Potential Side Effects Of CBD for Dogs and Cats

Potential Side Effects of CBD for Dogs and Cats

Whenever you decide to give your pet any new supplements or medicine, it’s always good to look into the potential of any side effects before administering them. CBD is relatively new and many people are using it for themselves and their pets. Per the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD from Hemp plants is completely legal in the United States. It does, however, come from the same family of cannabis plants that people smoke to get “high”. Interestingly, CBD that comes from the cannabis plant is a highly controlled drug.

CBD products that come from the marijuana plant are only legal in states where marijuana is legal recreationally or medicinally. So, you might be wondering, “Is CBD oil safe for dogs and cats?” Furthermore, are there any harmful side effects of CBD for dogs or cats?

What Is CBD?

CBD, which is short for Cannabidiol, is a natural compound extract from the hemp plant. Cannabidiol is just one of 113 cannabinoids found within the hemp plant. Of these 113 cannabinoids, THC and CBD are the most widely studied and used.


THC and CBD are two of the most abundant cannabinoids found in modern plants. Reason being, through selective breeding, cultivators of hemp and marijuana have been able to alter certain strains in order to produce higher levels of these compounds in their crops.


Scientists refer to CBD as a phytocannabinoid. “Phyto” means plant. So, phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids from a plant, in the case of the product we sell, our full-spectrum CBD comes from hemp. 

CBD & The Endocannabinoid System

Cannabinoids like CBD interact with what scientists call the endocannabinoid system (ECS). We all naturally have an ECS in each of our bodies. In fact, all mammals (including our dogs and cats) have an endocannabinoid system.

Get 15% off all HolistaPet Products! Over 2000+ Positive 3rd Party Reviews! Holistapet CBD trustpilot banner dog


Furthermore, it’s believed most animals including, birds, fish, and even reptiles have an ECS. So whether we are talking about the ECS in dogs or the ECS in humans they generally work in the same manner and offer similar results.


Cannabinoids and the ECS work in unison together to actuate a wide range of physical effects throughout the body.

CBD & Cannabinoid Receptors

Not everything about the ECS is fully understood by researchers, but one thing they know for sure is that the ECS is made up of a network of cannabinoid receptors (CB-1 and CB-2 receptors).


They know these receptors initiate specific reactions when interacting with phytocannabinoids (such as CBD). Similar reactions occur when the ECS interacts with the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoids (such as anandamide). “Endo” is a prefix meaning internal, or from within. Therefore, endocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced naturally from within the body.


The reason CBD is able to work seamlessly with the body’s natural ECS is that the cannabinoid receptors cannot differentiate between an endocannabinoid and a phytocannabinoid. This is a perfect example of human, animal, and nature’s connection.

Dog CBD receptors HolistaPet


ECS Helps Maintain Optimum Homeostasis

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is believed to be one of the systems responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is the natural, balanced condition that optimally supports life. When CBD interacts with the ECS, it further reinforces the proper balancing functions within the body and its major systems.


The ECS seems to play a major role in regulating and maintaining the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, excretory, nervous, endocrine, skeletal, and immune systems.

CBD From Hemp vs CBD From Marijuana

Because of CBD’s links with recreational cannabis, there is some controversy about its use as a therapeutic remedy. There is also a lot of confusion over whether it is safe to take and whether it will create a “high” or intoxicating effect.


Most CBD products come from hemp, but there are also CBD products that can come from the marijuana plant. CBD products that come from the marijuana plant are only legal in states where marijuana is legal recreationally or medicinally.


Holistapet proudly uses only 100% natural, pure organic CBD from Colorado. Some of the purest and cleanest CBD in the world comes from Colorado.

Is CBD Oil Safe in General?

CBD from hemp is considered to be safe and non-toxic.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report on Drug Dependence, “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” Their findings also report “CBD appears not to exhibit THC-like discriminative stimulus effects”. It will not cause a “high” or “intoxicating” effect.


Additionally, the WHO adds “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications”. This WHO report was on Drug Dependence, not on toxicity, however mounting evidence supports this statement. 


Epidiolex is the only FDA approved CBD product for humans, but Epidiolex is derived from the cannabis plant. According to the Department of Justice, “In June 2018, the FDA announced it approved Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy… the CBD in Epidiolex is extracted from the cannabis plant and is the first FDA-approved drug to contain a purified extract from the plant”.


With evidence mounting about CBD and the magnitude of its benefits and uses, it seems that CBD will likely become a safe, natural alternative capable of helping many people. But, now, you might ask, “Is CBD oil safe for dogs and cats?”

holistapet cbd quiz which cbd is right for your pet

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs or Cats?

CBD oil is considered to be relatively safe for dogs and cats. However, despite being widely used by both species there have been very few studies on the safety of CBD, or non-THC cannabinoids, in dogs or cats.

The FDA has not classified CBD as ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS). However, the scientific work that has been performed so far indicates that CBD does appear to be appropriately safe (at certain doses) in dogs, with only diarrhea and rises in some liver enzymes being seen. In cats, again diarrhea rises in liver enzymes, but also some mild licking and head-shaking was seen. Cats metabolize CBD differently to dogs. 


Both CBD and a dog’s naturally produced endocannabinoids are capable of interacting with and stimulating the ECS. Regulation of the ECS will help maintain the optimum level of homeostasis in dogs.


The compound in cannabis that causes the “high sensation” is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Holistapet’s CBD Oil Products for dogs and cats contain no THC.

CBD Products Made Specifically For Dogs & Cats

CBD can be taken in many different forms. There are CBD oil drops, which can be added to food/water or directly in your pet’s mouth. CBD dog treats and CBD cat treats are already infused with CBD to make for a quick easy treat. Also, there are CBD capsules available for pets. The capsules are easy to travel with and perfect for fast accurate dosing.

Potential side effects of CBD oil in dogs and cats
Infographic: Potential side effects of CBD oil in pets



There has been a lot of research into the effects that CBD has on humans and animals. That research is still ongoing, but results to date suggest that CBD may provide benefits in many situations. However, without FDA approval, we cannot, and do not, make any claims about treatment benefits of our products. Preliminary results of national studies and the large numbers of anecdotal testimonials suggest that CBD may be useful for:

  • Nervousness and phobias
  • Stimulating appetite
  • Some digestive  issues
  • Joint pain
  • Healthy sleep
  • promotes mood or comfort levels


CBD is not psychoactive, so it won’t cause a high. High doses can be associated with side effects (upset stomach, liver effects). It is always advisable, therefore, to give a dog small amounts of CBD first and then monitor the effects before increasing the dosage.


There have been very few studies performed in dogs. At appropriate doses, the potential side effects of CBD for dogs (and for humans) are considered relatively minor and are listed below:

Dry Mouth

Research has shown that CBD can affect the production of saliva. There have been reports of people experiencing a dry mouth after taking CBD. The side effect of CBD for dogs in this respect would manifest itself as an increase in thirst.

Lowering Of Blood Pressure

High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. The drop is small, but it may cause a temporary feeling of light-headedness.


CBD has been used to treat anxiety and panic in dogs. It may have a calming effect. One of the side effects of CBD for dogs is that this same effect can cause slight drowsiness when high doses of CBD are administered.

Increased Parkinson Disease Tremors

There are have been reports that high doses of CBD can increase worsen the tremors experienced by human sufferers of Parkinson’s disease.

Inhibition Of Drug Metabolism

High doses of CBD can inhibit the production of some liver enzymes. This could interfere with the metabolism of some drugs. This is one of the potential side effects of CBD for dogs and cats. It is advisable to talk to your vet before you give your dog CBD if your pet is currently being given any medication.

WHAT ARE CBD DOG TREATS?holistapet cbd dog treats

CBD dog treats are CBD infused edibles that can be fed to dogs. The concentration of CBD in CBD dog treats is lower than it is in CBD oil or tinctures. It also takes CBD a little bit longer to enter the bloodstream because it must pass through the digestive system first.

CBD dog treats, usually, biscuits can be purchased in a variety of different flavors. They provide a clean and easy way to administer CBD to dogs, particularly for picky eaters.

Although CBD dog treats look like regular dog biscuits, it is important to remember that they are made with CBD oil. It’s very easy to give your dog too many CBD dog treats. It is advisable not to give your dog any more CBD than it needs.




Yes, you can as long as you always crosscheck the ingredients just to make sure they are all safe for pets to consume, and that the dose is appropriate. Some manufacturers may add ingredients to CBD products that are ok for humans but toxic for dogs. However, many human CBD products are probably safe for dogs to consume. Although, the dosage levels for a dog will be much less. This is because CBD dosage is primarily given according to body weight.

The one human product to be wary about when giving your dog is CBD infused edibles. Some human CBD edibles contain an ingredient such as chocolate or raisins which are toxic for dogs. Some edibles have high levels of sugar, which may not be suitable for pets. Again, the dose of CBD in many human CBD edibles may be too high for your dog, so risks of possible side effects could arise.

For more in-depth information about CBD dosing sizes for your pet read our content about CBD oil dosage for pets. You can also find and use our handy dosing chart to quickly find your pets exact dosage.


When you are buying CBD products for your dog, it’s advisable to consider the quality of the products and the ingredients the product contains. Here are some important factors to consider when buying CBD for your pet:

1) Where Did The CBD Come From?

You want to check into where the hemp in the product was grown. We always recommend going with a brand that uses only CBD from hemp grown in the U.S.A. Specifically, hemp from Colorado or Oregon is known to be amongst some of the highest quality in the world. HolistaPet only uses CBD from hemp grown in Colorado.

CBD from hemp grown outside of the U.S. are not held to the same standards. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture oversee the industry standards of hemp grown in the U.S.

Beware of hemp grown outside the U.S., although some hemp coming from Europe can be of high quality. CBD from hemp grown outside the U.S. can have high amounts of pesticides or other toxins.

2) Is It Organic?organic

Organic CBD products will be safer for your dog because they won’t contain any artificial additives or chemical residues. Look for natural NON-GMO products or products with a label displaying it as organic. And remember, when it comes to HolistaPet products, don’t panic, we’re organic!

3) What Does The Lab Analysis Say?

The lab analysis of a product will tell you how much CBD is in the product. This information will be on the certificate of analysis (COA). You can see on the COA if there is any THC in the product along with other Cannabinoids that may be present. Other cannabinoids have certain benefits as well, although CBD is by far the most beneficial. You do not want THC in your CBD product.

CBD products that contain very little CBD will not have the desired effect. Be wary of products from companies that don’t have their certificates of analysis (COAs). Check out all the latest COAs for all our products on our lab results page.

4) Is The Price Too Cheap?

Usually with CBD products from a reputable brand, the higher the price, the higher the quality. That’s not always true though. Don’t just buy the cheapest products that you can find. Do your thorough research to find the most efficient CBD product for your pet. You can find premium quality CBD products for good prices, you just have to know what qualities to look for and then price compare some products.

When it comes to CBD, you get what you pay for. Most cheaper products are made from single-molecule CBD isolate. These products are not as beneficial as the products made from full-spectrum CBD oil. Holistapet uses only full-spectrum CBD in its products. It’s more important that the CBD products are effective and are free from harmful additives.

Here is a great resource for you to use in determining where to find the best solution in purchasing CBD oil. It covers several of the most trusted brands and displays their pricing and dosage availability.

CBD oil for pets price comparison chart



The debate continues over the use of CBD-containing products and their effects. There are many people who have said that CBD has helped them and their pets.

Scientists now know that THC is the single compound in cannabis that causes the high. The related compound of CBD is not psychoactive at all. Furthermore, CBD appears to be appropriately safe at suggested doses.

As we’ve learned in this article, CBD oil is generally considered appropriately safe for dogs and cats. The few side effects that CBD can cause mainly occur at higher doses and they are not generally serious. If you are considering using CBD or CBD-containing products in your pets, talk to your veterinarian.

Get 15% off all HolistaPet Products! Over 2000+ Positive 3rd Party Reviews! Holistapet CBD trustpilot banner

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top