Welcome to our best CBD for dogs review!
As part of our ongoing venture into the pet CBD space, we have reviewed a variety of products from pet-exclusive brands as well as some of our most trusted CBD brands.
In this review, we will highlight multiple pet CBD product types (oil tinctures, edibles, topicals, etc.) from this growing selection of brands to “shed” light on the most effective, safe, and affordable products for your pet(s).
First, a look at our top performers.
Our Favorite CBD for Dogs
Table of Contents
- Best CBD for Dogs: An Overview of Product Features and Types
- Best Overall: Honest Paws
- Budget Pick: PlusCBD
- Honorable Mentions
Best CBD for Dogs: An Overview of Product Features and Types
When narrowing down our shortlist of the best pet CBD brands and products in the industry, we adapted our usual set of criteria (used for reviewing standard brands and products) slightly to accommodate the needs of dogs, cats, and even horses.
When factored into purchasing decisions, these criteria can serve the discerning pet CBD shopper as well as they’ve served us.
It all begins with the hemp, so let’s start there.
Hemp Quality and Potency
Hemp products, whether they take the form of CBD tinctures, hemp edibles, or what have you, are commonly manufactured as one of three extract types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and (CBD) isolate.
Full-spectrum products feature all of the original cannabinoids native to the hemp plants they’re derived from, including THC, the amount of which must legally remain under 0.3% by dry weight.
Broad-spectrum products still offer all the wellness-affirming cannabinoids from the hemp plant, but the THC has been removed (safe for a negligible amount).
As the name implies, CBD isolates contain “only” CBD, though undetectably small amounts of other cannabinoids are technically present.
Generally, we reward CBD brands for offering both THC-free and full-spectrum products, but in the case of pets (who don’t have to worry about drug tests), we don’t count the lack of THC-free formulations against brands.
Finally, concentration can make the difference between an effective product and a dud.
Since weight varies much more drastically across dogs, cats, and horses than it does humans, we don’t demand a specific concentration (or even a small range).
However, anything below 5mg of CBD per serving is likely to be ineffective, unless it’s a very small animal.
Flexibility is better than raw power in this case; we reward brands who offer didn’t concentrations for animals of different sizes over brands who only offer high concentrations.
Because concentrations need to be lower for pets that (generally) way significantly less than humans, we understand that the price per milligram of CBD will not be as low as with human products.
For example, where a competitively priced CBD oil for humans may land around $0.05/mg, a pet-exclusive product of the same relative affordability would be closer to $0.15/mg.
The principle we follow when awarding brands for price versus ingredient quality does not change, however—we still compare ingredient quality against price so all brands have equal chance to score well (or poorly).
In other words, if a product is pricier because the brand maintains very high standards of quality and safety, that brand won’t be harshly penalized.
Conversely, if a product is very affordable, but contains artificial ingredients, that brand will still incur a penalty.
Aside from the extract itself—be it full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate—most brands just use a carrier oil (commonly, MCT or medium-chain triglyceride oil).
In some cases, we see the welcome addition of natural/botanical ingredients designed to support a certain function, like melatonin (sleep), turmeric (inflammation), and others.
Both of these types of ingredients are welcome additions to the formulation in the vast majority of cases.
What we don’t want to see, however, are artificial flavors or ingredients of any kind, added sugars, and/or fillers—these will surely be met with a dip in our rankings.
Taste (Pet Approval)
The subjectivity of taste is already hard enough to quantify from human to human, so obviously, in the case of pets, we just translate this into their willingness to consume the product.
Initial hesitation is understandable, but after the first use of that tincture, edible, or what have you, if the pet requires coaxing to take the product in the future, we apply a deduction for “taste” (more accurately, pet approval).
Products that are willingly lapped up by pets on each occasion receive full points for pet approval.
This is why we’re all here, of course; humans and pets alike take CBD because we want to enhance wellness in some form or another.
Pets may be less able to communicate specifics about how they’re feeling after trying their CBD products, but with close monitoring, owners may notice signs, such as:
- Reduced limping
- Increased willingness to play, go on walks, etc.
- Decreased scratching, shivering, licking, destroying the furniture, and other signs of anxiety.
- Less barking
- Less fighting with other pets
These are just a few signs that the CBD product is working, and every pet’s situation will vary based on their unique circumstances.
Best Overall: Honest Paws
Honest Paws is our top choice for the best CBD for dogs (and other pets) in 2021.
Their strengths include a massive selection of pet-specific and weight-specific products, very high quality and safety standards, very solid brand reputation, and most importantly, noticeably effective products.
Hemp Quality and Potency
At the time of their official review, Honest Paws was the only brand to earn 35/35 points on our rating system for hemp quality, and that includes non-pet-exclusive brands.
Here’s how they did it:
- Clean ingredients lists packed with organic ingredients
- Above-average amount of supplemental information for owners on packaging
- Multiple formulation types to address discomfort, mood, and inactivity.
- Certified organic, full-spectrum hemp sourced from Colorado farms.
Simply put, Honest Paws checked all the boxes, exceeding expectations in every category we measure under hemp and overall product quality.
The best we could do to narrow down a “standard” CBD oil price for a company that caters to cats, dogs, and horses was to go with what we believed to be the most common scenario: the medium-sized dog.
Honest Paws charges $0.20/mg for their 250mg CBD tincture meant for medium-sized dogs.
We determined that this equates to roughly $0.07/mg if you were to scale the needed amount up (factoring in bulk discount) to human levels.
This is a moderately competitive price point—not rock-bottom, but certainly not among the most expensive.
When weighed against the high quality of the certified organic hemp extract, however, this price point gets a whole lot more compelling.
Considering the brand offers peanut butter bites, actual CBD-infused peanut butter, CBD oil tinctures, and more products for pets, we had a lot of ingredients lists to peruse.
Still, after scouring everything, we hadn’t encountered a single artificial ingredient.
Here’s a sample of what we found (all product types included):
- MCT oil
- Organic barley flour
- Organic coconut oil
- Organic oats
- Whole dried eggs
- Natural poultry flavor
- Rosemary extract
- Hemp powder
- Tapioca starch
We’ve seen plenty of CBD product ingredient lists for humans that weren’t as impressive, so Honest Paws definitely receives full marks here.
Taste (Pet Approval)
Anything and everything involving peanut butter was readily devoured by all of our canine testers, including Honest Paws Peanut Butter Flavored Bites and CBD-infused peanut butter.
Some of our more discerning testers were a little hesitant with the poultry flavored chews, but none refused them outright.
Pet CBD tinctures can always be a bit of an adventure, and some of our testers had trouble warming up to the idea, but this issue relates more to the product type in general than the flavoring.
Overall, Honest Paws products were met with overwhelming approval from dogs of various breeds and sizes.
Finally, we noticed several improvements in behavior and activity level when testing Honest Paws treats on our dogs.
The Calm Peanut Butter Flavored Bites and Poultry Flavored Soft Chews were most effective at reducing barking, and our testers also seemed less nervous/excitable when stressful incidents occurred (knock on the door, dogs barking outside, etc.).
The Honest Paws Wellness tincture seemed to improve overall disposition as well, this time in the form of a greater eagerness to play and engage with other family members.
As for their Mobility Chews, one of our elderly canines with a limp (spine surgery) was slightly less labored in his movement, as he was willing to get up and walk across the room to be pet and receive treats.
As we always remind readers, CBD is not some highly potent pharmaceutical—it merely facilitates the brain’s ability to exert the above effects.
With that in mind, these pet CBD products by Honest Paws are as effective as we had hoped they would be.
Recommended Honest Paws Pet CBD Products
Honest Paws Calm Bites
5mg/piece, approximately 150mg total
Organic full-spectrum hemp oil, MCT oil, organic barley flour, organic coconut oil, organic oats, organic peanut butter, whole dried eggs
Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs – Wellness
1000mg (extra strength): 33mg/serving
*All concentrations come in 30mL bottle
125mg: $39.95 ($0.32/mg)
250mg: $49.95 ($0.20/mg)
500mg: $79.95 ($0.16/mg)
1000mg: $99.95 ($0.10/mg)
Organic full-spectrum hemp oil, MCT oil
Budget Pick: PlusCBD
PlusCBD (CV Sciences)
Pet CBD Products
Why We Like PlusCBD
- Highly affordable
- Use EU-certified hemp sourced from Holland
- GRAS certification
- Effective and well-tolerated products
Established in 2014 by parent company CV Sciences, PlusCBD had cemented its reputation as a trustworthy brand in the pet and human CBD space before other industry leaders had even started up.
Within their vast product catalog are several types and concentrations of CBD oil tinctures for dogs, several of which are priced very competitively.
Before breaking down price, a look at the most important factor: hemp quality.
Hemp Quality and Potency
PlusCBD uses the same full-spectrum hemp in their pet and human products.
Considering that PlusCBD was the first CBD company to ever acquire self-affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) approval, it’s hard to contest their extract on grounds of safety.
We also can’t call hemp quality into question either, since PlusCBD sources their hemp from Holland, which is widely renowned for their effective and environmentally conscious agricultural practices.
The company only uses EU-certified, non-GMO hemp seeds, leaving absolutely no room for deductions in the arena of hemp quality and/or potency.
The product we sampled, PlusCBD’s 500mg Pet Formula tincture, retails for $39.99, which reduces to $0.08/mg.
Considering the above safety and quality standards, this is an even more outstanding price point
Even their least concentrated pet CBD tincture, the 250mg tincture in salmon flavor, still comes in just under $0.10/mg.
Factoring in both quality and raw affordability, we have yet to find a better deal on pet CBD oil among our most trusted brands.
Here is the ingredients list for our 500mg Pet Formula tincture:
Full-spectrum hemp extract (aerial parts), organic extra virgin olive oil, natural flavor, quillaja saponaria (a plant-based thickener).
This is exactly what we want to see with nothing we don’t: a full-spectrum extract, carrier oil, all-natural flavoring, and not much else.
Taste (Pet Approval)
Once again, the peanut butter flavoring of this tincture won over the palate of every single dog we tested without so much as two seconds of investigatory sniffing before the first tasting.
The “peanut butter hack” is especially appreciated in the area of CBD tinctures, as pets can be a little bit more hesitant to comply with dropper feeding (as opposed to the more familiar experience of gobbling up CBD-infused treats).
We can’t speak for the salmon flavor just yet, but the peanut butter tincture definitely receives top marks for pet approval.
Our testers seemed calmer after trying PlusCBD oil tinctures, complying more readily with commands from their owners and pulling at their leashes less often.
We also noticed an increased willingness to play outside for longer periods of time.
One of our dogs did experience a short bout of watery stools (two episodes), but this resolved within a day and a half, even with continued use of the product.
Overall, PlusCBD pet CBD oil tinctures were on par with other high-quality brands in terms of effectiveness.
Recommended PlusCBD Products
PlusCBD Pet Formula
*All concentrations come in 30mL bottle
250mg: $24.99 ($0.10/mg)
500mg: $39.99 ($0.08/mg)
For all concentrations flavors: Full-spectrum hemp extract (aerial plant parts), organic extra virgin olive oil, natural flavor, quillaja saponaria
As with their extensive line of human CBD products, industry leader CBDistillery uses non-GMO, CO2-extracted hemp sourced from farms in the USA that adhere to natural and sustainable practices.
The cold-pressed hemp seed oil used in CBDistillery pet CBD products has run the gamete in terms of testing and certifications, including rigorous third-party lab testing, GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status, and even the U.S. Hemp Authority Seal of Approval.
Needless to say, CBDistillery pet CBD products are highly vetted, but they’re also inexpensive.
Their 150mg CBD Pet Tincture retails for $20, which reduces to about $0.13/mg.
Additionally, their pet edibles (Mobility Bites and Cognition Bites) cost only $0.12/mg.
All of their pet CBD products are positively reviewed by verified buyers, and we can attest to the effectiveness of their 150mg tincture.
Our testers (three dogs) were both calmer and more active.
Recommended CBDistillery Products
CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture
150mg: $20 ($0.13/serving)
600mg: $38 ($0.06/serving)
Both: Hemp seed oil, full-spectrum hemp extract (aerial parts)
Zesty Paws CBD Mobility Bites Soft Chews – 225mg
5mg/piece, 225mg total
Glucosamine (vegetable source), OptiMSM, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, plant-based cannabinoids, broad-spectrum hemp extract, chick pea powder, coconut glycerin, dried vinegar, flaxseed, natural flavors, natural mixed tocopherols, organic vegetarian roast beef flavor, sunflower lecithin, sunflower oil, tapioca flower
Not content to simply dominate the for-human CBD space, Charlotte’s Web’s catalog of CBD for dogs takes the cake when it comes to formulation variety and use of supporting botanicals.
Why We Like Charlotte’s Web
- Strong variety in product types and formulations (calming, joint discomfort, senior dogs, etc.)
- National Animal Supplement Council approval
- Strong supporting botanical presence
- High brand reputation
The brand offers CBD oils, chews, and balms for hip and joint discomfort, mood, general wellness, and even senior dogs.
As mentioned, the brand has peppered in a range of supporting botanicals across their pet CBD catalog, like valerian root, passionflower, chamomile, turmeric root, vitamin E, and more.
All of Charlotte’s Web’s products are certified by the National Animal Supplement Council, an auditor that only awards its seal to brands that uphold high quality standards (labeling practices, quality assurance, etc.).
In other words, Charlotte’s Web has refused to back down from their for-human CBD quality standards in the pet CBD space, a level of quality we simply couldn’t ignore.
Recommended Charlotte’s Web Products
Charlotte’s Web Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract Drops w/17mg CBD for Dogs
30mL bottle: 510mg, 17mg/serving
100mL bottle: 1700mg, 17mg/serving
30mL bottle: $59.99 ($0.12/mg)
100mL bottle: $149.99 ($0.09/mg)
Unflavored, both sizes: full-spectrum hemp extract, fractionated coconut oil
Chicken flavor, both sizes: full-spectrum hemp extract, fractionated coconut oil, natural chicken flavor
Charlotte’s Web Calming Chews for Dogs
30-count bag: 75mg (2.5mg/chew)
60-count bag: 150mg (2.5mg/chew)
30-count bag $19.99 ($0.27/mg)
60-count bag: $34.99 ($0.23/mg)
Valerian root, passion flower extract, chamomile, full-spectrum hemp extract, brewers dried yeast, chicken liver hydrolysate, coconut glycerin, MCT oil, natural flavor, natural tocopherols, potato flour, potato starch, salt, sunflower lecithin, sunflower seed oil, water