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Side Effects of Using CBD Oil for Dogs - Read This First

Side Effects of Using CBD Oil for Dogs - Read This First

Posted by Ian Koontz on Jun 29th 2020

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With CBD oil rising in popularity as the trendiest wellness alternative online, it's no surprise that it's taking off for pets, too. There's a lot of information available on the internet, from bloggers to influencers, so it can be overwhelming when you first start looking into CBD oil for dogs.

We all want the best for our fur babies, so you should make sure to research everything from the pros of CBD to the side effects of using CBD products on dogs.

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. The American Kennel Club's Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, notes that in most cases, the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties- delta 9-tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), is not present in most CBD products. Because of the absence of THC, most CBD products should be safe for consumption for your pet, but always double-check, just to be safe.

What effects will CBD Oil have on my dog?

At the moment, there has been no formal study conducted that conclusively says what the effects of CBD are on dogs. However, scientists have found out that the effects of CBD are mostly positive. The compounds in CBD interact with central and peripheral nervous systems, which then help maintain balance in the body and keep it in a healthy, optimal state.

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For dogs, the effects of CBD are that of a holistic treatment for numerous ailments from anxiety to arthritis. A few studies on the side effects of CBD products on dogs are currently in the works, but in the meantime, pet owners are getting their information from testimonies from other pet owners online. A majority of pet owners report that as a holistic treatment, it's effective on their ailing pets.

It can help soothe anxious dogs, regulate a pet's mood, or even mitigate the pain of serious, terminal illnesses and its treatments, like cancer. Nothing is scientifically certified yet, but so far, pets seem to only have positive reactions to CBD based treatment. It may even be better as an alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medicines, which may have more pronounced side effects than CBD.

What are the possible side effects of CBD Oil for dogs?

CBD and hemp oil products are not FDA-approved remedies for ills for both humans and dogs (yet), it's best to be informed of both the pros and cons of using CBD oil, including documented side effects your dog may experience.

Scientific papers have found that CBD can cause an elevation in an important liver value in bloodwork called alkaline phosphatase or ALP. While scientists are not yet sure if that specific liver value has medical significance, but it may signify that it can cause irritation or damage to your pet's liver. CBD may also interact with other drugs, specifically anti-inflammatory medicines. Because of the risk of drug interaction, even if not proven scientifically just yet, it would be best to seek an opinion from your veterinarian before starting any CBD treatment regimen with your dog.

Dry Mouth

While you may not enjoy cleaning up after your dog's slobber, saliva plays an important role in the health of dogs. It helps them in multiple areas from dental hygiene, to digestion. If saliva production in dogs were to stop or slow down, it can affect their health by affecting their teeth, gums, and give them bad breath, even making it difficult or painful for them to swallow.

Less saliva may also mean your dog will attempt to compensate for the lack of fluids in their mouth and throat by drinking an increased amount of water. While that may not be bad, per se, it is also not a real solution to your dog's dry mouth and is more of a band-aid solution. If your dog starts to exhibit signs of having a reduced saliva production, you may have to reduce the dosage or stop giving your dog CBD for the moment. If it goes away, then you may resume giving your dog CBD with a reduced dosage. If not, it may be best to seek advice from your vet.

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Another prominent side effect of giving your dog CBD oil is vomiting. Since CBD oil is bitter, your dog may not enjoy the taste and reject it. While there are CBD products on the market that have flavoring to help ease the bitterness of cannabidiol, you will have to find the right one for your dog to keep them from rejecting it. The best way to know if the vomiting is caused by CBD oil is to observe your pet but consult your vet as soon as possible, because vomiting may cause your dog to be dehydrated or lead to other pains.


Diarrhea may be one of the worst, grossest side effects of CBD oil for dogs. It may be hard to discern at first if the CBD oil is indeed the cause of your dog's bowel troubles, or just because of a dog's regular and often questionable eating habits. However, one way to check is to try and remove CBD completely from your dog's routine to see if it is indeed the cause of your dog's diarrhea. Remove all the possible variables from your dog first before you make the call.

A way to test this is to resume your dog's diet as normal without the CBD, then see if diarrhea does go away. If it goes away but returns once you resume giving your dog CBD, then it's a sign to reconsider the use of CBD oil for your dog. Otherwise, if diarrhea resumes either way, then it might be time to consult your vet.

Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by a number of things, from unclean drinking water to chewing on something they probably shouldn't have, as dogs tend to do. Speaking of water, a good tip to keep in mind while taking care of a pet with diarrhea is to keep their water clean and constantly refilled, to keep them from experiencing dehydration as a side effect of diarrhea. You also have the option to mix other substances into your dog's water to help regulate their digestion or to act as a supplement while they recover.

Low Blood Pressure

You may notice your pet becoming more sluggish and sleepy once you being using CBD oil for them. If that's the case, it may be worth bringing up with the vet on your next visit to know for sure if it's because of CBD. You should make sure to mention to your vet that you are treating your dog with CBD oil and keep an eye on your pet if they are lethargic or overly tired.

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What health benefits can CBD oil have for my pet?

While research is still ongoing and inconclusive, a majority of pet owners seem to agree that CBD oil positives far outweigh any potential side effects. Giving your dog CBD products may help treat:

  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Appetite issues
  • Digestive issues
  • Sleep pattern problems
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Mood regulation and comfort
  • Cancer treatment pain


While CBD for dogs is taking off as a popular holistic treatment, it's still best to research as much as you can about hemp oil for dogs and its side effects to make sure that your pet will be safe and healthy throughout your dog's CBD journey.