*Disclaimer: This article is not meant to serve as a substitute for veterinary advice. Dr.Hempdog believes firmly in the contents of this article because of the thorough research that backs it up and our own experiences with the thousands of dogs that we have helped through the years (including our own). You should always defer to your veterinarian when adding anything to your dog's unique wellness routine.
CBD products meant for humans and dogs might seem like they’re a world apart, but in reality, they’re similar in many ways. Most CBD products contain comparable sets of active ingredients (i.e. CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids), so companies often sell identical CBD tinctures for humans and animals, with flavor being the only difference. This means that it's often difficult to tell whether a CBD oil meant for dogs is ok for humans, and vice versa; to be sure, it’s best to use CBD products for their intended purpose. People ask us all the time what the differences are between CBD oils for dogs and humans, so we wanted to take this opportunity to go over everything you need to know in this respect.
First things first: Just because a CBD oil is specifically safe for humans, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be safe for dogs.
These key differences between CBD products for humans and dogs can significantly affect their effectiveness and safety:
- CBD oils designed for humans may contain an unsafe amount of THC for dogs (THC contents above 0.3% can be toxic to dogs, so make sure your product contains less than that)
- Human CBD products (especially food items) can contain ingredients that may not be very safe for dogs
- Human dosing info for CBD products doesn’t necessarily apply to dogs, and vice versa
Below, we’ll discuss what each of these differences means for you and your dog in more detail.
Human Products May Contain Too Much THC
Before we get into this, it’s important to know that the best CBD products will actually contain a trace amount of THC (less than 0.3%), making them “full-spectrum” CBD. Studies show that such a small amount of THC is entirely safe for humans and dogs, and furthermore, that CBD actually works best when used alongside THC (which is known as the entourage effect).
However, dogs are more sensitive to cannabinoids than humans, which means that excessive THC concentrations (which may be found in human products) can be toxic to dogs.
- Because of this, it’s extremely important to only ever give your dog CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC. In rare circumstances, some people do use higher THC concentrations for their dogs, but we don’t recommend this; you can talk to your vet to determine what is and isn’t safe for your dog.
You can verify how much THC is in a full-spectrum product by looking at its latest COA (Certificate of Analysis), which we break down in more detail in our useful article about interpreting lab work.
Extra Ingredients Can Be Unsafe for Dogs
Some added ingredients in CBD products may be safe for humans, yet highly toxic to dogs (such as chocolate, which is found in many human CBD products). If you want to give your dog a CBD product meant for humans, examine the ingredient list carefully!
Furthermore, dogs and humans have very different tastes and preferences, so the flavor of the CBD oil you love might be unsavory for your furry friend. Of course, certain flavors are well-tolerated by both species, so use your best judgment. If you're using CBD for anxiety and/ or comfort, the last thing you'd want to do is give them something unpleasant.
As a bonus, high-quality products like ours actually have naturally occurring terpenes and flavonoids in them, which you want to taste (the terpenes in our product are known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety, and their presence is a sign of superior extraction). If it’s a good CBD product, the flavor of natural terpenes and flavonoids should shine through; conversely, a burnt or bitter taste typically is a sign of low-quality extraction. Some companies add flavoring to try and mask unpalatable flavors from poor extraction, so we put flavorless MCT Coconut Oil in our tinctures so that you can taste the terpenes, flavonoids, and quality of our product—dogs tell us they love the taste of our products too!
Differences Between Dosing Dogs and Humans
Proper dosing is crucial to successfully using CBD products (dosing is done by weight, and dogs and humans typically have very different sizes). Fortunately, dogs have one of the most sensitive endocannabinoid systems ever studied, meaning that CBD is even more effective for dogs than humans.
However, as obvious as it may seem, the labels on human-designed CBD oils are ultimately designed for humans, not dogs (and vice versa). Recommended doses for human CBD products are not a substitute for canine-specific dosing information; to learn more, we encourage you to check out our guide to dosing full-spectrum CBD products.
The Takeaway: Use CBD & Cannabinoid Oils Responsibly
Now that you have a good sense of what the differences between these CBD products can be, check out our great, unbiased piece about choosing a great CBD oil for your dog! A lot of that information can apply to both humans and animals, but when it comes to dogs, it’s best to stick to something that’s specifically formulated for what it's being marketed to. Our product is completely safe for any species, and is dosed by weight (which is the same dosing for humans and animals; however, not all products work like this). Please contact us for specific dosing information—whether you have an ape or an elephant, we’ll help you figure out the proper dose!
If you have any additional questions about how to properly use CBD products for animals, you can reach out to us and schedule a free, 15-minute consultation by visiting our website, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contacting us at (720) 773-9595.