Exploring the Difference Between Pet CBD and Human CBD: What You Need to Know

10 min read

This article will provide vital information on the distinctions between pet CBD and human CBD so that you can make informed decisions regarding the use of CBD products for your pets and themselves while prioritizing safety and well-being.

oil of cbd for pet

Support for your pet with pet CBD

As a pet owner, it’s normal to want to give your loved ones the best support possible, and if you don’t necessarily want to use prescription medications that are expensive and have lots of side effects and complications for simple things like sleep or anxiety control, you probably don’t want to do it for your pets.

As the FDA has approved the use of CBD for several conditions and legalization has spread across the country, there has been a growing interest in CBD usage for both humans and pets.

How CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system

Using CBD products for pets or people can help:

  • Improve balance
  • Boost coordination
  • Regulate appetite
  • Aid digestion
  • Regulate mood
  • Improve memory
  • Help with motor movements

But is CBD for pets the same as for humans? In many ways, yes. The extraction methods used to manufacture the products are the same, and the options for things like tinctures or oils are the same. But, there is a difference between CBD for pets and humans when it comes to recommended dosage, flavors, and other additives.

Most pets have an endocannabinoid system that is quite similar. This is where the cannabinoid receptors are found, and data shows:

  • There are more CB1 receptors in certain parts of the brain for dogs than for humans. This helps with cognition, memory, and motor function. 
  • Both pets and humans have CB2 and CB1 receptors in the skin. This is the receptor that supports immune function. 

Difference between CBD for pets and for humans

CBD is a natural compound found in cannabis plants. It can come in several forms when processed:

Liquid CBD oil

Liquid CBD oil is something you can apply to the skin or, for pets, mix into food or treats. In some cases, you can find oil capsules that you can give to a pet. The oil gets metabolized very quickly, which means you might be able to use it several times per day, but always read the instructions.


Tasty treats or biscuits are another way to provide your pets with what they need. These may be safe for human consumption but certainly aren’t something you would want to eat because they usually have meat or nut flavors added to them.


Capsules are things you can share with a pet using a pill pocket or open and mix into their food. You can also open the capsule, mix it with water, and then use things like droppers to administer it directly into their mouths. 

Potency and dosage

There are different potencies designed for people and animals. Serving sizes for pets are usually based on the breed and the size, so you’ll have different products designed specifically for dogs, cats, or other mammals.

It’s important that you start slowly, just as you would with yourself, and that you follow all of the instructions on the package. A package of treats might say each treat contains 15 mg of CBD, and you should give no more than two treats per day.

If your dog, cat, or other pet is on any type of medication, make sure you check for contraindications with your vet. Your vet will work with you to determine:

  • How the products might work in your pet based on their size and breed
  • What medical conditions can be effectively supported or treated with CBD products
  • The ideal potency for your pet, in particular

Forms and flavor

Just as with humans, you can find several forms like:

  • Pet spray
  • Oils
  • Tinctures
  • Chews
  • Treats
  • Oil capsules
  • Beef wraps
  • Cookies
  • And more

Usually, the products are designed to appeal to animals, dogs and cats in particular. You’ll find natural flavors like chicken, salmon, beef, peanut butter, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green apple. You might even find products that have a mix of more than one.


CBD for pets vs humans has other similarities: THC. With CBD for humans vs pets, there may or may not be THC in the product. The certificate of analysis, COA, will tell you what level of THC, if any, is found in the product. Full-spectrum CBD products contain less than .3 percent THC, but broad-spectrum products have none. 

Extraction process

Is there a difference between pet CBD and human CBD? Can I just give my dog my CBD?

The extraction process is the same, which means that any product for human consumption is safe for pet consumption, but there are some finer details that have to do with the terpenes and dosage. 

But what about products like CBD oil for pets? Technically, humans can use that too, but the recommended dosage that a pet takes is going to be significantly lower than what a human takes, and there could be ingredients like natural flavors that appeal more to cats and dogs but not necessarily to humans.

Terpenes in CBD for humans vs pets

There are some terpenes in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils that could be harmful to animals. For example, peppermint oil and tea tree oil can be particularly harmful to dogs, so you’ll have to make sure that your products if intended for human consumption or human use, do not have any of those oils should you choose to use them on a pet.

Additional ingredients

Another difference between CBD for pets and humans has to do with any additional ingredients. It’s common to see additional ingredients in human products that may or may not be safe for pets. You should:

  1. Always review the product labels
  2. Check the COA
  3. Talk to your vet if your pet is on medication or has any medical issues

CBD for pets vs humans contains different ingredients. Things for pets might have flavorings that dogs or cats appreciate, which humans might not.

cbd oil and lab table

Choosing Safe and reliable CBD for humans vs. pet CBD

Choosing safe and reliable products requires the same level of homework for humans and for pets. You want to make sure that you work with a company that is reputable and transparent about their manufacturing and their ingredients. A good company should provide a certificate of analysis as well as information regarding proper dosage.

When choosing safe and reliable CBD products for humans vs pets, you also want to talk to a vet. Just as you would talk to your doctor about any possible contraindications with other medication you are on or other conditions you have; you’ll want to talk to your vet about the type of products you are considering and whether or not they will be effective and safe.

Summing Up

Pets have very similar endocannabinoid systems to humans, which means they can benefit from CBD products the same as humans do. If you have a pet that is struggling with pain, bad coordination, appetite dysregulation, or even anxiety, you can find CBD products for pets that can be of great value. 

There are some key differences aside from the extraction process that have namely to do with what dosage is recommended and what additional flavors are incorporated. You should always talk to your vet about any potential contraindications and what dosage is best before getting started.

Frequently Asked Questions:

CBD for pets and CBD for humans are derived from the same cannabis plant, but they may have differences in concentration, flavoring, and additional ingredients. Products for pets are formulated to cater to animal preferences and safety, while human CBD products are designed for human consumption.

It’s not recommended to give human CBD oil to pets even in smaller dosages due to the potential for harmful ingredients or concentrations that are too high for animals. Always opt for a product formulated specifically for pets to ensure safety.

If a pet consumes human CBD, monitor them closely for any signs of distress or adverse reactions like lethargy, vomiting, or behavioral changes, and contact your veterinarian immediately.

CBD is generally considered safe for many types of pets, including dogs, cats, and some small animals. However, the safety and efficacy of CBD can vary between species and individual animals. Always consult with a veterinarian before giving CBD to your pet.

Pet CBD oil is formulated specifically for animals and may have different concentrations and flavoring. While it’s generally safe for humans to consume, it’s not optimized for human needs. It’s recommended to use CBD products designed for humans for better results.

Many pet CBD products can be mixed with your pet’s food or treats for easy administration. Follow the product’s recommended dosage instructions and guidelines for mixing to ensure proper and effective use.

Pet CBD is generally safe for humans, but it may not provide the same experience or efficacy as products specifically designed for human consumption. It’s advisable to use CBD products intended for humans to ensure appropriate dosing and optimal effects.

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The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act require this notice.
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