Man giving CBD to a dog.

CBD for Dogs Upset Stomach

Roughly 39% of American households have dogs. Many of us consider our furry companions to be part of the family and love to tell others all about them. However, we bet not as many would love discussing a topic such as this. But if you own a dog, there is a chance you have (or certainly will) have to deal with this issue more often than you’d like. 

It cant be prevented entirely, but knowing more about this condition can certainly help you limit the number of times you deal with these unpleasant episodes.

So in this article, we explore the common causes of upset stomach issues with dog like diarrhea, and the treatment options you can use to resolve these situations. We also talk about ways to help prevent another incident.


Key takeaways 

  • Dog diarrhea is a common condition that affects most dogs once they are past six months old.
  • There are many causes, including dietary indiscretion, swallowing indigestible objects, food intolerance, and infections, to mention a few.
  • One of the notable side effects of CBD in dogs is diarrhea. However, it is unclear if CBD is the sole culprit, given that CBD products typically contain other cannabis compounds besides CBD.
  • There are several methods you can use to help your dog stop diarrhea, e.g., fasting, giving it bland food, and over-the-counter medications for dog diarrhea.

What factors cause diarrhea

Before we talk about the causes of dog diarrhea, let’s first look at how the canine digestive system works. This will help us have a better understanding of why dogs get diarrhea. 

Even though the uncanny similarities between humans and dogs can make you complacent regarding what you feed your dog, there are huge differences in how these creatures process food.

For starters, the human jaw and enzymes are designed to break down small pieces of food in the mouth. On the other hand, dogs have jaws designed for tearing, crushing, and gobbling down large food morsels. 

The enzymes in their mouth are strong enough to kill bacteria, which is why dogs can scavenge and eat food from waste bins and walk away virtually unaffected. The food then enters the stomach, where further digestion takes place. 

The digestive enzymes in dogs’ stomachs are so strong their stomach environment is essentially acidic. This allows them to break down and digest raw meat and bones. From the time food enters a dog’s mouth to the time it is passed out as well-formed stool should take about 10 hours.

However, sometimes things don’t go according to plan, and even this seemingly bullet-proof digestive system fails. When this happens, diarrhea is often one of the signs. There are many reasons your dog can get diarrhea, but in most cases, it comes down to:

  • Dietary indiscretion: dogs love food, and sometimes they just don’t know when to stop. Overeating can result in dog diarrhea. It is even worse if the food is bad or obtained from a not-so-hygienic source like the garbage bin. 
  • Swallowing indigestible food: because their jaws are so massive and strong, dogs sometimes may swallow chunks of food without chewing. In this haste, indigestible objects like stones, pieces of cloth, etc., can get swallowed along with the food. 
  • Diet change: introducing a dog to new food may cause stomach upsets as its digestive system needs time to adapt. This is why dog food manufacturers recommend going slow when switching from one food to another.
  • Infections: even though the digestive enzymes in dogs’ stomachs are three times stronger than ours, they get overwhelmed sometimes. Common bacteria like salmonella and viruses like distemper or parvovirus can wreak havoc in a dog’s stomach. 
  • Parasites: Intestinal worms, e.g., whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms, are also potential triggers of diarrhea in dogs.
  • Illnesses: dogs get sick too. Diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colitis, liver and kidney diseases can also lead to dog diarrhea.
  • Allergies: allergies are quite common in dogs past six months of age. Most dogs are affected by allergies when they hit the ages of one to two years.
  • Food intolerance: despite their strong digestive system, some food ingredients are sometimes indigestible. When this happens, your dog will likely develop gastrointestinal upsets characterized by flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. Food intolerance is quite common in dogs, with data showing that one in three dogs have it.
  • Stress and anxiety: sometimes, when your dog gets overly anxious or emotionally upset, it can develop diarrhea. Stress colitis is a leading cause of colitis in canines and leads to infection or inflammation in the colon. This condition usually resolves in three to five days without treatment. Separation from family members can also lead to dog diarrhea due to separation anxiety.

Obviously, there are many things that can make your dog develop diarrhea. Every dog develops a condition that causes diarrhea at one time or another. Fortunately, we will highlight several treatment measures you can use to prevent or stop the condition.


Can CBD for dogs cause stomach issues?

CBD is short for cannabidiol – one of over 100 cannabinoids that naturally exist in cannabis plants. In recent years, interest in this cannabinoid has soared sky-high thanks to its supposed health benefits. 

Today, the CBD pet products sub-segment is one of the fastest growing in the CBD industry. Yes, many pet owners are increasingly turning to cannabis-based products to manage wide-ranging health conditions in pets. Indeed, a recent survey showed that nearly 50% of US pet owners use CBD for their cats and dogs based on the recommendations of veterinarians.

CBD is largely non-toxic and generally well-tolerated in humans and dogs. Research shows doses of up to 1500 mg of CBD a day have been well-tolerated in human models. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than people, so they may not need as much CBD as people to manage similar health conditions. 

In rare cases, people who have taken CBD have reported mild side effects such as nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, diarrhea, drowsiness, and mood changes. It is also thought that CBD may cause liver injuries or interact negatively with other medications. 

You may have noticed we are focusing on CBD’s side effects based on human studies. The reason is that there is no scientific data enumerating the effects of CBD on dogs. All we know is that dogs, like humans, have an endocannabinoid system that enables them to respond to cannabinoids (e.g., CBD) just like we do. 

Be that as it may, the most commonly reported negative symptoms in dogs after CBD ingestion are inappetence (loss of appetite), vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea. In some cases, ataxia has also been observed. However, there are several possible reasons a dog that’s ingested CBD might be affected.

For starters, many CBD pet products on the market contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This cannabinoid is psychoactive and is known to induce toxicity in canines, especially when ingested in significant amounts. This is why it is important to ascertain that any CBD product for pets is absolutely THC-free! 

Typical CBD products are made from hemp – a marijuana species that contain low THC levels (< 0.3%). However, laboratory reports indicate there are a lot of malpractices in the CBD industry because it is not FDA-regulated.

Consequently, the safety and purity of CBD products are the responsibility of manufacturers. Some of them care only about profits, so finding a CBD product claiming to have zero THC when it actually has substantial THC levels is not uncommon.

CBD pet products are sold in many forms, with “soft chews” and treats among the most popular. Soft chews may have an osmotic effect when ingested in large amounts. This pulls fluids from the body into the digestive tract causing diarrhea and dehydration.

So, it is not exactly clear if CBD is directly responsible for the side effects observed in animals that take it. Keep in mind that the science of CBD extraction is still in its infancy, so every CBD product ends up with numerous other cannabinoids and cannabis compounds.

To be safe, ensure you give pets CBD products designed for them. Always start with small doses as you watch how they respond. Should there be any undesired side effects, it is advisable to stop using the supplement immediately. 


Can CBD oil for dogs cause diarrhea?

CBD oil is cannabis extract in which CBD is the dominant ingredient. This extract is then dissolved in a carrier element, in this case, oil. CBD oil has many advantages besides the usual health benefits of CBD.

The oil makes it easy to administer the CBD to pets or mix it with their food. Certain oils like medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), for instance, have their own unique health benefits. MCT oils can be used to boost energy levels, promote weight loss, lower blood sugar, and improve brain functioning. 

However, when taken in large quantities, MCT oil may cause serious side effects like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. So, if MCT oil is one of the ingredients of your dog’s CBD oil, it is recommended that you use small doses.

Currently, there is no defined tolerable maximum quantity for MCT oil, but anecdotal evidence suggests 60-100 mL is a safe upper limit (in humans). You can use a lower upper limit for your dog. In any case, most CBD products specify the recommended doses for pets, so you are well-guided in this regard.


What can I give my dog for diarrhea

Many dog diarrhea cases are often mild and can be remedied without paying the vet a visit. Many dogs respond to basic at-home treatments such as:


If you notice your dog has diarrhea, try withholding food for 12-24 hours. Instead, give it water in small amounts frequently to help clear any irritant causing the stomach upset. However, this method suits healthy, well-fed dogs. Puppies and elderly dogs need nutrients constantly, so fasting might be a bit hard on them.

Diarrhea causes dehydration, so give the dog water frequently

Simple foods

Once the fast is over, give the dog simple or bland foods. These should be introduced slowly since the digestive system is still healing. Many pet owners prefer to give their dogs binders to help normalize their stool.

Other foods you can give the dog include rice water, plain white rice, plain yogurt, probiotics, pumpkin, cottage cheese, boiled potatoes, herbs (e.g., fennel), and specially formulated dog food to soothe stomach problems. 

Over-the-counter dog treatments

There is a wide range of over-the-counter medications and supplements that you can use when your dog has stool problems. Some of these can be administered immediately after the diarrhea sets in, while others can be given regularly to prevent gastrointestinal problems.

These come in various forms – liquids, powders, pastes, and chewable treats. The key ingredients in such medications are pectin and kaolin. The former soothes the GI membrane and detoxifies the stomach. The latter absorbs and eliminates harmful toxins from the stomach.


How to prevent diarrhea in dogs 

High-quality CBD products may help your dog deal with some of the effects of diarrhea, such as abdominal pain or cramps, anxiety, and poor sleep. Our human-grade Premium CBD Pet Drops are made with organic ingredients and high-quality CBD to help support calm and relief. 

These come in three delicious flavors that dogs absolutely love. It is produced in two strength levels –300 mg and 600 mg– to ensure your dog gets the exact dose of CBD. The more potent CBD oil obviously kicks in faster than the less potent one, but the overall effects are just about the same.


Bottom line

CBD research is still young, so little is known about how CBD reacts with pets like dogs and cats. Most research studies are conducted on murine (rats and mice) and human models, so we cannot provide conclusive answers. By and large, research shows it’s safe, so there is no need to worry.


For more information on how to stop diarrhea in dogs without having to seek professional help, check out the video below: