What Are Some Tricks to Get Your Dog to Take CBD?

by K Marie Alto January 12, 2022 8 min read

What Are Some Tricks to Get Your Dog to Take CBD?

CBD is a tricky product at the moment. Holistic health gurus and naturopaths recommend it, and ongoing scientific studies have shown that it has a range of benefits on overall health. The FDA is slow to approve anything, though, and while CBD products have received tentative approval for a few human health issues, there are still animal studies that are pending before we see full FDA approval.

Meanwhile, many pet parents with dogs who have seizures, situational anxiety issues, or pain have tried out CBD and can say with confidence that CBD helps their canine companions.

If you're interested in giving CBD products a try for your dog, we've come up with a bunch of ideas on how to give it to them. Of course, some will be easier than others, it all depends on your pup's personality and sensitivity to taste.

Before we begin though, you should do a bit of reading on how long it takes CBD to work in dogs. Some of these application methods will take longer than others, so you may need to adjust the dosage depending on how the drops are given.  Adjustments will also needed based on the size of your fur baby, their issues, and the potency of the CBD you buy.

Direct Oral Application of CBD

The first and the most direct way to give your pooch a bit of CBD is via a tincture applied directly in the mouth. Note that we say the most direct way, but not the easiest way.

A tincture usually needs to be administered sublingually, i.e. placed under the tongue. The tissue beneath the tongue is both very sensitive and can very easily absorb substances, including CBD. It also has a direct connection to various bodily systems, including the endocrine and cannabinoid systems, which process chemicals such as CBD.

This application method is easy for people, who can hold CBD beneath the tongue until it dissolves, but it's much more difficult for canines to comprehend. Unless your dog is exceptionally well-trained and can hold still long enough, chances are your pup is just going to swallow the CBD.  Here are some great tips for getting started with oral administration.

Direct Oral Application

This isn't a bad thing, necessarily. It just may take a little longer to kick in because it will have to be absorbed through their stomach.

We mention this option first because it's the most direct one route for absorption. However, many dogs won't like the process, and even a flavored CBD (more on those later) might be unusual or unpleasant. Some dogs will try to spit it out, others will try to swallow it, and some won't even let you try.

It’s worth nothing that if you attempt the oral administration route, be careful to avoid touching the dropper to your pup’s mouth.  Doing so will introduce bacteria back into the bottle.  An easy workaround for this issue is to purchase some disposable droppers or place the drops on a spoon instead.

So, if your dog doesn't allow you to give them a direct application of CBD, what other options can you try?

Mix CBD into Food

The second most common option for giving a pup CBD is to mix a dose of the oil into their kibble. Before filling Fido's food bowl like normal, simply apply the oil to the kibble and either toss it around or let it soak in for a few minutes.

For food-motivated pups, this option works great. Many of the objections a dog can have to CBD come from the smell and taste. When it's soaked into kibble, both of those tend to be masked by the enticing scents of the kibble itself. 

Mixing CBD into Food 

You'll want to be careful with this process. Dogs that are trained to expect food when they hear the kibble bag being opened might be disappointed or rowdy if the food isn't immediately forthcoming (because you're soaking it). You may also need to clean the food bowl more frequently to remove oil residue that sticks to it.

Some dogs have sensitive enough noses and tastes that they might single out and leave behind the kibble most soaked with CBD. If this is the case, your pup pal will only get a small portion of the dose. So, if the food option doesn't work, what else can you try, then?

Put CBD on Treats

Yes, treats are similar to food, in that if your dog is sensitive to the smell or taste of the CBD, they may not like it and may distrust the treats in the future. However, if the treats are attractive enough, that may be enough for them to get over their avoidance.

Treats also get around the primary issue with food, which is that it changes and disrupts the food schedule because of the need to prepare it. You can prepare treats ahead of time by letting a dose of CBD soak into the treat for a while. As long as the treat is still put away or hidden, it's less likely to attract attention.

CBD on Treats

It's best to use porous treats, like dog biscuits, for this purpose. They do a much better job of soaking up something like CBD oil when compared to something like a wafer or a more solid treat. You can try something like a jerky or meat stick treat as well, allowing the oil to rehydrate the meat slightly, but whether or not it soaks in well will depend on the treat.

Another alternative is to buy treats that have CBD baked into them already. This can be tricky, though, because you never know how old the treats are or how reliable the dosage is between them. When you're adding oil to treats yourself, you have complete control.

Add CBD to Water

Oil and water may not mix, but using water to dilute a CBD tincture can be a good way to diffuse it enough that your fur baby will ignore the fainter smell and still consume the CBD.

CBD in Water

This isn't a greatoption, but it's a choice you can try if the other methods fail.

  • You want to make sure you have a thirsty dog before you try this method. If your dog typically only drinks a little at a time, they won't get the full dose of CBD.
  • You will need to change out their water every day, if not more often, to avoid residue build-up and the increasing concentration of CBD from small doses added over time.
  • You may want to use this as a follow-up to physical activity, like a walk or playtime in the park. This way, you know your pooch will be thirsty and more likely to drink their bowl dry when they can.

Different kinds of CBD tinctures will work differently when diluted in water, so make sure to try out different options before you settle on one that works.

The water method should only be used if you have one pup, as multiple noses in one bowl isn’t a reliable way to tell how much each pup is getting.  It’s also important to always have fresh clean water available.  You should never leave CBD water as the only option as aversion may cause your pup to drink less and become dehydrated.

Try Flavored CBD

One of the strongest objections a dog is likely to have to a CBD oil is the scent or flavor of the CBD itself. If you've ever tried CBD yourself, you know it often has an earthy, grass-like flavor. It's not typically all that pleasant, which is why it's either used topically or flavored.

The same can be said of dog CBD. While CBD in its pure form has a specific taste, products aimed at dogs often have a flavor added to them to make them more attractive to picky puppers. For obvious reasons, the most common flavoring added to CBD is that of a meat, like bacon, beef, or chicken. However, there are also products that use peanut oil or extract to give the CBD oil a peanut flavor. As we all know from dogs who love peanut butter, this is another attractive flavor.

Try Flavored CBD

You can also combine flavored CBD with any of the previous options. Adding it to treats or to a food can be a great idea.

The biggest risk with this option is that pure CBD has fewer ingredients than a flavored CBD oil. If you're worried about additional ingredients like stabilizers, preservatives, or artificial flavors, you might need to review the ingredients list on the CBD products you're considering.

Put CBD in Peanut Butter

Speaking of peanut butter, did you know that a primary ingredient in peanut butter is oil? In processed peanut butter, that oil is emulsified to remain shelf-stable. If you've ever bought organic peanut butter, though, you know the oil can separate out and pool on the surface of the peanut butter.

Why not take advantage of this? Take a dollop of peanut butter and a dose of CBD. Mix the two together with a spoon to incorporate the oil into the peanut butter. Then, use this CBD-infused peanut butter as a treat on its own.

CBD and Peanut Butter

The scent and flavor of the peanut butter are more than likely going to overwhelm the scent and flavor of the CBD oil, and your dog will love the chance to have a little peanut butter as a snack. Plus, once they associate the treat with more relaxation and less pain, they'll be more than happy to keep on eating it during future doses.

When it comes to peanut butter, make sure you pick a version that is xylitol free, as it’s toxic to pups.

Make Your Own Treats Infused with CBD

If you don't want to mix up some infused peanut butter, why not make your own CBD dog treats?

CBD Treat Recipe

Here's a sample recipe:


  • ½ cup of pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup of applesauce
  • ¼ cup of xylitol-free peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 strip of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 2 ½ cups of rolled oats
  • 16 doses of CBD (refer to your bottle of CBD to determine the appropriate dose for your pup's size)


  • Stir together the pumpkin, applesauce, peanut butter, yogurt, and CBD oil until well combined. Make sure the oil is well incorporated!
  • Stir in the crumbled bacon and oats.
  • Use a scoop or a spoon to form 16 equal portions of the resulting dough, forming into balls.
  • Store these treats in the fridge or freezer until you want to serve them.

This recipe uses 16 doses of CBD because it makes 16 treats. You can adjust it up or down depending on how many treats you want to make. Just make sure the CBD is well-incorporated, so you don't have some treats with low doses and some with high doses.

Alternatively, you can scoop the portions first, then mix in the CBD into each serving. This ensures a more consistent dose.

Apply CBD Topically

Another option you have is to forego the edible applications of CBD entirely. In people, CBD oil can be used for occasional joint pain by rubbing it into the affected area, such as the hands. In dogs, you can do the same thing. Use CBD as a tincture and apply it directly to the sore joints, rubbing it in gently.

Applying CBD Topically

You'll want to do this as part of grooming session, preferably after a bath, so the oil doesn't combine with dirt or grime, and so it isn't immediately washed away at an upcoming bath. The key to success topical application is to start slow.

Your pooch might lick at the area after the CBD has been applied. If they do, keep an eye on them. They won't overdose on it – it's virtually impossible to overdose on CBD even in the worst-case circumstances – but if you have a hyperactive pup, they may take a liking to it and lick themselves raw. If that's the case, you'll want to discontinue topical applications. And finally, upon first application, test a small spot to make sure it doesn't irritate their skin.

Your Ideas

Giving Dog CBD

Have you tried CBD for your canine companion? Have you had to figure out how to get past their sensitive nose and their picky sense of taste? If so, let us know how you've done it. We're always open to hearing new ideas, especially for something as potentially useful as CBD. Drop us a line or leave a message in the comments below to let us know! Additionally, if you have any questions or concerns for us regarding CBD use for your furry friend, please feel free to leave those as well! We'd love to help out however we can!

K Marie Alto
K Marie Alto

K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer and co-founder of Toe Beans, a proud American family-owned online boutique pet supplies store focused on the improvement of the life of furry family members via pet parent education, better products, and advocacy. She has over 20 years of experience as a pet momma. She loves sharing her personal journey and experience as a pet parent via her blog and Facebook page where she currently has more than 19K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).

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