CBD For Reactive Dogs - Can It Help?

Some of you might know I refer to my rescue dog Penny as Regina George because of her supreme sass and status as the Queen Bee. Penny is 17 lbs of pure sass and attitude but is also filled with so much love. We all know we can't cure her betchy/judgy personality because that's part of her mystique. All we can do is help her channel her sass towards making positive changes in this world. 

Penny was pulled from the streets in Florida in 2016 by True & Faithful Pet Rescue Mission and Pupstarz Rescue. Thankfully she only spent a few days at the shelter before she was pulled by a rescue and brought up to NYC. Being a street dog, Penny’s history and life experiences are unknown. Thankfully, Penny is trusting of most humans which often isn’t the case with rescues however, Penny’s main issues and reactive triggers are with other dogs.

Every dog has their own likes and dislikes. Penny's list of dislikes is a bit longer than most, so I decided to try CBD oil to help with her reactive behavior. I'm not looking to CBD as a complete solution to the problem but rather something to  help take her trigger reactions down a notch. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from anxiety and I'm happy to see there are products like CBD oil that can help ease this anxiety and pain. 

For some background on Penny's triggers:

  • Food reactivity around other dogs. This probably stems from living on the streets so I assume it's instinct to protect her food. I avoid giving her treats when other dogs are around or making sure to give them to her in a private area.
  • Larger Dogs, dogs with short noses, puppies, dogs that come at her too suddenly (even if they are friendly) and the list goes on but you get the gist. 
  • Skateboards, bikes and most things with wheels. She will lunge and bark at anything on wheels.

As you can see, we have quite a list of triggers that I have to manage when we’re out and about. I've always been curious about CBD oil for Penny but there is so much information online that it became overwhelming for me to research. The dog world used to be so much simpler-the struggle is real. 

SO what is CBD? 

It is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, which is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. CBD does not contain THC which is the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant. CBD will not get your dog high because it doesn't contain THC. 

Benefits of CBD

CBD can be used to treat anxiety, stress, nausea, pain, seizures and other health conditions in dogs. Like humans, dogs and cats have an endocannabinoid system. This system's primary function is balancing all of the other systems in our bodiesWhen these systems are balanced, our bodies reaction to stress is minimized. (It’s important to note however, that these are things that are still being studied.)

Image result for endocannabinoid system dogImage result for endocannabinoid system dog

Quality of CBD

The quality of the CBD you choose matters. Look at where it was grown and whether it was grown organically (should not contain pesticides). Not all oils are the same and you will want to find high-quality oil to have a better chance of it working. Manufacturers should provide a COA (Certificate of Analysis) that will tell you the amount of CBD that is in the product. I was overwhelmed by the tests and the company we used kindly walked me through it over the phone which made it much easier to understand. 

The CBD oil I am using for Penny is Full-spectrum. Full-spectrum simply means other compounds found within the hemp plant are preserved in the extract. These oils have other ingredients that can enhance the CBD.

Dr Hempdog's tinctures are extracted from superior quality Hemp plants that yield an extremely high level of CBD compared to most other Hemp plants.  They are not extracting from cannabis plants. Some companies do that, but not typically for animal products. As they would then have to remove the THC from the oil extracted, whereas their plants are Hemp plants and do not contain THC. 

Again, this is what has worked best for Penny. Your pup may be different! CBD oil is new to market so you may have to test multiple brands to find the right fit. 


I started Penny (who is about 17 lbs) with a dosage of .25 ml in the morning for about 2 weeks. The dosage will vary depending on your dog's size, needs and any other factors to take into consideration. We ended up increasing to 2 doses a day (.4 ml), one in the morning and one in the evening. 

Dr Hempdog were very helpful in determining Penny’s dosage - their customer service is unparalleled if you are looking for a CBD product to test but not sure where to start.

I started to notice small changes in Penny within the first 2 weeks. She is a chill dog for the most part until she comes across any triggers, then it’s like Jekyll and Hyde. I believe Penny suffers from fear aggression which is caused when the dog is anxious or scared. I'm always looking around on our walks for anything that I think will cause her to react and try to avoid it if I can. There's definitely a lot that I need to work on with her but I wanted to test out the CBD oil to help ease those anxieties that cause her to react.

A few triggers that have lessened since we started CBD. She isn't as quick to react to bicycles, fast moving vehicles and some dogs, etc. Other ways (aside from CBD) that I’m working with her are having her say hello to other dogs in a calm and relaxed way. She doesn't do well with head on greetings so I allow her to sniff the other dog's butt first and keep the interaction short. 

If your dog has some similar behaviors, I highly recommend watching the TV show called Dog Impossible on National Geographic Wild. The dog behavior specialist and his team help owners learn how to handle their aggressive and misunderstood animals. I have a great amount of respect for his innovative approach to changing canine behavior.

Which CBD Oil we are trying

I was introduced to the company Dr. Hempdog  by some friends that use their products. I reached out to see if I could speak to somebody about their products and they got back to me right away. We scheduled a phone call right after and discussed Penny's history. They were very helpful with any questions/hesitations I had and recommended a starting dosage. I was super impressed by their follow up text messages checking in with Penny to see how she was doing. 

If you are interested in trying out CBD oil for your dog, I would recommend reaching out to Dr. Hempdog for a phone call and getting more information on their products and process. If you would like to try the product, you can use code PAW10 to get a 10% discount off your order. 

If you’re eager to learn more, here are some of the resources I found really helpful in my research:

**Disclaimer- This is OUR experience using CBD oil. I am not a vet so please consult with a professional for any medical issues.**

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