When do you give your dog a treat?
- After a meal?
- When he greets you after you get home from work?
- When he poops in the right spot?
- After a walk?
- When you’re training him for a new behavior?
- Whenever you feel like it, or whenever he asks?
Everyone gives out dog treats at different times and for different reasons. But there’s another good time and reason to give your dog a treat: when he’s sick.
CBD dog treats have grown rapidly in popularity ever since the sale of cannabidiol (CBD’s complete name) was legalized in 2018. They combine CBD’s apparent ability to help with a variety of canine ailments, including pain and stress, with the ease of administration you get by simply giving your dog something he loves to eat.
In fact, ease of administration is the most important attribute of these treats. Truthfully, they’re not the most efficient delivery system for cannabidiol; dropping oil under your pet’s tongue is really the best way to deliver CBD’s medicinal benefits.
Anyone who’s ever owned a dog, however, is probably recoiling at the idea of trying to get their pet to stay patient and steady while a medicine dropper is stuck under his tongue.
That’s completely understandable – and it’s why CBD treats are such an appealing alternative.
We’ll get into the pros and cons of these treats, as well as the information you need to shop for the best CBD dog treats after we reviewed the treats we think are the best on the market.
Best CBD Dog Treats & Hemp Edibles Review 2021
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
If you check out the complete buying guide that follows these reviews, you’ll see that we discuss the importance of a producer’s background and mission. Many companies have rushed to get CBD dog treats into pet stores or online stores, but it’s so difficult to make an effective CBD treat that those products may be virtually worthless.
Background and mission are some of the areas in which Royal CBD stands out. The people who started the company have a deep background in producing high-quality medical marijuana and have brought that same knowledge and care to their creation of pet CBD. They’re not looking for fast bucks with massive production and distribution; their product runs are small and outstanding.
Speaking of quality, Royal’s CBD full-spectrum dog treats stand out there as well. The cannabidiol is sourced from Colorado organic hemp, it’s extracted with the best-possible method (supercritical CO2), the carrier oil is MCT coconut oil (the best choice), the treats are dairy- and gluten-free. They contain no allergens or artificial ingredients.
What these 5mg treats do contain are a variety of natural ingredients to boost their medicinal properties. They’re divided into flavors: the sweet potato and blueberry “hearty treats” are designed for heart health, the cinnamon and pumpkin spice “active treats” help dogs with the pain and mobility issues caused by arthritis, and the apple and peanut butter treats have been created to ease canine stress and anxiety.
Most CBD dog treats don’t do what they promise. Royal’s are one of the few exceptions that break that rule.
What We Liked:
- A company steeped in expertise and experience
- Organic U.S. hemp, supercritical CO2 extraction
- Full-spectrum CBD
- No artificial ingredients
- Three different varieties designed to help with the most common canine health issues
What We Didn’t Like:
- Only one dosage offering (5mg)
- On the expensive side
This is another company that puts quality first. They source their organic hemp from small farmers in Colorado and California, use all of the best production methods (supercritical CO2 extraction, MCT carrier oil, no artificial ingredients), and turn out tiny batches from one production facility so they can rigorously maintain product quality.
There are a few small drawbacks. “Goofy Bones” only come in one flavor – Apple and Peanut Butter, there’s no range of products with additional health benefits, and at 10mg, they’re even more potent than Royal’s; they may be too strong for a small dog. They also contain broad-spectrum instead of full-spectrum CBD, which means a very slight reduction in potency. But the quality of Gold Bee’s product shines through, and these treats are an excellent second choice.
What We Liked:
- High-quality production methods
- Small batches for quality control
- Organic U.S. hemp, best extraction method, best carrier oil
- The flavor that dogs will gobble up
What We Didn’t Like:
- Only one flavor and one variety
- Dosage is rather high for small dogs
- Broad-spectrum rather than full-spectrum
3. Hempure CBD Pet Chews
These 2mg chews might be the best choice for a tiny dog, although their quality is slightly lower than either of our first two reviewed products. Our issues aren’t really with the production methods since the hemp is American and organic. The standard CO2 extraction method is the second-best option, and the natural beef flavor is another favorite with dogs. This is a broad-spectrum CBD product, again the second-best choice.
We were hesitant about the inclusion of ingredients like sodium alginate, a thickener, and an emulsifier. It certainly isn’t a deal-killer since this is a good product. You may want to think twice about if you have a large dog, though, since you’d have to give them quite a few treats – and the calories that come with them.
What We Liked:
- Good production methods
- Low dose suitable for small dogs
What We Didn’t Like:
- Broad-spectrum rather than full-spectrum
- Not gluten-free
- Just one flavor and strength available
- Additives aren’t all optimal
CBD Dog Treats: Buying Guide
If you listen to the hype, you could easily be convinced that CBD can work miracles.
It can purportedly treat everything from migraines and high blood pressure to diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease in humans. And there are similar claims for CBD’s effectiveness as a treatment for all sorts of pet illnesses and disorders.
Are the claims valid? Research shows the answer appears to be “yes,” at least for many of them.
CBD’s Medicinal Benefits
So far, CBD has only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for several forms of epilepsy. There is a large body of scientifically reviewed evidence, however, that cannabidiol can effectively treat a wide variety of ailments. And many of those ailments affect dogs as well as humans.
Here’s a look at the most relevant research. Most of it focuses on CBD’s effects on animal subjects or human study participants, but there have been a few studies that directly tested the effect of CBD when given to dogs.
Arthritis, Inflammation, and Pain
20% of all dogs will suffer from the pain and inflammation of arthritis during their lifetime; the majority develop degenerative osteoarthritis, but some may be hit with rheumatoid arthritis. The average age of onset is 9, but some large breeds develop the condition earlier than that.
Reviews of the general research on CBD and arthritis show that cannabidiol is at least moderately effective at treating both forms of the condition and worked particularly well when given to rats with osteoarthritis.
More specifically, it’s been shown that CBD appears to be a very effective treatment for chronic and severe pain and that the cannabinoid is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent (1). Standard medical treatment for arthritis targets both pain and inflammation; that makes cannabidiol an attractive alternative due to its lack of serious side effects. And numerous anecdotal reports also show that CBD works well to help dogs suffering from all sorts of pain, including arthritis pain.
Even more specifically, there’s a study that has examined CBD’s ability to treat canine arthritis. Osteoarthritic dogs were given cannabidiol for one month. At the end of that period, they showed a substantial increase in mobility, with an accompanying decrease in the pain they were suffering. (2)
Stress and Anxiety
A surprisingly large number of dogs suffer from stress and anxiety. In the largest survey examining the issue, a full 72% of dog owners reported behaviors triggered by one of the two conditions. Anxiety related to noise sensitivity was the most common issue, but separation anxiety, general fear, and compulsive behaviors were also major problems.
It just so happens that one of the benefits of CBD that’s been demonstrated most often is its ability to lessen all forms of anxiety and stress.
Research has looked at several types of anxiety that could affect dogs. Only five percent of humans have panic disorder, but it would seem to be closely related to the separation anxiety seen in many pets. And a survey of research conducted with both pets and humans shows that cannabidiol provides strong anti-anxiety effects. Another study showed that CBD was effective at helping to relieve post-traumatic stress disorder, a result that could bode well for dogs who exhibit severe noise sensitivity. (3)
We’ve already mentioned CBD’s proven ability to reduce seizures in both children and adults. Epilepsy isn’t just a problem affecting humans, of course; it’s the most common canine neurological condition. The AKC reports that one out of every five dogs will suffer at least one seizure during their life.
Evidence supporting cannabidiol’s effectiveness against human epilepsy was strong enough for the government to approve the treatment. There’s only been one study so far on CBD and canine epilepsy, but epileptic dogs who were given cannabidiol showed an average 33% decrease in the frequency of their seizures. Some received even greater relief. (4)
Other Common Canine Ailments and Diseases
Diabetes is a growing problem in dogs, and cancer is the most common cause of canine death. No research has been done yet on diabetic dogs treated with cannabidiol, but studies have shown that CBD is a promising form of treatment when used on rats with diabetes. And a preliminary study on cancerous canine cells shows that cannabidiol may even be able to prevent the spread of cancer in dogs. (5)
Clearly, the choice of CBD to treat a wide range of medical problems can make sense for dog owners.
Are CBD Dog Treats the Right Choice?
It’s easy to find CBD dog treats these days. They sell them at Petco and PetSmart. You can find them at most local CBD stores. Some vets sell them at their clinics – and of course, there are many vendors online.
But if you happen across CBD treats and are tempted to give them a try, be careful. It’s effortless to make the wrong choice.
There are three reasons why most brands of CBD dog treats won’t be as effective as you might hope.
- Maintaining the quality of cannabidiol when it’s extracted from hemp is tricky and expensive, and many companies that jump into the CBD business to make a quick profit don’t use optimal extraction methods.
- Only a very experienced producer knows how to put cannabidiol into pet treats the right way without baking or cooking out most of its potency.
- Even more, potency is lost when the treat is digested, and that process takes time, meaning it can take a while before the CBD takes effect.
That’s why CBD oil is considered the best method of dosing your dog. It doesn’t lose strength when it’s manufactured and more reputable companies produce it.
There’s a huge “but,” though. Do you really want to hold your dog’s mouth open while you drop CBD oil underneath his tongue? (That’s a lot more effective than putting it into his food.)
Many people are understandably reluctant to risk their lives (or, more accurately, their hands) to dose their dog. As a result, CBD dog treats have become very popular and maybe the best choice for anyone whose dog isn’t particularly docile when it comes to medication.
If you’re going to take the dog treat route, though, you must choose the highest-quality product.
Finding the Best CBD Dog Treats
We’ve already explained why not just anyone can jump into the CBD dog treat market and offer a high-end product. It takes dedication and experience to properly craft and manufactures these treats.
Here’s the problem. CBD is a new industry, so there’s no “brand name” with a long and storied history that you can automatically trust. Instead, the best approach is to learn a little about the company and its mission. Smaller firms which use the best-possible production processes are more likely to create high-quality CBD dog treats than conglomerates looking to make quick profits.
There’s no rule of thumb for choosing a producer; you have to do your due diligence and rely on your gut (as well as honest and unbiased reviews). But you can definitely use rules of thumb to judge the production processes that a company uses to make its CBD treats.
- The cannabidiol is sourced from organic, American hemp. That ensures the CBD contains none of the pesticides or dangerous chemicals sometimes used by non-organic farmers and that growers adhere to rigorous U.S. farming regulations.
- The cannabidiol is extracted from hemp by a safe method. The best is supercritical CO2 extraction, which isn’t just safe but also protects the CBD’s potency during the process. Standard CO2 extraction, steam distillation, and cold press extraction are also safe, just not as effective. If the CBD has been extracted with solvents, ensure the company uses natural solvents (safe), not hydrocarbons or chemical solvents (which aren’t).
- The cannabidiol should be full-spectrum or broad-spectrum rather than CBD isolate. Here’s what that means. When the CBD is extracted, it normally comes with other hemp plant components, like other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. If they’re all included in the final product, it’s called “full-spectrum” and boosts the CBD’s power through something known as the entourage effect.
If just the minuscule amount of THC in hemp is removed, the CBD is called “broad-spectrum.” If everything but the cannabidiol is removed, the product is called “isolate.” Full-spectrum CBD is the most potent, and broad-spectrum comes close. Isolate is in distant third place.
(The supposed reason for removing THC: large amounts of the cannabinoid are dangerous to dogs. That’s why you should never give your dog pot. The amount of THC in CBD, however, isn’t dangerous at all.)
- You can’t find dog treats without ingredients other than CBD and a carrier oil to distribute (MCT oil is the best carrier oil) since the treats wouldn’t hold their shape without added ingredients. However, you can ensure that producers use only natural ingredients and that none of them are common canine allergens like soy, wheat, or corn.
Choosing the Right Dosage
One of the attributes that make CBD dog treats so attractive is that they come in standard CBD dosages like five or ten milligrams. The proper dose for a dog depends primarily on his weight, and there should be instructions on the package. Dogs can’t overdose on CBD, but it’s not a bad idea to start at the low end of the suggested dosing range and increase from there – these treats do contain calories, so you really don’t want to give your pet more than he really needs.