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This blog post was originally published in 2019; it has been updated with new information (better quality CBD oil brands) based on my experience with my dogs.
CBD oil is all the rage. And although I've been using CBD oil with my dogs for a couple of years (I think), I still have a lot to learn. Recently, I realized that I didn't have a clear understanding of full-spectrum CBD oil and isolate CBD oil. For some reason, I thought that full-spectrum was best and didn't pay attention to anything else.
Now I'm not so sure.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD (Cannabidiol) oil is oil extracted from either the hemp plant or the marijuana plant. The hemp plant is primarily CBD, so this is what I look for when shopping for my dogs. Marijuana plants also have CBD, but they are primarily THC, which my dogs don't need. The CBD is diluted with a carrier oil – so far, I've seen CBD oil with salmon oil, coconut oil, and hemp seed oil.
CBD oil companies are coming under fire for sharing several benefits including anti-cancer benefits. I give my dogs CBD oil to ease anxiety and ease inflammation. I've also read that it helps dogs maintain homeostasis, which means that the body is in balance.
That being said, I see full-spectrum and isolate on the market and I'd love to know which is better for my dogs and this is what I've learned.
Full-Spectrum CBD Oil vs Isolate CBD Oil
I go into more detail below, but a quick answer about the difference between full-spectrum CBD oil for dogs and an isolate is the source and amount of CBD in the oil. Isolate CBD oil can be as much as 90% CBD oil with no THC, making it a better option if you live in a state that hasn't legalized marijuana.
Full-Spectrum CBD Oil for Dogs
With full-spectrum CBD oil is made from the full hemp plant and contains all the cannabinoids. Some believe that full-spectrum is better than isolate CBD oil because our dogs get the benefit of all of the cannabinoids working together to make the CBD oil more effective.
The downside to full-spectrum CBD oil is the trace amounts of THC. While THC doesn't negatively affect our dogs, if a human is taking full-spectrum CBD oil, the THC may come up on a drug test. And if you live in a state where marijuana is illegal, then full-spectrum CBD oil isn't available.
Isolate CBD Oil for Dogs
Isolate CBD oil is nothing but CBD and no other cannabinoids, and more importantly, no THC. When I attended a CBD oil expo recently, I learned that isolates contain more CBD than a full-spectrum, as much as 90% with some brands. If we're looking for the health benefits that CBD brings to the table, then an isolate is a great option. Plus, it's more readily available and won't show up on a drug test (no THC).
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
While I was learning about CBD oil, the term “broad-spectrum” came up and this is the best of full-spectrum and isolates. Like full-spectrum, broad-spectrum CBD oil contains multiple cannabinoids. And like isolates, broad-spectrum CBD oil doesn't contain THC. So if you're looking for the benefits of the full plant working together without any THC, then broad-spectrum maybe something to consider.
That being said, I've only used full-spectrum and isolate CBD oils with my dogs and cat.
CBD Oil for Pets or for Humans?
There are so many CBD oil companies on the market and it seems like most of them have a pet line and the pet line is more expensive with some brands. I don't really care if the CBD oil is for pets or for humans, what I'm more interested in is the quality and effectiveness of the oil.
In my research, I learned that pets have more receptors than humans so CBD oil is more effective at smaller amounts, which is why we see mostly 200 mg and 300 mg options.
That being said, I've tried 1000 mg for my dogs too. As I understand, this is usually for bigger dogs or dogs with serious issues when the lower milligrams just don't cut it.
Whether it's easier (or more affordable) to give your dog a pet product or a human product, the dosage doesn't change.
CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs
You can get the dosage from your manufacturer (or on the bottle); however, the most common guideline is 1 mg every 10 pounds of body weight. In my research (and experience with CBD oil), I've found that 1 mg equates to 3 drops of CBD oil. I dose my dogs (large dogs) based on the following guidelines and confirmed with several manufacturers and my veterinarian:
- Rodrigo is 64 pounds – 6.4 mg (x 3 = 19 drops)
- Scout is 74 pounds – 7.4 mg (x 3 = 22 drops)
- Zoey is 64 pounds – 6.4 mg (x 3 = 19 drops)
- Apollo is 70 pounds – 7.0 (x 3 = 21 drops)
I have found that it's okay to double the dose for my dogs when they need it, like when they are visibly in pain or during thunderstorms and fireworks. My dogs haven't experienced any negative side effects from having more CBD oil than the amounts listed above.
CBD Oil Products that Work for My Dogs
Not all CBD oil and other products work for every dog so there may be some trial and error to figure out what works for your dog. The products I recommend provide high-quality CBD, have clean sources, conduct third party testing from reputable labs, and are well educated about CBD and the uses/benefits.
The following are products that I'm currently giving to my dogs:
- CBD Dog Health – I give Rodrigo and Scout Heal. Rodrigo turned 11 years in 2021 and Scout was diagnosed with cancer in 2021. Heal is the best product for both of them, supporting the entire body and keeping them healthy. Rodrigo gets 2 doses daily, Scout gets three doses daily.
- CannaPet – all of my dogs get CannaPet. I like their capsules (which last for several hours) and treats. If I have a heads up on a thunderstorm (or another stressful event), then I add the capsules to the meals starting a day or two before the storm.
- King Kalm – I love King Kalm because it comes with an oral syringe, making dosing easy, especially for dogs that aren't fans of CBD Oil.