CBD is a wonderfully effective solution for dogs who suffer from anxiety. But giving CBD oil as often as it’s needed can be a trick, especially if your dog doesn’t like having oil forced into their mouth.
One easy and cost-effective solution is to make your own CBD dog treats right at home.
Not only are homemade CBD dog treats more affordable than store-bought, but they can easily be tailored to your dog’s tastes and dose.
Below, you’ll find the answers to all your questions about CBD dog treats for anxiety. Plus, we’ll give you our super-simple homemade CBD dog treat recipe.
Table of Contents
How Does CBD Help Dogs with Anxiety?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most prevalent compounds found in hemp plants. It’s one of many cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other chemicals that help give hemp oil its unique calming abilities.
All of these compounds work together to influence the action of the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of millions of cellular receptors and chemical signals found throughout the body. The endocannabinoid system influences everything from memory and mood to digestion and body temperature.
The natural cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis have the power to activate, deactivate, and influence the chemical signals of the endocannabinoid system. By doing so, these compounds help rebalance the body, improve mood, reduce inflammation, and more.
One of the most common uses of CBD oil in humans and pets is to reduce anxiety.
CBD helps with anxiety in many ways. It not only reduces stress hormone production and uptake, but it also changes the activity levels of various regions of the brain. These changes are associated with relaxation and a reduction in stress-related behaviors.
One recent study into CBD use for anxious dogs found that CBD oil helped reduce blood cortisol levels and anxious behaviors and allowed dogs to relax more quickly in stressful situations(1).
Finding CBD Oil to Make Homemade CBD Dog Treats
Not all CBD products contain high-quality CBD extract and the natural ingredients needed to make them effective for reducing stress. And, even among quality products, not all are well suited for making dog treats.
When selecting a CBD oil to make your furry friend CBD treats, there are a few things you need to look for.
Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs Isolate
There are three different types of CBD extract you’ll find in the pet CBD world.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains high amounts of CBD as well as a full spectrum of other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Included in this collection are trace amounts of THC.
THC is toxic to dogs, but only in quantities over 0.3%, which you won’t find in pet CBD products. Still, full-spectrum oil should only be used for short periods or during targeted therapy in dogs, just to be safe.
Because full-spectrum hemp oil and CBD oil contain all the same compounds found in hemp, they produce an “entourage effect.” This means that all the compounds, including THC, work together to enhance the effects of CBD in the body.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all the same great compounds found in full-spectrum, minus the THC.
Because it doesn’t have this psychoactive compound, it’s much safer to use in dogs for long-term treatment. But it lacks the full entourage effect of this more complete oil. This makes broad-spectrum less effective for issues like nerve pain and extreme anxiety.
CBD isolate is a highly purified oil that contains only CBD without any of the cofactors found in hemp oil.
This oil does not have the entourage effect. But it still produces many of the helpful effects CBD is known for. And because it contains only CBD, it can be used for high dosing during targeted therapy without any risk of THC toxicity.
CBD isolate also tends to be a little more affordable than full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products.
No matter what kind of CBD oil you want, it’s a good idea to find a product made from US-grown hemp.
Federal law recently opened the US up to CBD products sourced and manufactured in other countries. Often, this hemp is not up to the same standards as US-grown hemp.
We also recommend choosing only organic hemp products. When oils are extracted from plants, many of the impurities, including pesticides and herbicides, make their way into the oil. To avoid these toxic impurities, choose USDA Certified Organic CBD oil only.
In some states, CBD products made from cannabis plants (marijuana) are legal. Because these products have a high THC content, they’re not suitable for dogs.
In order to capture the CBD extracted from hemp, a carrier oil must be used. Some of these carrier oils are of higher quality than others.
One of the most common and best options is hemp oil or hemp seed oil. These oils are produced from hemp and contain many of the beneficial compounds and fatty acids found in CBD oil.
Another good option is MCT oil. This oil is derived from coconuts and contains healthy medium fatty acid chains that do a great job protecting CBD from breaking down.
Fish oil also makes a good carrier oil for CBD.
Less optimal carrier oils include olive oil, avocado oil, and vegetable oil. These have a lower solvency than other options, meaning they can carry less CBD per milliliter. They also tend to be thicker and more difficult to work with.
The best method for extracting CBD from hemp plants is CO2 extraction. This method doesn’t rely on heat or solvents, which makes for a purer product. The concentration of CBD in CO2-extracted oil is also more consistent.
A less desirable extraction method is solvent extraction. This cheap method utilizes chemicals like ethanol and butane to pull CBD out of the plant. The product can easily be contaminated by impurities that can negatively affect your dog’s health.
Testing and Certification
The best CBD products are third-party lab-tested for purity, potency, and heavy metals. These results should be available on the product’s website for easy reference.
Other signs of a quality product include NSF certification and GMP certification.
CBD oils come in many different concentrations. When picking one to use for homemade dog treats, it can help to choose a highly concentrated product.
This is because you will need less of a highly concentrated product in each treat to reach your dog’s optimal dose.
If you have to use a lot of CBD oil in each treat, it can make the treats too oily. This can ruin the texture and potentially cause digestive upset.
Products that contain over 50 mg of CBD per mL are considered highly concentrated.
Important Note for Cooking with CBD Oil
When it comes to making your own CBD treats there’s one important rule pet parents need to remember: Never heat your CBD!
Like many fragile oils, when CBD is exposed to heat, the compounds in it begin to break down. This means that all that valuable CBD can denature very quickly if you cook your treats after adding the oil.
For this reason, CBD should only be used in no-bake dog treats or only added to the treats after they are baked.
The Best Pet CBD Oil for Making Dog Treats
There are a handful of really great CBD oils on the market for pets. Two of my favorites for making CBD dog treats for anxiety are NuLeaf and Wuffes.
This pure CBD oil from NuLeaf is made with high-quality ingredients and full-spectrum CBD. This potent oil has 6mg of CBD in every two drops, plus an additional 80mcg of secondary cannabinoids that enhance the effects of CBD.
The carrier oil for this product is organic virgin hemp seed oil, which contains loads of healthy fatty acids to support doggy health. Both oils are made from US organic industrial hemp.
This is a full-spectrum oil which means it contains some THC. But independent lab tests confirm that this level is below 0.185%, which is well below the recommended maximum dose for dogs of 0.3%.
Additionally, NuLeaf Pet CBD Oil comes with a 60-day guarantee, giving you time to find out if the product works for your pet.
There are a lot of reasons to love this high-quality oil. But the reason I use it to make my dogs’ CBD treats is because it’s highly concentrated, which makes it so much easier to add to the recipe.
Most pet CBD oils have 10 to 25mg of CBD per dropper full. This one has 60mg.
For the average dog, just two drops of oil per treat will suffice as a full serving. The less oil you have to use, the easier the treats are to make and the less likely they are to cause stomach upset.
If you want to save yourself some time in the kitchen, NuLeaf also makes some of the best CBD treats I’ve found.
These CBD dog chews contain 4mg of CBD and 2mg of CBN.
CBN is a lesser-known cannabinoid that has proven benefits to aid in sleep and relaxation.
Along with calming CBD and CBN, these treats also contain chamomile and L-theanine. These added herbs and amino acids promote feelings of relaxation and help dogs better deal with stress.
The inactive ingredients used in this formula include organic coconut oil, hemp seed powder, and other natural and organic ingredients.
These little soft chews have a tasty peanut butter flavor dogs love, making them easy to use. And they are some of the best CBD dog treats for dogs with separation anxiety, travel stress, and general anxiety.
Another great CBD oil option for making dog treats for anxiety is Wuffes CBD isolate oil.
This oil contains only CBD without any other cofactors. While isolates aren’t the best option for dogs with extreme or chronic anxiety, they can be very effective for targeted treatment, such as for thunderstorm phobia, fireworks, or travel.
This product comes in three concentrations, 500mg, 1,000mg, and 1,500mg. This translates to a dose of 16 to 50mg per dropper full, depending on the concentration you choose.
Along with CBD, this impressive oil also contains MCT oil and fish oil. Both of these carrier oils have additional health benefits, including supporting joint and brain health.
I’ve also found that these oils do wonders to make treats more palatable for pups.
This quality CBD pet oil is made in the US in an FDA-registered facility. And all their products are NSF and GMP-certified.
Finding the Right Dose for Your Dog
Once you find the right CBD product to use in your treats, the next thing you need to do is find the right dose for your pup.
In general, you want to dose CBD at a rate of 1 to 5 mg per 10 pounds of body weight. The lower dose is best for promoting calm on a daily basis. The higher dose, also known as the medicinal dose, is necessary for dogs who suffer from extreme anxiety or for dealing with specific instances of heightened stress.
This CBD dosage table can help you find the right amount of CBD to add to your homemade treats:
Once you know how much CBD your dog needs for each dose, you’ll need to do some math to determine how many drops or dropperfulls of CBD you need to add to each batch of treats.
If your dog needs more than one dropperfull at a time, I recommend splitting the dose between two treats.
Homemade CBD Dog Treat FAQ
What issues can CBD dog treats help with?
There are many benefits of CBD for dogs. In addition to treating anxiety, it may also be helpful with:
- Pain relief, including hip and joint pain and arthritis
- Seizure management
- Inflammation reduction to enhance mobility and reduce symptoms of chronic disease
- Appetite stimulation
- Nausea relief
- Tumor reduction in certain types of cancers
It’s illegal in most states for veterinarians to recommend CBD for dogs. However, if pet owners bring it up, most will be happy to discuss the uses and benefits. Your vet can help you decide if CBD might help your dog’s condition.
How often should I give my dog CBD treats?
CBD typically has an active effect on the canine system for 6 to 12 hours, though it can stay in their systems for up to 24 hours. For best results, we recommend giving your dog a full dose of CBD every 12 hours to treat chronic conditions.
To treat anxiety caused by a specific circumstance, administer the dose about 30 to 60 minutes before the stressful situation begins.
CBD has a cumulative effect on the body. This means that the more consistently you give it, the more beneficial it will be. We recommend giving CBD daily for best results.
Is CBD safe for dogs?
CBD on its own is very safe for dogs. CBD given along with other cannabinoids has an even more powerful effect. Research shows broad-spectrum oils are safe to give dogs for long periods.
The one safety concern with CBD is oils that also contain THC. Trace amounts of THC are harmless to dogs. But this compound can build up in your dog’s system over time.
For this reason, we recommend giving full-spectrum CBD oils for short-term treatment only.
What are the side effects of CBD for dogs?
CBD is generally well tolerated by dogs. Those sensitive to oil may have some digestive upset, including diarrhea and vomiting. Very sensitive dogs may experience drowsiness and dry mouth.
To reduce the likelihood of side effects, always start with a low dose and slowly work up to a more substantial dose with time.
Homemade CBD Dog Treats for Anxiety Recipe Card
- ½ cup natural peanut butter
- 15 doses of CBD oil
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 ½ cups oats rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Mix peanut butter and CBD oil in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Add pumpkin puree, rolled oats, and cinnamon to the bowl and mix well.
- Form 1 ½ inch balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should end up with 15 in total.
- Place the baking sheet in the fridge and chill for an hour.
- Place the chilled treats in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to a week.
- For small dogs, you can add 30 doses of CBD oil and create 30 smaller treat balls from this same recipe.
- If you won’t use up all the treats within a week, place the extras in the freezer. These will save for up to 6 months. Place them in the fridge to thaw, as needed.
- For gluten-sensitive dogs, use gluten-free oats.
About the Author
Hi and thank you for wanting to get to know me and my passions.
I’m a professional freelance writer with decades of experience learning about and living a green, clean life.
I grew up in Colorado under the influence of three generations of knowledgeable women who knew their way around the garden. I graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor of science in biology and a minor in English. A year before graduation, my life was upended by an unexpected diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.
Facing the reality of living with an incurable autoimmune disease I left to reflect hard on my lifestyle. While this type of diabetes cannot be cured or treated with diet, I was certain that focusing on her health and fueling her body with clean food would help her better manage her condition. As a lifelong animal lover, it wasn’t difficult for me to transition fully to a vegan diet.
Inspired by the changes I felt after going vegan, I sought out a community of like-minded plant-based eaters, gaining knowledge and experience that would fuel my future career.
In 2018, I brought my daughter into the world. Wanting the opportunity to be home to raise her, I decided to pursue a career as a freelance writer, starting my own company in 2019. http://penandpostwriter.com
Today, I’m lucky to have a long list of clients who pay me to write about my many passions. At the top of that list is gardening and eating a clean diet for the sake of my health, the planet, and all the animals I love.
When I’m not constructing articles for clients, you can find me wrist-deep in dirt in my vegetable garden, hiking with my dogs, or back in front of the computer creating imaginative worlds in my quest to become a published fiction writer. More articles by Sara.