Choosing a CBD product for your dog: the major difference between treats, tinctures, and tablets

Choosing a CBD product for your dog: the major difference between treats, tinctures, and tablets

Having trouble selecting a CBD product for your canine companion? Let’s take a closer look at treats, tinctures and tablets, and what to consider when choosing between the three.

From infused peanut butter to CBD timed controlled-release pet collars, it seems like the industry has thought of everything. This recent boom in the pet market has led to an overwhelming and often confusing amount of CBD options for consumers. In 2019, Nielsen fielded a study looking at a sample of 40 different brands in the hemp-CBD pet product space. Out of these brands, 46% were classified as treats, 30% tinctures, 10% powders, and another 14% represented various forms of topicals, gels, shampoos, bars, or sprays. With such a varied offering, it’s no wonder consumers have a tough time weighing the cost, convenience, and quality of all the different products.

Where to start when shopping for CBD pet products – dosing

The first consideration, before running to your local pet food shop to buy the latest and greatest CBD-infused dog treats or tinctures, should be understanding proper dosing based on what we currently know about our pets’ endocannabinoid systems.

Dogs are likely to be more sensitive to the effects of THC and other cannabinoids than humans. This is because canines have a higher density of cannabinoid receptors in their cerebellum compared to any other species studied, according to a 2020 scientific review on Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine. In this review, Dr. Trina Hazzah, Integrative Veterinary Oncologist specializing in cannabis veterinary medicine, recommends an initial dose of approximately 0.3 mg/kg of CBD twice a day (roughly a 15mg daily dose for a pet weighing around 50lbs), perhaps incrementally increasing the dose over time until efficacy is achieved. Cornell University and Colorado State University have found that most dogs find relief for pain and seizures with CBD products dosed properly for their size and weight. So, when considering the type of product that might work best for your pet, you should consider the size and weight of your unique fluffy friend, and determine, first, your optimal dosage to administer.


Once you determine optimal dosage, it’s time to consider options for administration.  Your primary goal is to find a consumption method that allows you to repeatedly administer and effectively measure the milligram content you are delivering to your pet. Depending on your pet’s preferences, there may be some trial and error involved. But let’s review some common options for administration.

Infused treats or edibles

As mentioned, it’s important that your chosen consumption method simplifies the dosing process, making it easy for you to track the milligram content and resulting effectiveness. Treats with clearly labeled dosages along with a CoA confirming the label’s accuracy, can be a simple method of integrating CBD into your pet’s daily regime. And there’s no doubt they are popular with pet parents. CBD-infused treats led the market in 2019, with 48 percent of pet owners in the United States recording purchases.

Unfortunately, since treats would be considered a food product, the regulations around this consumption method are a bit hairy. Treats with CBD are not fully recognized by the FDA and CBD is not currently an approved animal food additive. According to a 2019 statement released by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), an organization that establishes model labeling regulations, hemp and hemp products may not be used in animal feed or pet food in the United States. Regardless, these products are undoubtedly flooding the market, causing price points to skyrocket. According to a Neilson and Headset data from February 2020, the average price per pound for CBD dog treats is twice that of the average dog treat.  Because most companies sell CBD treats in a single dose amount for pets, this could add up for parents of large dogs, who may go through several doses in a day to reap the benefits.


CBD tinctures continue to have a stronghold on both the human and pet marketplace.

They ranked as the second most popular product among pet parents in 2019, with 27 percent reporting to have purchased cannabidiol oil products for their pets that same year. If your pet is picky with treats, tinctures make for a discreet solution for administering CBD. Dropping a dose of oil onto your pet’s food is an easy way to sneak CBD into his system.  Tinctures are a viable means for the delivery of CBD into the bloodstream and have remained the go-to method for both pet and human consumption.

Compared to all the bite-sized products available, these tincture vials may be better suited for a medieval apothecary as opposed to the modern world. This antiquated, dropper-style deliver can be messy and overly complex.  But, more importantly, cannabinoids are oil-based and don’t dissolve well in water. Since our digestive systems are water-based, and cannabinoids are oil-based, only a small portion of the cannabinoids ingested are absorbed.  When using CBD tinctures, you’re typically absorbing between 10–20 percent of the product’s CBD and excreting the rest. This can lessen the accuracy of your dosage, as it brings into question how much of the listed amount of CBD in a product is able to be used by the animal upon consumption.  It also requires paying for a higher dosage amount of CBD to get the true dosage result.

Chewable tablets

Chewable tablets for pets are a relatively new category within the growing list of CBD products, but they can make dosage and administration simple. Not only are these types of products easy to administer on-the-go (great for long walks, hikes or adventures), but they’re more likely to remain on shelves. Since chewable tablets are not considered a food product, pet parents don’t need to worry about having a product they rely on suddenly disappear due to changing FDA regulations.

The most beneficial aspect of chewable tablets, by far, is the accurate dosage and improved absorption rates. The low bioavailability and absorption rates commonly found in tinctures has long been solved by innovative solubility-enhancing technology utilized by several cutting-edge brands on the market. For example, at Crappy’s Feel Better Hemp Co., the same technology is used across the board for both human and pet products. When tested using standard USP Dissolution methods, the active release rate of their chewable pet tablet was five times faster than common tinctures and soft gels and was nearly fully soluble in 90 minutes. Chewable tablets can offer accurate dosages tailored to your pet, and can also stop you from paying for CBD that you are just cleaning up in the yard.

No matter what type of product works for your pet, it’s important to always “start low and go slow”. Also, doing your research into a product or company is always a good call. It’s a process that may take time and patience. Just remember that much like humans, every pet is different, with his own unique endocannabinoid system that’s geared up to utilize the incredible benefits this new and exciting world of cannabinoid products has to offer.


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