Person holds a dog treat while the dog bites it.

CBD Oil vs. Treats for Dogs

Keeping your pet healthy is an act of love, compassion, and kindness. Besides ensuring they get enough physical and mental exercise, supplements like cannabidiol (CBD) are great for their health and overall wellbeing. 

The CBD pet product market is booming! In 2021 alone, market analysts estimate it generated over $620 million in sales, up from $426 million the year before. For a product initially perceived as an alternative niche natural supplement, CBD has outdone itself.

So now that I have your attention let’s start with the basics. What is CBD? 

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound with numerous health benefits. It is the second-most abundant cannabinoid compound in cannabis after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), famous for its psychoactive property.

Despite both coming from the same plant, CBD and THC have different effects on the body. Research on CBD is ongoing, so little is known about how it works. 

However, the little research-based information in the public domain shows this cannabinoid may help people and pets in many ways. These include keeping anxiety in check, reducing inflammation and pain, protecting against neurological conditions, and improving mood and mental health.

Moreover, CBD comes in different forms – oils and tinctures, edibles, aerosols, lotions, and creams. This versatility works in its favor because you – and your pet – can use it in any way you prefer. 


CBD oil vs. soft chews for pets: what’s the difference?

Because CBD comes in many forms, it helps to understand the differences between these forms and their respective advantages to help you pick the best one for your pet. Let us look at each in brief.


CBD oil for pets

CBD oil is essentially cannabis extract with CBD as the dominant ingredient, infused in a carrier element like oil or alcohol. People use the terms “oil” and “tincture” interchangeably, but they are different. 

In CBD oils, the carrier is oil (coconut, hemp, MCT, almond, etc.). For CBD tinctures, the carrier element is typically high-proof alcohol. As a result, CBD tinctures tend to be bitter compared to CBD oils. So, tinctures may not work best with pets due to their bitterness.

Administering CBD oil with food might be the best way because it is absorbed slowly as the food is digested and absorbed. When you compare CBD oil with soft chews, CBD oil, especially broad spectrum, contains other compounds like minor cannabinoids (e.g., CBN, CBC), flavonoids, fatty acids, vitamins, and terpenes. 

All these compounds in one mixture are a powerful combination. Typically, CBD oils come with droppers for administration so that:

  • Your dog gets the precise dose
  • You get higher bioavailability, especially if the carrier element is MCT oil
  • You can limit the ingredients your dog gets in CBD oil

CBD tincture benefits over treats

CBD tinctures are alcohol-based extracts made using high-proof alcohol as a solvent. This extraction method is the best because it prevents CBD from oxidizing, thereby preserving more cannabinoid content than other methods. 

However, making CBD tinctures is a task-intensive process requiring a lot of filtration and refinement.

Another disadvantage of CBD tinctures is, as earlier mentioned, their bitter taste, which pets may dislike. So, manufacturers try to overcome this drawback by masking tinctures with additives like flavor, sweeteners, or vegetable glycerin. 

Depending on the product’s purpose, some companies add supplements like melatonin for dogs suffering from sleep issues. Other additives may be herbal extracts or vitamins.

As noted earlier, most products labeled as CBD tinctures are essentially CBD oils. Therefore, when shopping for CBD tinctures, insist on alcohol-based tinctures. Nonetheless, the benefits of CBD tinctures over treats are:

Purity and potency

CBD tinctures contain more ingredients than treats because their extraction process preserves more cannabinoids; plus, no cannabinoids are lost through oxidation. This means CBD tinctures are often pure. Naturally, a pure compound is more potent than one mixed with other ingredients.

Heat from cooking damages the CBD in treats

CBD tinctures are administered in their natural form, unlike treats that may lose some of their cannabinoids during the cooking process. Remember that cannabinoids, like many organic compounds, can be denatured by excess heat or cold.

Moreover, CBD tinctures are absorbed into the body faster, especially if taken sublingually, i.e., the drops are put under the dog’s tongue or inside its cheeks. This allows the CBD to be rapidly absorbed via the mucus membrane into the bloodstream. 

Treats, on the other hand, have to go through the digestive process and are subject to the “first-pass” mechanism. This means the overall quantity of CBD reaching the bloodstream is much lower. 

Calories and extra ingredients

Research shows that CBD in tinctures (in its pure form) may help the body burn extra calories that usually result in weight gain. It is claimed that CBD can turn rancid or white fat into brown fat, which helps the body to burn them better. 

Furthermore, some tinctures can be combined with gels or ointments and applied topically to the affected body part. However, treats are not designed for this kind of use.

In this regard, their usability is quite limited. They may also contain extra ingredients that may be harmful to pets.

CBD soft chews for pets

Soft chews are chewable treats for pets. As the name suggests, their consistency varies between gummy, hard, or brittle, depending on the formulation.

Overly hard chews may not be safe for pets because they can lacerate their gums or crack their teeth. If they are too soft, pets may break off and swallow large chunks that could choke them.

These treats can be made from practically any edible – milk, antlers, rawhide, beef muscle, pig ears, trachea, or dental bones. 

You may find that giving your dog CBD in soft chews is easier because dogs generally love to chew. Soft chews are hassle-free, and your dog will probably love them, especially if they taste nice. Besides, you can use the CBD treats when trying to teach good behavior; talk of killing two birds with the same stone!

Soft chews also come in different flavors so that you can pick the best flavor for your dog. This makes it easy for you and your canine friend because feeding is not forced.

CBD soft chews typically have specific amounts of CBD, meaning correct dosing is easy to achieve. Moreover, some manufacturers of soft chews may also contain other ingredients that benefit your dog’s health. 

Some of these ingredients are:

  • Ground ginger: It may help to keep occasional gastric distress at bay since ginger is an antiemetic.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile may help your dog  relax, thus reducing the risk of gastrointestinal issues brought about by nervousness.
  • Marshmallow roots: the main ingredient in marshmallow root is mucilage, which helps in better digestion in dogs.
  • Baobab: baobab may help to reduce oxidative stress, thus reducing the chances of your dog suffering from old age ailments.

The chewy and soft textures of CBD soft chews are primarily suitable for small, teething, or older dogs that might have problems chewing hard or crunchy treats. These CBD soft chews are also ideal for dogs that need specialized dental care.

Other than keeping the dog’s teeth clean, these soft chews also help to strengthen the dog’s teeth. The dog’s diet determines its oral health. When looking for CBD treats, go for those that address a specific problem.

For example, if your pet suffers from anxiety, look for treats or CBD soft chews for calmness. 

The key differences between CBD soft chews for pets and CBD oil are:

    • CBD oil is liquid, while CBD chews come in solid forms
    • CBD oil is administered in drops under the dog’s tongue or inside their cheeks, while CBD chews are given as treats or mixed with the dog’s food
    • CBD oil can be applied topically, unlike CBD soft chews that have to be ingested
    • CBD oil is more potent since it is almost in its natural form, unlike CBD treats, whose potency is lower because some cannabinoids are destroyed during cooking.
    • CBD oil is absorbed into the bloodstream faster, unlike soft chews that go through the digestive system, which can take up to 3 hours to complete.

Ways CBD dog treats work for dogs

CBD dog treats are helpful to your furry friend in several ways. You can give your dog CBD treats if they are struggling with:

Hyperactivity at night

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you exercise your dog; it may still be hyper at night and unable to have quality sleep. CBD dog treats may help your dog remain calm at night and get good quality sleep. 

CBD doesn’t treat your dog’s hyperactivity; it just allows it to relax. CBD may be able to help dogs by regulating the re-uptake of serotonin, which helps to lower their anxiety. CBD can be combined with other therapies or medications to help your dog sleep better and for a long time.

Noise aversion in dogs during thunderstorms or holidays

Dogs dislike loud noises like thunderstorms, fireworks, or gunshots. These noises keep them super alert and anxious. CBD treats for pets come in handy in reducing your dog’s anxiety levels. 

CBD works for anxious dogs by inducing a soothing sensation in their nervous system, thus lessening nervousness. When the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoids interact with the receptors, serotonin, a mood stabilizer, is released. 

CBD also helps to enhance this biological process (release of serotonin). A dog can sleep much better when relaxed.

Separation issues

Dogs, like people, have separation issues. Puppies are often separated from their parents and siblings. If you notice your newly adopted dog whining, barking, or pacing around its pen, it could have separation anxiety.

Other times, a dog suffers from anxiety when left in the house alone for long periods. Dogs associate food, company, petting, and any comfort with having people around. When it notices that it has been alone for too long, it starts getting anxious that it might miss these things. 

As earlier mentioned, CBD enhances the production and release of serotonin (the mood stabilizer hormone), which helps the dog to remain calm and relaxed when its owner is not around.


How to choose which CBD product is right for your pet

Now that you’ve already decided your pet needs CBD in their diet, here are some things you can look out for before settling on a particular CBD pet product:

Natural and THC free

THC-free should be one of the most important words you should check on the product’s label. It means the THC content in that CBD product is undetectable, which is good considering THC is highly toxic to dogs.

You should also ensure that the product is free of fungicides, pesticides, and solvents. Avoid CBD products with scanty information.

Lab tested/Certificate of Analysis.

Having a product plastered on a website or a commercial ad does not mean it is safe and of high quality. 

To ensure your pet consumes high-quality CBD, opt for products that have been tested by an independent third party. Request the product’s certificate of analysis to be sure you are getting value for your money. 

Does the CBD pet product come with instructions?

As much as CBD is a naturally occurring compound, it does not mean it can be administered without a dosage. Using less than the recommended dosage might not give the expected results, and using more than the required dose can cause nasty side effects. 

Therefore, applying the correct dosage is vital for the best results and efficacy. Consult your veterinarian when unsure about CBD dosing guidelines for pets. Make sure you buy CBD products designed specifically for pets.

Is the support staff helpful and knowledgeable?

With CBD products still relatively new in the pet food/supplements market, the support staff must be knowledgeable to help pet parents whenever they have questions.

Also, is it possible for you to get information from the manufacturer’s website’s FAQ section? Is there a way to quickly contact them through calls or texts? If none are available and the support staff is not helpful, you should look for other manufacturers or CBD pet products.

Broad spectrum of full spectrum CBD?

Dogs do not process THC as we do, so ensure their CBD pet products do not contain any THC. A small amount of THC may not have much impact on people, but you’ll be surprised at the effects it can have on your dog! 

So, go for broad spectrum CBD products or CBD isolates. These are supposed to contain no THC at all.


Final thoughts

Have a plan before getting a CBD product for your pet. Is it to help them sleep better? Is it to strengthen their bones? Or is it for anxiety issues?  Try our new Premium CBD Pet Drops and treat your furry friend to the best pet CBD product out there.