to be made. Last February we learned that the lifestyle guru had partnered with Canopy Growth Corporation to develop a line of CBD products for dogs. (Also cats. And possibly parakeets and bearded dragons; presumably we’ll find out when the stuff hits the market next month.)

So, it’s clearly a big business. But does the science support it?

Quality of life

In May, CannCentral reported on a double-blind clinical study of large dogs diagnosed with canine osteoarthritis. Researchers discovered that dogs given high doses of CBD showed a significant improvement in their quality of life.

In the study, published in the Journal of Immunology, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas divided the dogs into four groups. One group received a placebo while the other three each received a different preparation of cannabidiol.

Researchers treated one group of dogs with 50 milligrams of pure CBD oil every day for the course of the four-week trial. Another group received the same oil at a lower dose—20 milligrams of pure CBD. The third group of dogs got 20 milligrams of liposomal CBD, meaning the medicinal compound was encased in tiny lipid bubbles for easier absorption. 

Based on veterinarians’ evaluations of the dogs’ mobility and pain before, during, and after the study—and reports from the pets’ owners—research determined that the dogs in the placebo group and the low-dose CBD group showed no signs of improvement. Dogs in the high-CBD group and the liposomal-CBD group did see significant improvement in their conditions.

This vet swears by CBD

Not all veterinarians are in favour of giving animals CBD, but Katherine Kramer is. The medical director of Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital, Kramer uses a combination of Western medicine, veterinary acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat pets that come to the clinic.

“I can count on one hand the number of pets who haven’t done well with CBD,” she said in a 2018 interview. “In the last five years I have had many, many more happy stories than I do toxicities or problems with it. At this point, I can’t imagine practising without it.”

Kramer said many pet owners are curious about cannabidiol because their pets can’t tolerate the side effects associated with regular medication. In other cases, CBD can have a synergistic effect, making standard medications more effective.

“If we have a seizure patient that is on three different medications having seizures weekly, we can add the CBD to that and get a reduction in seizures, and hopefully reduce the medication that they’re on,” she said.

A few to consider

The number of CBD products for dogs is large and ever-growing. We couldn’t possibly list them all, but here are a few to consider:

Canna 9 CBD Supplement

Canna 9 CBD Supplement by Miss Envy

Vancouver wellness brand Miss Envy Botanicals claims this tincture will reduce high blood pressure and inflammation while helping to improve mobility. In addition to hemp-derived CBD oil, this food additive contains flax-seed oil, pumpkin-seed oil, sunflower oil, cod liver oil, sesame oil, rosemary extracts.

Animalitos CBD Nose and Paw Balm

Animalitos CBD Nose and Paw Balm

This CBD Nose and Paw Balm is formulated with solvent-free CBD oil to heal rough, chapped, dry noses and paws. Animalitos says that it’s also useful for treating paw pad hyperkeratosis, or “hairy paw”. The 100-percent organic ingredients include coconut oil, shea butter, candelilla wax, hemp seed oil, kukui nut oil, CBD oil, Vitamin E, and chamomile.

Creating Brighter Days Vitality pet treats

Creating Brighter Days Vitality pet treats

Dr. Kramer doesn’t endorse every CBD product that comes onto the market. Here’s one brand she does stand behind, though. “I started working with Creating Brighter Days because I like all of the other ingredients they are putting in their treats—they are doing their due diligence, trying to get quality control and analyses,” she said in the interview cited above.

Calyx Relief Pet Tincture

Calyx Relief pet tincture

A low-dose tincture designed to modulate and repair many physiological systems in your pet’s brain and body. “Household pets including dogs and cats experience increased joint movement and reduced pain,” the brand touts. Available in bacon and chicken flavours, or unflavoured.

Savage CBD Pet Shampoo

Savage CBD Pet Shampoo

Confession time: we actually have no idea what the benefit of a CBD-infused shampoo is meant to be. What we can tell you is that with ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, Vitamin B, and extract of chamomile—in addition to full-spectrum CBD—you might even be tempted to keep this for yourself. Sorry, Rover!

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