Can Dogs 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.

What now?

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?

Of course.

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
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • 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?

Vet examining a sick dog in his clinic.

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

RoyalCBD 125mg Pet Oil Bacon flavor

Pros Cons
  • 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 Bones CBD Pet Oil

Pros Cons
  • Organic, non-GMO hemp
  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • MCT carrier oil
  • 600 mg CBD per bottle
  • No low-strength CBD oils for dogs
  • Limited supply available due to high demand

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.

Sources:

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  6. de Almeida, D. L., & Devi, L. A. (2020). Diversity of molecular targets and signaling pathways for CBD. Pharmacology research & perspectives, 8(6), e00682 (6).
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