Planning to go to the CBD route? Can CBD overdose in dogs be fatal? With proper dosage, your pup can live a happy and healthy life. Are you unsure whether you can give your dog CBD with no fear of overdose? Here we explain what happens when your dog takes too much CBD oil — and what to do. CBD (hemp oil) treats are becoming more popular to give pets, and some of the same dangers exist as with THC. Find out the symptoms and treatment plans.
CBD Overdose in Dogs: Can CBD Oil Harm My Dog?
Are you still unsure about giving CBD to your dogs? Are you afraid of CBD overdose in dogs? We get it. There are still many uncertainties to CBD due to a lack of studies.
However, a growing number of pet parents are now enthusiastic about CBD due to the positive side effects they see on their pups. CBD side effects will differ depending upon the dosage you administer.
To help lessen your doubts and fears, let’s tackle if CBD or too much CBD intake can harm dogs. With the proper dosage, CBD for dogs can have significant benefits for your dogs.
Dog Overdose vs. Dog Toxicity
Confused between overdosing and toxicity. Toxicity comes from an unsafe substance that is considered toxic to your pet. Overdosing happens when given too much of a safe substance.
In overdose, the dog’s metabolism can’t quickly detoxify the substance, and this causes specific side effects. Toxicity or poisoning is when a dog has ingested a drug that carries toxic potential. Toxicity can come from THC, human medication, food, or plants.
What is CBD?
CBD or Cannabidiol is a compound found in hemp plants. Of more than 80 cannabinoids, CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main cannabinoids found in cannabis products.
CBD vs. THC
The main difference between THC from CBD is that THC is a psychoactive compound responsible for getting people ‘high’. At the same time, CBD has a lot of great benefits for us humans and even our dogs.
How does CBD work in a dog’s body?
Like humans, dogs have the Endocannabinoid System. The ECS helps regulate the many bodily functions like pain, inflammation, metabolism, mood, immune function, and more.
When CBD enters a dog’s body, the CBD stimulates the Endocannabinoid System’s receptors called CB1 and CB2 by releasing endocannabinoids.
These endocannabinoids help the dog’s body to be calm and balanced. If the body is not producing enough endocannabinoids, it can result in depression or sad behaviors.
Can CBD Overdose Kill or Harm My Dog?
Let’s settle this here; NO CBD will not kill your dog. But dogs can overdose on CBD and can have harmful side effects too.
To help avoid these issues, you have the responsibility to know the correct dosage that your dog needs. You also have to research and understand the ingredients of the CBD product you’re about to give.
Always check if the CBD product contains THC. Less than 0.3% THC is only allowed in CBD for pets as it can be toxic to our dogs.
CBD products come in different forms, like oil, treats, and cream. We highly suggest you look for the Certificate of Analysis or COA on every CBD product that you’ll buy.
The Certificate of Analysis tells you the chemicals and ingredients in the product. Knowing all components, you can avoid potentially harmful ingredients for your dogs (e.g., allergies).
CBD Overdose Side effects
You might have heard the saying, “too much of something good is bad.” Well, that can also apply in taking CBDs.
Your dogs can potentially experience harmful side effects when given the incorrect dosage of CBD. A common side effect of CBD overdose is lethargy. Your dog might lack energy after too much intake of CBD.
Many people believe that the cause of this is the impurity of CBD on the products.
CBD might not be toxic because it doesn’t have a psychoactive compound. It can still have possible side effects when overdosed. Here are a few potential side effects of CBD overdose in dogs:
- Lethargy or Lack of Energy all of a sudden
- Urinary Incontinence
- Overwhelming Sensations
- Excessive Drooling
CBD Dosage for Dogs
CBD oils have different concentrations. That’s why it’s essential to check the box first. The correct CBD dosage for dogs depends on the dog’s weight. A good rule of thumb is to start with 1-2mg per 10 pounds.
It usually takes about 30-45 mins after the intake to take effect. So if your dog is experiencing motion sickness or anxiety on road trips, give CBD oil 30 minutes before you’re planning to go.
Furthermore, if it is your first time giving CBD, remember to monitor your dogs for possible side effects so that you can adjust the dosage next time.
Is it safe to give your dog CBD every day?
This will depend on the dogs and the reasons they are taking it. Recent studies suggest that dogs that suffer from arthritis or seizures can benefit from taking 2-8mg/kg or lower twice per day, with an 8-12 hours interval.
Is CBD Addictive to Dogs?
There is no evidence that CBD can be addictive to dogs. However, even though CBD is a natural supplement with significant benefits, we should always choose the best quality products for our dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions about CBD for Dogs
Can I use Human CBD for dogs?
There are significant differences between human CBD and CBD for dogs. There are differences in concentration, potency, and even flavors.
Human CBD can have flavors that are toxic to our dogs. Chocolate and Xylitol are examples of this. These flavors are known toxins to dogs.
Do vets recommend CBD for dogs?
Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate CBD products for animal use, vets are hesitant to prescribe CBD for dogs. Most US veterinary boards advise vets to avoid discussing or defining CBD until the FDA approves it.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy CBD for your dogs. You can legally purchase hemp-derived CBD for dogs if you’re 21 years old and above.
How long does CBD stay in a dog’s body?
CBD effects can stay on your dog’s body for about 24 hours. But it will also depend on the dosage you give them and the physiology of the individual dog.
It will also depend on the reason why you are using CBD. For example, if your dog is experiencing health issue symptoms, they might need more or less dosage of CBD.
When discussing the longevity of CBD in the dog’s body, we’re talking about the CBD’s “half-life.” Half-life is the amount of time for the concentration of the CBD to decrease by half of the amount you gave it.
For example, suppose your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, and you have given them in the morning by the end of the day. In that case, the CBD side effects inside their body might not be enough for the comfort that they need in the evening.
CBD Overdose in Dogs Final Thoughts
As we discover the world of CBD for dogs, we can’t help but wonder about the possible side effects due to the lack of studies in this field. CBD overdose in dogs could happen, but the side effects will not be fatal.
CBD overdose potential side effects include excessive drooling, vomiting, lethargy, and urinary incontinence. As a responsible owner, you have the responsibility to know the ingredients and chemicals present in the CBD product that you’re giving your dog.
THC is a big no-no in CBD for dogs. Only 0.3% or lower is allowed on CBD products for pets. It is also your job to know these CBD effects and monitor your dogs to make adjustments for the next dosage.
CBD overdose will not kill your dogs. It is not even addictive.
Moreover, the amount of benefits your dogs can get from CBD triumphs all of these possible side effects. CBD can help your pup live a long and healthy life with proper dosage.
Can a Dog Overdose on CBD Oil?
From a medical standpoint, your dog can’t fatally overdose on CBD. That’s because CBD doesn’t mess with the brain stem areas responsible for respiration.
That being said, a dog can overdose on CBD oil in the sense that it will experience a range of side effects.
Fortunately, these are mild and non-life-threatening — and almost inexistent in normal doses.
But let’s say you gave your dog too much CBD oil.
Should you be worried? Does a CBD overdose require a check-up with the vet?
You’ll find the answer below. Today, we explain the ins and outs of the pharmacological risks of CBD for dogs.
CBD and Dog Overdose: Highlights
- CBD is a natural modulator of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — a vast neurochemical network common among all mammals.
- The ECS regulates the most important biological functions, such as sleep, memory, mood, appetite, pain, immune response, body temperature, neurogenesis, fertility, etc.
- Giving your dog CBD oil can improve its quality of life by supporting homeostasis (balance) throughout the body.
- CBD can also address several pet symptoms and ailments, which is why dog parents are turning to it as an alternative to conventional treatments (or as supportive therapy)
- CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated by animals and humans. A dog can’t lethally overdose on it.
- However, CBD can be overdosed and cause a few mild side effects, such as dry mouth, lethargy, appetite fluctuation, and diarrhea.
- If you notice any signs of CBD in your dog, calm down and be patient. The side effects should disappear within a few hours.
- Any alarming signs indicative of toxicity caused by consuming a contaminated CBD product require immediate veterinary care.
Can a Dog Overdose on CBD Oil?
If you’re thinking about a classic type of overdose — when someone takes too much of a given substance and dies — the answer is no.
But can your dog experience negative side effects when you give them too much CBD oil?
The good news is that, in the worst-case scenario, the doggie will need to sleep them off.
CBD doesn’t interact with brainstem receptors and doesn’t disrupt breathing.
Not to mention that dogs have a certain threshold of CBD they can utilize. The rest will come out with a poo.
The WHO explained in a 2018 review on CBD that large doses seem to trigger diarrhea, lethargy, and drowsiness in dogs. However, they also concluded that CBD products are generally safe and well-tolerated by humans and our four-legged friends.
Researchers in a 2019 study also stated that cannabinoids have a favorable safety profile when administered orally.
Long story short, it’s safe to assume that CBD overdoses are theoretically possible, but most of them involve benign side effects.
As long as you stick to the recommended dosage, CBD is safe for your dog.
The Difference Between Overdose vs. Toxicity in Dogs
An overdose occurs when a safe substance breaches the safe dosage threshold, while toxicity may be triggered even by tiny doses of unsafe substances.
Your dog can overdose on many products, including CBD. However, not all overdoses are the same, but from a medical standpoint, you shouldn’t worry too much about giving your dog too much CBD oil.
Pet poisoning or toxicity isn’t the same as overdose. Toxicity occurs when a dog is given a substance that doesn’t produce any benefits regardless of the dose — but can be toxic.
This poison could be a plant in your home, a marijuana product, mushrooms, or human medications.
If you want to give your dog CBD oil, you should opt for hemp-derived products. They contain 0.3% THC or less, so they won’t get your dog high.
Never give your dog any marijuana product — it can drive your dog paranoid, cause a racing heart, induce a panic attack, or make the dog vomit.
If your dog accidentally consumed a marijuana edible, take them to the vet right away.
Can CBD Harm or Kill Your Dog?
No, CBD won’t harm or kill your dog. Theoretically speaking, since pet CBD products can legally contain 0.3% THC or less, and THC can be toxic to dogs, consuming an extremely large dose of CBD could result in THC toxicity.
However, this could only happen if you force-fed your dog with CBD or give them a giga-chunk of CBD wax — both actions seem unimaginable for loving dog parents.
You need to watch out for some CBD products, though. The CBD market lacks regulations in terms of manufacturing and labeling standards. According to various studies, around 60% of CBD products available on the market are mislabeled or contaminated with excessive amounts of THC.
THC toxicity in dogs includes symptoms like racing heart, anxiety, sensitivity to loud noises, touch, and light, extreme lethargy, and dilated pupils.
Dogs with THC toxicity should be taken immediately to the veterinarian. Your vet will be able to provide it with adequate treatment.
Depending on the severity of intoxication, the vet may recommend hospitalization to make sure the dog receives an adequate amount of fluids and additional care.
To wrap it up, a dog can’t fatally overdose on CBD, and as long as you give them hemp-derived CBD oil or pet treats, the side effects of taking too much CBD should be mild.
What Happens When a Dog Overdoses on CBD Oil?
Sleepiness is the most common reaction to a CBD oil overdose. This effect stems from lightheadedness, low blood pressure, and drowsiness. To understand the safety of CBD oil, pet parents should become familiar with how CBD works in dogs.
CBD produces its therapeutic effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is made of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (CBD- and THC-like molecules), and enzymes.
The ECS promotes and helps maintain homeostasis throughout the body, controlling a wide range of essential functions, such as pain, immune function, body temperature, sleep, appetite, fertility, memory, neurogenesis, etc.
CBD modulates the ECS by acting on its enzymes and naturally increasing the concentrations of endocannabinoids in the bloodstream. They also enhance receptor activity.
CBD also acts on over 65 molecular pathways, hence its therapeutic versatility. However, the complex nature of its effects makes it able to calm down a dog’s nervous system to a great extent — causing the aforementioned lethargy.
Side Effects of CBD Oil Overdose in Dogs
High doses of CBD oil in dogs are associated with an increased risk of adverse reactions.
Depending on the dog’s weight, metabolism, and CBD dosage, your dog may experience the following side effects:
- Dry mouth
- Lowered blood pressure
- Changes in liver enzymes
CBD is also a potent inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzyme system, which metabolizes 60–80% of pharmaceutical drugs. If you give your dog other medications, consult the use of CBD oil with your veterinarian.
Depending on the type of interaction, CBD can increase or decrease the drug levels in your dog’s bloodstream, leading to toxicity or subtherapeutic effects.
Talking to the vet will help you space out the dosages and schedule for both compounds so that no negative interactions occur.
How to React If Your Dog Overdoses on CBD Oil
Since the nature of CBD overdoses is mild, you won’t need to take your dog to the vet most of the time. Just make sure they have access to drinking water and a calm spot to fall asleep for the duration of the effects.
However, when the dog suffers from THC toxicity, seek immediate veterinary care. The faster you act, the safer your pet will be. Mild cases usually require outpatient care, but more severe cases may call for hospitalization.
Should You Take Your Dog to Vet After a CBD Overdose?
If you suspect you might have given your dog too much CBD oil, call your vet and consult the issue. If your dog is just going through some normal lethargy, ask the vet for help with adjusting the dose of CBD oil.
Finding the right dosage should help you avoid such problems.
When a dog overdoses on CBD, it’s only considered an emergency case if the product contained significant amounts of THC, which is found in marijuana products for humans.
In a 2016 study, the authors confirmed that marijuana has toxic effects on dogs. The study mentioned that dogs are more sensitive to THC because they have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared with humans.
Again, take your dog to the vet if you notice any symptoms indicative of marijuana toxicity.
And keep your pot brownies out of their reach.
What’s the Recommended Dosage for Dogs?
CBD oils come in different potencies, so make sure to check the packaging and dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer.
The optimal dosage for dogs depends on their weight and metabolism. It’s a good idea to start with 1–2 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of the dog’s weight.
It usually takes about 15–30 minutes after the intake to notice the effects. Some of the CBD will be absorbed by the sublingual membrane in the dog’s mouth, while the rest will travel to its bloodstream through the gut.
If this is your first time giving your dog CBD oil, remember to observe how they respond and look for possible side effects so that you can adjust the dosage accordingly.
Is CBD Addictive to Dogs?
There’s no evidence that CBD could make the dog addicted to it. The aforementioned report from the WHO made it clear that the abuse potential for CBD is the same as for a placebo.
However, even though CBD is a biologically appropriate supplement with a wide range of health benefits, you should always look for the best-quality products for your dog.
Best CBD Oils for Dogs
1. Royal CBD
- Organic hemp from US farms
- CO2 extraction
- Suspended in MCT oil
- Up to 500 mg of CBD per bottle
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Dog-friendly flavor
- Rather expensive compared to similar products
Royal CBD is known for its award-winning formula for humans. Recently, the brand has upgraded its lineup with a new collection of CBD products for dogs.
Dog parents can choose from two strengths: 250 mg and 500 mg. The first option works better with smaller breeds, while the latter is more suitable for larger dogs.
Both variants come in the beloved flavor of all meat-eater: bacon.
These CBD oils contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, leveraging the entourage effect — a unique synergy between these ingredients that boosts the effectiveness of CBD.
2. Gold Bee
Gold Bee specializes in CBD products infused with superfoods. This unusual company makes CBD oils created with larger breeds in mind. The Gold Bee CBD pet oil contains 600 mg of total CBD, translating into 20 mg CBD per mL. If you have a smaller dog, this oil can be difficult to dose, but on the other hand, it may last you longer than low-strength options.
Similar to Royal CBD, all Gold Bee products are tested for potency and purity in a third-party laboratory, with batch-specific certificates of analysis available on the Gold Bee website.
CBD Overdose in Dogs is Real, But Should You Be Worried?
More often than not, there’s nothing to worry about when a dog overdoses on CBD oil.
The side effects of taking too much CBD include dry mouth, a drop in blood pressure, changes in appetite, and lethargy. Most of the time, your dog will be sleepy after a CBD overdose.
With marijuana products, it’s a different story. If you use marijuana-derived CBD oil or have some pot edibles in your kitchen, keep them in a safe place, away from the dog. Dogs may suffer from THC toxicity after ingesting marijuana. If you notice signs of intoxication in your dog, take them to the vet immediately.
Overall, as long as you choose the right product and stick to the recommended dosage, the side effects of CBD oil are non-existent.
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Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
FAQs about CBD Use in Pets
A: Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid produced by the plant Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana. After many anecdotal reports of CBD’s potential health benefits, studies are now underway to look at the potential benefits of CBD for controlling pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis, calming anxious pets, and as a possible treatment for epilepsy in dogs. CBD is being used by many pet owners today, so it’s essential to know enough about it to discuss the potential risks of use.
Q: Is CBD psychoactive?
A: No; however, there are several possible reasons a dog who has ingested CBD may look high:
- The product that the pet ingested contains both THC and CBD. There are many products on the market, some even labeled for use in pets, that contain both CBD and THC at varying concentrations, so check the labels or look up the product online to see what’s in it.
- The pet ingested enough of a CBD product to cause THC toxicity. Hemp can legally contain up to 0.3% THC, so if a pet ingests a large amount of a hemp-based CBD product, mild THC toxicity can occur.
- The product has not undergone quality assurance testing and contains THC.
- The dog also found some marijuana or THC edibles. Ask about any other cannabis products in the home.
Q: What are the most common signs reported in pets after the ingestion of CBD products?
A: Vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, and diarrhea are the most common clinical signs reported. Ataxia can occasionally occur with large ingestions.
Q: How do I treat these cases?
A: Most cases need no treatment, aside from symptomatic care for gastrointestinal upset if it occurs. If it’s a large dose, where the THC content might be a factor, mild sedation, urinary incontinence, hyperesthesia, and ataxia could develop, and the pet should be confined to prevent injury from misadventure. If you see significant signs that look like THC toxicity, treat the pet in front of you and provide IV fluid support, anti-nausea medication, and good nursing care as needed.
Q: Is there anything special I need to know about pet hemp treat overdoses?
A: Products sold as “soft chews” can have an osmotic effect when large amounts of chews are ingested and pull fluid from the body into the gastrointestinal tract. In mild cases, this can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. In severe cases, hypernatremia, hyperglycemia, hyperkalemia, azotemia, and acidosis can occur. Aggressive fluid therapy, while monitoring hydration status and electrolytes in these pets, is critical.
Q: What about interactions with other medications? Any long-term effects to be concerned about?
A: CBD is an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 and has the potential to affect the metabolism of other drugs. While this appears to be of minimal clinical significance in most cases, this may be important when CBD is used in a pet for seizure control. Doses of other anticonvulsants may need to be adjusted. Remember that owners may discontinue anticonvulsants on their own if they feel that CBD is controlling their pet’s seizures, so this is an important discussion to have.
CBD has also been shown to cause dose-dependent elevations in liver enzymes in various safety studies. This has not been noted in acute overdose situations but could be a concern in pets taking CBD long-term. Monitoring liver enzymes and total bilirubin in these pets is recommended.