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Can Dogs Build Up a Tolerance/Immunity to CBD?

Can Dogs Build Up a Tolerance/Immunity to CBD?

Whether you’ve already started a consistent regimen of CBD for dogs or you’re considering adding CBD to your pet’s wellness routine, you might be wondering: “Can dogs build up a tolerance or immunity to CBD?” 

In short, yes – your pet can build up a tolerance to CBD dog treats and CBD oil for dogs if you don’t administer them correctly. 

While this question has a simple answer, you likely want to know exactly how and why this happens and how to avoid it. Understanding how tolerance happens will help you establish a wellness routine with CBD for dogs that’s appropriate for your dog’s size and needs in order for them to experience the greatest benefits with no side effects. 

Can My Dog Develop CBD Tolerance?

how dogs build up CBD tolerance - paw CBD

To answer this question more completely, we need to explore:

  • The definition of CBD tolerance
  • How humans and animals process CBD
  • Human CBD tolerance

What Is Dog CBD Tolerance?

The word tolerance refers to a built-up resistance to a substance. Tolerance is when your dog’s body adjusts, or gets used to, the amount of CBD oil you’ve been giving them. 

By its very nature, CBD is meant to be administered every day. CBD needs to build up in your pet’s body in order for them to experience its benefits. But if that build-up becomes so steady that it’s no longer providing support and health maintenance, your dog might be experiencing CBD tolerance. 

Developing tolerance to a wellness resource like CBD is an undesirable outcome because it then requires you to give your dog larger amounts of CBD to create the same benefits, which requires a reassessment of your existing CBD routine. Plus, increasing your dog’s daily amount of CBD might not reverse their tolerance and ultimately puts them at risk for being given an amount of CBD that is too large for their size and needs. 

Humans and Dogs Process CBD Through the Same System

A lot of what we know about how your dog experiences CBD comes from what we understand about how humans experience CBD. Far more extensive studies and research have been conducted on humans and their reactions to, and processing of, CBD.

We know that humans and animals all process CBD through the same system – the endocannabinoid system. Dogs process CBD with cannabinoid receptors, just like humans. This system in turn regulates other bodily processes like digestion, nerves, and various organ functions. This common system is why we feel confident applying the results of human research to our knowledge about how dogs process CBD – and how they can potentially develop an immunity to it. 

Humans Can Develop CBD Tolerance – So Dogs Probably Can, Too

Humans can build up a tolerance to all cannabis products, including THC and CBD. The human body starts to build up a tolerance to CBD only when the body recognizes the introduction of this substance as abnormal. In order to balance things back out and “combat” this abnormality, the body will try to make fewer cannabinoid receptors. Fewer receptors means your body won’t process the CBD and create those desired bodily benefits and sensations. This is tolerance.

So, because of what we know about humans, pets, and the ECS, it follows that a tolerance to CBD for dogs can happen to your pet – but only if their body recognizes the CBD as abnormal

How to Avoid a Tolerance to CBD for Dogs

learn how to avoid dog CBD tolerance - paw CBD

Luckily, tolerance is easy to avoid with a proper CBD for dogs routine! Here’s how to give your pet the right daily dosage of CBD dog treats and/or oil so they don’t experience any side effects or develop a tolerance to it: 

  • Use the smallest recommended serving size of CBD that creates benefits
  • Every time you change your dog’s routine, maintain the new regimen for 30 days
  • Monitor your dog closely, especially when you change their CBD routine

Use a Consistent Daily Dose of CBD According to Your Dog’s Weight

The best daily CBD dose for your dog will likely be the smallest amount recommended for their weight range. This is definitely where you should start when first establishing a daily routine. 

It’s much easier to increase the daily amount of CBD dog treats if you’re not seeing results than it is to reverse tolerance if it develops when you give your dog too much CBD. Plus, a CBD serving that’s too large for your pet can cause side effects like grogginess and lethargy.

Maintain Your Dog’s CBD Routine for 30 Days

Whether you’re just starting out with using CBD for dogs or you’re updating your dog’s daily serving to provide more wellness support, you need to keep the daily dose the same for a period of 30 days. This is the amount of time necessary for your dog’s body to adjust to the CBD. Within 30 days, you can feel confident that the CBD has built up to an appropriate level in your pet’s body. If you aren’t seeing any wellness benefits from the existing daily amount of CBD oil for dogs, then your pet likely needs a larger daily amount.

Pro tip: If you need to increase your pet’s daily amount of CBD, do so incrementally. Don’t double their amount of CBD dog treats or give them twice as much calming CBD oil for dogs. Instead, try a couple more milligrams of CBD each day. So, if you aren’t seeing benefits with 5 mg/day, try 7 or 8 mg/day for 30 days rather than jumping to 10 mg daily. Especially for a small dog, increasing their daily dose by a single milligram can make a difference.

Watch Your Dog Closely for Changes – Both Benefits and Side Effects

While your dog can’t overdose on hemp-derived, THC-free* CBD oil for dogs, they can experience side effects that might not be desirable, like lethargy, grogginess, and sleeping too much. If you give them a significant dose of CBD that is much too strong for their size, they might experience more adverse effects such as low blood pressure, dry mouth, and diarrhea. Cease use of your CBD for dogs immediately if you notice your pet experiencing any of this. 

Is Your Dog Experiencing a Tolerance to CBD? Start Over

The key is to find that sweet spot in your dog’s daily dose of CBD – not so much that their body sees it as “abnormal” and develops a tolerance, and not so little that your dog can’t experience the remarkable wellness benefits. Finding that sweet spot might require a little trial and error. 

If you think your dog is experiencing tolerance, give their system a break from the CBD dog treats for a week or so, then start over and try to establish your CBD wellness routine with the smallest amount. Your dog’s CBD sweet spot is out there – you just have to find it!



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