May 31, 2021 9 min read

CBD Oil for Dogs with Cancer


Many pet owners are uncomfortable or afraid of the idea that their companion may develop cancer at some point in their lives.

Additionally, many pet owners who are already facing this fear are looking for ways they can help their canine friends overcome the disease they’re battling.

Using CBD oil for dogs with cancer has been growing in popularity over the past few years as more and more studies have gone into CBD oil, but pet owners do not feel informed enough to begin a CBD regimen for their pet.

Below, we will cover a few common questions and concerns around canine cancers and CBD as both a preventative measure and a supplementary treatment for dogs with cancer.

The Basics of CBD Oil

For starters, CBD is not the same thing as marijuana, though it is an active ingredient in marijuana (cannabis). What separates the two is the fact that medical CBD oil is derived from hemp plants, a close cousin of the marijuana plant. The main difference in the two plants is the lack of THC in CBD oil, meaning that CBD will not cause a “high” sensation the way THC will, nor does it have any potential for abuse or dependence.

In recent years,CBD oil has hit the market in a big way, being that human beings across the country have begun seeing the medical benefits that CBD offers. From pain cessation to epilepsy treatment, CBD is slowly becoming a household name due to its ability to provide relief for many medical conditions without patients having to constantly rely on pharmaceutical medications that tend to present an array of unpleasant side effects.

How Common Is Cancer in Dogs?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), approximately 25% of dogs are affected by some form of cancer at some stage in their lives. Additionally, nearly 50% of dogs over 10 years of age develop some form of cancer.

Some dog breeds develop cancer more often than other dog breeds, which puts them at an even greater risk. Such breeds include Golden Retrievers, Boxers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

On the other hand, several small dog breeds like Chihuahuas, Papillons, and Pomeranians are at significantly low risk of developing cancer.

If your dog is of a high-risk breed, you may be curious about the benefits of CBD oil in preventing dog’s cancer development, or treatment using CBD oil for dogs with cancer.

Most Common Cancers in Dogs

Cancer comes in many forms, but for dogs, there are five types that develop most commonly. Common dog cancers include:

  • Bone Cancer- (also known as Osteosarcoma) the most common type of cancer found in dogs
  • Melanoma- a common skin cancer often found in a dog’s mouth
  • Lymphoma- a type of blood cell cancer
  • Mast Cell Cancer- a type of skin cancer affecting the connective tissue
  • Hemangiosarcoma- a cancer that causes malignant tumors to develop anywhere in the body (most often heart and spleen)

Signs Your Dog Might Have Cancer

Signs of cancer can vary depending on a dog’s unique disposition, the type of cancer they’ve developed, and the stage that the cancer has reached. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian.

  • Bleeding from any orifices (nose, mouth, ears, etc.)
  • Lumps or discoloration on the skin
  • Difficulty healing wounds
  • Unexplained swelling, pain, or heat coming from an area of the body
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Sudden change in weight
  • Diarrhea or vomiting that will not cease
  • Difficulty breathing or eating.

While many of these signs can accompany non-cancerous conditions, they’re still considered serious and should inspire a visit to your pet’s doctor as soon as possible.

It’s important to note that one or all of these symptoms are not a diagnosis of cancer, as the disease needs to be evaluated and diagnosed by a veterinarian.

If your recent visit to the vet’s office ended with a cancer diagnosis, you may be curious about the benefits of CBD oil for dogs with cancer.

What does research say about CBD oil for dogs with cancer?

There have been several studies that produced positive results when it comes to using CBD oil for dogs with cancer. CBD has tumor-shrinking properties, can help boost a dog’s immune system during cancer treatment, and prevents cancer cells from migrating to additional body systems.

Additionally, using CBD for a dog’s cancer after remission has occurred has shown to be beneficial in preventing the return of new cancer cells.

According to the research studies conducted to determine CBD’s cancer benefits, CBD oil used as part of a well-rounded cancer treatment plan significantly reduced cancer cell growth in dogs.

The specific benefits of CBD oil for dogs with cancer during this study included

In addition to the numerous health benefits associated with using CBD oil for cancer in dogs, there are no serious negative side effects to note when dosing is completed properly. Dogs may become somewhat drowsy or nauseated after CBD intake if the dose is a little too high, but once the amount is corrected, dogs tend to respond well to CBD treatment.

The use of CBD oil for dogs with cancer may also minimize many of the unpleasant side effects that come with rigorous cancer treatment, such as loss of appetite, pain, nausea, and difficulty sleeping.

Can CBD Oil Prevent Cancer in Dogs?

It’s important to note that using CBD oil as a medical supplement is relatively new to consumers and because of this, the full range of health benefits associated with CBD use have not been completely explored by the medical community.

The FDA has yet to approve CBD oil for canine nor human medical treatments. Despite this, scores of people swear by CBD oil and the medical benefits they claim to have experienced through its use.

While the medical community as a whole hasn’t fully explored CBD benefits, there has been an array of smaller medical studies attempting to develop CBD data. In some of these studies, CBD oil has been shown to possess tumor-shrinking properties, meaning that proper use may prevent cancer cells from growing and developing. Additionally, studies show that CBD oil has increased tumor cell death in human cancer patients.

Administering CBD oil to dogs with the sole intent of cancer prevention may not be necessary, but if consumers are using CBD oil to treat other conditions (anorexia, anxiety, joint pain, etc.), the CBD may very well serve the secondary purpose of preventing cancer cells from developing or growing.

Can CBD Oil Treat Cancer in Dogs?

When considering possible treatment for actual cancer cases, it’s easier to come up with a supportive answer regarding the benefits of CBD oil. In humans, CBD has been experimented with as both a treatment for cancerous tumor shrinkage and as a treatment of secondary cancer symptoms (pain, inability to eat, etc.). Though there has been promise in human trials, there has been limited research conducted on the validity of CBD oil for cancer treatment in dogs.

Despite this, medical tests have been conducted on rats and ferrets to explore the anti-nausea effects of CBD oil in cancer cases and have shown some promise. This suggests that CBD oil’s digestive benefits are likely to aid in weight management and nausea relief for chemotherapy patients, including dogs.

This means that for pet owners who have a dog with cancer, utilizing CBD oil as a supplement to their pet’s veterinarian-recommended cancer treatment may help lessen some of the uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy. While battling cancer, a dog needs to be able to keep his or her strength up, and part of the energy to heal comes from eating. However, chemotherapy commonly makes it to where patients no longer have an appetite because they do not feel well enough to eat.

CBD oil does its best work at this point. Not only has it been suggested in medical studies that CBD helps shrink cancerous tumors and kill cancer cells, but it also helps stimulate a patient’s appetite so that they are able to eat. By eating enough food, patients are likely to have the energy needed to continue making the best of their treatment.

5 Best Ways CBD Oil Can Help Prevent Cancer in Dogs

For pet owners who do not have a dog with cancer, but would like to implement the use of CBD oil for dog cancer prevention, there are several ways in which regular CBD supplementation can help prevent the development of cancerous cells.

1. CBD can boost a dog’s immune system.

CBD can boost a dog’s immune system.

Though pet owners can use CBD oil for dogs with cancer, it’s also worth trying as an immune booster to prevent the development of cancer. CBD reduces oxidative stress in the body, which strengthens the immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens effectively.

2. CBD inspires cancerous cell death.

CBD inspires cancerous cell death

Cancer can develop very quickly, and sometimes it can be in late stages before it is ever diagnosed in dogs. Regular supplementation of CBD oil for dogs with cancer in the early stages can help inspire cancerous cell death, which prevents the disease from progressing and spreading.

While CBD oil is not a cure for cancer, supplementing it in a dog’s diet can greatly reduce the development of cancer before it has time to be diagnosed by a medical professional.

3. CBD can improve a dog’s quality of life.

Using CBD oil for dogs with cancer in the early stages, as well as dogs without cancer can improve a dog’s quality of life. On one hand, the oil can prevent the progression of cancer in dogs who have it and can prevent it in dogs who don’t.

CBD can improve a dog’s quality of life

Both outcomes are possible due to CBD oil’s ability to improve overall health. For example, CBD use can help improve a dog’s quality of sleep and the ability to maintain an appetite. A healthy sleep cycle and the adequate absorption of nutrients can help prevent the development of cancer initially, as well as helping a dog respond well to cancer treatment.

4. CBD oil can shrink tumors.

While not all tumors are cancerous, many non-cancerous tumors have the ability to become cancerous. Additionally, disorders that cause tumors (such as Cushing’s and Addison’s Disease) can lead to the development of cancer.

CBD oil can shrink tumors.

Using CBD oil for dogs with tumor disorders can help shrink existing tumors and prevent new tumors from growing. In doing so, CBD oil can help reduce the risk of cancerous cell development.

5. CBD oil reduces inflammation.

Though inflammation is not a definite cause of cancer, chronic inflammation can negatively affect the way that cells grow and divide, which may then lead to the growth of cancerous masses.

CBD oil reduces inflammation

Regular CBD supplementation not only reduces inflammation but the pain associated with it as well. Because CBD oil is natural and mild, it also does not pose the same negative side effects that many common inflammatory pain medications do.

CBD Dosing for Dogs

Like many medications, most pet owners assume that a dog’s size and weight are the key components in determining the proper dose when using CBD oil for dogs with cancer.

While size and weight are important to consider, the animal’s physiological characteristics are also critical factors to include. These factors include the dog’s age, current illness, metabolism, the behaviors of their endocannabinoid system, and the progression of their disease.

If your pet’s veterinarian is experienced with CBD oil and can provide professional advice on dosing, it’s good to follow this advice. However, many veterinarians are unable to prescribe or dose CBD legally, so dosing may be up to the owner to experiment with.

When a pet owner has to determine a proper dose of CBD oil for their pet, it’s best to start with the smallest dose possible for the first week or so. This way, it will be possible to gauge the dog’s reaction to the treatment gradually.

If the dog shows no change in pain level or does not seem to be over-medicated, it’s safe to increase the dose. Experiment with doses until you have narrowed down the amount of CBD that best meets your dog’s needs.

For the fastest and best absorption, apply CBD oil directly to your pet’s gums. Though adding oil to your dog’s food may be effective, it may also dull the effects and require more oil for maximum effect.

Combining CBD and Veterinary Practice

If you’re thinking about introducing CBD oil to your pet’s medical regiment, it’s crucial that you first discuss the pros and cons of CBD treatment with your pet’s veterinary doctor. If you feel that your pet’s veterinary doctor is quick to dismiss your interest, it’s acceptable to seek a second opinion from a veterinary doctor who is more CBD-friendly.

It’s in your pet’s best interest to have his or her human and veterinary doctor on the same page when it comes to providing medical care, especially when the pet has a disease as serious as cancer. Discuss your options with your dog’s veterinarian and determine how supplementing your dog’s medically-recommended cancer treatment with CBD oil may help speed up recovery.

While CBD oil may not treat cancer alone, it’s been shown to be an excellent supplementary treatment that helps relieve your pet of the pain brought on by cancer itself and the treatment, as well as helping your dog maintain his or her appetite, sleep soundly, and keep their strength up enough to handle chemotherapy.


Using CBD oil for dogs with cancer can be challenging at first, especially if you have to determine proper dosing on your own.

Pay close attention to your pet’s body language and behaviors following a CBD oil dose. Doing so will help you discover whether the dose has been measured correctly.

Again, start dosing in small amounts and slowly increase the amount of oil you give over a period of a week.

Slow and steady is the best way to progress when it comes to CBD oil treatment.

If you can dose CBD oil under the guidance of your pet’s veterinarian, it’s an added benefit and will help your animal safely reap the benefits of natural, non-narcotic CBD oil treatment.