A Buyer’s Guide to CBD for Dogs

A Buyer’s Guide to CBD for Dogs

Table of Contents

Please note: Hemp extract is not to be confused with hemp seed oil. When we say hemp oil, we are talking about our hemp extract oil which is derived from the aerial parts of the hemp plant like the flowers and leafs, where CBD is found.

We all love our dogs very much and want the best for them, just as we do for all our close family members! When it comes to wellness, more and more people are looking for natural ways to support their pet’s health and well-being.

Derived from a plant with a rich history of use dating all the way back to the 17th century, CBD (cannabidiol) for dogs can be a great natural supplement for your pet.

Read on to learn more about how CBD oil and chews for dogs can benefit your canine best friend:

What is the Endocannabinoid System and How Does it Work in Dogs?

Under all that fur, dogs have a lot more in common with people than you might imagine. Just like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system or ECS, that is responsible for making chemicals called cannabinoids. This complex system exists naturally in our bodies and the bodies of all mammals completely independently of whether we have ever consumed cannabis. 

The ECS appears to have many positive functions within the body that science is still trying to understand. What we do know is that it plays a major role in maintaining homeostasis within the body. This means the ECS helps keep our internal processes optimal and stable in the face of challenges to help us stay healthy. For this reason, CBD has the potential to be helpful for a dog’s health and well-being in the same ways that it can for humans.

Read on to learn more about how CBD oil and hemp chews for dogs can benefit your canine best friend:

What is CBD?

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol. It can be extracted from hemp plants or marijuana plants but is most often associated with hemp because hemp plants naturally contain higher amounts of this compound. Unlike the THC found in marijuana plants, CBD is non-intoxicating, so it does not affect or alter perception. By its legal definition, hemp must contain no more than 0.3% THC. In contrast to marijuana, hemp plants not only have higher levels of CBD, they are also naturally lower in THC.

CBD is one of more than 80 cannabinoids and other beneficial plant compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, so far identified in hemp, all of which have their own health benefits. Full-spectrum hemp extracts that contain CBD along with all these other plant substances are superior to single-compound extracts because the numerous plant compounds naturally combine to create what scientists have identified as an “Entourage Effect.” The Entourage Effect means that while CBD has its own benefits for the body, a full spectrum of compounds derived from the entire plant work together with the body’s own endocannabinoid system to create a wide variety of positive effects.

For more information on what CBD is, check out our CBD 101 article.

Is CBD and Hemp Oil Safe for Dogs?

Dog owners commonly ask "is CBD oil safe for dogs?" According to a 2017 report by the World Health Organization, CBD and hemp oil is safe to use with dogs. Since then, multiple studies have been published showing CBD and hemp oil for dogs have positive effects on many areas of a canine’s body including joints, bones, and skin.

What Does CBD do for Dogs? The Benefits:

From supporting healthy hips and joints to helping maintain a normal emotional balance, CBD and hemp oil are proven to have positive effects on just about every part of the canine body. Let’s talk about a few of the specific benefits of CBD for dogs:

Supports a Calm Disposition

We hate to see it, but we all know that frantic look in a dog’s eyes (assuming they aren’t already hiding) when fireworks are exploding outside, or there’s a thunderstorm wreaking havoc. Loud noises can make dogs afraid. Dogs are also pack animals, and when we leave them alone at home to go to work, or in the car while we run into the grocery store, they can get hyperactive and nervous because they don’t know when we’re coming back. Reminder: never leave a dog in a car unattended, they can overheat quickly. 

Noise and separation can be extremely distressing to you and your dog. Sometimes dogs get so upset they hurt themselves; consequences can also be destructive to your home and vehicle interior. Scientific studies show that CBD has a calming effect in humans as well as in rodents undergoing stress tests in the lab. Given that humans, rodents, and dogs have the same endocannabinoid system, it’s not unreasonable to expect that our functional chews for dogs help provide a sense of calm and helps with behavior that arises from stress. Learn how to calm a restless dog.

Supports Healthy Joints and Connective Tissue

CBD products formulated with Glucosamine and Chondroitin are helpful for improving the overall health of your pup’s joints and bones. As our canine buddies get older, their bodies can get grumpier much as human bodies do. When this starts to happen, specially formulated CBD supplements can be helpful for maintaining joint health and flexibility.

A playful dog is a happy dog and maintaining your dog’s ability to get exercise over their lifespan will benefit your dog’s health and well-being (and your happiness) overall.

What to look for in CBD products for Dogs

Many pet parents are already using CBD for dogs to support their health and wellbeing. The Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association did a survey and found that out of 632 people, 72 percent said they used hemp (CBD) with their dog, and 64 percent reported that it helped in a variety of ways.

So, what should you look for to ensure you’re giving your dog the highest quality CBD products available? Here’s a checklist to help you make the best decisions when buying CBD for your pup.

  • Transparent Ingredients: Trustworthy companies are transparent about the ingredients they use. Look for products from companies that follow current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). This will mean that their products have been made with safe ingredients in a clean, high-quality environment.

Some CBD products for humans have been found to contain potentially harmful ingredients, such as synthetic marijuana, toxic solvents used in the extraction process, contaminants, or even pharmaceutical medications that aren’t listed on the ingredients panel. Be sure to look for products specifically formulated for dogs.

Even without known toxins and contaminants, some ingredients in CBD products for humans, such as xylitol and grapeseed oil, can be toxic to dogs. Also, research the reputation of the company you’re buying from, and make sure they provide information on their growing and extraction practices; independent third-party verification of THC levels and other substances; and serving guidance. 

  • Certificate of Analysis (COA): Companies that want to ensure purity and safety by providing the highest quality products will have their testing done by independent third-party labs. When testing is complete, the company is given a COA (we publish ours for each product), which shows THC and CBD levels, and confirms the presence or absence of contaminants.

Reputable companies provide the results of their third-party testing claims, often by making batch reports available online. If a CBD oil manufacturer does not provide a COA and accompanying lab results, it's in your best interest to avoid their products.  

  • NASC Certification: Is the manufacturer of CBD for your dog certified by the National Animal Supplement Council? The NASC Quality Seal enables consumers to make safe and empowered purchasing decisions when shopping for their pets.

The seal is awarded only to manufacturers and suppliers that have successfully passed an NASC facility audit and comply with rigorous quality standards, including strict labeling requirements, real-time adverse event reporting, and random product testing by an independent lab.

  • Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract: General consensus, anecdotal evidence, and scientific research all point to full-spectrum oils being more effective than CBD isolates. Full-spectrum refers to hemp extract oil that contains all of the cannabinoids and compounds that are found in the original hemp plant, including essential nutrients, fatty acids, minerals, proteins, chlorophyll, fiber, flavonoids, and terpenes.

    Using full-spectrum hemp extract CBD products means your dog will get the benefits of both CBD and all the other hemp compounds, which will work in concert for greater positive effects (this is the Entourage Effect we mentioned earlier).

  • Source of the Hemp Plant: Where hemp is grown can have an impact on the quality of the extract that comes from it. You should also know whether the soil where the hemp was grown is free of metals and minerals that might cause contamination. Keep in mind products from overseas may not be subject to testing, so you might never really know what you are getting. For example, China-sourced CBD (which is common in the industry) is typically grown in contaminated soil. Hemp absorbs and concentrates toxins from the soil, and which may get transferred to the final product.

If the CBD oil you’re purchasing doesn't list information about where the hemp was grown, ask the seller or check the company's website to find that information. Keep in mind that manufacturers who use good growing practices will be happy to share this information with you. The ideal situation is when a company owns and monitors its supply chain of hemp plants.

  • Extraction Method: Manufacturers of high-quality CBD oil primarily use one of two extraction methods: CO2 extraction and alcohol extraction. CO2 extraction is also used in the food industry and is generally regarded as safe when pure CO2 extraction is used without solvents. The process entails using carbon dioxide to pull cannabinoids from the leaves and flowers of cannabis plants.

In contrast, cheaper, lower-quality manufacturers use the stems and trimmings of a hemp plant, which contain lower concentrations of CBD, and so toxic solvents are needed to maximize the extraction process. Even though solvents can be removed from the extracted oil, residues may remain. With long-term use of such a product, these residues can accumulate in the body.  

The highest quality CBD oils come from pure CO2 extractions or alcohol extractions. While these methods can be costly, a higher price usually means higher quality and purity when it comes to CBD and hemp oil for dogs. You certainly don’t want to jeopardize your pet’s health by skimping out on the cheap stuff.

Best CBD Products for Dogs 

CBD and Hemp Oil Products for Dogs

Dogs tend to absorb CBD a little differently from humans. CBD is best absorbed through your dog’s oral mucus membranes, which means you can give the CBD oil product orally. For more information, take a look at our specially formulated CBD oil for dogs.

CBD Dog Chews

CBD extract in the form of soft chews can have other active natural ingredients that complement the CBD and taste yummy too. Here is the line up of soft chews for dogs from Charlotte's Web.


Some dogs need support for their skin. These skin health & allergy support soft chews infused with hemp extract are formulated to support your adult dog’s skin health related to seasonal allergies.


In products designed to support a calm disposition, look for herbs known as “nervines,” which can be nourishing and soothing to your dog’s nerves. In our calming dog chews, these include valerian root, passionflower, and chamomile. 


When you’re looking to support the health of your four-legged pal’s connective tissue and joints, look for hemp extracts that also contain natural ingredients shown to support a healthy inflammatory response, as well as the health of the joints and bones. Charlotte’s Web hemp extract-infused chews for dogs have many natural ingredients including glucosamine, turmeric, and chondroitin. 

How much CBD oil should I give my dog?

Dogs are more sensitive to CBD than humans, and so they typically need lower amounts. You should always start with a low serving size and then gradually build up to a higher amount if necessary, making sure your pup is able to tolerate it.

Some CBD products, like chews, are based on weight, and you should strictly follow the serving-size guidelines. Give your dog the CBD product consistently for 4-6 weeks for best results, because like with any dietary supplement, the consistency of a proper routine is key. To that end, try to give it to them regularly at the same time of day. 

The amount of CBD used in dog studies has varied. The Cornell University study that looked at the effects of CBD on older dogs used 2.5 mg per kilogram. Remember, your dog is unique and how much CBD oil you should give your dog can vary. Be sure to always follow directions on the product label.

CBD is metabolized by the liver, as are many pharmaceutical drugs. If your dog is on any medications, consult with your holistic vet to make sure you’re both alert to any potential interactions.

Improving the Lives of Those Who Improve Ours

Here at Charlotte's Web, when it comes to dogs, we like to say that they're not pets, they're family, and you only give your family the best. Just like their humans, dogs—specifically, their endocannabinoid systems —can benefit from a full spectrum of naturally occurring cannabinoids as well.

We know there’s nothing you want more than to see your four-legged pal happy and healthy. That's why our hemp extract is nurtured and tested for quality, from seed to shelf to you. We want to ensure that just as their loyalty to you is unwavering, so is the quality of what we're producing and providing for them.  High-quality hemp extracts can help dogs maintain wellness, whether at rest or at play, by supporting the skin, and hips & joints, especially as they age.


All Charlotte’s Web™ CBD oils and chews for dogs feature our proprietary full-spectrum hemp extract (the same one we use for our human products) to support your furry friend the way nature intended. To learn more, read Is CBD Safe for Dogs?, read How to Help a Dog Adjust to a New Home, learn about how to identify critical and non-critical signs of stress in dogs and how to calm a stressed out dog, or drop us a line

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