CBD Oil for Dogs With Joint Pain

CBD Oil for Dogs With Joint Pain

Posted by Lianne McLeod D.V.M. on

CBD Oil for Dogs With Joint Pain

Joint pain is a common issue affecting many dogs, especially as they age or if they suffer from conditions like arthritis. As many pet owners seek natural remedies to alleviate their furry companions' discomfort, cannabidiol (CBD) has gained popularity for its potential to manage joint pain in dogs.

As a veterinarian with experience in veterinary medicine and a passion for pet health, I have seen the growing interest in CBD for dogs and its potential health benefits in managing arthritis pain and improving joint health.

In this article, I will provide a comprehensive overview of CBD for dogs with joint pain, covering its effectiveness, safety, uses, potential benefits, and practical considerations for pet owners.

Understanding Joint Pain in Dogs

As responsible pet owners, it's essential to understand the causes and symptoms of joint pain in our furry friends as outlined below:

dog joint pain

Causes of Joint Pain

Several factors can contribute to joint pain in dogs, including:

Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis)

This is the most common cause of joint pain in dogs, especially in older animals. Osteoarthritis results from the gradual deterioration of joint cartilage, leading to inflammation, pain, and stiffness.

Hip Dysplasia

A hereditary condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly, leading to joint instability, inflammation, and eventually arthritis.


Traumatic injuries such as fractures, ligament tears (e.g., cruciate ligament tears), or dislocations can cause acute joint pain and may lead to chronic issues if not properly treated.

Autoimmune Disorders

Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus can affect dogs, leading to joint inflammation and pain.


Bacterial or viral infections affecting the joints such as Lyme disease may cause inflammation and joint pain.

Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

Common symptoms include:

symptoms of joint pain in dogs

Limping or favoring one limb

Dogs may hesitate to put weight on a particular leg due to pain or discomfort.


Dogs may exhibit stiffness, especially after rest or in the mornings.

Difficulty rising or lying down

Arthritic dogs may struggle to stand up from a lying position or may take longer to lie down.

Reluctance to exercise

Dogs with joint pain may become less active or reluctant to engage in physical activities they once enjoyed.

Swelling or heat around the joint

Inflammation of the joints may cause swelling, which can be accompanied by warmth to the touch.

Behavior change

Dogs may show signs of irritability, restlessness, or depression due to chronic pain.

CBD Definition and Function

cbd for dogs

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. It belongs to a class of molecules known as cannabinoids, which interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The endocannabinoid system in mammals is a complex network of receptors and enzymes that play a crucial role in regulating various physiological functions and maintaining homeostasis. The ECS is involved in modulating processes such as pain sensation, mood regulation, immune function, appetite, sleep, and memory.

CBD Oil For Treating Joint Pain in Dogs

Studies have shown that CBD oil may offer several potential benefits for dogs suffering from joint pain, including:

CBD treatment for joint pain in dogs

Pain Relief

CBD has been found to have analgesic properties, meaning it may help in relieving pain by interacting with receptors involved in pain perception and modulation.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce chronic inflammation in the joints and alleviate symptoms associated with conditions like arthritis.

Muscle Relaxation

CBD may help relax muscles and reduce muscle tension, potentially improving mobility and flexibility in dogs with joint pain.

Anxiety Relief

Dogs with chronic pain may experience anxiety or stress. CBD has been shown to have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects, which may help calm anxiety and improve your dog's well-being.

Neuroprotective Effects

CBD has neuroprotective properties, which may help protect nerve cells from damage and promote overall brain health in aging dogs.

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil versus Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil

full spectrum vs broad spectrum cbd oil for dogs

When it comes to choosing between full and broad-spectrum CBD oil for dogs with arthritis and joint pain, both options have their advantages and considerations to keep in mind.

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

Full-spectrum CBD oil has the following characteristics:

cbd full spectrum for dogs

Contains THC

It contains all the naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), albeit in trace amounts of less than 0.3% in legal products. This small amount of THC is not enough to produce psychoactive effects but may contribute to a beneficial entourage effect.

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect refers to the synergistic interaction between CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and compounds present in cannabis. Some studies suggest that the combined action of these compounds may enhance the therapeutic effects of CBD, including its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Potential Benefits

Due to the entourage effect, full-spectrum CBD oil may offer enhanced therapeutic benefits compared to CBD isolate or broad-spectrum oil, especially for managing conditions like arthritis and joint pain.

Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil

Below are the advantages of this CBD oil:  

broad spectrum oil for dogs


It contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and compounds found in cannabis, except for THC. It undergoes additional processing to remove THC while retaining other beneficial compounds.

No Psychoactive Effects

Since broad-spectrum CBD oil is THC-free, it does not produce any psychoactive effects or risk of intoxication, making it a preferred option for pet owners who are concerned about THC exposure.

Potential Benefits

It still retains the potential benefits of other cannabinoids and terpenes present in cannabis plants, without the presence of THC. It may offer similar therapeutic effects to full-spectrum CBD oil for managing joint pain and arthritis, albeit without the entourage effect.

Safety Considerations

safety of cbd oil for dogs

Quality and Source of CBD Oil

Ensure you purchase a high-quality CBD oil specifically formulated for dogs from reputable manufacturers. Look for products that undergo third-party testing to verify potency and purity. Additionally, CBD oil derived from organic hemp plants is generally preferred, as it is less likely to contain harmful pesticides, herbicides, or contaminants.

Dosage and Administration

Follow the recommended dosage guidelines provided by the manufacturer or your veterinarian. Start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed while monitoring your dog's response. Dog CBD oil is typically administered orally, either directly into the mouth or mixed with food or treats. Avoid administering CBD oil intended for humans, as it may contain ingredients that are not suitable for dogs.

Drug Interactions

If your dog is on any other medications or supplements, consult with your veterinarian before starting CBD oil to avoid potential interactions. CBD may interact with certain medications, such as anticoagulants or anti-seizure drugs, affecting their efficacy or potency.

Long-Term Effects

There is limited research on the long-term effects of CBD oil in dogs. While short-term use of CBD oil is generally considered safe, long-term effects and potential risks require further investigation.

Consultation with Veterinarian

Before you administer CBD oil to your furry friend, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can provide personalized advice, recommend appropriate dosages, and monitor your dog's response to taking CBD oil, ensuring safety and efficacy.

Potential Side Effects of CBD Oil

effects of cbd oil for dogs

Allergic Reactions

Although rare, some dogs may be sensitive or allergic to CBD oil or other ingredients in the product. Monitor for signs of allergic reactions, such as itching, swelling, or hives, and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur.

Dry Mouth

CBD may cause dry mouth or increased thirst in some dogs. Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration.


CBD has calming properties and may cause drowsiness or sedation, especially at higher doses. Monitor your dog for signs of lethargy or excessive sleepiness, and adjust the dosage if necessary.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Some dogs may experience mild digestive issues such as diarrhea or nausea when first starting CBD oil. Start with a low dose and gradually increase to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal upset.

Lowered Blood Pressure

CBD has been reported to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, which may lead to lightheadedness or dizziness in some dogs. Monitor your dog for signs of weakness or instability, especially after administration.

How Much CBD Oil is Appropriate for Dogs?

hemp oil for dogs dosage

Dogs come in different sizes and weights, so the appropriate dosage of CBD oil will vary. As a general rule of thumb, the recommended starting dose is 0.1-0.2 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight, given twice daily. For example, if your dog weighs 10 kilograms, you can start with a dose of 1-2 milligrams of CBD twice daily.

Begin with a low dose of CBD oil and observe how your dog responds. It's recommended to start with the lowest recommended dose for your dog's weight and gradually increase it every few days until you achieve the desired effects.

After administering CBD oil to your dog, closely monitor their response and behavior. Look for any changes in their mobility, pain levels, mood, appetite, and overall well-being. If you notice any adverse reactions or lack of improvement, consider adjusting the dosage or discontinuing use.

Effectiveness of CBD for Dogs with Arthritis and Joint Pain

is cbd effective for dog joint pain

While research on CBD for dogs is still limited, there is growing evidence from studies and anecdotal reports suggesting its potential effectiveness. A study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that CBD significantly reduced pain and improved mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis, with minimal adverse effects reported.

How long Does it Take to See the Effects of CBD Oil on Dogs with Arthritis?

how long does it take see effects from cbd for dog

The time it takes to see the effects of CBD oil on dogs with arthritis can vary depending on several factors, including the dog's response to CBD, the severity of arthritis symptoms, the dosage and frequency of CBD administration, and the quality of the CBD oil used.

While some dogs may experience a noticeable improvement in their arthritis symptoms relatively quickly, others may require more time to see significant effects.

The Bottom Line

the bottom line on cbd for dogs

CBD has emerged as a promising natural remedy for managing joint pain and arthritis in dogs, offering potential benefits to reduce inflammation, manage pain, and promote overall pet wellness. Although CBD oil may offer potential benefits for treating joint pain in dogs, it's essential to prioritize safety and quality when choosing a product.

As a veterinarian, I believe that CBD can be a valuable addition to a comprehensive treatment plan for dogs with joint pain, especially when used in conjunction with other conventional therapies and lifestyle modifications. However, pet owners need to consult with their health practitioner before administering CBD to their furry friends.


  1. Gugliandolo, E., Licata, P., Peritore, A. F., Siracusa, R., D'Amico, R., Cordaro, M., Fusco, R., Impellizzeri, D., Di Paola, R., Cuzzocrea, S., Crupi, R., & Interlandi, C. D. (2021). Effect of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Canine Inflammatory Response: An Ex Vivo Study on LPS Stimulated Whole Blood. Veterinary sciences, 8(9), 185. https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8090185

  2. Coile, C. (2024, February 2). Does CBD Work for Dogs? American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/does-cbd-work-for-dogs/

  3. AKC Staff. (2024, February 5). CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know. American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/

  4. Richter, G. (2019, May 1). CBD for Pets in Pain. Project CBD. https://projectcbd.org/health/cbd-for-pets-in-pain/

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Lianne McLeod, DVM, is a former writer for The Spruce Pets, contributing articles for 11 years. Before Dr. McLeod began writing about pet care, she worked several years in small animal practice. She has written extensively about the care and keeping of exotic pets and pet health care. She now researches water quality and chronic disease at the University of Saskatchewan. Lianne McLeod earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Simon Fraser University. She continued her education and received a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Now, she splits her time between her family, research and writing about pet health for all the animal lovers out there.

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