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Should you Give Dog CBD With or Without Food?

CBD has seen a huge surge in popularity since its commercial production and manufacture became federally legal in 2018.  In fact, you can hardly enter any big box pet store without finding an aisle of products that claim to include CBD.  

If you’re planning to try a CBD supplement with your dog, we’re here to help.  The veterinary professionals at VETCBD have been working not only with animals, but also exploring the vast array of benefits of CBD and medicinal cannabis.  We can help you determine how to best administer CBD to your dog, and give you all the information you need to ensure your dog is receiving the maximum benefit from their CBD products.  

CBD for Dogs

What is CBD?  

If you’re not familiar with CBD or how it can be useful for your pup, let’s dig in with a little background information.  CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol.  Cannabidiol is one of over one hundred cannabinoids found in a species of the Cannabis sativa plant.  A cannabinoid is a  naturally occurring compound that can provide health and wellness benefits to your dog.  

There’s a little confusion over what CBD is, and what it is not.  What it is not is something that can get your dog “high.”  CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC,” which is the cannabinoid that is responsible for getting a marijauna user the euphoric “high” they feel when they use it.  

CBD is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant in three different ways: as an isolate oil, broad spectrum oil, or full spectrum oil.  For CBD to be most effective, it must be extracted with other beneficial plant parts, including trace amounts of other cannabinoids.  This produces what is called the “entourage effect.”  The entourage effect refers to all parts of the plant working together synergistically to deliver maximum benefit to the user.  The only oil that can produce the maximum entourage effect is full spectrum CBD oil.  Isolate oil only contains CBD, and broad spectrum lacks THC.  When searching for CBD oil for your pet, make sure you look for “full spectrum” on the label to make sure your dog is getting the benefits they deserve!  

Why Would You Give a Dog CBD?

All of our dogs deserve to be in the best health, and to have nutrition and supplements that support overall wellness.  From supporting normal GI function and normal brain function, to promoting calmness and relaxation, CBD has benefits that can help support our dogs in living happy, healthy lives.  

It may even be considerable to supplement your current dog’s treatments and medications with CBD.  It’s best to speak to your dog’s veterinarian to determine the best course of action, and whether or not your dog can safely add CBD to their current health regimen.  


The benefits of CBD for your dog are many, and the side effects are very minimal and not too common.  Here are some of the major benefits of giving CBD to your dog.

  • Supports joint mobility.  Dogs that suffer from mobility issues can find support from CBD oil.  CBD is a known soothing agent which can help to temporarily alleviate joint discomfort to get your dog moving around more fluidly.  
  • Promotes calmness.  A stressed pup is an unhappy pup, and the pet parent is usually unhappy too.  Unwanted stress behaviors like whining, chewing, and scratching may be improved with the use of CBD paired with positive training strategies.  CBD works with your dog’s own internal stress management systems to help promote calmness and relaxation, making it easier to work with them to train for good habits and behaviors even when you’re apart from them.  
  • Supports healthy GI function.  
  • Supports healthy brain function. Because of how CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it can help promote healthy, normal brain function in your pet, and may be able to also aid in seizure management.


Determining the correct dosage your dog needs depends on several factors:

  • Your dog’s weight
  • Their own body chemistry
  • The concentration of your CBD product
  • Their overall health status

Every dog is different and will have a different response to CBD.  You will want to speak with your veterinary professional prior to beginning any course of treatment or supplementation to ensure it’s a good option for your particular pet.  

To determine your dog’s correct CBD dosage, start by getting an accurate measurement of your dog’s weight.  While there’s no standard dose that will work every time for every dog, a good idea is to begin with .2mg of CBD per pound of body weight.  As such, a dog that weighs 10 pounds would receive 2mg of CBD. 

Start off by giving your dog half the dose you’d expect them to tolerate, and then adjust the dose from there as necessary. 

It’s also important to pay attention to the strength of the CBD formula you are giving your dog. 

What’s Better: With or Without Food?

If your dog tolerates CBD well, it is best to give your dog their CBD supplement with food, even though this may be contrary to what you may expect!

Generally, you may expect that CBD given on an empty stomach may result in quicker absorption. While this is true, quicker absorption is not necessarily better absorption.

Studies actually show that CBD given with meals results in better absorption over longer periods of time!

CBD is generally very mild and actually beneficial to your dog’s GI tract, so it is generally safe to give it to them on an empty stomach, though the benefits of CBD are much better absorbed when CBD is given with food. 

Whenever you’re ready to give CBD a try, come check out what VETCBD has to offer. We have expertly-formulated tinctures that we know will not only help support your pet in their day to day, but will help them thrive. 


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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. VETCBD Hemp products are made using hemp containing <0.3% THC.

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