CBD For Pets (Dogs, Cats, & Horses)

Whether you take CBD yourself or are just asking for a furry friend, it’s important to get the right products for the job.

Article By
Justin Cooke , last updated on September 24, 2020

CBD offers all the same benefits for dogs, cats, and horses as it does for humans. 

This means you can use CBD oils, topicals, or CBD-infused treats to help your animal with chronic stress, anxiety, joint pain, and much more. 

Learn how to use CBD products safely and effectively for pets, what dose to use, and where to find the best CBD products for animals. 

  • Table of Contents

Best CBD Pet Products

Is CBD Oil Safe For Pets?

CBD is safe completely safe for your pets. Cats, dogs, horses, and humans all have endocannabinoid systems that CBD uses to exert their benefits.

It’s possible to use too much CBD, but the side-effects are mild in nature — mainly producing things like digestive discomfort, sedation, and low blood pressure.

The most important thing to be cautious of when using CBD oils with pets isn’t the CBD, it’s another cannabinoid — THC. This compound is responsible for most of the psychoactive effects in cannabis. It can cause a lot of issues with animals, especially if the dose is too high.

What Are the Benefits of Using CBD For Pets?

CBD offers all the same benefits for your pets as it does for humans. It’s primarily used to support symptoms like joint or hip pain, inflammation, digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, or issues with sleep.

CBD Benefits for Pets

  • Alleviating sore joints
  • Relieving anxiety in high-strung animals
  • Supporting sleep during long trips in a kennel
  • Providing symptomatic relief after surgery or injuries
  • Supporting digestive health
  • Soothing dry, irritated skin

CBD Products for Pets vs. CBD Products for Humans

CBD oils for pets are similar to those meant for humans. They’re designed with our furry friends in mind and have a couple of key differences.

While it’s safe to give your pets most regular CBD oils, pet products are usually sold in lower concentrations than CBD products made for humans, and come with flavors more targeted for animals (such as bacon, fish, chicken, or beef).

Pets weigh less than humans (with the exception of horses) so CBD products designed with your pet in mind don’t need to be as potent as products designed for humans.

CBD oils made for pets might come in the form of treats, oils, capsules, sprays, topical ointments, and more.

Generally speaking, CBD pet oils should be safe for human consumption as well. However, you’ll likely be paying more per mg of CBD than you would if you bought regular CBD oils.

How to Shop For CBD Pet Products

There are a lot of excellent CBD pet products out there. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of really low-quality products being marketed as the next best thing for your dog or cat.

Learning how to tell the difference can save you a lot of money on ineffective CBD pet products.

Match the Potency of the Product With the Size of Your Animal

CBD products come in many different strengths, so it’s important to be aware of how strong the product is so that you can make sure to give your pet the right dose. It’s best to use high potency products for larger dogs and horses while sticking to the lower potency products for small dogs and cats.

Learn How to Find Value in CBD Pet Products

This is a useful metric for comparing prices of similar products even if they’re different sizes and contain different amounts of CBD. On average you’re going to be spending more money on every milligram of CBD for pet products than you will for products designed for humans. Pet supplies often have extra markup.

Check the Ingredient List

Look at the formula of the product. Whether it’ CBD dog treats, oils, or capsules, it helps to know what else is included in order to make an informed decision. We prefer products that are specifically formulated for an intended purpose.

This means adding other ingredients that support the joints if making a joint formula, or sleep-promoting herbal extracts for sleep supportive pet supplements.

Look for Third-Party Testing

Third-party testing is something companies are doing to back up the claims they’re making about their products. Having it done by a third-party not associated with the company itself provides credibility and trust to the reviews. We avoid products that don’t have this quality control step posted publicly on the company website.

Learn how we evaluate CBD Products

What Else Should I Be Aware Of When Using CBD Oil For Pets?

As a responsible pet owner, you want to make sure your critter is comfortable and that’s what CBD is all about. But something very important to keep in mind is how much CBD you give to your animal.

Our pets can’t articulate how they’re feeling — taking too much CBD can be stressful to an animal that doesn’t have control or understanding about what’s happening. Making sure your pet is getting an appropriate dose of CBD is essential.

We’ll cover how to calculate the right dose for your pet below, but first, let’s cover some things you should be aware of when using CBD with Pets:

  1. Make sure the products you’re using on pets are THC-free or contain less than 0.3% THC by weight
  2. Start your pet on a much lower dose than you think they need and build up slowly over time
  3. Never give your pet CBD infused chocolate or caffeinated products
  4. If your pet has picky preferences, you may be better off with flavored products or using CBD sprays
  5. If your using CBD for severe symptoms, make sure to check with a vet before using CBD to treat your pet

Why You Should Avoid Giving THC to Your Pet

THC will exert much of the same effects on pets as they do for humans. Even in high amounts, THC poses little threat to the safety of your pet, but the experience can be extremely traumatic for the animal and should be avoided at all costs.

While THC is a safe compound for humans and for animals in small quantities, animals are a lot more sensitive to THC than we are, and side effects can be severe.

THC can cause anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and low blood pressure in pets.

Always read the bottle before you give CBD to your pets to ensure the product contains less than 0.3% THC by weight — which is far too low to provide any psychoactive effects.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

All mammals have an endocannabinoid system — which is made up of a series of receptors that help regulate cellular communication. Our bodies contain natural hormones like anandamide or 2-AG that are designed to work through this system.

The endocannabinoid system is used to regulate communication in the body — including processes such as inflammation, mood, hormone activity, hunger levels, energy levels, sleep, immune function and much more.

CBD offers the unique ability to enhance this system by slowing the breakdown of our endocannabinoids — allowing them to exert their effects for longer periods of time.

THC is another cannabinoid closely related to CBD. It exerts most of the psychoactive effects of cannabis by directly stimulating the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. CBD doesn’t do this and instead works to support the health of this organ system as a whole. CBD is completely non-psychoactive and safe for pets.

Through the endocannabinoid system (and other receptors like the opioid system), CBD is thought to provide the following benefits:

  1. Alleviates joint pain
  2. Improves muscle recovery times after an injury or workout
  3. Slows cancer cell growth
  4. Alleviates epileptic seizures
  5. Supports sleep to relieve insomnia

What’s the Dose of CBD For Pets?

From Chihuahua to Clydesdale, pets come in all shapes and sizes, and their needs vary just as greatly as their appearances.

Like we just said, you don’t want to sedate your pet, but — of course— you want to give them enough so they feel the benefits of the CBD…

So how do you make sure your pet gets a safe and effective dose?

The rule of thumb when giving CBD to your pet is to go low and slow.

Start off with a 0.25–0.5 mg/lbs (0.55 – 1.1 mg/kg) dose based on the weight of your animal every day and every few days increase the amount a little bit until you have achieved the desired effects.

CBD Doses for Dogs

Animal SizeDoseNotes
Small (2-15 lbs)


0.5 mg – 3.75 mgYou may need to give small dogs 3–4 doses per day as they have fast metabolisms
Medium/Small (15-30 lbs)


5 mg – 7.5 mg You may need to give medium-small dogs 2–3 doses per day
Medium/Large (30-60 lbs)


7.5 mg – 15 mgMedium dogs usually need about 2–3 doses per day
Large (60-150 lbs)


15 mg – 38 mgLarge dogs can take higher doses of CBD and will likely need about 2 doses per day

B. CBD Doses for Cats

Cat don’t vary in size as much as dogs so their dosing system is a bit more simple. Like all animals be sure to introduce CBD slowly into your cat’s routine.

Start with 1 mg doses and work your way up in small increments until you reach desired results.

Animal SizeDoseNotes
Small (6-8 lbs)

1 mg – 2 mgDo not exceed 10 mg a day. Start low and go slow.
Medium (9-13 lbs)

2 mg – 3.25 mgDo not exceed 15 mg a day. Start low and go slow.
Large (14+ lbs)

3 mg- 5 mgDo not exceed 20 mg a day. Start low and go slow.

We did not include the 600 mg potency in the above chart because we would not recommend using this strength for cats.

C. CBD Doses for horses

Horse doses come in a much stronger potency. Be sure to start with the baseline dose of 40 mg and increase over time — as you would with a cat or dog—  until you reach the desired effects!

Animal SizeDoseNotes
Pony   9 hh – 12.2 hh* (400 lbs – 660 lbs)

40 mg – 165 mg Per DayYou will need to titrate doses accordingly.
Medium   12.5 hh – 15 hh (660 lbs – 1100 lbs)

165 mg – 275 mg Per DayYou will need to titrate doses accordingly.
Large   15 hh – 18 hh (1100 lbs – 1800 lbs)

250 mg – 450 mg Per DayYou will need to titrate doses accordingly.

*hh = horse hands, the unit of measurement for horse height. One horse hand is four inches, and horses are measured from the floor to the top of their withers, which is between their shoulder blades.

Final Thoughts: Best CBD for Pets

All mammals have an endocannabinoid system and will respond to cannabinoids much like a human.

This means that CBD is useful for a lot of the same symptoms and health conditions with dogs as it is for humans. Anxiety, joint pain, chronic inflammation, cancer, and diabetes all affect dogs the same way too.

The only real difference in using CBD with pets is the dose — dogs and cats are much smaller and tend to be more sensitive to cannabinoids. Horses, on the other hand, are very large and will require much larger doses of CBD at a time in order to be effective.

Always start at a small dose when using CBD with your pet for the first time. You can build the dose up safely by increasing the dose over the course of a few days until you find the effects you’re looking for.

Just remember to be patient and observant and soon your pet will be feeling better than ever. It’s a good idea to talk to your vet before using CBD with your animal.

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