Can You Give Dogs CBD Oil? [UK Law On Pet CBD in 2024]

Written by: Jamie
Updated: August 8, 2023
Puppy at the vet

CBD oil is often touted as an effective treatment for ailments like anxiety and epilepsy in dogs.

But, is it legal to give CBD oil to dogs? Should you give it to your dog?

In this guide, we explain where the UK law stands on CBD, especially for pets.

Introduction to CBD and Its Uses

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a compound found in cannabis plants. Unlike its cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive and does not produce the "high" associated with cannabis use.

Instead, CBD has been praised for its potential therapeutic effects, including pain relief, reducing anxiety, and improving sleep.

CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell-signaling system in the body that plays a role in regulating a wide array of functions and processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and pain sensation.

By influencing the activity of the ECS, CBD can potentially help maintain balance in the body and promote overall well-being.

In recent years, CBD has gained popularity as a natural remedy for various health conditions in humans. It's used in various forms, including oils, edibles, creams, and capsules. Some people use it to relieve symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation, manage stress and anxiety, or improve sleep quality.

In this guide, we'll be concentrating on the application of CBD oil for dogs

Vet with dog

The Legal Status of CBD in the UK

In the United Kingdom, CBD is legal as long as it meets certain criteria.

Back in 2016, the government announced that CBD products could be classed as medicines instead of just general food supplements. 

Some confusion arose in 2021, when the Food Standards Agency announced that companies had to apply for a novel foods license (novel foods are basically those that weren't available before 1997) to continue selling their CBD products in the UK. However, this just ensured stricter regulations to protect the consumer.

So, what criteria must CBD oil in the UK meet?

  • It can't contain more than 1mg of THC per container (THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis).
  • It must be derived from an industrial strain of hemp that is EU-approved.
  • Companies cannot guarantee any effects of well being.
  • It must be authorised by the FSA after meeting all criteria.

The UK Law on CBD for Pets in 2023

As of 2023, the use of CBD for pets in the UK is subject to the Veterinary Medicines Regulations, which stipulate that any product making medicinal claims must be authorized as a veterinary medicine. 

As of now, no CBD products have been authorized for use in animals in the UK.

Therefore, it's illegal to sell CBD products for pets that claim to have medicinal properties.

However, CBD products can be used for pets if they are prescribed by a vet under the 'cascade' system

This system allows vets to prescribe unauthorised medicines where there is no suitable authorised medicine available.

It's important to note that the decision to prescribe an unauthorised product is at the vet's professional discretion.

vet checking small dog

Veterinary Perspective on CBD for Dogs

From a veterinary perspective, the use of CBD in dogs is a topic of ongoing research and discussion. 

While some studies suggest potential benefits of CBD for dogs, including relief from pain and anxiety, the evidence is not yet strong enough to make definitive conclusions.

The UK government advises pet owners to consult with their vets before giving their pets CBD products.

They caution that while CBD is often marketed as a natural remedy, it can still have side effects and interact with other medications. Plus, the dosages listed for humans would need to be significantly reduced for soemthing like a dog.

Therefore, it's crucial to use these products under the guidance of a vet.

In conclusion, while CBD has potential therapeutic benefits, its use in pets, particularly dogs, should be approached with caution.

Pet owners should always consult with their vet before introducing any new substances or medications into their pet's regimen.

As research continues, we can hope for clearer guidelines and more definitive evidence on the benefits and risks of CBD for pets. An interesting trial currently underway is investigating CBD as a treatment for canine epilepsy. If results of such trials were to show CBD oil as an effective treatment then we could see regulations change quite quickly in the UK.


The key takeaways here are as follows:

- Dedicated CBD oil for dogs just doesn't exist yet in the UK. The government is waiting for more research on the subject to be performed before regulating such a thing.

- That means you can't buy CBD for pets in the UK. If you see it then it has not been authorised and you should avoid it.

- Your vet can subscribe CBD oil for your dog (the same stuff humans take) if they feel it would be beneficial.

- You should consult your vet before giving your dog CBD oil yourself.

- If you choose to buy CBD oil make sure it's bought from a reputable store.

Our Recommended CBD Oil for Dogs

Nordic Oil Natural Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

  • Broad Spectrum CBD
    - Contains <0.02% THC (Non-psychoactive)
  • 100% Natural Ingredients  - Organic, Non-GMO
  • No Additives
    - Only CBD Hemp Extract & Hemp Seed Oil
  • Mild Flavour
    - Great for Adding to Food

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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