Can CBD Cause Dog Diarrhea?
For this week’s episode of “It’s A Dog’s Life,” I sat down with CBD Dog Health’s Director of Education and Outreach – Carter Easler.
Carter and I sat down to talk about poop. Yes, poop.
To be more specific, diarrhea. It happens to us all, including our pets. If you get stressed out, eat too much, or maybe add something new to your diet – sh!t happens.
To be even more specific, we’re going to talk about hemp causing diarrhea in our pets.
Hemp & Diarrhea
In some clinical studies, mild diarrhea was the most commonly reported side effect in dogs treated with hemp extract.
BUT let’s be clear, CBD and Hemp extract is extremely safe for dogs and cats. There are many studies that have been done to test for adverse reactions and all of them confirm the efficacy and safety of the plant.
In most cases, GI upset happens as a result of what our pets are eating. This can happen when your pup or kitten picks up something funky from the trash or makes a salad out of the front lawn. It can also happen when we introduce a new healthy food or supplement into their diet (just like us). Even if it’s safe, their gut may not process it well at first, so the response is to get it out as fast as possible.
Also, as our dogs get older, their stomach becomes more sensitive (again, just like us). So, if you introduce something new, diarrhea is most likely going to happen.
For example, when I get new dogs to my rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, and they are on a kibble diet – I switch them to raw. And when I say it’s a “sh!t show,” that is exactly what I mean. Introducing a whole new diet to any stomach comes as a surprise and needs to get used to the change. Some just have a stronger stomach than others. I would recommend adding supplements like Runs Be Done or Paxxin when your dog is experiencing these diarrhea changes to help.
When To Be Worried
Diarrhea is not particularly dangerous and usually goes away within a couple of days. However, depending on the cause it can point to more serious issues and infections that should not be overlooked.
One of the main issues with chronic diarrhea is dehydration. This is especially dangerous for small dogs, so it’s important to know the signs that it is something safe and normal.
Here are a couple of ways to tell if your pet is dehydrated:
1. CHECK THEIR GUMS
Using your finger, apply pressure to your dog’s gums. If the coloring quickly returns to a normal pinkish tone, that is a sign they are adequately hydrated. If after you remove your finger it takes several seconds for the blood to return to the area, they are probably dehydrated.
2. CHECK THEIR SKIN
Pull the skin on the back of their neck up away from the spine. If it quickly rebounds back to its normal position, you’ve got a hydrated dog. If it takes more than a couple seconds for the skin to return to a natural resting position, it’s likely they’re dehydrated.
Sometimes, you may not know for sure what you are dealing with. If you’re not super familiar with your pet’s poops, it may be hard to tell when something has changed for the worse. The best defense is to become more familiar with what’s going on before it’s a problem. That way you can rule out danger when your pet’s stool is loose from having a healthy cannabis product introduced.
Like I said, most of the time a loose poop is just a sign that your pet’s body is coping with something new and needs a second to figure it out.
The effects of adding cannabis oil to your pet’s diet can cause some change, but it is not something you have to be worried about. In the end, the positive benefits for the gut far outweigh the short term reactions your pet’s stomach may have in response to a little bit of oil in their diet.
In the case that they don’t make it outside in time, our best friend is a bucket of soapy water and a little bit of patience.
Tips & Tricks
If you know your pet has a sensitive stomach, make sure to administer your CBD at mealtimes so it’s not the only thing in their stomach.
Try using a higher potency tincture so you can use less oil for the same dosage. For instance, this tincture is 4 times as potent as this one, meaning you will only need ¼ the amount of oil to get the same mg’s of CBD.
Break up their dose into a couple of applications a day. This will make it so there is less of an impact with each dose.
In a study by Colorado State University, the number of reported instances of GI upset with cannabis extract was about equal to the number of those reported in patients using an olive oil placebo. Think about how your body would react the first time you took a few shots of olive oil. In the end, your pet’s loose stool is more likely the body’s response to the oil, not the CBD.
One thing to consider is that animals eating a monotonous diet are more prone to GI upset when new foods and supplements are introduced. This is especially the case with dogs and cats who are eating a dry kibble diet and have been for years. Their digestive system has a very limited range of tools and coping mechanisms at its disposal because it has been conditioned to only process one kind of food for so long.
CBD + The Gut
Even with animals who are eating a varied and balanced diet, it is possible for them to experience some mild diarrhea after their first dose of CBD. Most of the time this happens once or twice at most and then never again.
Despite the rare possibility of a blowout, the benefits of CBD for the gastrointestinal system are pretty amazing. There are tons of cannabinoid receptors in the stomach and throughout the digestive tract making cannabis an awesome natural treatment for things like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease).
Studies show that full-spectrum hemp extract is great for reducing excessive gastric acid, increasing blood flow to the stomach lining, and helping the lower esophagus prevent reflux.
In addition, anxiety and stress have been reported as major causes for irregular bowel movements, again making CBD a great treatment option for your messy pet.
What About Their Food?
In the case that you can’t seem to get control of ‘the runs,” there are some specific things you can do to help. Consider adding some foods to your pet’s meals that have high soluble fiber and low acidity.
For dogs experiencing chronic diarrhea, Dr. Karen Becker recommends a temporary diet of cooked lean ground turkey and plain canned pumpkin. This is something you would give your pet during the time their stomach and digestive tract are upset and then transition them back off it when they are regular again. This kind of diet is described as a ‘bland’ diet, but your pet will love the taste of these foods.
Another thing you can look for are supplements like slippery elm. This super-food is a great soluble fiber that will help slow down the digestive action of the intestines. The fiber hangs out in their gut and keep things from moving through before the body is able to break it down and extract the valuable nutrients. They also retain water and prevent further dehydration.
When our dogs get diarrhea, I always turn to Dr. Harvey’s product, Runs Be Done or Amber Naturalz Paxxin. These are great supplements that contain a combination of natural whole foods that are high in soluble fiber and have a calming effect on the gut.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is passionate about animals and has dedicated her life to providing all-natural relief to pets of all ages and breeds. Ardolino has worked with animals for over 20 years and operates Fire Flake Farm, a rescue farm in Lutz, FL. A medical cannabis expert, Ardolino holds a degree in the therapeutic uses of cannabis from the University of Vermont School of Medicine and is the founder of CBD Dog Health. Combining her background in broadcast journalism and her passion for pets, Ardolino is the host of a pet-centric podcast, “It’s a Dog’s Life” on Cannabis Radio. Additionally, she is the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and spa. Ardolino cares for anywhere from 5 to 20 dogs, 9 geese, 12 chickens, 12 ducks, 2 rabbits, and 1 pig at any given time on her farm. Visit www.AngelaArdolino.com and www.CBDDogHealth.com to learn more.
About Carter Easler
Father of bulldog, Moo, Carter is a life-long animal lover from Toronto, Canada currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. Growing up in a family of veterinarians, he grew up surrounded by animals. He had dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles — you name it, and Carter probably rescued it.
Carter’s passion for cannabis activism started when he was in high school. After learning about the senseless prohibition and incredible diversity of cannabis’s utility, he was inspired to get involved. When Carter met Angela, he was excited to learn that he could combine his passions: animals and cannabis. Carter now travels North America to educate pet parents, retailers, and veterinarians about CBD. He is excited to bring his passion for pets to CBD Dog Health.