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Can CBD Be Toxic To Dogs?

Dogs eat everything. They’ll eat the bread from your hand, the cheese on the counter, the fluff on the floor, and even the odd sock or two. Some dogs will even eat their own…well, you know.

But despite this reckless culinary abandon, there are a lot of substances that are deadly to man’s best friend. The question is, now that CBD oil is widely advertised to dogs, is it in any way harmful, and can it be toxic to your pooch?

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

CBD oil and other CBD products are generally safe for dogs. There is very limited research concerning CBD and dogs, but it doesn’t affect them in the same way as alcohol and recreational drugs and is unlikely to cause any adverse reactions.

There are some potential issues to be aware of, though:

Use CBD For Dogs

Choose a CBD product designed specifically for dogs, as ones formulated for humans may not be suitable for them.

Human CBD products contain larger amounts of active ingredients and may also use flavorings, sweeteners, and extracts that harm your pet.

CBD edibles, for example, may contain xylitol, which is toxic for dogs. What’s more, if your dog gets their little paws on your edible supply, they’ll mop them up in a couple of mouthfuls and may consume a dangerous overdose.

Stick to the Recommended Directions for Use

To prevent adverse reactions when using CBD oils and other CBD products, always stick to the recommended directions for use.

Canine CBD dosage is based on body weight, so smaller animals need less than larger ones.

The label will often indicate how much you should give your pet. The information may be provided for both dogs and cats, but it will always recommend varying usage amounts based on your pet’s body weight.

Speak to Your Vet if They Have Health Issues or Take Medications

If your dog has any pre-existing health issues or takes medications, consult your vet before giving them CBD.

They will tell you whether or not a course of CBD oil is recommended and may even advise how much CBD you should give them. It would be best if your veterinarian is also a cannabis veternarian as those are truly the experts.  

Watch Out for Adverse Reactions

After giving your dog CBD, monitor them for adverse reactions. There should be no psychoactive effects, so they won’t appear “high”, but they might display symptoms such as tiredness, drowsiness, and nausea, especially with high doses.

Don’t Expect Immediate Results

CBD works slowly and the effects won’t always be immediately obvious. You need to give it time before you judge whether it has been effective or not.

Don’t stop giving your dog CBD just because they didn’t become immediately calm after the first dose. By the same token, you should refrain from increasing their dose immediately just because the first dose didn’t work.

What About THC?

Your dog shouldn’t have any issues taking CBD, but the same can’t be said for THC. 

THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the marijuana “high”. Legal CBD products contain 0.3% THC or less, and this is not enough to cause harm when following recommended directions for use.

But if your dog consumes cannabis brownies or other THC extracts, including marijuana-derived extracts with high levels of both CBD and THC, they may suffer serious adverse reactions.

If this happens, contact your vet immediately. Let them know how much was taken and how your dog is responding.

Symptoms of THC toxicity can include:

  • Sensitivity to loud noises and light 
  • Vomiting
  • Slow heart rate 
  • Changes in blood pressure and body temperature
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Trouble standing

Your vet will likely keep your dog in for monitoring and may provide intravenous fluids and supportive care and medication if required.

A little THC is always preferred as it’s naturally found in the hemp and cannabis plant and is not a death sentence, but it’s always best to be on the safe side and let your vet know. 

What Happens If You Give A Dog Too Much CBD?

If a dog takes too much CBD, it may show a range of symptoms, including nausea, dry mouth, and tiredness. 

Generally, they won’t seem like themselves and you may sense that something is amiss.

If you notice any such symptoms, it could suggest that your dog’s cannabinoid receptors (part of the body’s endocannabinoid system) have become saturated. After a few hours, the excess CBD should be removed from the body and they will be okay.

Give them plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and keep an eye on them.

Assuming there are no other toxic substances present, the problem should resolve on its own. However, if they have consumed an alarming amount of CBD, or you suspect they may have consumed THC, you can call the Pet Poison Helpline or take your dog to the nearest emergency clinic.

How Much CBD is Safe for Dogs?

Look for a high-quality CBD oil that has been made specifically for dogs and cats. Ideally, you want a full-spectrum CBD oil, as it contains an array of naturally-occurring compounds extracted from the cannabis plant and may work together to provide something known as the “Entourage Effect”. 

Providing you use a legally produced oil, it will contain less than 0.3% THC, which is not enough to produce a reaction or risk toxicity.

Buying a safe product from a reputable supplier means you know exactly what you’re getting and can trust that it’s safe for pets.

The label will tell you how much CBD oil you should give to your dog, but the general recommended usage amount is about 0.2mg per pound, equating to about 5mg of CBD for a 25-pound dog.

The label may show a directions for use scale, such as 3mg to 6mg twice a day. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and opt for the smallest recommend usage amount for your dog’s size.

This is true whether you’re giving them CBD treats, CBD oil, or other CBD extracts. Starting small will allow you to assess their tolerance and ensure there are no problems.

If you don’t notice any changes for the better or worse, consider increasing the dose after a few days.

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