How to choose a CBD product for your dog

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Pet CBD is bigger than ever. As the industry booms, more brands, products, and innovations are hitting the shelves. While increased consumer choice is great for giving dog owners multiple options, it can also make choosing a CBD product for your dog super difficult.

Here are 8 tips for finding the right CBD product for your individual dog’s needs.

1Hemp, not marijuana

CBD products made for pets should always be made from hemp plants, and never made from marijuana plants.

Both hemp and marijuana are types of cannabis, but hemp plants usually contain very low amounts of psychoactive compounds, meaning it’s difficult or impossible to get ‘high’ by consuming them. 

Marijuana plants, on the other hand, are often bred to contain extreme amounts of these intoxicating substances. Products made from marijuana plants may also be illegal to buy and consume depending on state laws.

By sticking to products made from hemp, owners can rest assured that their dog’s CBD is legal, safe, and incapable of causing a high.

2Look for pet-specific brands or products

A great way to narrow down your search for an awesome CBD product is to only browse from pet-specific brands and product lines.

These products will always be clearly labeled for pets, some for dogs only. They often differentiate themselves from human CBD products through their branding and usage instructions.

Shopping from pet-specific brands helps to check off the tip above, as all products designed for pets are made from hemp. But it also means that CBD manufacturers will have developed the product with dog’s needs in mind. This means that pet CBD is more likely to be effective in helping treat common canine conditions like arthritis and anxiety.

3Shop from trusted stores

CBD is appearing on a growing number of shelves, from gas stations to grocery stores. But not everywhere makes for an appropriate place to pick up CBD for your dog.

Because the CBD market is mostly unregulated, not every product for sale is well made or appropriate for pets. Because of this, products need to be carefully curated by knowledgeable suppliers or store staff.

For this reason, try to only buy CBD from retailers with some expertise in the area of CBD and dogs. The best options include pet stores, brand websites, and online pet product retailers.

4Research reviews

Another way to narrow down the list of pet CBD products is to take advice from other owners. The internet is full of thousands of useful reviews documenting the experiences of owners and their dogs.

Often, it’s easy to spot the products that are particularly effective for specific canine conditions. One brand of CBD treats may have rave reviews when it comes to helping with phobias, while another may gather positive feedback for its ability to reduce the frequency of seizures.

When browsing user reviews, try to look at independent sources, such as Google and Facebook, rather than on brand sites, which may be more vulnerable to bias.

5Decide on oils vs treats vs balms

When it comes to CBD, dogs generally have a choice between three types of products. The first is CBD oils, where a hemp extract is infused into an oil carrier – usually hemp seed oil or fractionated coconut oil. CBD oil can be dropped into food or directly into dog’s mouths.

The second format is CBD treats, where the extract is baked into delicious doggy snacks, while the third is CBD balms – creams that are designed to be massaged into dogs’ skin and paws.

Choosing the right CBD format for your pup depends on their needs. Cracked paws? Try a balm. A long-term condition such as seizures or arthritis? Try daily supplementing with CBD oil. Specific uses such as fireworks night or a car trip? Use a CBD treat.

6Read the independent lab report

All legitimate CBD manufacturers will regularly test their products to make sure that their production processes are clean and accurate.

Consumers should be able to freely read these tests, which are regularly called ‘independent lab reports’ or ‘certificates of analysis.’ Most reputable brands list these reports on their websites, and any CBD manufacturer should be happy to provide them on request.

Never consider buying a CBD product that hasn’t been independently tested.

7Spectrum vs isolate

Most CBD products for dogs are pretty similar, with only a few ways to differentiate between them. One way is the delivery format – oil vs treat vs balm. Another is whether the CBD product is infused with enticing dog flavors such as bacon or beef.

A third way to choose between CBD products is by spectrum. CBD comes in three types of spectrum: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Full-spectrum products contain all the cannabis compounds found in the original hemp plant, while broad-spectrum products contain a curated selection of compounds. Isolate products contain pure CBD and no other cannabis compounds.

For owners of very small dogs, who need smaller amounts of CBD, isolate products may help with accurate dosing. For others, full-spectrum products are generally considered to be preferential, as they allow dogs to benefit from a full range of soothing cannabis compounds.

8Be sure your dog really needs CBD

Finally, choosing a CBD product means thinking carefully about whether a dog will really benefit from taking CBD. Like any medication or natural supplement, dogs should only take CBD in response to a clear need, such as a phobia, skin condition, or injury.

CBD is an anti-inflammatory, which makes it applicable to a wide range of inflammatory-based and stress conditions. If dogs aren’t suffering from an inflammatory or stress issue, they probably won’t benefit from taking a CBD product.

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