CBD for Pets Vs. Humans: What’s the Difference?

  • Updated November 18, 2021

  • Published November 18, 2021

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CBD for Pets Vs. Humans: What’s the Difference?

One of the fastest-growing CBD industry market segments is CBD for pets. Grand View Research tracks the CBD pet market and forecasts a 58.9 percent annual growth rate in the CBD for pets market from 2021 to 2028. At the same time, a SingleCare survey found that a third of Americans have consumed CBD. Put the two pieces of information together, and it is no surprise that people want to know whether human CBD products can be given to pets.

What’s the Difference Between CBD for Pets vs. Humans?

Can humans take pet CBD oil, and can pets take human CBD oil? There is no difference between CBD as a substance used by humans and for pets. CBD occurs naturally in cannabis plants. CBD is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant to produce CBD full spectrum, broad spectrum or CBD isolate. The CBD extracts are used in both human and pet CBD products.

There are differences in product characteristics to accommodate the significant difference in size between humans and pets. Following is a review of the differences and information on the interchanging of human CBD vs pet CBD products.

1. CBD Potency

Similar to CBD products for humans, CBD products for dogs, cats and other animals have a range of potencies. The CBD per serving may be 2 mg, 5 mg, 8.33 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg or 20 mg, for example. Some CBD products for pets recommend 30 mg per serving, but the serving size may be two treats with 15 mg of CBD per treat and the frequency of dosage is usually lower.

The different potencies enable pet owners to select an amount of CBD per serving that best fits pet size and needs. Larger pets may need a high-potency product compared to smaller animals.

Current veterinary researchers are focused on determining information like the following.

  • How CBD works in different animals.
  • The type of pet medical conditions and ailments that might respond to CBD products.
  • The ideal CBD potency for activating the endocannabinoid (RCS) system in animals which is similar to the ECS in humans.

When first giving pets CBD, it’s always advised to start with a low potency CBD product in order to assess any impacts on the animal.

2. CBD Forms

There are different CBD forms available for pets, just like there are for humans. They include but are not limited to the following.

  • CBD oil
  • CBD tincture
  • CBD dog chews
  • CBD pet spray
  • CBD dog treats
  • CBD oil capsules
  • CBD cookies
  • CBD beef wraps

3. Flavor

CBD for Pets Vs. Humans

CBD products are flavored to appeal to pets, especially dogs and cats. Some of the common flavors include the following.

  • Natural
  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Bacon
  • Green apple
  • Peanut butter
  • Cheddar

Many products include a mixture of flavors, like green apple and peanut butter.

4. THC Content

When purchasing CBD products, carefully read the label and the Certificate of Analysis (COA). A reliable brand is transparent about the product’s content. The COA will inform you as to the amount of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids the product contains. A COA also indicates the number of toxic substances found, like pesticides and heavy metals.

Full spectrum CBD contains some THC, but it must be less than .3 percent per federal law. Broad spectrum CBD is THC-free. Even if some THC makes it through the manufacturing process, it is just a trace and will have no psychoactive effect on your pet. CBD isolate is pure CBD and has zero THC.

5. Dosage

Most mammals have a similar endocannabinoid system. The ECS is where the cannabinoid receptors are located. Research to date has found that more CB1 receptors are located in the hindbrain structures of dogs compared to humans. However, both humans and dogs have CB1 and CB2 receptors in their layers of the skin. CB1 is a psychoactive neuromodulator, while CB2 plays an important role in the immune system.

The size and weight of an animal are major determinants of the ideal dosage of CBD for pets. A small dog or cat might need 2 mg of CBD per one ml dosage of CBD. A larger animal might need 15 mg of CBD per one treat or chew or 20 mg per one ml serving size of CBD oil or CBD tincture. One of the advantages of using CBD oil or CBD tincture for pets is that you can control the dosage drop-by-drop.

CBD Dosage For Dogs

CBD for Pets: A Beginner’s Guide

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The CBD product will indicate the serving size, CBD per serving and the CBD per one ml or one chew/treat. The best way to introduce CBD to your pet is to start with a very low dose of CBD per serving to determine the effects. You can increase the amount of CBD in small increments over time to find the dosage that best fits your needs.

Can Humans Take Pet CBD Oil or Not?

Humans can take CBD oil made for pets. However, there are several points to keep in mind.

  1. The recommended dosage amounts for pets will be much lower than what humans typically take.
  1. Some CBD products for pets may contain other ingredients that may be pet-friendly but not necessarily human-grade; humans should use human-grade CBD oil for their pets, if planning on using the same CBD.
  1. CBD oil for pets and CBD tinctures for pets may have a natural flavoring added that appeals to dogs or cats but not necessarily human.

Can I Give My Dog CBD For Humans?

The extraction process for CBD is the same when making products for humans and pets. This means you can give your dog CBD that was made for humans. There are some caveats though.

  1. The CBD amount in CBD products is higher for humans, so the dosage must be reduced for pets.
  1. There is not enough research yet to determine the toxic CBD dosage amount for pets.
  1. Some terpenes in CBD full spectrum oil and CBD broad spectrum oil are harmful to animals, like tea tree oil and peppermint.
  1. Talk to your veterinarian first if your pet has any medical issues.
  1. Many CBD products have additional ingredients, so always make sure you research the product contents on the label and review the COA.

How Does CBD Oil Work for Dogs?

«The American Veterinary Medical Association reports there are cases of animals getting sick from consuming THC. Only give your dog CBD that has less than .3 percent THC or a product that is THC-free.»


  1. Is CBD Oil Safe For Your Pet?

    Yes, CBD oil for dogs vs humans is safe for your pet because it is a natural product. A recent survey found that half of the pet owners responding use CBD for their dog or cat, and many people are doing so based on a recommendation from their veterinarian. Most mammals have a similar metabolic system compared to humans. However, you would not want to give your pet too much CBD in a single serving. This is true for humans and pets.

  2. Can I Use Regular CBD Oil On My Dog?

    You can use human CBD oil for dogs. CBD oil can be used in several ways.

    • Added to dog food
    • Administered sublingually
    • Rubbed on joints, paws and gums
    • Massaged into the skin to relieve dryness or irritation

  3. How to Dose CBD Oil For Dogs?

    If giving your dog CBD treats for pets, follow the recommended dosage amounts on the package. CBD oils and CBD tinctures can be added to dog food or administered orally.

  4. How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog?

    You can add CBD oil or CBD tincture to the dog food or give it orally to your dog. The right dosage is usually figured based on the dog’s weight. For example, assume a product contains 20 mg of CBD per one ml serving. A retailer may suggest:

    • Weighs less than 15 pounds – 3 drops or 1.5 mg
    • Weighs 15-30 pounds – 6 drops or 3 mg
    • Weighs 30-60 pounds – 10 drops or 5 mg
    • Weighs more than 60 pounds – 20 drops or 10 mg

    Make sure you know the serving size and amount of CBD per serving, whether using CBD for pets or CBD for humans.

  5. Which is Best for Dogs: CBD isolate or Full Spectrum?

    The goal is to differentially activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors in a way that delivers the desired benefits. As mentioned, CBD full spectrum contains less than .3 percent THC per federal law. There is not enough THC in CBD products for pets to produce a psychoactive effect. If the combination of the low amount of THC and CBD provides the desired benefits, full spectrum CBD is recommended.

    One of the benefits of full spectrum CBD is that it contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes and flavonoids. These substances can work together to offer more effectiveness.

    If you want to make sure your pet is not getting any THC, then CBD isolate is the best choice. CBD isolate is pure CBD.


There is no difference between CBD for dogs and humans or between CBD for other animals and humans. There may be differences in the type of ingredients added to human vs pet CBD products. CBD products for pets are not required to have human-grade ingredients. It is important to always research product content before sharing CBD oil and other products between humans and pets. A lot more research is needed on the effects of CBD on animals, but millions of people have already found CBD brings their pets many benefits.


  1. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/cannabidiol-pet-market
  2. https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/cbd-statistics/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770351/
  4. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/cannabis-use-and-pets
  5. https://www.leafreport.com/education/cbd-for-pets-survey-what-do-pet-owners-really-think-about-pet-cbd-products-12531

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