Thursday January 9, 2020

By Erin Hiatt


Humans have learned from personal experience that conditions like epilepsy, arthritis, digestive trouble, anxiety, and others can be helped by taking regular doses of the non-intoxicating cannabis compound, cannabidiol, or CBD. In fact, humans love their CBD so much that industry research firm Brightfield Group estimates that the U.S. CBD market will reach $24 billion by 2023.

Of that enormous number, seven percent of it will be spent on the pet marketplace. That is a lot of dog treats. But, some dogs need more than just a treat. In consultation with your vet, regular doses of CBD could make a difference for your dog, especially if they’re generally anxious, or are a bit older and have a condition like arthritis or epilepsy.

Trying to give a dog medicine of any kind can be a tricky proposition. Here are a few tips on how to get your dog to take their CBD medicine.

Put CBD in a Dog Treat

There’s nothing better than watching your dog erupt with joy when they hear the word “treat,” so why not trick your dog into taking their medicine with something they love? Many pet CBD tinctures are likely to have a strong, earthy flavor and oily texture, so pick something healthy that also has a strong taste and smell, like jerky or peanut butter.

Or, if you prefer to make your own dog treats, add some CBD isolate to your recipe (make extra sure that you use CBD only, since consuming THC can potentially make dogs very sick). The only downside to making your own CBD-infused dog treats is that proper dosage becomes more difficult. You’ll have to do a little math, and the dose will vary due to your dog’s age, weight and condition.

Dog Treat
Sneak some CBD into your dog's treats for effortless dosing. photo credit

Even though there are few, if any substantive studies on pets and CBD, a tacit rule of thumb is to give your dog 0.2 milligrams of CBD per pound. So a 25 pound dog would get 5 milligrams of CBD per dose.

Shop Around For a Treat Your Dog Will Love

As every dog owner knows too well, pet tastes can range from the finicky to the downright slothful, so finding a CBD treat that has the texture and flavor your dog will love can be somewhat challenging. Take some of the guesswork out by consulting with your vet, and ask friends and family what CBD treats their dogs love. Because if your dog isn’t eating the treat, they are not getting the medicine that they need.

The Direct Route

Unless your dog is the animal equivalent of an adorably docile koala, chances are, they are not going to love having medicine delivered to their mouths straight from the dropper. However, this method offers the benefit of quicker absorption since CBD will not have to run through the digestive system.

To administer CBD through a dropper or syringe:

  1. Fill the dropper with the proper dosage
  2. Hold your dog’s head still
  3. Aim toward the back of the dog’s head (do not tilt the head back), and put the dropper or syringe into the corner of their mouth between the cheek and teeth
  4. Next, hold their mouth closed and encourage swallowing by stroking their throat or blowing on their nose

If you have to keep your pup still to give them medicine, enlist a helper to give you a hand. If no helper is handy, try sitting on the floor and holding the dog against your body or on your lap. If you have a large dog, try standing behind and having them sit against your legs. If your dog is small, holding them close to your body in a wrapped towel can help. Should your dog put up a fight, speak to them calmly and try again – never get upset or force your dog to ingest anything.

Mix CBD in their Regular Food

Mixing CBD in a dog’s regular food has a few benefits: You won’t be adding more calories to their feeding regimens (important for pets on restricted diets) by adding extra CBD treats. And, it is easier for you as a pet owner to include it in your dog’s regular feeding routine.

Dog Food
Hiding CBD in your dog's normal food is also a great idea. photo credit

This tip works better with dry food since it is more likely to mask the taste and the texture of CBD, which may not blend in as well with the wet food – although CBD isolate works pretty well when mixed thoroughly into wet food, too. Something to remember with pet CBD is that dosing and consistency matter, and you may have to endure some trial and error before you find the dose that’s just right for your beloved pup.

Do you have any tips for people looking to give their dogs CBD? Share them in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Jamie Street (license)

Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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