can_a_dog_overdose_on_cbd_oil

Can a Dog Overdose on CBD Oil: Signs and Solutions

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Can a Dog Overdose on CBD Oil?

Can-a-Dog-Overdose-on-CBD-Oil

No, dogs can overdose on hemp CBD oil, at least not in the traditional, effective way. However, high doses of dog CBD oil can result in adverse side effects. The good news is that dogs are likely to sleep off these effects. Namely, CBD does not react with brainstem receptors and does not cause respiratory depression. Plus, dogs can only utilize so much CBD, and the rest will remain a waste. 

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In a 2018 critical review report by the World Health Organization, it is explained that large doses of CBD top out in lethargy, stomach upset, extreme drowsiness, and diarrhea. In another WHO article, “Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent,” conducted on humans and animals, researchers found out that CBD products have “no significant effects unless extremely high doses are administered…in excess of 30 mg per kg of body weight.” A 2019 study, “Cannabinoid treats as adjunctive therapy for pets: gaps in our knowledge,” stated that cannabinoids have a “favorable safety margin when administered orally.” 

Bottom line, based on current information derived from these studies, it is safe to assume that CBD overdoses in dogs are possible in theory, but they rarely occur in practice. As long as pet parents stick to the general guideline and recommended dosage, the use of CBD oil and CBD dog treats are perfectly safe. 

Dog Overdose Versus Toxicity, What’s the Difference?

Overdosing happens when a safe substance is given in excess, while toxicity happens due to unsafe substances even if given in minimal doses to dogs. In more practical terms, what dog owners should know is that CBD can cause an overdose while THC toxicity. Let’s take a closer look into the difference between overdose and toxicity. 

An overdose occurs when a dog is given more than the recommended amount of some otherwise safe and beneficial medication, supplement, or natural substance. In such a case, the pet’s metabolism cannot detoxify the substance fast enough, causing unintended side effects.

Pet poisoning or toxicity is different from an overdose. Toxicity occurs when a dog ingests a drug that has no benefit in any dose but holds toxic potential. This poison could be a human medication, a plant in your home, marijuana products, wild mushrooms, or more.

Therefore, when it comes to CBD for dogs, pet owners should only buy hemp-derived CBD products. The hemp-derived CBD extract contains trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive plant compound that society associates with getting high. To avoid THC toxicity in your pet, choose hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC and prevent any exposure to marijuana. 

Can You Give too Much CBD Oil to Dogs?

Yes, you can give your dog too much CBD oil. However, giving a full dropper of CBD oil instead of half a dropper is not a dangerous situation. Following an excess CBD dose, the most common sign is sleeping off the adverse effects. 

This is because CBD has a good safety profile and is unlikely to cause serious effects even in large doses. In addition to the potential benefits of CBD, the wide safety margin is the second best thing about high-quality CBD oil. 

Can CBD Kill a Dog?

No, hemp CBD oil will not kill a dog. In theory, since pet CBD products are allowed to contain trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%), and THC is toxic, consuming a significant amount of CBD pet treats and oils can result in toxicity. However, this is highly improbable in practice, as it would take your dog eating an enormous amount of CBD. 

However, CBD products and marijuana edibles like brownies and chocolates for medicinal purposes and recreational use in people contain high levels of THC and can toxicity in dogs. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, Pet Poison Helpline, and CBD companies receive frequent calls about THC exposure in companion animals. 

THC toxicity symptoms in dogs include vomiting, ataxia, slow heart rate, urinary incontinence, anxiety, hyperesthesia like sensitivity to loud noises, light, and touch, dilated pupils, and extreme lethargy. Dogs with THC toxicity need to be promptly and adequately treated by a veterinarian. Depending on the dog’s condition, the vet will recommend hospitalization to ensure proper treatment, injection of IV fluids (intravenous fluids), and supportive care. 

So, the answer two the question “Can CBD oil kill a dog” depends on the cannabis plant. CBD extracts made from hemp plants cannot kill a dog while CBD extracts from marijuana plants can kill a dog. Another issue with CBD treats for humans is they often contain artificial sweeteners, and some of them, like xylitol are toxic to dogs. Even a small amount of xylitol causes severe cases of intoxication in dogs. 

What Happens When a Dog Takes too Much CBD Oil?

What-Happens-When-a-Dog-Takes-too-Much-CBD-Oil

If a dog takes too much CBD oil, it will become sleepy. This adverse reaction is the result of drowsiness, light-headedness, and low blood pressure. To understand the consequences, pet owners must be familiar with how CBD oil products work. 

Namely, CBD exhibits its health benefits and effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a state of balance and health by regulating many functions and processes like pain, inflammation, body temperature, appetite, sleep, mood, memory, etc. 

CBD binds with these cannabinoid receptors, thus modulating the ECS. In case of giving too much CBD oil, the cannabinoid receptors will quickly saturate. Then, the excess CBD amount will be simply flushed out from the body. High doses of CBD can be the result of a miscalculated pure CBD dosage. It can also happen if your dog found a way to reach its favorite CBD peanut butter or, for example, cleaned out the jar or if your dog ate a whole bag of  CBD dog treats

In such mild cases, chances are your dog will sleep the CBD effects off and be fine within a few hours. It is a good idea to give your pet some water and allow it to rest. Also, keep in mind that harmless symptoms are possible. 

Signs You Have Given Your Dog too Much CBD Oil

The telltale sign you have given your dog more CBD than necessary is sleepiness. Other signs include lack of appetite and vomiting, while in rare cases, dogs may develop diarrhea as well. 

High doses of CBD are also linked with an increased risk of potential side effects. The risk of cannabis use side effects depends on two factors including dose and oil quality, with CBD oils of good quality being less likely to trigger adverse effects. Also, there is the individual factor with some dogs being more sensitive than others. Below is a list of the Side Effects of CBD Oil in Dogs:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Lowered Blood Pressure
  • Liver Enzyme Alterations

What to Know About Treating CBD Overdoses in Dogs

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Considering the benign nature of the so-called hemp CBD overdoses in dogs, more often than not, there is no need for treatment. As mentioned, just make sure your dog has access to drinking water and let it sleep off the effects. 

On the other hand, if dealing with THC toxicity, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. The faster you react, the better the outcome for your pet. Mild cases can be treated on an outpatient basis, while more severe cases require hospitalization. Prompt stabilization, followed by supportive care and extra love, are vital for a speedy recovery. 

When to go to the Vet for a Dog CBD Overdose 

If you have some doubt or it seems like your dog is too sleepy after being dosed with CBD oil, it is advisable to call the veterinarian and consult. If your dog is prone to the mentioned side effects and the increased lethargy is starting to affect its everyday activities, you need to talk with the vet about dosage modification. Finding the right CBD dosage for your dog takes time, experimentation, and patience. 

When a Dog CBD Overdose is an Emergency

Dog CBD overdoses are considered an emergency if the ingestion involves THC, which is found in human CBD products and marijuana.

A 2016 study, “Marijuana for pets?” states that despite the limited research and the “less than 60 papers in PubMed on marijuana in dogs,” the toxic effects are well-confirmed. The study mentions that dogs are sensitive to THC because they have a “higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared with humans.”

Therefore, if your dog ate THC-containing CBD oil or treats, call the Pet Poison Helpline or head toward the nearest emergency clinic.