Cannabinoid or CBD pet treats—which are also called hemp treats—oils and tinctures are becoming increasingly popular for both human use and pets as well.
These CBD products can often be purchased online, through veterinary hospitals or at cannabis dispensaries.
CBD products are touted to treat everything from chronic pain, stiffness due to arthritis, anxiety and seizures. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center notes there are very few scientific studies looking at the efficacy and safety of CBD use in companion animals.
So what happens when the pets are given too many or they get into the bag?
It's important to differentiate CBD oil from cannabis oil, since cannabis oil contains high levels of THC and can cause serious clinical signs. Most CBD treats are labeled to contain a specific amount of CBD (often 2.5 or 5 mg/treat) and may claim to contain none or very minimal THC. However, if CBD is present in the treats, there is likely to be some THC in the products.
The APCC reports an increase in calls about cannabinoid treat and tincture ingestion, largely in dogs. Many of the dogs who have eaten more treats or more of the tincture than was recommended have shown clinical signs post ingestion, and those signs tend to be very consistent with pets who have had THC overdoses.
Most Commonly Reported Signs
Callers generally report these signs in their pets:
Some pets with larger exposures have even become recumbent
Treatment in affected pets is largely symptomatic and supportive. Mild cases may be managed at home; more significantly affected pets may benefit from IV fluids, antiemetics and good nursing care (such as warming in hypothermic patients).