10 Potential Side Effects of CBD Oil for Dogs: Read This First!

Last Updated: March 12, 2021

In case you’ve been living under a rock, CBD has become one of the biggest wellness crazes in recent memory. Cannabis compounds were illegal until only recently, and CBD was the first to receive the praise and attention that helped to catapult it to its current popularity. It was only a matter of time until this wellness craze spread to our pets, and that time has come.

Today, you can find all manner of CBD products created specifically for pets, including treats, tinctures, and even toys. CBD is touted as a safe and natural compound for any adult to take, but is it the same for our dogs? Let’s take a closer look at CBD for dogs and the potential side effects that it may cause before you go and start offering CBD treats to your favorite canine compadre.

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What is CBD Oil?

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol; a compound that’s found in cannabis and hemp. Cannabis is quite famous for its psychoactive effects, but cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound. This means that CBD doesn’t produce any high like other cannabis products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC.

Within cannabis, THC is the main component that produces the psychoactive sensations, but CBD provides many of the other positive effects that the cannabis plant is known to provide, such as a host of medical benefits.

dog taking CBD hemp oil
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Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

CBD has been proven to provide positive benefits for people. For instance, it’s used to treat epilepsy, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the World Health Organization, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.” But this is in regards to humans, which leaves us to wonder how safe CBD is for our dogs.

Currently, testing is ongoing. Groups like the AKC Canine Health Foundation are sponsoring studies about CBD’s effect on dogs, though there’s no definitive answer yet as to its efficacy or safety. However, according to PubMed, CBD has not been shown to be detrimental in healthy dogs.

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10 Potential Side Effects of CBD for Dogs

Despite CBD’s purported benefits for people and relative safety, there are some side effects that your dog might suffer as a result of this compound; particularly if given too much.

1. Dry Mouth

Many people are aware that cannabis can cause cottonmouth in people, but CBD can also have a similar effect on your dog. While it might be gross that your dog drools everywhere, that slobber is actually important for their health. If CBD causes your dog’s mouth to become dry, it can result in poor dental health, bad breath, and even cause pain when swallowing.

2. Lethargy

Another common side effect of cannabis use in people is drowsiness or laziness. Though CBD doesn’t contain any THC, your dog could still show signs of lethargy when dosed with CBD. Generally, this is due to a dose that’s too large, so if your dog gets drowsy after a dose of CBD, you might want to reduce the dosage size.

sad golden retriever
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3. Dizziness

CBD can also cause dizziness in your dog. You’ll have to look for signs that indicate your dog is dizzy, such as trouble standing up or repeated falling over. This can easily occur if the CBD you’re using isn’t pure and contains trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis that causes the “high” that users experience. While this might be pleasurable for some people, it might not be such a thrill for your pup.

4. Increased Tremors

One of the main reasons people administer CBD to themselves or their pets is to treat epileptic seizures. As such, you might think that it’s a good compound to help with Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, CBD has the potential to increase the tremors associated with Parkinson’s, in both humans and canines.

5. Itchiness

You might notice that your dog tends to scratch, bite, and itch a lot after being dosed with CBD. If so, then you’ll either want to reduce the dosage or cease it altogether. While this isn’t a particularly common side effect, it’s certainly possible, and it’s something you should be on the lookout for.

dog scratching itself
Image credit: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

6. Low Blood Pressure

CBD has been shown to cause temporary drops in blood pressure when administered in high doses. This can cause light-headedness, which your dog won’t appreciate. Since this is usually dose-dependent, reducing the amount you’re giving to your dog should help to eliminate this side effect.

7. Upset Stomach

Anything your dog isn’t used to consuming can cause an upset stomach. Even switching dog foods will wreak havoc on many dog’s stomachs. CBD is no different, and especially in high doses, it can cause quite a lot of discomfort for your canine.

8. Vomiting

When stomach discomfort is taken to the extreme, it can often induce vomiting. This could be as a result of the compound itself, or it might just be from the taste. CBD is a rather bitter substance and your dog may not like the taste of it. But if the CBD upsets your dog’s stomach enough, they’ll likely throw it back up.

Black dog vomiting
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9. Diarrhea

It can be hard to pinpoint CBD as the culprit when your dog has diarrhea since so many things can cause diarrhea in dogs. But if you’ve removed all other variables and narrowed your dog’s diarrhea down to the CBD you’ve given them, then you’ll either need to reduce the dosage or refrain from giving your dog CBD.

10. Inhibited Production of Liver Enzymes

CBD can affect the way your body metabolizes other drugs because it inhibits the production of liver enzymes. As a result, other drugs can become several times more potent, which can lead to accidental overdose; a deadly occurrence that you’ll need to take care to avoid. If your dog is currently taking other medications, be sure to get veterinary approval before adding CBD to its regimen.

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Conclusion

Though CBD is considered safe for humans and even for dogs in most cases, it can have side effects for both of us. While we can decide if the possibility of side effects is worth the potential benefits we could see from taking CBD, your dog can’t make that decision. You have to decide what’s best for your dog. So, keep in mind all of the potential side effects your dog might suffer before you decide to dose them with CBD. And it’s always a good idea to get your vet’s professional opinion first.


Featured Image Credit: Erin Stone, Pixabay