Can Dogs Overdose on CBD Treats?

A dog can’t lethally overdose on CBD dog treats

The escalating interest in CBD treats for dogs has raised questions regarding its safety profile. One of the most pressing queries is, Can a dog lethally overdose on a hemp-derived CBD dog treat? In simple terms, the answer is no1.

However, delving into the intricacies, while dogs can’t fatally overdose on CBD, they may exhibit a range of side effects, most of which are mild and non-life-threatening.

Understanding CBD and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Before delving into the issue of overdosing, it’s essential to understand the biological framework within which CBD operates. CBD (Cannabidiol) is a natural compound found in the hemp plant2. In dogs, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS)3.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system active in both humans and animals. It plays a pivotal role in regulating a variety of physiological processes, including sleep, memory, mood, appetite, immune responses, fertility, neurogenesis, and body temperature.

Essentially, the ECS is key to supporting homeostasis, ensuring the body’s functions are in equilibrium.

Can a Dog Fatally Overdose on CBD?

Can a Dog Fatally Overdose on CBD

A dog can’t lethally overdose on hemp-derived CBD. The WHO explained in a 2018 review on CBD that large doses seem to trigger diarrhea, lethargy, and drowsiness in dogs.

Researchers in a 2019 study also corroborated the view that cannabinoids have a favorable safety profile when administered orally.

Overdosing on CBD, on the other hand, can result in a few mild adverse effects such as dry mouth, tiredness, appetite fluctuation, and diarrhea.

To answer the question:

No, a dog can’t fatally overdose on hemp-derived CBD. Mild adverse effects like diarrhea and lethargy may occur but are non-life-threatening.

Recognizing and Managing Side Effects

If you observe any CBD indications in your dog, remain calm and patient. Most dogs will display similar symptoms if they consume a CBD dose that’s too large for their body weight.

The most common side effects in dogs exposed to significant amounts of CBD are gastrointestinal issues, extreme drowsiness, sleepiness, and lethargy4.

Notably, CBD doesn’t interact with brainstem receptors, implying that the body’s vital functions, like breathing, aren’t compromised.

Symptoms of Overdosage

Should a dog consume an excess of CBD chews, it might display similar symptoms to a mild overdose. These encompass:

  • Dry mouth

  • Diarrhea

  • Anxiety

  • Lethargy, or increased sleepiness

  • Fluctuations in body temperature

  • Temporary drop in dog heart rate

beagle dog wrapped in blanket sleeping on the couch

Toxicity vs. Overdose

Knowing the difference between dog toxicity and overdose is crucial while using CBD. Both can be harmful, yet their root causes and implications vary. Here’s a brief table breaking down the differences:

DefinitionResults from ingesting low-quality or harmful substances.Occurs when an excessive amount of a generally safe substance is administered.
Harmful Substance ExampleTHC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)High amounts of CBD
Safety ProfileUnsafe for dogs regardless of the amount.Safe for dogs in general but can lead to mild, non-life-threatening side effects in large amounts.
Potential EffectsPsychoactive symptoms, disorientation, discomfort, potentially lethal toxicity.Dry mouth, lethargy, diarrhea, appetite fluctuation.
TreatmentImmediate veterinary intervention is often required.Usually self-resolving; offering fresh water and a calm environment can help.
PreventionOpt for high-quality, hemp-derived CBD made explicitly for dogs, with low to no THC.Start with a low dosage based on your dog’s weight and gradually adjust while monitoring symptoms.

In summary, toxicity usually stems from the ingestion of harmful compounds and requires immediate medical attention, whereas overdose involves excessive consumption of an otherwise safe substance and is generally less severe.

Both scenarios highlight the importance of choosing high-quality, hemp-derived CBD products made specifically for dogs to minimize risks.

CBD cannabis skeletal structure formula

The Importance of High-Quality CBD for Dogs

Opting for high-quality, hemp-derived CBD is crucial. Lower-quality products might not provide the full spectrum of benefits and can include harmful substances that might cause negative side effects or allergic reactions.5

Always look for products specifically made for dogs, as they are calibrated for canine safety and efficacy. Hemp-derived CBD usually contains less than 0.3% THC6, making it safe for dogs.

On the other hand, CBD derived from marijuana plants may contain higher levels of THC7, which can result in a negative overdose reaction including symptoms such as disorientation and discomfort.

Dosage Recommendations

Determining the right dosage involves considering various factors like your dog’s weight, the condition you are treating, and the CBD product’s potency.

As a rule of thumb, it’s advisable to start with the lowest recommended dosage and monitor for adverse reactions.

Consistency is key: Stick with a set dose for at least 30 days before making adjustments.

dog in the veterinary clinic

Final Words

While dogs cannot fatally overdose on CBD, precautions must be taken in terms of sourcing high-quality CBD and administering the correct dosage.

Overdosage can result in mild, non-life-threatening symptoms that usually resolve with supportive care.

Always consult with a qualified veterinarian for personalized medical advice.


Can CBD treats be bad for dogs?

Short-term studies indicate that CBD is safe for dogs when administered in the proper dosage and sourced from high-quality, hemp-derived products. However, low-quality CBD products with higher levels of THC or other toxic substances can cause negative physical effects. Always consult your veterinarian before beginning any new treatment for your pet.

How many mg of CBD is too much for a dog?

For most dogs, the general guideline is about 0.2 mg of CBD per pound of body weight. Exceeding this limit may lead to potential side effects like lethargy, diarrhea, and body temperature fluctuations. Always start with a smaller dose and adjust as necessary under veterinary guidance.

How long does CBD stay in a dog’s body?

CBD typically stays in a dog’s system for at least 24 hours, though this can vary depending on factors like metabolism rate, body weight, and the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Long-term effects and how quickly CBD is metabolized can also depend on the frequency and dosage administered.

How do dogs act on CBD treats?

Administering CBD treats generally makes dogs feel calm and comfortable. The interaction between CBD and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps support homeostasis, thereby alleviating symptoms of stress and pain. However, improper dosage can lead to mild and non-life-threatening symptoms like sleepiness and lethargy.

Can CBD treats affect a dog’s appetite?

Yes, CBD can influence a dog’s appetite, either enhancing or reducing it. The interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) can regulate metabolic processes, potentially leading to appetite fluctuations. Monitor your dog’s eating habits closely when first administering CBD.

Do CBD treats interact with other medications?

CBD has the potential to interact with other medications your dog may be taking, particularly those that also interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Always consult your veterinarian before adding CBD treats to your dog’s medication regimen to avoid any unfortunate side effects.

Is it necessary to buy dog-specific CBD products?

Yes, it is crucial to purchase CBD dog treats that are made specifically for dogs. High-quality, hemp-derived CBD products designed for dogs ensure that they are THC-free, thereby avoiding psychoactive effects and potential negative overdose reactions.

Can a dog be allergic to CBD treats?

While it’s rare, some dogs may exhibit allergic reactions to CBD or other ingredients in CBD treats. Common signs include itching, redness, and gastrointestinal issues. If you suspect an allergic reaction, discontinue the CBD treats and consult your veterinarian.

What are the most common signs of a CBD overdose in dogs?

The most common signs of a CBD overdose in dogs are dry mouth, diarrhea, lethargy, and extreme sleepiness. While CBD overdosing will not result in extreme harm, it’s essential to remain calm and patient and seek veterinary care.


  1. Ashton, Livvy. “Can a Dog Overdose on CBD Oil?” CFAH, 7 July 2022, Accessed 10 Sept. 2023. ↩︎
  2. MD, Peter Grinspoon. “Cannabidiol (CBD): What We Know and What We Don’t.” Harvard Health, 24 Aug. 2018, ↩︎
  3. Silver, Robert J. “The Endocannabinoid System of Animals.” Animals, vol. 9, no. 9, 16 Sept. 2019, p. 686,, ↩︎
  4. Machado Bergamaschi, Mateus, et al. “Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent.” Current Drug Safety, vol. 6, no. 4, 1 Sept. 2011, pp. 237–249, ↩︎
  5. Can Dogs Overdose on CBD? | Safe Ways to Give Dogs CBD. 12 Dec. 2022, Accessed 10 Sept. 2023. ↩︎
  6. “Can Dogs Overdose on CBD Chews?” PawCBD, Accessed 10 Sept. 2023. ↩︎
  7. Gyles, Carlton. “Marijuana for Pets?” The Canadian Veterinary Journal = La Revue Veterinaire Canadienne, vol. 57, no. 12, 2016, pp. 1215–1218, ↩︎
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