CBD For Large Dogs

Medically reviewed by James Davis, PharmD
CBD for large dogs

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CBD, short for cannabidiol, is making waves in the world of pet care for good reason. As this trend grows, big dogs, with their distinct health challenges, may benefit. This guide dives into the ins and outs of CBD use in larger canine companions, exploring its potential benefits, methods of use, and the vital information every big dog owner should know.

Why Focus on Large Dogs?

From Golden Retrievers to Great Danes, large dogs have a special place in many hearts, often considered gentle giants or the most loyal protectors. But with their grand stature comes a set of unique health challenges. Their size can make them more prone to certain illnesses like joint pain or hip dysplasia which smaller breeds don’t often face. The sheer body mass of these dogs means that treatments, dosages, and interventions need special considerations. The popularity of CBD has grown a lot in a very short time, so understanding its use for these big dogs becomes crucial.

How Big Dogs Are Different From Small Ones

Large dogs, often referred to as gentle giants in the canine world, aren’t just distinguishable by their size. Their differences from smaller dogs go beyond the scale:

  • Lifespan: Large dogs have a shorter lifespan compared to small breeds. For instance, while a Chihuahua can live up to 15 years or more, breeds like the Saint Bernard or Mastiff often have lifespans ranging from 7 to 10 years.
  • Metabolism: Bigger dogs tend to have a slower metabolism. This means they might not require as much food per pound of body weight compared to small dogs, who have faster metabolic rates and can be more energetic pound for pound.
  • Development: Large breeds often take longer to reach their full physical maturity. While small breeds can be considered adults by 9-12 months, larger breeds might take up to 24 months.
  • Anatomy: The skeletal structure of large dogs bears more weight, which can make them more susceptible to joint and bone issues, especially as they age.
  • Behavioral Aspects: While behavior can vary vastly within breeds and individual dogs, large breeds often tend to be more relaxed and less hyperactive than some small breeds. However, their training and socialization needs can be more intensive due to the potential challenges of managing a larger, stronger dog.

Health Issues in Big Dogs that CBD Might Help With

Given their unique anatomies, large dogs face some health challenges more frequently than smaller breeds. Here’s where CBD might come to the rescue:

  • Joint Pain & Arthritis: One of the most common ailments in big dogs is joint pain, often resulting from osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD might help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.
  • Anxiety: While dogs of all sizes can experience anxiety, large dogs can sometimes find it hard to find places where they feel safe or hidden, especially during thunderstorms or fireworks. CBD is being studied for its potential calming effects, which might help alleviate anxiety symptoms.
  • Chronic Pain: Large dogs, due to their size, can sometimes be more prone to conditions that cause chronic pain, such as hip dysplasia. CBD’s potential analgesic properties could offer relief.
  • Inflammation: Conditions like pancreatitis, which involve inflammation, can be prevalent in some large breeds. CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory benefits might help in such cases.
  • Appetite Issues: Whether it’s due to age, medication, or some other health condition, some large dogs can face appetite problems. CBD can act as an appetite stimulant, helping them maintain a healthy weight.

How to Give CBD to Big Dogs

Administering CBD to your large canine companion doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a myriad of products available tailored specifically for pets, it’s about choosing the right one and ensuring you’re providing the right dosage.

Types of CBD Products

  • Oils: One of the most popular forms, CBD oils can be added directly to your dog’s food or placed under their tongue for faster absorption. The dropper that often with the bottle allows for adjustable dosing.
  • Treats: If your dog is treat-motivated, CBD-infused treats can be an easy way to introduce them to the benefits of CBD. These come in various flavors, ensuring there’s something palatable for every pup.

Choosing the Right Concentration and Product for Big Dogs

For larger breeds, a low concentration cannot deliver the desired effects, which can lead to the misconception that CBD isn’t effective.

Veterinary guidance suggests a starting dose of around 1mg CBD per kilogram of the dog’s weight, administered twice daily.

For a 100lb dog, which is approximately 45kg:

The ideal dose = 1mg/kg * 45kg = 45mg of CBD

Considering this dose is given twice a day, you’d be administering a total of 90mg of CBD daily. Over the course of a month, that would add up to 2520mg of CBD, meaning you’d want to get a bottle at least that concentrated, or potentially stronger so that you’d have the option to increase the dose as needed.

If you’re considering treats, each treat would ideally contain a significant amount of CBD, up to 10x the target dosage, since digestion reduces the amount of CBD that makes it to the blood stream.

Always check the concentration and use a dosage calculator to ensure you’re getting a product that allows for effective dosing. Also look for a product that is USDA Certified Organic, and has up-to-date lab results easily available.


Navigating the world of canine care, especially for our larger four-legged friends, can sometimes feel like a maze. Among the myriad options, CBD has emerged as a promising supplement, believed to offer multiple benefits:

  • Natural Relief: CBD offers a more natural alternative to traditional medications, potentially addressing issues like joint pain, anxiety, and inflammation without a heavy reliance on synthetic drugs.
  • Broad Range of Products: With oils, treats, chews, and soothing topical balms available, dog owners can choose the method of administration that best suits their pet.
  • General Safety: In most cases, CBD is well-tolerated by dogs, with minimal side effects.

At the heart of every decision we make for our pets is a desire to enhance their quality of life. While CBD presents an exciting avenue for big dog care, it’s imperative to proceed with caution. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new supplements or treatments. They can provide guidance tailored to your dog’s unique needs, ensuring your big dog is safe benefits fully from the product you choose.

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