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

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

feeding labrador cbd oil

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


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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CBD has become one of the biggest wellness fads 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 fad spread to our pets, and that time has come.

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

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol; one of the many cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis plants. Cannabis is quite famous for its psychoactive effects, but CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that has been shown to offer a variety of health benefits.

CBD doesn’t produce a high like tetrahydrocannabinol(THC), which is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

CBD oil for dogs is extracted from hemp plants (rather than marijuana), and to remain federally legal hemp plants must contain less than 0.3% THC.  However , it is important to note that the legality of CBD products differs across different states.

dog taking CBD hemp oil
Image By: iAmMrBenjamin, Shutterstock

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

Please Note

The FDA has not yet approved the use of CBD or any other hemp-containing products for animals to treat any ailment. If you plan to administer CBD to your pet, you should consult with your veterinarian before doing so.

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, research is ongoing into the use of CBD for our canine companions. Studies have shown that CBD has the potential to help dogs with pain management, control of seizures, anxiety and atopy (allergic skin disease to environmental allergens), among other uses. CBD oil appears well tolerated by dogs in research so far, but further studies are needed to fully understand its metabolism, efficacy, safety, and the potential side effects.


6 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. It may mean that your dog wants to drink more water.

2. Drowsiness

Another common side effect of cannabis use in people is drowsiness or sedation. Though CBD oil for dogs shouldn’t contain any THC, your dog could still show signs of sleepiness when dosed with CBD. Often, this is due to a dose that’s too large, so if your dog gets drowsy after a dose of CBD, consult with your veterinarian and you might want to reduce the dosage size.

sad golden retriever
Image Credit: Pixabay

3. Tummy Upset

Studies have shown that diarrhea was a common side effect in dogs given CBD either orally or in an infused transdermal cream. Mild diarrhea is also reported as an uncommon adverse effect in people.

Some dogs will have more sensitive stomachs than others and, as with many new medications or supplements, vomiting is also a potential side effect.

4. Changes In Liver Enzymes

CBD has been shown to affect liver enzymes and can affect the way the body metabolizes some medications. This means that it can interact and affect other drugs leading to serious side effects.

This is another reason you should always check with your veterinarian before using a CBD supplement, especially if your pup is currently taking other medications.

Female vet examining sick and sad Rhodesian ridgeback dog
Image Credit; Zontica, Shutterstock

5. Dizziness

CBD can also cause dizziness in your dog. You’ll have to look for signs that indicate your dog may be dizzy, such as trouble standing up or repeated falling over. CBD can slow the heart rate and decrease blood pressure. So, especially a high dose of CBD oil, can cause a drop in blood pressure and may cause light-headedness and dizziness.

If the CBD oil you’re using isn’t pure and contains THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis that causes the “high” that users experience, your dog may also be more prone to dizziness. While this might be pleasurable for some people, it might not be such a thrill for your pup. THC can be toxic to dogs in high doses and should be avoided. It shouldn’t be in any CBD product formulated specifically for dogs.

6. Harmful Additives

Apart from THC, CBD oil products formulated for humans may contain other unsafe ingredients, including those that are toxic to dogs like xylitol. Always use animal specific products under your vet’s directions.

Unfortunately there is often minimal quality control of CBD products. A study evaluating 29 veterinary hemp products found only 10 contained the amount of CBD they claimed and 4 were contaminated with heavy metals. Reputable CBD companies should be able to provide a certificate of analysis for their product.



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.

More investigation into the safety of CBD oil for dogs is needed, therefore you should always consult with your vet before giving it, and keep in mind the potential side effects it may cause.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Erin Stone, Pixabay

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