So, you've read a lot about CBD for pets, done extensive product research and ordered the best CBD oil you can for your dog only to realize your dog will not take it. You scratch your head and wonder: What are some tricks to get my dog to take CBD?
CBD is a tricky product at the moment of the writing of this post. 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 occasional pain have tried out CBD and can say with confidence that CBD helps their canine companions.
If you're finding it challenging to get your dog to take CBD oil, we've come up with a bunch of ideas on how to give it to them.
From direct administration to some "sneaky" ways 😀. The flavored option section comes with a little bonus 🐶. If you are at the early stages of your CBD-for-pets learning journey, I have written extensively on this topic too.
Looking for more dog care guides? No problem, you can either scroll down all the way to the further reading section or visit my blog where you can search by topic. Spoiler alert, it is packed with resources 😁.
Of course, some methods will be easier than others, it will all depend on your pup's personality and sensitivity to taste.
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.
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.
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.
This isn't a great option, 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 peanut butter,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.
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.
Alternatively and to be on the safe side to reduce the risk of unwanted substances, always look for a USDA organic option.
Last but not least, make sure that the CBD tincture you give your pup is derived from hemp as opposed to marijuana. Unlike marijuana derived CBD, hemp derived CBD (a.k.a. hemp extract) is legal. According to the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB)
Marijuana remains federally classified as a schedule I controlled substance in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act – with the exception of "hemp" (Cannabis sativa L with tetrahydrocannabinol <0.3% dry weight), a type of cannabis that was de-scheduled through the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Due to this distinction, hemp-derived CBD products have become more available to consumers, and CBD products aimed for use in animals have emerged in the market. -AAVSB
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.
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.
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.
Regardless of your preferred administration method, we always caution pet parents to make sure they pick a non-toxic and safe CBD oil for their furry children. Making sure you pick a product that is made in the USA as well as organic should be every pet parent's priority.
As we have discussed in multiple occasions throughout all my related blog posts on CBD, the pet products industry's wild west nature can be a very dangerous place for the unsuspecting pet parent.
If you are buying pet hemp oil (not to be confused with hemp extract or CBD oil for dogs and cats) on the largest US eCommerce site, odds are those products are manufactured in Asia. Keep on administering them at your own peril. Don't believe us? keep on reading.
There are several ways in which you can find out if your pet products are made in Asia and the manufacturer is falsely claiming made in the USA or some cleaver variation of this phrase.
One simple way is by running what we like to call the 3liv3v3 test (replace the "3" symbol for the letter "a" and the "v" for a "b" when looking up this website).
For those of you not familiar with this website, it is basically where 90% + of products come from on the largest eCommerce site in the USA. Go on 3liv3v3 and run a search for pet hemp oil .
You will be surprised or should we say terrified? to find many of the most popular commercially available products there. Perhaps even the one you are using right now. The horrifying thing is that many of these brands label their products as "handcrafted in the USA" or even "made in the USA".
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!
Also, if you found this content useful, can you do fellow pet parents a little favor by sharing this content? Use any social media button located around the post.
Interested in learning more about CBD for dogs and cats? We've written extensively about this topic.
One more thing, if you are feeling like getting a little special something for your fur baby that is unique, made right here in the USA (or anywhere but in China), 100% pup and cat safe, USDA certified organic and brought to you by a US company, check out Toe Beans online pet supplies store!
K Marie Alto
K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer (https://www.amazon.com/author/kmariealto), 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 45K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).