How Long Does CBD Stay In Dogs System?

Medical review by K9 Healthcare Council of America (K9HCA). Intended for educational purposes only. Always seek medical advice from your veterinarian.

How Long Does CBD Stay in a Dogs System?

Based on the current scientific evidence, we can conclude that CBD has an average half-life of 4 hours when the CBD concentration is 2 to 10 mg.

So, you can expect CBD to stay in your dog’s system for 8 hours based on a number of factors, concentration being one of them.

5 Factors That Affect How Long CBD Stays in A Dog’s Body

Every dog and every breed are different; so, the length of time that CBD will stay in your dog’s body depends upon many factors.

As such, it can be difficult to determine how much & how often to give your dog CBD.

Here are primary factors that determine how long CBD will stay in your dog’s body:

Body Weight

Like most cannabinoids, CBD is fat-soluble. Dogs who weigh more tend to have more fat cells in their body. This means that they’ll absorb and store CBD for longer periods of time in their body. Therefore, dogs with more fat cells in their body will most likely need more time to adjust to achieve the ‘optimum level” of CBD. The higher your dog’s body mass, the longer it takes for CBD to work.

Method Of Intake

There are many ways to consume CBD–And each of these methods has a different result on how much & how quickly CBD gets absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream.

Understanding the bioavailability of each delivery method is key in figuring out which CBD product is best for your dog, as each type of CBD product takes different amounts of time before starting to work.

1) Sublingual – The quickest and most bioavailable way for dogs to feel the benefits of CBD is a sublingual oil or tincture, followed by ingestible products like treats or capsules, and then topicals.

When given sublingually (under the tongue), liquid oil CBD (tinctures) are absorbed into your dog’s mucosa, thereby, avoiding ‘first-pass metabolism’ by going straight through the blood capillaries under your dog’s tongue.

Sublingual CBD oils have the fastest rate of absorption and efficacy because the oil enters the bloodstream directly when applied orally.

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Sublingual CBD delivery is the most efficient and effective delivery method of CBD oil for dogs–meaning faster action and more bang-for-the-buck!

2) Edible Treats – Just like humans who want to take CBD in the tastiest way possible, pets love hemp CBD treats too. However, dog treats (along with CBD pills, and capsules), have to travel through your dog’s digestive system, they have what’s known as a “first-pass metabolism” in the liver. This means that less of the active ingredients will get to the target receptors and it’ll take longer to feel the effects of the CBD.

When CBD treats have to be digested in the stomach and transported to the liver, less than 10% of the original amount of CBD is absorbed making it less economical and less effective. In other words, CBD dog treats take longer to be absorbed & less is taken up into the system, thereby costing you more to achieve the same benefits as sublingual delivery.

3) Topicals (creams, balms, shampoos, and sprays) – This form of absorption is the lowest & slowest. The CBD in topical form has to pass through seven cell layers of the epidermis before it can get into the bloodstream, allowing for only minimal topical absorption.

Contrary to other CBD oil and dog treats, CBD topicals do not penetrate deep enough into the skin to pass through blood-brain barriers and enter the bloodstream. However, it does provide localized effects when applied through topical means since it absorbs through the pores and hair (fur), working with the CB2 receptors underneath the skin and hair follicles.

How long does CBD stay in dogs system?
CBD comes in a number of different delivery methods with varying degrees of absorption and clinical effectiveness.

Your Dog’s Biochemical Makeup 

Metabolic RateA dog’s metabolism can function at different rates depending on age, lifestyle, digestive system, and genetic composition. While a dog’s metabolism does include burning calories, it also affects how his body breaks down and processes different food substances. This is what we call a metabolic rate–and every dog has a different one.

If you have an active dog with a high metabolism (increased blood circulation), they’ll likely feel the effects of CBD come on faster; but it will also wear off more quickly. On the other hand, if they have a slow metabolism, you’ll notice that it takes longer to feel CBD coming on; and it will stay in their body for longer.

Endocannabinoid System BalanceCBD is part of a unique set of compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds interact with a biological system found in almost all animals. It’s called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and its cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the entire body. Research suggests that the ECS is responsible for many biological functions in dogs such as mood, sleep, appetite, immune response and pain sensation.

If your dog’s ECS is imbalanced, he could experience a large range of negative symptoms as a result. While this subject is still being researched, CBD could help to alleviate negative symptoms by interacting with and influencing the action of ECS receptors and rebalance your pup’s homeostasis.

Understand that the more the endocannabinoid system is imbalanced, the longer it will take to see the effects of CBD oil.

Canine Endocannabinoid System Infographic. CBD receptors in dogs
Primary types of Cannabidiol (CBD) receptor sites found in dogs are CB1 & CB2.

CBD Dosage & Product Potency 

The amount of CBD you give your dog every day will affect how fast he feels the effects. In general, the more they are taking, the quicker they’ll feel it and the longer time it takes to metabolize through the digestive system and liver.

With this in mind, it’s important to give your dog the amount of CBD that’s right for their own individual body weight. Unfortunately, dogs can’t verbally express how they feel. But, for instance, if you’re giving an older dog CBD for joint pain, you can pay attention to whether the amount you’ve given them seems to be working when they are able to move more freely or willing to climb up and down stairs or sleep through the night without pain.

Or, if you’re giving your stressed-out pup CBD for anxiety to calm them down, you can monitor them to see if your pooch is calmer and more relaxed.

Best hemp oil for dogs
When your dog ingests CBD oil, it links to receptors within the ECS, helping to maintain homeostasis, fight off infections, and regulate critical biological functions. CBD oil helps provide relief from pain, anxiety, seizures, digestive upset, and more.

How Much CBD For My Dog?

So how much CBD should you give your dog? Choosing the right CBD dose for your dog can feel overwhelming. First off, each company’s dosing guidelines can vary widely because the concentration of CBD differs in the products they make.

The dosage can also differ depending on the ailment you’re trying to treat. For example, higher doses are typically needed for more serious health conditions and lower doses for occasional anxiety or general well-being.

The best advice we can give you is to start small and ease into the manufacturer’s dosing guidelines for their specific products. Companies that formulate their own high-quality CBD typically give you detailed instructions on how to dose their various products.

While it may seem as though getting the right amount of CBD into your dog is very complicated, it’s really just a matter of experimenting with the recommended dosing and developing a system that works well for your dog. You’ll know you’ve found the right amount when your dog responds positively to treatment.

What Is The ‘Sweet-Spot’ Of CBD Dosing?

Keep in mind that 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).

Best hemp oil for dogs.
The graph above resembles a bell– which is why it is referred to as a bell-shaped-response-curve. It clearly demonstrates that if you give too little of a CBD dose (low dose) or too much (high dose) it didn’t work as well to achieve Peak-Effectiveness.

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!

What Is the Most Effective Therapeutic Dose Of CBD?

When referring to a CBD products potency, what we are really talking about is ‘effective-therapeutic-dose’ or the degree to which CBD can affect a dog’s health.

Effective therapeutic dose 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!

Frequency & Consistency of CBD Dosing

For some dogs, CBD is subtle and takes time to see improvements in your dog’s health.

For others however, CBD can seem like an over-night miraculous success with obvious benefits coming right away. These dogs have immediate relief from painful joints or a calmer, less anxious disposition. All dogs are different, and each will have their own unique experience with CBD therapy.

For the majority of dogs taking CBD for the first time, signs of improvements may take weeks while you work to achieve your dog’s specific “sweet-spot” dosage.

In the beginning, it can take time and diligence to notice your dog is experiencing less stress or less pain. Some owners may not notice any signs of improvement for a few weeks. If this happens to you, don’t get discouraged–be patient! Seeing positive results will gradually come over time with consistent delivery and close monitoring.

People can get impatient and give up after a few CBD doses because they think it doesn’t work. The key to getting the most benefits out of CBD is consistency! A consistent, measurable daily CBD oil dose can eventually restore balance to your pup’s ECS, and you’ll both be glad you stuck with it!

Quality Of CBD Product Matters

When you decide to explore CBD as a therapy for the dog, there are some things to consider before buying CBD oil. Not all oils are created equal; for the best results, go for high-quality, full spectrum CBD oil.

Benefits of Hemp CBD Oil for Dogs
Whole Plant Medicine. 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.

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.

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.

Where to Buy the Best CBD Oil for My Dog?

What To Look for In a Premium CBD Oil for Dogs:

  • Look for organic products. If the CBD oil isn’t organic, it should at the very least be free of pesticides, fungicides, and solvents.
  • Don’t just shop for the lowest price. Higher prices are usually connected with higher quality and purity. Toxic compounds including pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals may be present in a less expensive option.
  • Check to see if your CBD oil has any additions.
  • Get the report. A certificate certifying the level of CBD in the product should be provided by the manufacturer. Many CBD products only have trace quantities of CBD in them. You’ll want to make sure that the product has little or no THC.
  • CBD is available as a liquid. You can buy CBD dog treats, but the ideal way to give it to your dog is in the form of an oil and tincture. You can modify your dog’s medication drop by drop this way.

A Final Thought on Getting Started with CBD For Your Dog

If you’re trying CBD on your dog for the first time, I hope this article has been helpful. I encourage you to talk with your veterinarian, other pet owners and animal care specialists as you begin the journey to effectively use CBD to give your dog a long, healthy and happy life! I also invite you to contact me directly if you need assistance with CBD dosing & charting your dog’s progress.

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