Pet Wellness Blog

How is CBD Best Absorbed in Animals?; Dog and cat snuggling in the grass
For Blog

social sharing :

How is CBD Best Absorbed for Animals?


We pop our multivitamins every day without giving them much thought.  It’s part of our health and wellness routine that makes up for the fact we probably don’t get as many of the vitamins and minerals we need in our own diets.  We may also take specialized supplements to address issues that concern us, such as zinc to support our immune system or fish oil to keep our brains healthy.  

Just like us, our pets can benefit from taking supplements formulated for their own specific needs.  It’s a great way to help keep our pets happy and healthy and support healthy function in their bodies.  The world of pet supplements is growing every day, so finding a perfect supplement that is easily absorbed by your pet can be a bit tricky. 

Bioavailability and Metabolism

If you’ve ever looked at your multivitamin bottle, for instance, you were probably shocked by how much of the vitamin your supplements actually contain.  This is because each supplement has a different absorption rate, or bioavailability.  Bioavailability refers to the ability a supplement has to be effectively absorbed by your pet’s body.

When we consider the bioavailability of a supplement like CBD oil, we need to determine how CBD is administered, what methods work the best, and what happens when CBD enters your pet’s system.  

CBD is processed through the digestive system when taken internally and broken down in the liver in what is called “first-pass” metabolism.  This refers to the CBD being broken down in the liver of your pet.  When first-pass metabolism occurs, some of the CBD that you’ve given your pet can be metabolized in the liver and never make it to the bloodstream where it can be effective for your pet.  

What Are the Different Methods for Administering CBD to Animals?

CBD can be administered to your pet in several different ways. 


For skin issues, like irritations, rashes, itchiness, and other minor skin discomforts, a topical CBD treatment may be a good solution.  CBD topicals typically include other soothing agents and are generally absorbed immediately to provide localized, but temporary comfort to your pet.  

However, with topical solutions, the CBD doesn’t reach the bloodstream, meaning key benefits like brain support, joint support, and calming effects don’t take place. 


CBD chews are just what they sound like: pet chews that are formulated with CBD in the ingredient list.  Your pet is dosed with CBD when he ingests the bite.  While this might seem like a great method of getting CBD into your pet, CBD chews aren’t necessarily the most accurate method of dosing.  

Here are some reasons CBD chews may not be the best method for delivering CBD to your pet:

  • Accuracy and purity of product.  Because CBD (like all supplements) is not regulated by the FDA, you must rely on a company to accurately tell you what is in their product.  This leaves room for fudging the numbers, which is why reputable CBD manufacturers will always provide a certificate of analysis for their products, showing that they have had an independent, third-party lab test their products to determine the potency, purity, and accuracy of their products.  

It’s not as common to find CBD chews that have been third-party tested and as such, it’s very hard to determine the actual amount and purity of the CBD that the chews contain.  That makes it difficult to give your pet the dosage of CBD that they need.  

  • CBD is compromised when it is cooked.  When CBD is added to an edible product, it is usually cooked and processed to meet certain food safety standards.  Unfortunately, when CBD is exposed to heat, some of the most beneficial ingredients it has are damaged meaning the CBD is not as beneficial to your pet.  
  • CBD chews might contain “junk food.”  Besides containing CBD, not all chews are made with high-quality ingredients. Additionally, if your pet is on a strict diet or has a food allergy, this may not be an option.  It’s important to note that many chews contain additional calories.  If your pet needs to stay under a certain caloric goal each day to maintain or lose weight, giving them CBD chews may not be an optimal solution.  

Another thing to remember is that the amount of CBD in one chew may not be enough to be effective for your pet, which would mean giving them numerous chews to achieve the desired CBD effect.  That means more calories, which may not work for your pet.


Tinctures are liquid CBD oil mixtures.  In a tincture, CBD oil is dissolved into a carrier oil, like olive oil, which can then be delivered directly to your pet orally for consumption.  

Tinctures are a great way to deliver pure, high-quality CBD to your pet in a manner that is easy to administer and is absorbed relatively quickly but with long-lasting effects. 

Tinctures are also very easy to use when dosing your pet.  For instance, with VETCBD’s CBD oil tincture, you know exactly how much is in each bottle, and you can give your pet an accurate dose of CBD each time you administer it. 

Tinctures are also more likely to come with a third-party lab testing certificate so you can know exactly what is in your CBD product–we triple test ours not only for potency, but for safety to make sure there aren’t any other contaminants in the batch like pesticides, bacteria, yeast, mold, and other foreign material. 

Tinctures can also be administered to your pet without the use of additional calories.  In fact, many animals take the tincture directly from the dropper.  If they will allow it, you can also attempt to rub a CBD tincture on your pet’s gums, which will allow the CBD to be absorbed through the mucous membranes in their mouth.


Which Method is the Most Effective Way for Animals to Absorb CBD?

The best method for administering CBD to your pet to ensure quality absorption and accurate dosing is to use a CBD oil tincture.  Topicals are great for localized skin irritations and can help soothe and provide temporary alleviation on the surface, but for issues like joint and mobility support, healthy brain function, promotion of good GI health, and calming, a tincture is the best pathway for CBD to travel to your pet’s bloodstream.  

CBD oil tinctures are absorbed better than other methods for the following reasons:

  • CBD oil tinctures, like the ones created by VETCBD, often contain MCT (multi-chain triglyceride) oils.  These oils help CBD skip the first-pass metabolism, which allows more CBD to be delivered to your pet’s bloodstream faster. 
  • CBD oil tinctures are not cooked or exposed to heat that could damage the effectiveness of the CBD.
  • CBD oil tinctures do not contain unneeded ingredients that can add calories or waste to the product.  Most tinctures include only two ingredients; the CBD oil and the carrier oil.
  • CBD oil tinctures are easy to administer to pets.  Many pets will take CBD oil directly from the tincture dropper, making it a very easy way to get CBD into your pet fast so they can get temporary soothing quickly.

What to Expect After Giving CBD to My Pet

Every pet responds differently to CBD treatment and how they respond depends on factors like their age, weight, individual biochemistry, and the severity of the symptoms they are experiencing.  While CBD is generally well tolerated by pets and reported side effects are few, some pets may experience mild side effects if they have been given too much CBD.  

These include: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

Again, it is very unlikely your pet will experience any side effects from CBD oil, but you should always be on the lookout for different behavior.  


CBD is a great supplement for pets, and provides support for many systems in your pet’s body to help them maintain overall health and wellness.  CBD supports healthy brain function, promotes healthy GI function, and supports your pet’s joints to help keep them mobile and agile!

CBD is best absorbed by using a CBD tincture.  No other method of CBD treatment is as effective in delivering CBD to your pet in a manner that is so rapidly absorbed.  The bioavailability of a CBD tincture is far higher than the CBD contained in a topical CBD product or in a CBD treat.  You can give your pet the soothing comfort of a CBD oil treatment by administering it to them directly.  


Related Product

VetCBD 250mg Full Spectrum Tincture for Dogs and Cats

Price : $24.99 - or subscribe and save up to 20%

Great starter size and for use in smaller pets, up to 25 lbs.
Purchase & earn 125 points!Select options
VetCBD 500mg Full Spectrum Tincture for Dogs and Cats

Price : $34.99 - or subscribe and save up to 20%

Best for daily and long term use, multi-pet household, and medium to large pets over 25 lbs
Purchase & earn 175 points!Select options
VetCBD Hemp 1000mg Tincture

Price : $59.99 - or subscribe and save up to 20%

Best for daily and long term use, multi-pet household, and large to giant breeds.
Purchase & earn 300 points!Select options
Skip to content