There’s always a new health fad that claims to revolutionize human health – and it’s exactly the same for dogs too! Just like raw food, CBD oil is soaring in popularity.
Over the last decade, hemp-derived products for both dogs and humans have become more widely used. CBD treats chronic pain and anxiety in dogs, helping to alleviate these problems to give your pup a happier life and a good night’s sleep.
However, many can’t help worrying about potential side effects. The good news is that you’re not giving marijuana to dogs. Although CBD for dogs is safe, you should still be aware of the potential side effects you might encounter.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
Cannabidiol is made from a cannabis plant. It contains a range of cannabinoids that interact with receptors in your dog’s endocannabinoid system to regulate their nervous and immune systems.
As far as we know, taking CBD is safe for dogs. However, there’s not yet enough research to be completely sure. Still, with the current research and anecdotal evidence available, it’s clear the benefits outweigh any potential risks and adverse effects.
Although most cannabinoids are safe, it’s essential only to give your pup CBD oil formulated for dogs. CBD products for humans are sometimes made from the marijuana plant; this is bad for dogs since it contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound with psychoactive properties that’s toxic to dogs.
Pet CBD oil for dogs, on the other hand, is extracted from the hemp plant. Broad-spectrum oils are THC-free, while full-spectrum CBD for dogs has only negligible traces and is still safe. Even if you give your pup too much hemp-derived CBD, it’s likely they’ll make a full recovery without being too ill.
Side Effects of CBD Oil in Dogs
CBD products help with a range of issues, from managing the pain of cancer or arthritis to regulating anxiety during fireworks or thunderstorms. But your dog may experience other effects on the side, and it’s good to be aware of what might happen.
A dry mouth is a very common side effect, so don’t worry if this happens. CBD decreases how much saliva is produced and makes your dog thirstier. You’ll know this happens when your dog’s breath smells bad, and they drink more water. Since a dry mouth can lead to dental problems, it’s worth rethinking your dosage and cutting back a bit.
CBD products are used to treat anxiety and hyperactivity to help dogs get a good night’s rest, so it’s no surprise that sleepiness can be a side effect – but sometimes, this can go too far. You might notice your pup sleeping much more than usual and struggling to stay awake even during the day. Fortunately, reducing the dosage is a quick fix.
Lowered Blood Pressure
The more CBD oil you administer, the more likely your pup will have low blood pressure. Don’t worry too much since it’s just a temporary drop. However, it might make your dog feel dizzy and light-headed, so keep an eye out to make sure they don’t hurt themselves. If it’s more persistent than temporary, it’s best not to turn a blind eye to this and consult a veterinarian.
Although you might use CBD products to calm a hyperactive dog, large doses can calm them down so much that they become drowsy and lethargic, like they’re always on the way to bed. You don’t want your dog to lose the spark and energy that makes them special, so reduce the dosage if this happens.
Skin Irritation and Itchiness
If your dog suddenly starts itching after starting with CBD, it might be allergic to one of the ingredients. However, if they itch a lot anyway and are still itching, it might be worth giving a slightly higher dosage to fix this.
A 2022 study discovered CBD led to a clear decrease in itching for dogs with dermatitis. This is because itchy rashes are caused by skin inflammation, and since CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, it eases the rash and decreases itching. Even though CBD products aren’t marketed as a treatment for skin irritation, this is a side effect that could benefit your dog.
You’re unlikely to see this side effect in your dog since it’s only evident in humans so far. But if your dog has any neurological issues, CBD might make things worse. Although it’s not certain, it’s worth considering how much your dog would benefit from CBD if they already have tremors.
Gastric issues are common in dogs – even giving them new food can lead to upset tummies in many dogs. CBD is no different! That’s precisely why it’s best to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it until you find the ideal CBD dose. If any gastric issues get worse, consider changing the CBD product or reducing the dosage.
Nausea and Vomiting
Dog vomiting is a more serious result of gastric issues. If it persists for longer than 24 hours, it’s best to stop using CBD and get in touch with a vet. This might indicate an allergy to one of the ingredients in the CBD oil, so stop using it until your pup’s feeling better to ensure things don’t get worse.
Diarrhea is usually a sign of gastric issues and stomach upset, but don’t worry too much if you’ve only just started with CBD. Try giving them a bland diet of chicken and rice to see if it helps. If things don’t improve, consider changing the CBD product in case there’s an ingredient that makes them ill, such as carrier oil.
Change in Liver Functioning
A study conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences found that too much CBD oil elevated liver enzymes in mice and caused liver damage. While this is worrying, keep in mind that this only happens when giving incredibly high doses of a CBD isolate. Fortunately, it’s unlikely for this to happen if you give the correct dose of full-spectrum or broad-spectrum oil.
Not all side effects are negative! Since CBD can actually enhance cardiac function, using this on your dog can lower their blood pressure and help dogs who suffer from arrhythmia.
Potential Risks Associated with Using CBD Oil for Dogs
Since CBD oil for dogs is a relatively new treatment, there’s limited scientific research about how CBD affects dogs. It’s for this very reason that the FDA in the US hasn’t approved CBD oil yet and why there’s no official dosage recommendation. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use CBD oil, though – you just need to be cautious.
There’s a higher risk of side effects if you give your dog too much CBD, so start on a lower dose to ensure your pup doesn’t have an adverse reaction that makes their illness or anxiety worse. If they need more CBD, increase the dosage slowly and steadily over a few days until you find the sweet spot.
How to Avoid CBD Side Effects in Dogs
I never thought I’d be a helicopter parent to my dog, but I’m constantly checking on her to make sure she’s okay. My panic goes into overdrive when I give her new food or medicine, so I know how scary it is to give something like CBD oil to your dog. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to minimize the risk of potential side effects.
One way is to make sure to read the instructions and give your dog the correct dosage depending on their size, breed, and weight. Don’t rush things either; take it slow and give CBD time to take effect.
The best way to avoid unpleasant side effects is to get a good oil from a reputable company. Make sure their CBD is extracted cleanly from organic, pesticide-free hemp and is third-party lab tested. These premium products might be more expensive, but it’s always better to get a high-quality CBD oil that’s healthy for your dog.
Steer clear of oils with lots of ingredients. CBD oil only needs cannabidiol and a carrier oil, with perhaps one other oil for other potential health benefits. Including any other ingredients is a red flag. You should also ensure that you get CBD oil formulated for dogs. Cannabidiol for humans is sometimes extracted from cannabis instead of hemp and comes with a higher THC content which is toxic for dogs.
One option we would recommend is Honest Paws Well Oil. Honest Paws is a well-known, trusted brand that specializes in hemp-derived CBD for pets. They offer three different formulas that each come with four concentrations between 125mg and 1000mg. Mobility is best for dog arthritis, but we would recommend Well – the best oil for dogs with cancer. It’s a holistic and versatile formula that gives dogs immune and cognitive support as well as the full benefits of CBD.
How Long Do CBD Side Effects Last in a Dog’s Body?
The effects of CBD usually take between 30 minutes to an hour to kick in and can last anywhere between four to twelve hours. However, side effects are trickier to predict since all dogs react differently.
As with anything new, side effects aren’t unusual, and it can take a while for your dog’s body to adjust to the CBD treatment. Lethargy and sleepiness might last for the first couple of weeks, and intermittent diarrhea might hang about for just under a month. However, no side effects should last for longer than a few weeks or a month. If they do, it’s worth checking in with a veterinarian.
Starting a new treatment can be worrying when side effects are a possibility, so here are a few common questions to put the minds of pet parents at ease.
Does CBD Affect the Dental Health of Dogs?
Too much CBD can affect your dog’s dental health. One of the side effects is decreased saliva production – an essential process that washes bacteria from the mouth. Not only does this lead to bad breath, but it can result in tooth decay. If your dog has a dry mouth and drinks more than usual, reduce the CBD dosage to maintain your dog’s dental hygiene.
Is CBD Recommended for Treating Seizures in Dogs?
It’s terrifying to watch your pet have a seizure, and it’s horrid for them too – so it’s certainly worth taking something to treat this. According to a study from Colorado State University, a CBD product can act as an anti-seizure treatment, successfully decreasing the frequency of seizures in 89% of dogs.
Don’t go looking for CBD oil for dog seizures just yet, though, since another study from the same university drew no specific conclusions. Until more evidence is available, it’s best to continue with other medications and traditional therapies to manage seizures.
How Much CBD Is Recommended for Dogs?
How much CBD to give your dog is all down to their size and breed. Each product will have its own recommendations, but a general rule of thumb is to administer 1mg to 5mg for every 10 lbs of body weight. Start with a lower dosage and slowly increase it over the next week or so until your dog experiences the full benefits.
Are There Any Long-Term Side Effects of CBD?
Since CBD is still a relatively new treatment, long-term effects aren’t widely known yet, so don’t just give your dog CBD for the sake of it. Various side effects over a long period of time could cause complications, so don’t give such a high dose that they experience side effects for a long period. Although CBD is likely safe in the long run, be cautious and only use it when necessary.
Science has come a long way, and we’re still discovering new ways of treating illnesses for both us and our pups. Although dog CBD oil doesn’t have a wealth of scientific evidence behind it, what we do have combined with anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s safe and effective. It’s not without its risks and side effects, but if you know the best CBD oils to get and the dangers to look out for, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.