Is your beloved pooch a tangled ball of nerves?
Then giving him some CBD just might help soothe him. But before diving into the myriad of products on the market, keep in mind that CBD dog treats still lack scientific evidence as to their effectiveness and safety.1 That being said, there are anecdotal reports from dog owners suggesting that CBD and hemp products can help with pain relief, seizures, and anxiety.2 Moreover, research in the field is promising.
It’s important to understand that CBD dog treats are not the same as hemp products for dogs, and there is a legal reason for this at the moment. Hemp seed products are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins E and A, which can promote a shiny, healthy coat and support overall health. This can be a dietary supplement to add to your dog’s overall health, but it doesn’t compare to CBD products’ claimed ability to support healthy joints, normal brain function, normal digestion, and calmness.
The reason for the lack of actual CBD products for dogs is that the DEA still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug, meaning it is not considered to have any medical use. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal for people, it is not legal for pets. CBD is regulated by the FDA and currently, there are no FDA-approved CBD products for pets.3
Many companies are marketing products for pets as hemp-based products to skirt the current legal status of marijuana and CBD for pets. However, since these products are not FDA-approved, they do not undergo the same quality control measures as medications do, which could potentially prove to be problematic.4
Knowing this, is it worth buying CBD treats (or more accurately, hemp treats) for your dog? Well, although it’s impossible to know how your pup will react, most owners notice positive effects on their pets. Take a look at our reviews below to determine if you want to give hemp dog treats a try.
Important note: Always consult your veterinarian before giving your pets any supplements or medications.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2023 Update)
|Best Overall||PetHonesty CalmingHemp||
|Best Value||Green Gruff Relax||
|Premium Choice||Zesty Paws Calming Bites||
|NaturVet Hemp Quiet Moments||
The 4 Best CBD Dog Treats:
1. PetHonesty CalmingHemp – Best Overall
|Top ingredients:||Valerian root, organic chamomile, organic hemp seed powder, Ashwagandha, L-Theanine|
PetHonesty chew treats contain organic hemp oil, which may help calm anxious dogs. They are indicated for dogs with nervousness, hyperactivity, discontentment, or environmental stress. These treats are made with organic ingredients, but also contain other ingredients like oatmeal and brown rice syrup, which increase the caloric content. Still, it shouldn’t make your dog obese if you stick to the suggested doses (one treat per day for dogs under 25 pounds). Ashwagandha root helps in reducing signs of stress and anxiety, acts as an antioxidant (by removing harmful molecules in the body), helps support the function of the immune system, and reduces inflammation.5 L-Theanine has been shown to have a calming effect on dogs and cats.6 This amino acid is a component of green tea and is involved in dopamine neurotransmitter function, allowing your pet to feel pleasure and satisfaction.
Keep in mind, however, that every dog reacts differently and yours may not have any change in behavior. This is also the case for all types of supplements sold over the counter.
2. Green Gruff Relax – Best Value
|Top ingredients:||Organic hemp seed powder, organic chamomile, organic cricket flour, Ashwagandha, L-Theanine|
Green Gruff Relax is safe and works well for small, anxious dogs, but appears to have no effect on large breeds. However, these soft chews are rich in protein, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help support your dog’s overall nutritional health.
Their low price is also a plus, as it allows you to test their “relaxing power” on your dog without having to break the bank. However, only one flavor is offered (smoked coconut) which may not appeal to the palates of some more finicky dogs.
3. Zesty Paws Calming Bites – Premium Choice
|Top ingredients:||Organic Hemp Powder, thiamine (Vitamin B1), organic chamomile, Ashwagandha, L-Theanine|
Zesty Paws Calming Bites are other soft chews made with organic ingredients (hemp oil, chamomile, ginger root, L-Theanine, Ashwagandha) that are meant to soothe your pup, help stimulate calming brain waves in dogs and lessen anxiety behaviors. Several dog parents have noted significant differences in their pet’s level of anxiety, which is encouraging.
However, this product is more expensive and may not work with your doggie. So, we advise trying with a smaller container first.
4. NaturVet Hemp Quiet Moments
|Top ingredients:||Hemp seed oil, hemp seed powder, chamomile|
NaturVet Hemp Quiet Moments contains hemp seed oil and powder, L-tryptophan, and soothing melatonin to help reduce stress and tension. The added ginger is an interesting ingredient that can calm an upset stomach.
These bites can help temporarily calm your pup during stressful situations (like long car trips, moving house, or the arrival of a new pet in the house). On the other hand, their flavor seems to leave some dogs indifferent, probably because of the addition of ginger.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best CBD Dog Treats
What Is the Difference Between Hemp Seed Oil and CBD Oil?
Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are very different products.
What Is THC?
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is responsible for the psychoactive properties of marijuana. Under no circumstances should marijuana be fed to your dog (or any other pet) as it is highly toxic. Unfortunately, with the now easier access to marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, veterinarians are seeing an increase in cases of pets being poisoned with THC. Some of the common signs of toxicity in dogs are drowsiness, staggering, urine dripping (incontinence), drooling, slow heart rate, dilated pupils, and over reactiveness to noise. If you suspect your dog has come in contact with THC, consult your vet immediately.
Why Use CBD Treats for Dogs?
CBD, in the form of oil or treats, is becoming increasingly popular with both humans and their canine companions. Its use could be helpful in improving several chronic conditions, such as pain management, arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and even cancer. Although research in humans has demonstrated the benefits of CBD for certain medical conditions, the scientific evidence for its beneficial effects in dogs is still lacking.
One of the possible benefits of CBD oil is reduced itchiness and chewing in dogs with allergic skin disease. Recent study results were encouraging, showing that 65% of the dogs had at least a 50% decrease in itching and chewing. Of those dogs, half recovered from all signs of itchiness while being treated.
A clinical study published in 2018 that observed the effects of CBD in 16 dogs with osteoarthritis suggested that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis, without any reported side effects by owners. However, a small increase in alkaline phosphatase enzyme was noted. This enzyme is produced mostly in the liver, but also in the intestinal tract, the kidneys, the placenta, and bone.
Besides, according to PetMD, perhaps the biggest misconception is that CBD is helpful in managing a dog’s anxiety. In theory, it’s possible that CBD, by reducing pain and inflammation, could indirectly reduce anxiety caused by this pain or inflammation. But since CBD is not psychoactive, it is unlikely that CBD will have the ability to directly treat canine anxiety compared to certain medications prescribed by a veterinarian. A recent study into using CBD oil for noise-related phobia failed to prove its efficacy for this purpose, but the authors have questioned whether the amount of time between administering the CBD oil and the loud noise event needs to be reduced. Recent work with oral CBD products demonstrated the time of maximum CBD concentration to be around 1.5 h after administration and the half-life of elimination to be between 1 and 4 h, after which time the concentration of the drug is already halved in the body.
So, using CBD to treat anxiety in dogs still needs a lot of research to prove its true efficacy and establish an adequate dose. Nevertheless, many dog owners report a beneficial change in their pups after giving them CBD treats or hemp oil. A study that looked into consumer perception of hemp products for animals, questioning 457 dog owners who have used or are currently using hemp products for their dog, reported that the positive impact of using hemp was highest for relief from pain (64.3%), followed by helping with sleep (50.5%), and relief from anxiety (49.3%).
Are CBD Dog Treats Safe?
Although the actual effects of CBD in dogs have not yet been well demonstrated, it appears to be safe. This study reports that oral administration of CBD was well tolerated, and no gastrointestinal adverse events were observed.
However, other studies evaluating the safety of oral administration of CBD in dogs have reported the potential for adverse effects including lethargy, gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea, and biochemical blood changes such as the increase in liver enzymes.
The most frequently reported side effects of dogs using hemp products were sedation (22.0%) and increased appetite (15.9%). For dogs, the most common reason to discontinue a product was the expense, followed by ineffectiveness.
What to Look for in CBD Dog Treats
If you want to try CBD treats for your dog, be sure to do your research beforehand. Indeed, since the FDA does not regulate CBD and hemp oil products for pets, it can be difficult to make a good choice. Here are some tips that can help you find the perfect product for your pooch:
Certificate of Analysis
Companies that are able to provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) to their customers should be preferred. This will give you a detailed description of all the ingredients, and it shows you the transparency of the company. So, don’t buy dog treats from a company that is reluctant to show its customers its COA.
Organic ingredients are a must. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that the treats your pup eats are GMO-free and haven’t been contaminated with pesticides or other toxins.
NASC Quality Seal
Look for the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality Seal on bags of CBD treats for dogs. This assures you that you are buying from responsible suppliers who have successfully passed a full third-party audit, have an adverse event reporting system, and maintain continued compliance with NASC’s rigorous quality requirements.
Can Veterinarians Prescribe CBD Products for Dogs?
However, they will tell you about the potential risks and benefits of this type of product. So, if you’re considering giving your dog CBD, talk to your vet.
So, what’s the final verdict? Should you buy CBD dog treats, even though research in the field is still in its infancy? Since the potential beneficial effects outweigh the adverse effects, it’s worth trying it out with your pup. PetHonesty CalmingHemp is an NASC-certified choice that contains organic ingredients and has been reported to have calming effects by many dog owners. We also recommend Green Gruff Relax if you have a smaller dog.
- You may also want to read: Relievet CBD Dog Treats Review: Our Expert’s Opinion
Featured Image Credit: Dzmitry Sarmont, Shutterstock