You’ve probably read or heard about the medical benefits of CBD. You may have also heard how effective CBD can be for treating canine arthritis, and many other ailments common to dogs like anxiety and chronic pain.
But even you’re ready to try giving CBD products to your dog, there’s another issue. Most dogs aren’t happy when you give them any type of medication, and the best way to administer CBD oil is by placing a few drops under the dog’s tongue. That could be a disaster waiting to happen.
You can also mix the hemp oil into their food – but we’ve all had pets who are wise to that trick, too. It would be great if we could just explain to our dogs that the medicine is going to make them feel better – but dogs who understand English are few and far between.
There’s an alternative, though. CBD dog treats are an excellent way to get your pet to gobble up the CBD that will ease their pain or anxiety. They’re not as potent as drops of CBD oil placed under the tongue and don’t work as quickly. But as we all know, there’s no potential danger to life or limb when you give your dog a treat. That makes CBD dog treats the best approach for many pet owners.
We’ve reviewed lots of these treats, and three stand out as the best on the market. We’ll rank them next, and then we’ll go into more detail on how to choose and use the best CBD dog treats.
Best CBD Dog Treats in 2020
1. Royal CBD Pet Treats
The online verdict is nearly unanimous: Royal CBD makes the best pet treats. And we completely agree with all of those testimonials and reviews. These all-natural chews are sourced from Colorado organic hemp and produced in the same facility from start-to-finish. Supercritical CO2 extraction ensures a high-quality full-spectrum CBD product containing all cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes (but less than 0.3% THC) needed for the entourage effect that maximizes the effectiveness of Royal CBD pet treats. The chews are non-GMO and contain no dairy or gluten.
One other thing we love about the Royal product is that it’s available in three varieties, each with 5mg of CBD plus different natural additives aimed at treating a different condition.
The cinnamon and pumpkin spice “active” treats are for dogs with arthritis, joint or mobility issues, and contain supplements like turmeric to promote joint health. The green apple and peanut butter “calming” treats include chamomile and other calming supplements and are perfect for dogs who suffer stress or anxiety. And the blueberry and sweet potato “hearty” treats are designed for overall heart and immune system health, with added flaxseed and blueberries.
These are high-end CBD pet treats, worth their higher-than-average price.
Things We Liked:
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Supercritical CO2 extraction from organic hemp with no GMOs
- Grown in Colorado and completely produced in a local facility
- Three flavors/formulas with different supplements for different health issues
- All-natural, vegan, dairy- and gluten-free
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Rather expensive
- 5mg may be too much CBD dosage for a small dog
2. Gold Bee CBD Goofy Bones
Don’t be concerned; these CBD treats won’t really make your dog goofy, because Gold Bee has been careful to remove all traces of THC from the whole-hemp cannabidiol used to make Goofy Bones. (In truth, no hemp-based CBD has enough THC to get your dog stoned, but this product lets you be extra-careful if you so choose.) This isn’t CBD isolate, however. It contains the rest of the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that provide the entourage effect for cannabidiol.
The CBD in these treats isn’t quite as medically effective as the CBD in Royal treats, since it has been collected by the cold-press method rather than by CO2 extraction. They’re still quite effective, though, and their slightly higher CBD content (6mg vs 5mg) can make up for the difference in the extraction method. The high-quality hemp is organically grown, and the treats are flavored with bacon and pumpkin.
Things We Liked:
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Produced from organic US hemp
- A good dose for bigger dogs
- Bacon flavor enticing to dogs (needless to say)
Things We Didn’t Like:
- No minimal THC content so less of an entourage effect
- Cold-pressed rather than CO2 extracted
- Only one flavor
3. Hempure CBD Pet Chews
These soft chews obviously differ from the Goofy Bones in one way: they have a soft, chewable texture. The two products have another major difference as well; the Goofy Bones contain 6mg of CBD while the Hempure Chews only contain 2mg apiece. They’re similar, though, in that they’ve each had all traces of THC removed from their broad-spectrum formulation, reducing the entourage effect somewhat but still providing much of the benefit.
The chews’ CBD is extracted via the CO2 method from American-grown hemp, and the product is GMO-free. However, there are quite a few ingredients like dried brewer’s yeast, glycerine, sodium alginate, and natural preservatives (plus beef flavor) added to the mix, so you may want to read the label and research the ingredients carefully before buying. These are a good product, but the extra “stuff” in them lands them below Royal CBD and Gold Bee in our view.
Things We Liked:
- Chewy texture may be preferred by some dogs
- Produced from organic American-grown hemp via CO2 extraction
- Lower price
Things We Didn’t Like:
- No THC content, lessening the entourage effect
- Lots of additives
- Just one flavor
- Only 2mg of CBD per chew
- Not gluten-free
CBD Dog Treats Buying Guide
Anyone who owns large dogs, like German shepherds or labs, knows that their pets are particularly susceptible to osteoarthritis. Older or obese dogs are at risk for painful disease as well.
Just a few years ago, your vet would have immediately recommended supplements like glucosamine or chondroitin, and pet versions of NSAIDs like Rimadyl or Novox, to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with your dog’s arthritis.
Today, it’s just as likely that she’ll recommend CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis that’s most responsible for pot’s medical benefits. In fact, the substance is now widely accepted in the veterinary community, and there are a number of common pet ailments for which CBD has become a common treatment.
There are many ways that you can give CBD to your dog. Capsules, a hemp oil tincture dropped under his tongue or into his food, or topical cream are among them. Many pet owners, however, find it easiest and most convenient to dose their dogs with CBD-infused dog treats.
The advantages of using CBD dog treats are obvious: your dog will gobble them up, and you won’t be in danger of losing a finger when you try to drop CBD liquid under his tongue. There are definitely negatives to consider, though, and that makes it crucial to choose wisely when buying these dog treats.
Here’s a crash course.
There’s been a decent amount of research on the effects of cannabidiol (the full name for CBD) on humans – but so far, only a few studies have focused on canines. Even so, academic research clearly points to CBD’s effectiveness in treating a wide range of medical conditions commonly seen in dogs.
Findings specific to canines:
- CBD can increase both the comfort of, and activity in, dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.
- CBD can reduce the number of seizures suffered by dogs with epilepsy. That makes sense since cannabis and CBD has long been used with similar effect for humans suffering from epilepsy.
- CBD may have potential as an agent to help slow the growth of cancer in dogs.
More general research showing the efficacy of cannabidiol in treating pain and other disorders common to both humans and canines:
- CBD is apparently able to relieve serious and chronic pain associated with neurological issues, arthritis, and cancer.
- CBD appears to be effective in reducing chronic inflammation and easing the effects of inflammatory diseases.
- CBD may be able to reduce anxiety disorders. (Anxiety is one of the most common canine behavioral issues requiring treatment.)
There are, of course, prescription medications and supplements regularly used to treat dogs with all of these issues. But unlike many canine prescription drugs, CBD products are known to produce very few, minor side effects like dry mouth and drowsiness.
A Quick Note about CBD and Marijuana
This note is really just four words: CBD is not pot.
A quick explanation for those who confuse the two: cannabidiol (CBD) is indeed one of the active compounds in marijuana. However, marijuana is just one type of cannabis plant; hemp is the other. The CBD sold for use in both humans and pets is extracted from the hemp plant, not from weed. So it contains, at most, just minuscule (<0.3%) amounts of psychoactive THC – nowhere near enough to get a human or a dog high.
Giving marijuana to your dog is dangerous. Giving him CBD is perfectly safe, and it’s nearly impossible to give him “too much” while you’re adjusting for the optimal CBD dosage.
CBD Treats vs. CBD Oil: What’s the Right Choice?
We’ve briefly touched on the obvious benefit of CBD treats: it’s the easiest way to get the CBD into your dog.
Before deciding on dog treats as your preferred method of administration, however, it’s important to understand their drawbacks. And the biggest negative to CBD treats is that they’re usually less potent than oil.
The cooking or baking process requires heat, and too much heat can cause CBD to break down. If the temperature reaches 350°, cannabidiol is rendered virtually useless. Even if the dog treats are cooked “low and slow,” heat can still affect the potency of the CBD – and any third-party testing that’s conducted to measure CBD levels is usually done before cooking, not afterward.
Naturally, producers aren’t likely to share details of their manufacturing processes, so you won’t know what temperatures the treats have been exposed to. That makes it important to stick with reputable suppliers whose products’ effectiveness has been proven over time.
You’ll also have to be prepared for some trial-and-error when deciding on the right CBD dosage, since your dog may not be getting as much CBD as the packaging would suggest.
Another drawback is that cannabidiol contained in food requires more time to take effect than does CBD oil placed under the tongue. With “sublingual” administration, the hemp oil is absorbed by the gland underneath the tongue and is quickly distributed through the bloodstream.
CBD treats have to be swallowed and digested first, meaning the process takes longer, and not as much cannabidiol will be available to treat pain.
Finally, many CBD treats contain added ingredients. Some are natural additives intended to boost your dog’s health, like turmeric for increased mobility and lower inflammation levels, or chamomile to ease stress.
However, you’re also more likely to find artificial flavors or preservatives in the treats than in oil or capsules. A crucial step before buying is checking the label to be sure all of the ingredients in the treats are natural and beneficial.
Many pet owners have found, though, that properly-formulated and properly-manufactured CBD dog treats are the best way to make sure their pup actually consumes the cannabidiol that will make him feel better.
Things to Look for When Choosing CBD Treats for Your Dog
Even though dog treats already contain CBD, the type of cannabidiol used by the producers largely determines how effective the CBD will be. Here are the most important considerations.
Organic hemp grown in America is vastly preferable to any other type. Organic plants won’t contain pesticides or other toxins, and US hemp producers must meet higher farming standards than in most other countries.
Several different methods can be used to extract CBD from hemp. Look for cannabidiol that has been extracted with carbon dioxide (“supercritical” CO2 is slightly better than CO2). Extraction via cold press or steam distillation is also acceptable. Avoid CBD that has been extracted with solvents.
Full-spectrum (often called broad-spectrum) CBD contains more than just CBD. It also retains the plant’s other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids which work together to boost the CBD’s medicinal power by what’s called the “entourage effect.” (By law, the THC content of hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD has to be lower than 0.3%, which won’t hurt your dog or make him high.)
On the other hand, CBD isolate contains nothing but the cannabidiol, meaning there’s no entourage effect possible.
All CBD products, including dog treats, should come with a COA. That’s a certificate of analysis issued by a third-party after a lab evaluation, and it will guarantee the amount of CBD, THC, and other components in the product. It also guarantees that the manufacturer is confident enough in what they’re selling to let an outside testing company evaluate it.
Third-party testing is important, but it’s done before the treat is cooked or baked so it doesn’t measure CBD content in the final product. For that reason, we’ll emphasize once more that the best treats are sold by reputable companies with proven products – the only ones we’ve even considered for the reviews at the top of this page.