5 surprising CBD benefits for dogs

Learn how and why CBD may be able to benefit your furry friend.

Learn how and why CBD may be able to benefit your furry friend.
minute read

Dogs are the ultimate co-pilots in life, helping us get through tough times and enjoy our best moments to the fullest. Pet parents who prioritize self-care also love to look after their dogs with high-quality food, active lifestyles, and plenty of extra attention.

Treats and walks in the park can go a long way to keep your dog healthy and happy, but sometimesyour pets might need additional support to stay balanced physically and mentally. 

CBD for pets is the latest area of research in the cannabis field, and as reports continue to show, this compound can be highly beneficial for furry friends from all walks of life.*

In this article, we’re exploring the potential benefits of CBD for dogs and offering some tips for pet owners who want to get started with the right information and products.

Is CBD safe for pets?

Every pet parent wants to know whether CBD is safe for dogs, and the research is assuring. Dogs are mammals like us and share many of the same biological features and functions. Among these similarities is the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which constitutes a broad network of neurotransmitters and chemical processes in the body.*

In humans, the ECS has been shown to help regulate everything from brain activity and the nervous system to organ function, muscle tissue, and even skin and bones. While the ECS in dogs might not be as vast or complex, many of the same functions have been discovered and appear to mirror those of human beings.*

These findings offer convincing evidence that CBD is safe for dogs and grants many of the familiar benefits humans get from cannabinoids. Because CBD is considered one of the milder compounds in the cannabis plant, it offers a great way to support balance in the ECS without introducing more potent varieties of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or other substances.*

Furthermore, many pet parents are highly conscious of what they give their dogs, from food and treats to comfortable accessories and ideal environments for them to thrive. It makes sense that the new generation of pet owners is interested in the effects of CBD on dogs, and scientific support for its use for pet health and wellness is stacking up quickly.* 

Of course, there are best practices and other considerations that come with giving your dog anything out of the ordinary, and CBD is no different. After touching on some possible benefits, we’ll offer tips to get the most from CBD for your dog with safe and responsible ownership in mind. 

What are the potential health benefits of CBD oil for dogs?

Because the endocannabinoid system in dogs is remarkably similar to that of humans, you can expect many of the same benefits when delivering CBD to your doggy friends. 

Here are some of the most widely reported benefits from dog owners, along with some of the studies that support these findings.* 

1. May help ease feelings of discomfort

Experienced pet owners know that doggy discomfort is a real thing, and CBD can be a way to ease some of these feelings when familiar signs appear.*

While we might not know for sure what our dogs are feeling at any given time, pet owners are highly attuned to their dog's patterns of behavior and can identify key indicators of discomfort, physical or otherwise.

Dogs experiencing discomfort may not show the same level of enthusiasm or interest when playing outside or bounding around the house, or perhaps they show signs of unfriendliness with other animals or people in social settings.

The actual sources of discomfort may vary. If you’re a pet parent, you just know when something’s not right, and CBD can be the natural way to ease that discomfort to help your dog return to their true self.*

If you suspect a more serious issue with your dog’s health or notice more acute symptoms, a visit to the veterinarian is in order. However, general signs of discomfort may be attenuated with the right serving of CBD, and for many pet owners, an infused treat or tincture does the trick for situational discomfort throughout the week.

2. May help promote feelings of calm

Emotional roller coasters aren’t just a human experience. Dogs feel the ups and downs of life as well, even if they can’t articulate these sensations. Many pet owners have reported their dogs going through bouts of nervousness, and CBD might help promote feelings of calm in certain situations.*

Dogs are highly attuned to their environments and will show signs of fear or distress with body language or sounds. Some younger dogs might get nervous when riding in the car, while most animals are afraid of events like thunderstorms or fireworks. Dogs may also get nervous being left alone when you’re out of the houseno matter their age.

Doggy nervousness might not be a daily thing for your pet, but when these episodes do occur, you want to help them stay balanced and secure on an emotional level. The right serving of CBD can add to their calmness and relaxation in these turbulent moments, which can also make life smoother for you, the owner.*

Some dogs experience nervousness in everyday settings, while others only show negative responses in certain scenarios. It’s up to you as a pet parent to use CBD smartly and seek additional support if needed. 

3. May help support joint health

Many dogs, especially larger breeds, could use support with joint health after a few years of active living.

CBD might not be a full fix for joint health, but it may help to reduce some of your dog’s discomfort and support overall joint mobility. Giving them a CBD chew before or after a long walk may help them enjoy those moments of outdoor freedom or provide support when lounging on the couch with the family in the evening.*

Joint health is a complicated and challenging part of dog ownership, and sometimes, you might need a more serious medical approach to tackle the issue. However, CBD can provide some support for dogs starting to show signs of discomfort when moving, which can significantly benefit their quality of life.

4. May help support sleep overall

Dogs need sleep just like the rest of us, though they also experience some of the same obstacles to achieving deep, restorative sleep each night. The ECS is closely linked with the parts of the nervous system that regulate sleep, which is why so many people turn to CBD to support their nightly sleep regimen.*

Dogs need sleep to thrive, especially active dogs entering the later stages of life. Even younger dogs might need help sleeping as they get accustomed to their new environments, and this has benefits for sleepless pet parents as well!

By providing a calming CBD formula for your dog, they may have an easier time relaxing and getting the sleep they need to live life to the fullest. Just be sure to use a CBD that is specially formulated to help dogs relax with other ingredients that support sleep and won’t keep them awake at night.* 

5. May help support skin and coat health 

One of the lesser-known aspects of the ECS has to do with skin and coat health, but early studies show promise for the use of CBD in this area. Even the healthiest pups can sometimes use support for their skin, and performing a grooming routine in the tub or shower is not always feasible. 

Some CBD formulas are focused on easing the feelings of skin and coat discomfort, while others contain supporting ingredients like healthy fats and proteins for extra resilience. These products could help dogs keep a strong, scratch-free coat during an active summer or dry winter weather.* 

Diet and grooming routines are your best bets when maintaining your dog’s skin and coat health, and if they’re suffering from fleas, targeted medicines are always required. However, CBD with certain secondary natural ingredients can offer that extra edge for skin and coat health, even with all those other boxes checked.*

What types of CBD pet products are available?

The CBD industry has finally come around to pet products, and there are plenty of options. The challenge is knowing which products are best for your dog’s needs and knowing when to provide specific types for intended results.

Let’s talk about the two main types of CBD products for pets and see what pros and cons they bring to the table.

Treats and chews

CBD dog treats and chews are a universal favorite for dogs of all shapes and sizes, so these CBD products offer an easy entry point for safe and smart serving sizes. 

You’ll find hemp extract products in familiar chewable formats, complete with appealing flavors that your dog will have no trouble enjoying. Convenience is the big benefit of CBD treats for dogs since most owners are comfortable with the routine, and no extra steps are needed.

Another advantage of treats and chews is the availability of other ingredients mixed in with the active compounds of hemp extract. For example, our vet-formulated Movin’ Easy Pet Chews contain joint-friendly mussel proteins along with 5 mg of high-quality CBD per serving. They chews were also formulated with guidance from the NASC, the National Animal Supplement Council—meaning your furry companion's health is top priority. 

Our Chillin’ Out Pet Chews are another NASC and veterinary-approved CBD option. These chews include chamomile and passion flower to support calmness and relaxation for your dog—ideal for those car rides, fireworks, thunderstorms, or moments of nervousness.* 

These secondary natural ingredients offer something extra for pet owners who want to maximize CBD regimens for their pets, but it also means paying attention to exactly what’s in each product before you start using it. 

Oil tinctures

Oil tinctures offer a direct, streamlined way to deliver the benefits of CBD to your dog, and there are multiple methods you can use. Some pet owners choose to drop some of the oil into a treat or bite of food, allowing it to absorb for a minute before serving up the snack for quick consumption.

Others find that oil tinctures are best administered directly to the mouth or gums, though this approach requires more caution and comfort with your dog. While your dog might get quicker relief from the direct application, this may not be a feasible method for many owners.*

You can always mix a tincture into your dog’s food bowl before serving, as this will deliver the desired effects without introducing new treats or ingredients. As alwaysit’s a matter of your preferences as an owner and how you want to facilitate the experience for your dog.

How can you get your dog started with CBD?

Pet CBD products from Sunmed make this wellness addition easier than ever. However, we suggest taking a slow and measured approach to CBD delivery when starting out and always consulting with your veterinarian before switching up your routine.

As a general guideline, you can consider giving your dog about 2.5 mg of CBD per 25 pounds of body weight (which equals about 1/2 chew per 25 pounds). 

Monitoring your dog's response to CBD and adjusting the serving size is important. You can start with a lower serving and gradually increase it as needed, always keeping an eye on how your dog reacts to the CBD.


Also, prepare to observe your dog’s response to CBD as soon as they take it. Even minor changes in behavior are important to note and keep in mind for future servings. 

You may find that less is more when giving CBD to pets, or your dog might respond better to slightly higher-than-average servings. 

Consult your veterinarian

CBD is considered very safe for pets, with few side effects accounted for so far. However, you’ll still want to connect with your veterinarian before giving CBD to your dog, which also means articulating any concerns or questions you may have.

Some pet doctors may be happy to hear you’re trying CBD, while others might be skeptical. Listen to their reasoning and work together to make the best choice for you and your pets. 

If your vet has questions about particular CBD products, you can assure them that Sunmed’s pet CBD formulas are created by veterinarians with guidance from the NASC, and each product has an accessible third-party batch-specific lab results with a COA.* 

The bottom line

Dogs have an endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors similar to ours, and studies show that many of CBD’s benefits also apply to our furry friends. If you’re looking for a safe and natural way to support your dog’s health or alleviate some of those daily discomforts, CBD might be the best way forward. 

Plenty of promising studies show the benefits of CBD for dogs, but you still need to do your homework as a pet parent and take a vet-recommended approach. 

There’s a CBD product out there that fits your dog’s needs, so start the research process and introduce any new ingredients with best practices in mind. 


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Canines and Cannabis–Is CBD Safe for Your Pet? | Michigan State University

Cannabis Use and Pets | AVMA

The Current State of Cannabis Research in Veterinary Medicine | TVP

Endocannabinoids and sleep | NCBI

The Impact of Feeding Cannabidiol (CBD) Containing Treats on Canine Response to a Noise-Induced Fear Response Test | NCBI

How To Know if Your Dog Is in Pain: Signs of Discomfort | AKC

Use of cannabis in the treatment of animals: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials | NCBI

Hemp in Veterinary Medicine: From Feed to Drug | PMC

The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious | Harvard Health

CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know | AKC

Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health | PMC