Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With Seizures

By Brendan Bures, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

It is unexpected in dogs, but they can have seizures…and maybe CBD oil can help Dogs are man’s best friend and are simple adorable. But roughly 2-5% of dogs have epilepsy, something you wouldn’t expect. Prior to the seizure, many pets (like human) will experience the aura stage.  The pet appearing anxious, frightened, or dazed, as if the they can sense an upcoming seizure. It is frightening and scary for both the dog and pet parent. Can CBD oil help dogs with seizures, only research will know.

Common breeds that have a higher rate of epilepsy include Beagles, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Border Collies, Boxer Dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Irish Wolfhounds, Keeshonds, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, St. Bernards, Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, Siberian Huskies, English Springer Spaniels, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, and Wire-Haired Fox Terriers. While found in dogs, epilepsy and seizures are very rare in cats.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extract of the cannabis plant (marijuana). Unlike the major active ingredient of the plant, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause “high” sensations. Instead, it is associated with pain relief and is the main ingredient in many cannabis pet products. Though testimonies abound about marijuana helping those with epilepsy or cancer, more people have been drawn to the plant to help with pain — for them and their dogs, especially those with canine arthritis.

Canine epilepsy is the most common cause of recurrent seizures in dogs. Unfortunately, the medications used to treat epilepsy, such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, diazepam, and other anticonvulsant drugs, can cause serious side effects in some dogs. Even with medication, up to 30 percent of dogs with epilepsy continue to experience seizures.

The AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF) has shown interest in helping with a major clinical trial to study CBD as a treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy in dogs. More research needs to be completed to not only show results, but provide guidance for dosage. Veterinarians are reluctant to suggest CBD for dogs due to this lack of a clear, helpful path.

Another study is being done with veterinary neurologist Dr. Stephanie McGrath. She launched her first cannabidiol pilot study in 2016, assessing CBD for 16 dogs with epilepsy. The results showed 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. In a follow up study, McGrath launched a larger, double-blinded study. Adding on to the study, is the search for data over dosage.


“We don’t have the answers yet, but so far it’s promising and we’re seeing encouraging results,” McGrath said. “But all dogs don’t get better, I can tell you that much”.

We hope they have an answer by the end of 2024.

The Fresh Toast is a daily lifestyle platform with a side of cannabis. For more information, visit

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