How to Find and Use The Best Hemp Oil (CBD) For Pets
This guide is for those already ready to try and want to make sure they find something safe and genuine and how to use it.
NOTE: We DO NOT sell any CBD products on this site. This is information for instructional use only.
This guide is not to educate you on how hemp oil and cannabinoids such as CBD work, but we do have plenty of references to help answer those questions below. Nor is it to tell you whether or not it can help your pet and their particular condition, but again, there are links to even more resources regarding various studies which you may find helpful.
The short version is the endocannabinoid system and its role in regulating the mammalian nervous system is fascinating, and there is finally a lot more research being done in multiple areas for how hemp oil may help, but this is not a guide to make you a believer.
This Guide has TWO goals:
- 1. Cut through the hype and buzzwords, providing you with the information you need to distinguish a quality hemp oil from the myriad of lesser versions.
- 2. Show you how to use it and how much to give to your pet based on genuine Veterinarian research.
- Hemp – Hemp is a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC. It is all called ‘industrial hemp’ by legal definition of the 2018 Farm Bill, but please know there is a vast difference in the hemp that is grown to make concrete or t-shirts from the hemp that is grown to produce medicinal oils.
- Hemp Oil – Hemp Oil is the oil extracted from the whole plant, minus the roots and seeds.
- Hemp Seed Oil – Hemp Seed Oil comes from the seeds of a hemp plant. It is wonderfully nutritious but does NOT contain any of the cannabinoids, CBD, CBG, CBC, etc, or terpenes, etc. It is often used as a carrier oil for products that DO have Hemp Oil with CBD in it, as well as used to fool folks into believing they are getting ‘CBD’ when it is just the Hemp Seed Oil. This is what you see on Amazon when you search ‘CBD for dogs’, for example. Amazon does not allow the sale of CBD products so, at best, those products you see are only Hemp Seed Oil and hoping you don’t know the difference.
- Full Spectrum – This means the Hemp Oil contains all of the plant’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. This includes the trace amounts of THC found in ‘industrial hemp’. Ideally, the processing should be minimal and not first distilled into an isolate and then having terpenes added back in, etc. Just like in foods, all of that ‘processing’ takes away from the plant’s natural ability and is only done when working with an inferior cultivar or harsh extraction methods.
- Broad Spectrum – The oil has been further processed to remove any of the THC.
- Isolate – Heavy processing to strip the oil down and separate only the CBD cannabinoid or other single cannabinoid.
- Carrier Oil – This is the oil to which the hemp extract is infused. It allows for better deliverability, processing, storing and measuring. Popular ones are Hemp Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, or Olive Oil.
- 1. Vertically Integrated Hemp Company. Go with a company that grows and produces their own. If they are importing the hemp or outsourcing the production there are simply too many unknowns they cannot control. We’ve seen some well-respected brands get talked into pedaling a hemp oil with their logo on it made by someone else and not even know what it is. They will even share COA’s of their ‘full-spectrum’ formula that clearly show it is an isolate. If THEY don’t know what’s in the bottle, who does?
- 2. Organic. Do your research and make sure that not only does the label claim to be organic, ideally with certification, but that they also do NOT use any pesticides or herbicides, even though some are still allowed under organic guidelines.
- 3. Cultivar-Specific. Not all hemp is created equal and it is known that different cultivars (strains) will have different cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles which highly influence the final product, especially when seeking the benefits of a full-spectrum formula. It is important to know the label is intentional, and consistent with the hemp it grows.
- 4. Full Spectrum. The Cannabinoid called Cannabidiol (CBD) is the well-known and popular one, but the natural hemp plant has over 100 cannabinoids as well as the flavonoids and terpenes which all work together for maximum effectiveness. This includes the trace amounts of THC.
- 5. Veterinarian Recommended. Be careful here as there are plenty of bogus endorsements by fictitious personas, or real veterinarians who are promoting their own products (again, most of them made by various outsourced factories), so we should say Recommended by INDEPENDENT genuine Veterinarians. Look them up and see if they talk about the product on their site, etc. Some of the bogus white labels we’ve mentioned even ‘borrow’ the names and credentials of real doctors and associate it with endorsement content. If you ask the doctor they’ll tell you they have never heard of the brand. If they do, then what has their experience been with the product? What do their patients say?
- 1. Start with a Low dose and go slow. Some pets show the oil is working within 30 minutes and for others it may take a few days to a week to build up and show any effects. Take your time. A low dose may be all you need and you also want to make sure that the introduction of the new oils to their diet doesn’t cause any stomach trouble. Loose stool would be the most common, if any.
- A LOW DOSE is calculated at about 1 mg per 10 lbs of the pet’s body weight. So a 30 pound dog would start at 3 mg, etc.
- 2. If after a few days or so you have not seen any effects it is okay to gradually increase as needed. Most people find a dose somewhere around 2-3 mg per 10 lbs is the right amount, and in the clinical study done by HempMy Pet some of those dogs are closer to 1 mg per pound. Those dogs were certainly in a unique category and under the care of a Veterinarian, but the point is you have a lot of room to work with to find out what is best for your pet.
First, here is the vocabulary:
What to look for in a quality hemp oil
How Much Will My Pet Take and How Long Will It Last?
A very popular question but one that can only be answered after you know how much your pet needs. Every pet is unique and this is highly subjective. We know of 180 lb dogs that take as little as 4 mg and that’s all they need, as well as 40 lb dogs that take 40 mg. It all depends. But here is how to get started to find out:
How to Read a CBD Pet Label and Certificate of Analysis (COA)
- Disclaimer: The images below are from our own bottles of HempMy Pet. We used it exclusively for over two years. We and our dogs started with the 1,000 mg Hemp Seed Oil formula and eventually used the 5,000 mg Olive Oil ‘Equine’ version as it was less expensive and lasted longer / more convenient.
Reading The Label and Serving Instructions
Comparing products and prices of CBD oil for pets can be a bit tricky for a number of reasons. First, the product is sold in bottles weighed and measured by ounces (a 1 oz. bottle is the most common), with the servings dispensed in milliliters (the typical 1 oz. bottle will have a dropped that holds up to 1 ml, but may be graduated and marked at quarter-milliliter measurements of 0.25 ml, 0.50 ml, 0.75 ml, and 1 ml.), but the dose gauged by milligrams of CBD. So while one 30ml serving of one hemp oil may contain 8 mg of CBD, for example, the same serving size of another oil at a higher concentration may contain 40 mg, etc.
Ounces are the volume of oil in the bottle.In the image above you’ll see it shows 1 fl. oz (30 ml). This means it contains one fluid ounce of liquid. It does NOT have any indication of just what that liquid is, what is inside or, or how much of the CBD cannabinoid it may contain.
Milligrams SHOULD be the total amount of CBD in the bottle.If you are shopping specifically for products with the cannabinoid known as CBD, and the products are being sold as ‘CBD Products’, the label SHOULD only show the total amount of CBD in the product. Some manufacturers use hemp with low CBD percentages and will show the total amount of ALL cannabinoids to raise their numbers. While Full Spectrum oils are certainly preferred, when comparing servings and costs it is important to know the specific CBD-only number. In the label above you will see it shows 1,000 mg. They are doing it right and showing just how much CBD it contains. As they are Full Spectrum, if it were labeled for ‘total cannabinoids’ the number would be higher, closer to 1,200 mg based on the corresponding COA discussed below.
Reading The Cannabinoid Profile on a Certificate of Analysis
On the image above from the Certificate of Analysis (COA) corresponding to our bottle of 1,000 mg CBD Hemp Oil you will see it lists Cannabidiol (CBD) at 3.27% giving 32.7 mg per 1 ml serving. Since there are 30 1 ml servings in the 1 oz. bottle this brings the actual total of CBD a bit lower than 1,000 at (30 times 32.7 equals) 981 mg. Total cannabinoids, however, is a bit higher at 1,089 mg.
As this manufacturer is growing a quality hemp plant high in CBD it makes less of a difference. However, you may find some products with a much lower percentage of CBD and using the measurement of ‘total cannabinoids’ or even ‘cannabinoids plus other naturally occuring compounds’ to pad the numbers. All of this is okay as long as you are aware of the difference and know just what you are buying and are correctly comparing costs, servings, value, etc.
White Labels, Mystery Oil, and False Advertising – Red flags for products to avoid
It’s not hard for a CBD brand to be created. There are companies ready to slap your logo on a label and say whatever you want about what is in the bottle. No farming, no bottling, and no shipping necessary; all of that can be outsourced and the source of the materials, and even the testing lab, is unknown. (In 2022 there were close to 70 different companies at SuperZoo with one or more CBD products.) One of the easiest ways to spot these companies is by actually reading the COA they publish and compare it to their marketing content. Often, it becomes clear that the people behind the label have no idea what is in the bottle they are trying to sell you. For example, here is a screenshot from a well known brand which claims a 0% THC hemp oil (making it a ‘Broad Spectrum’ formula), but they then call it ‘Full Spectrum’ in some of their literature and their own COA shows a considerable amount of THC.
As you’ll see on the Product Page they claim 0% THC and ‘no high’, etc. These claims are repeated in both the long description as well as their own FAQs:
But when you pull up the published Certificate of Analysis (COA), you’ll see that the oil actually contains quite a bit of THC, with over 45 mg per 30 ml bottle.
When we asked the online chat support about the discrepancy, they merely confirmed they considered their product Full Spectrum (with THC) and claimed someone would update the product pages. As of the time of this writing to edits have been made and this company, along with its own white label, both continue to claim 0% THC. The fact that they even published such bogus information tells us either they are intentionally being deceptive and/or have no idea what is in their own product. The point is, if the label doesn’t even know why should you trust them?
CBD Serving Instructions and Measurements
The first thing to note is any serving instructions are only suggested use. Every pet is unique and how much they need can widely vary from a range of 1 mg per 10 lbs. of the pet’s weight (A 40 lb. dog would take 4 mg), to as high as 1 mg per pound (A 40 lb. dog would take 40 mg). Most labels will suggest a slightly lower and conservative serving somewhere around 2-3 mg per 10 lbs. as the general serving size.
In the label above you will see serving sizes that don’t use an exactly consistent measurement. ‘For Pets Under 30 lbs.’ it is suggested 8 mg. Obviously, if you have one dog at 10 lbs and another at 20 lbs. and give them the same 1/4 dropper with 8 mg as suggested, the smaller dog will effectively get a serving twice as much as the larger dog.
You may also note some of the less-than-specific language such as ‘hemp actives’ and ‘hemp extract’ and absolutely no mention of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), although that is exactly what is being referenced with the mg measurements in the serving size suggestions. The reason so many CBD labels will not use CBD language is due to confusion and ignorance in the marketplace leading some to believe that hemp-derived products like these are still illegal. That is incorrect. Industrial Hemp and the by-products made from Industrial Hemp are legal in all 50 States according to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Unfortunately, this nebulous language and lack of understanding is exactly what has lead to the opportunity for so much fraud in the marketplace, where some manufacturers are only using hemp seed oil with zero cannabinoids but can describe it to sound the same. Again, this is what you will see on Amazon when you search ‘CBD Products for Dogs’. Amazon claims the selling of CBD products is a violation of their terms and conditions, and since even the legitimate CBD products only describe themselves as ‘hemp oil’ or ‘hemp extract’, it opens the door for so many bogus labels to fool consumers into believing they are getting CBD, but at best are only getting a carrier oil.