What Is The Best Hemp Oil For Dogs?
Dogs bring so much joy to our lives, it makes sense that we would care for their health with utmost prudence and painstaking discretion.
More and more pet parents are considering using CBD oil for dogs as a natural, holistic therapy for their pets with separation anxiety, joint pain, seasonal allergies, or even dogs diagnosed with seizures or cancer.
All the more reason for dog owners to take a very cautious view of CBD as a substitute relief and alternative treatment option and closely consider the criteria that determine the safest and most clinically effective organic hemp oil for dogs.
There are a few good quality CBD-rich products available to choose from–But which CBD oil product deserves your highest praise and ultimate trust?
A good starting point for conducting your own detailed research is to review the following list of benchmark criteria that can point you toward a safer, more desirable companion-care-product & unlock the true healing potential of CBD oil for dogs.
How Safe Is Your Hemp CBD Oil?
The Internet abounds with all kinds of promotional offers where CBD products is sold for very low prices–or given away for free. But buyer beware, you may subject your furry friend to a lot of potential risks if you decide to buy these cheaper, untested, ‘budget’ priced pet care products.
The foundation of cannabinoid therapy for dogs begins with legitimate, well-founded scientific investigation.
Whether your intention is to bring temporary relief following pet surgery or to care for a mature senior or older dog with joint pain, using grounded scientific principles can help you make a better choice for the best CBD for your dog.
How to Choose the Best Hemp CBD Oil for Your Dog
What makes for a clinically effective hemp oil for dogs can be put into a short list of 8 Consumer Tips that pet owners should keep handy to remind them of the most important hemp product “qualifications” before purchasing any CBD oil product for their dog.
For the most part, cannabis products—whether from federally legal hemp or still federally illegal marijuana—are not FDA regulated, leaving plenty of room for suspicious production methods and dubious business practices.
So, before you buy any CBD oils for your dog, look for a CBD oil product that matches the following sensible consumer buying guidelines.
8 Consumer Tips to Buying CBD Oil for Your Dog:
1. Ask for a Certificate of Analysis (COA)
First and foremost, any company selling CBD products should be able to provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from an Independent 3rd Party lab for each product. A COA includes an analysis of CBD and THC levels (very important to avoid Ataxia symptoms), along with validated screenings for any residual contaminants.
When requesting a COA from the manufacturer, ask whether third-party testing was completed at multiple stages of production and if that COA was for the ‘raw extract’ or the actual finished product you’re giving your dog.
Of course, the most important COA comes from the final product with a batch number that matches the product item you purchased. Also beware of companies placing multiple hemp plant products in their line under the same lab test profile.
All CBD products should be tested individually in small batches and assigned their own lab identification number for verification and historical tracking.
⇒ Important Inclusions in a Certificate of Analysis (COA) Report
- The cannabinoid profile tells you the amount and concentration of each cannabinoid present (CBD/THC/CBDa, etc.).
- Similar to the cannabinoid profile, the presence of a terpene profile indicates the quality and potential efficacy of the product.
- The elemental analysis is vital for determining the presence of heavy metals, such as lead, in the product.
- A pesticide and fungicide analysis indicates whether any toxic chemicals are present in the product.
- Bacterial, microbe, and mycotoxin testing indicates whether the product has any bacteria or pathogens that could sicken your dog.
Your intention is to improve the health and well-being of your dog and he trusts you to provide the best possible care. If a manufacturer refuses to provide a current COA, then run as fast as you can to a reputable company that believes in full disclosure and transparency in their CBD oils product.
Organic hemp CBD is a plant-based product, so some variability is expected between batches, but each company should have an “acceptable” range of variability so that dosing stays consistent.
Since many pet owners will be giving their dog repeated doses of CBD over many months or years, you want to make sure the manufacturer is conducting tests to ensure purity & consistency across numerous batches of the same product.
Armed with this information, you will know exactly what you are buying, and this analysis report becomes the foundation for determining the exact proper starting CBD dosage for your dog.
2. Look for a Preferred Extraction Method
Generally speaking, the hemp plant seeds & growing medium (soil, water, air) determine the final CBD end-product; not the extraction type–
But for the purposes of selecting a certain type of extraction that best suits CBD oils for dogs, the preferred method is one that uses zero-solvents to obtain cannabidiol.
The preferred extraction method, known as CleanPull Technology™, is unique in the hemp plant extraction industry because it is a ‘solvent-free-method’ that results in a cleaner, healthier CBD tincture that’s free of any residual chemical solvents that can potentially harm your pet.
CleanPull Technology™ is a proprietary extraction method used by K9 Medibles for its exclusive, 2-In-1, hand-crafted, Canine Support Formula. The downside to this unique artisanal extraction technology is that this method is more costly to perform.
But dog owners who want the most effective, highest grade, premium CBD tinctures for their dogs will prefer the safer, solvent-free CleanPull Technology™ method over chemical solvent extraction techniques.
Other methods of CBD extraction, like CO2 / Super Critical, use a degree of alcohol (ethanol, butane, etc.) to remove the plant cannabinoids.
It’s best to avoid pet care products extracted with toxic solvents like BHO, propane, hexane or other hydrocarbons. These solvents tend to be more cost-effective in mass production on the manufacturers side but are less desirable for end-user pet care products compared to the zero solvent extraction method.
Terpenes Are Really Important, too!
While Super Critical & CO2 are considered a safe extraction method, they also have a negative downside in that they have a hard time pulling beneficial terpenes (essential oils) from the organic plant structure.
So, what you gain in a more economically produced CBD using CO2, you lose by not capturing the whole essence of the plant and therefore miss out on the full medicinal and health benefits of the entire hemp plant.
Unfortunately, CO2 extraction removes a lot of the therapeutically beneficial terpenes that contribute to the synergistic ‘Entourage Effect’, where the whole plant contributes to a greater over-all therapeutic effect for your pet.
Compared to chemical extraction methods, CleanPull Technology is more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient leaving a much smaller carbon-footprint on the planet.
For now, each extraction type has its pros and cons but for the beginning CBD shopper, look for an extraction method that preserves the integrity of the whole plant (Full spectrum) and offers a safer, more clinically effective product to care for your dog.
3. Don’t Buy CBD Based on Cost Per Milligram
It’s a common misconception that the higher the CBD (cannabidiol) concentration content in a CBD oil for dogs (mgs per bottle), the more powerful that product will be. In theory that may sound good but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
With CBD, more is not necessarily better and with certain exclusively formulated CBD products like Canine Support Formula, giving more CBD oil to your dog may not even be necessary to achieve the desired therapeutic outcome.
Compared to full-spectrum, whole-plant extracts, CBD isolates have what is known as a ‘bi-phasic’ effect – which is a dose-dependent bell-curve response whereby there is a diminishing return on therapeutic effectiveness as you increase the dose (see graph below).
Making Cannabinoid Therapy More Predictable
Essentially, using whole, organic hemp plant extract reduces the guesswork involved in determining your dog’s optimal CBD dosage from the start.
What can be really interesting about the ‘Entourage Effect’ for our canine friends is that when hemp / cannabis products are used in their natural, unaltered full-spectrum form, it’s easier to predict an effective dose to achieve your dog’s unique ‘Sweet-Spot’ of therapeutic relief.
Dosing your dog with full spectrum plant extract would mean a better healing response with a more predictable outcome than single ingredient or ‘isolate’ CBD. And that’s important when you’re trying to help your dog feel better ASAP!
In the end, choosing CBD products based entirely on the cost per milligram is neither prudent nor economical because CBD potency is not determined by concentration volume alone.
CBD Concentration Vs Effective Clinical Dose
CBD is a bi-phasic compound which simply means at low levels is produces a known therapeutic response but at high (or very high) amounts will produce the exact opposite effect (hence it’s bell-shaped response curve).
It’s the dosing area or “Goldie-Locks” concentration in the peak of that curve that delivers the precise, expected therapeutic effect to help relieve joint pain to comfort your dog.
So, while CBD may not be lethal–it can certainly be dosed in weight appropriate amounts that benefit your dog the most. More is not better!
When referring to a CBD products potency, what we are really talking about is ‘effective-therapeutic-dose’. The degree to which CBD can affect a dog’s health is directly related to the capacity of that CBD oil product to be absorbed, transported and made available to individual receptor sites in the dog’s body – And that is determined primarily by the method of delivery.
So, although the amount of CBD should be clearly stated on the label and verified by lab analysis, I believe the ‘potency’ of CBD depends more on how much your dog can actually absorb into its system at pre-determined levels, rather than how much is listed in milligram concentration on the bottle.
4. Choose Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil
What differentiates full spectrum CBD oil from the standard CBD oils is the number of cannabinoids in the product. The hemp plant is made up of over 100 cannabinoids, with the 2 most recognized being CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
In addition to these primary cannabinoids, there are several other cannabinoids in full-spectrum hemp that also have medicinal healing properties. Among them, CBN, CBG, CBV and a list of acidic forms like CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid).With a full complement of cannabinoids and all of the original natural plant terpenes intact, whole plant, full spectrum hemp is a better CBD oil for improving canine health. Click To Tweet
While there’s no formal regulation on how many cannabinoids qualify for ‘full spectrum’ status, a full spectrum, organic hemp CBD means it contains all of the cannabinoid compounds (including a small amount of THC) plus the naturally occurring plant terpenes, essential fatty acids, flavonoids and vitamins & minerals that contribute to what is known as the Entourage Effect.
Results from studies on full spectrum CBD oil extract showed that the synergy between the cannabinoids yielded greater relief for neuro-degenerative conditions, including canine epilepsy and seizures.
So, depending on the symptom or medical condition you’re trying to address with your dog, a full spectrum CBD oil can provide a greater therapeutic effect than ‘broad-spectrum’ (where THC was removed with chemical solvents) or CBD isolates, as all the cannabinoids naturally present in the plant work together in unison to support and balance your dog’s normal homeostasis.
What’s important to understand about this enhanced synergistic effect is that each plant component increases the clinical effectiveness of the other ingredients.
Studies have found that when you use a full spectrum hemp oil, the cannabinoids and terpenes naturally found in the whole plant create a synergistic effect, otherwise known as ‘The Ensemble or Entourage Effect’, and the interaction between each plant compound creates an amplified effect as well as providing additional health benefits. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!
The Best Hemp Oil for Dogs Contains Whole Plant Extracts
Pet owners should avoid refined CBD oil product ‘isolates’ or distilled products labeled as ‘pure-CBD’.
Research has found that these CBD isolate products (like that found in the FDA approved Epidiolex) were less effective than equivalent doses of CBD in extracts that also contain the full complement of cannabinoids and terpenes as found in full-spectrum extracts.
Related studies report that it takes a lot less whole-plant CBD (about 22% of the dose of pure CBD isolate) to treat severe seizures.
Because of the inherent plant synergy, even a touch of THC (or anticonvulsant terpenoids such as linalool) can make a difference between control of seizures and the lack of it.
If it takes five times (5X) as much of the pure-isolate compound CBD to achieve the same effect, that doesn’t mean that CBD is ineffective medicine–It means that the whole-plant does it better!
Whole-plant extracts not only are more effective but also have fewer side effects than pure CBD at higher doses — The International Cannabis & Cannabinoid Institute
The bottom line is that whole-hemp CBD extracts work in harmony with all the plant constituents and will have a decisive advantage over pure compounds and 'broad-spectrum' extracts (where THC is removed) in almost every instance. Click To Tweet
Pet owners are encouraged to check the labels for brands that use the “whole-plant” or full spectrum CBD oil.
Pro-Care Tip: Because of their lower mass and higher levels of cannabinoid receptors in the brain, dogs are very sensitive to the psychoactive effects of THC–so every effort should be made to know the concentration of all cannabinoids in a CBD product as well as understand the ramifications of over-medicating or mistakenly giving dogs a high-THC cannabis product intended for human consumption only (read more about Ataxia in Dogs).
5. Look for Clearly Marked Product Labels
Due to a current lack of adequate governmental regulation with regard to organic hemp plant derived CBD products, consumers purchasing CBD oils for their dogs need to be wary of unscrupulous actors with poor production processes & intentionally deceitful labeling practices.
Choosing among the many un-regulated CBD brands (which typically have less manufacturing oversight than ‘kitty litter’) can be problematic for novice CBD shoppers.
Many brands offer different types of CBD oils-based products with varying levels of concentration so it’s important that you pay particular attention to product labeling.
Be Aware of Accurate Label Claims
Look for products with labels that clearly show the quantity of CBD per dose–along with the total cannabinoid content for the entire bottle.
Other items to look for on a clearly marked CBD oils product label:
- Look for the amount of CBD listed on the bottle label and compare it with the actual active CBD extract shown in the manufacturer’s COA lab report,
- Look for the manufacturing date and batch number listed on the product if it becomes necessary to trace that product back for quality control,
- Look for a label that indicates how much actual dosage (mg’s) it is per serving? You should always ask to clarify this as some companies aren’t very clear about proper dosing for dogs.
Dosing guidelines are of particular concern since many caring pet owners are administering CBD doses based on stated human levels, not recommended canine levels–which are far less!
Beware Of CBD Sellers Making Unsubstantiated Health Claims
Dog owners need to be aware that many hemp-derived CBD products are incorrectly labeled. But they need to be particularly wary of any CBD oil for dog’s product that makes explicit health claims or statements about curing-a-disease.
The FDA has cautioned that marketing hemp plant derived CBD or THC products as single ingredient or in ‘dietary supplements’ is unlawful because both CBD and THC are active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs and were the subject of clinical investigations before they were marketed as foods or dietary supplements.
Most recently, an FDA warning letter went out to a CBD manufacturer explaining that it determined several of company’s CBD products… “are unapproved new drugs sold in violation of sections 505(a) and 301(d) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).”
The agency cited the following health claims as problematic, among others:
- CBD can counteract the growth of [and/or] spread of cancer.
- CBD has been shown to be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease.
- CBD has been linked to the effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Pet owners also need to be wary of a company making marketing statements or label claims of their organic hemp CBD oils product being ‘certified organic’. The requirements for USDA organic certification are rigorous and the application time is consuming, so the cost to gain USDA Certified Organic status could easily be more than a manufacturer is willing to pay (but that doesn’t stop them from making false assertions about their products be organic).
Beware of Mislabeled Product Ingredients
The problem of mislabeling CBD products is rampant. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that more than two-thirds of CBD products tested by researchers (69% of 85 products audited) had an incorrect amount of CBD and/or THC on the product label.
And there is no way for consumers to know the difference–
In 2017, a broader analysis of 84 products from 31 companies found that 43% contained more CBD than was indicated on the label and that 26% contained less CBD than was indicated on the label; additionally, THC was found in 18 out of the 84 samples even though none of the labels indicated that the products contained any amounts of THC.
Worse still, there were contaminants found in CBD products–toxicologists found evidence of pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, and other compounds in widely available products without any mention of them on the label.
Misrepresenting Product Contents
Another product survey found significant discrepancies among some of the leading hemp derived CBD brands that falsely claim full spectrum CBD oil is in their products; lab tests of several samples revealed only one cannabinoid – Cannabidiol – was present, indicating that these products were made with a CBD isolate rather than a more efficacious whole plant CBD oil extract.
Additional problems arise with some overly processed organic hemp plant CBD products that are tainted with toxic solvent residues, corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, and other contaminants.As an advocate for your pet’s health you should be selecting products with premium quality ingredients--unfortunately, that means relying on the manufacturer to provide accurate list of ingredients. Click To Tweet
Product Labels Should Include the Following Information:
- Name and place of business of the manufacturer or distributor,
- Identity of the product and it’s total Cannabinoid content,
- Net quantity of contents in terms of weight, numerical count, or other appropriate measure,
- A batch, lot, or control number,
- Production date or expiration date (products susceptible to spoilage must bear a “use by” date),
- Instructions for use,
- Dosing guidelines,
- Appropriate warnings for use, including any medical contraindications,
- Instructions for proper storage.
6. Hemp Source / Seed Origination
Most consumers will never go so far as to investigate the source of their dog’s CBD oil product to the level of the originating seed–and that’s a shame since the most transparent CBD companies will know this information and be willing to share it with you.
The originating plant source (biomass) of CBD is the most important factor in determining the quality of a CBD end-product because it influences everything that follows in the production process of CBD oils.
Commercial CBD products can come from a cannabis plant or from industrial Hemp and the molecular structure of the Cannabidiol from each source are exactly the same.
This means that most overseas companies are stripping CBD from industrial hemp byproducts as a secondary market that were not originally intended for CBD extraction. These sub-standard products can contain harmful adulterants & chemicals not intended for human (or canine) consumption.
The majority of these products are imported, extracted and sold as fancy labeled bottles with exotic carrier oils and superfluous flavor enhancing additives. None of which contribute to the health of your dog!
These imported products might look like they are domestic, but this is done under clever marketing where only the extraction work is done here in the US while the original product is coming from foreign countries with little to no vigilance towards organics because the plant was being grown industrially for fiber or some other non-edible constituent.
Look For Made in America
Look for a trusted CBD oil for dogs from a known growth source and from a country that monitors its soil conditions. Primary sourced material grown and extracted here in the United States or Canada has had the soil, the plant material, the resin, the carrier oil, and the final alchemy all tested for pesticides, fungicides, heavy metals plus anything that could be in the water.
Hemp plants grown in the US are more highly regulated through agricultural standards than imported hemp from China or Eastern European countries.
If you live in a “CBD-only” state, choose CBD products made with American-grown, organic hemp (from Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana, Vermont, Tennessee, etc.) rather than foreign sources to protect your dog against potential toxins accumulating in the hemp plant.
7. Sublingual Tinctures Are Preferred Over CBD Treats
CBD can be delivered in many different forms–but which method is optimum for pain relief for dogs with inflamed arthritic joints and to improve your dog’s overall health?
Whether CBD oils are ingested as a edible CBD treats, situated under the tongue as a sublingual liquid CBD tincture or applied topically to your dog’s skin, can play a role in the uptake, distribution, clinical effect and eventually the elimination of the compound from the body.
To a large extent, the therapeutic effects provided by CBD can only be realized if the cannabidiol is presented to specific receptors found throughout the Endocannabinoid system present in a dog’s central nervous system and body tissues.Ultimately, the method of CBD delivery is critical to how quickly & how effectively cannabinoid therapy will work for your dog! Click To Tweet
Sublingual CBD Is Better Absorbed Than Edible CBD Treats
Sublingual dosing means that you are administering CBD through tissues beneath the tongue. Through this method of administration, the cannabinoids come into close contact with blood rich tissues in the mouth and are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. For CBD to have any influence over your dog’s functional body systems, it first needs to be absorbed.
When we talk about the absorption of CBD, we’re referring to its transfer from the site of administration (e.g., oral mucosa) to the bloodstream, where it can then be transported throughout the body to interact with and/or influence cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), and non-cannabinoid receptors like serotonin receptor 5-HT1A and vanilloid receptor TRPV-1 in the brain.
Therefore, how much CBD gets absorbed depends on the route of administration, or how it’s consumed–And that depends on CBD being readily absorbed intact and made available in the bloodstream.
The Best Hemp CBD Oil Uses Sublingual Delivery Method
Sublingual CBD tinctures avoid the normal digestive processes by enzymes and acids in the stomach and by-passes the First-Pass metabolic breakdown in the liver. It’s possible that with edible treats, 20-90% of the original oral dose of CBD is lost due to stomach acids and enzymes and breakdown by the liver resulting in a much lower bioavailability.
Sublingual CBD application is considered a better choice of dosing dogs than ingestion of edible CBD treats because it is the quickest form of therapeutic relief–ideal for dogs whose conditions require them to rely on fast-acting effects.
Time is of the essence in certain circumstances where dogs with chronic pain or suffering from seizures need fast relief and sublingual application can deliver the effects of CBD in as little as 30 seconds up to 2 minutes.
Sublingual CBD is also more easily adapted for delivery to dogs because canine patients need only a small dosage amount of CBD to deliver a ‘therapeutic effect’.
A dropper bottle dispensing single measured drop(s) is infinitely more precise and easily tolerated when a dog is having difficulty eating solid food or swallowing water than a CBD-laced cookie or edible treat.In essence, CBD products delivered via sublingual administration is more highly absorbed, has a quicker therapeutic action, provides for more accurate dosing and delivers a better therapeutic effect than edible forms--making sublingual… Click To Tweet
8. Look for a Health Enhancing Carrier Oil
A canine friendly ‘carrier oil’ can add to the already beneficial effects of full spectrum CBD oil for dogs.
The popularity of coconut oil as a natural remedy has grown exponentially in recent years because of its versatility in addressing a multitude of canine health conditions such as joint problems, diabetes & obesity, and skin irritations.
Coconut oil can also improve your dog’s brain energy metabolism and cognitive function by reducing buildup of brain lesion-causing amyloid proteins.
Since hemp seeds do not contain detectable amounts of cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) cannot be pressed or extracted from hemp seeds. CBD oil for dogs can be extracted from the flower, leaves, and, only to a very minor extent, from the stalk of the hemp plant.
Though some companies will use the oil from hemp plant seeds as a base to add CBD concentrates to make it a viable source of CBD. Only an independent 3rd party lab report (COA) will show you the actual concentration of cannabinoids present in that CBD oil for dogs’ product.
So be very clear when reading product labels, hemp seed oil does not contain cannabidiol.
Special note: avoid any CBD products made with Avocado oil as a carrier oil. Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark may contain a toxic principle known as Persin. This oil base is well tolerated by people but can be toxic to dogs if even small amounts leach out of the seed into the ‘meat’ or fruit–Another reason to choose a CBD oil product intended for use in dogs, not humans!
Best Brand of Hemp Oil for Dogs
It’s not easy to find a reliable, affordable CBD oils you can confidently give your dog. Information about CBD is fragmented all over the Internet and may not always be current or accurate.
With new CBD research studies are being published in medical literature and veterinary journals at an ever-increasing rate, pet owners need to pay close attention when searching for CBD oil for dogs to make sure that you are buying the most credible, clinically effective, science-based cannabidiol product available to help care for their dog.
For conscientious dog parents, deciding which CBD oil product is best for their dog is no easy task. But to have trust in a company it’s important pet owners have access to information from seed-to-shelf to know where the hemp plant is grown, how it was grown as well as analytical data that verifies the processing & validates the precise content and make-up of the final CBD oil product.
Factor in the broader concept that consumers want to partner with a company that is ecologically conscious and naturally sustainable, and it becomes a quagmire to choose the best CBD oil for your dog.
Sometimes misguidedly, pet owners will place their trust in a CBD source and treat their marketing content as gospel–without much questioning. Your dog may pay the price!
For manufacturers of CBD products, it’s important to accurately portray their products to the consumer with properly referenced labeling and validated science without making unfounded medical claims.
With proper due diligence and by following the 8-Consumer-Buyers-Guide-Tips, pet parents can avoid common pitfalls and marketing schemes and uncover the best hemp CBD oil for their dog that delivers the best healing experience for their beloved furry home companions.
Curtis has been passionate about the health and welfare of animals since his first dog rescue.
After studying Sports Medicine & Biology at the University of Oregon, Curtis went on to excel in a career of Clinical Nutrition, later owning a health care supplement company serving private-practice physicians.
Known for his expansive knowledge of natural health and alternative medicine, Curtis believes that natural plant-based therapies can be applied to veterinary animal care which led him to study the science of Cannabinoid Medicine. His expertise in Functional Medicine led him to formulate a unique hemp-based canine care product, Canine Support Formula, fulfilling a dream to combine natural pet-care strategies with the new therapeutic potential of medical cannabis.
In reverence for his own dog, Parker, Curtis has dedicated his company–K9 Medibles–to improving the health and longevity of all dogs.
To learn more about Curtis and how K9 Medibles can help your dog, click HERE.