A woman in Augusta, Georgia, USA, believes that dog treats containing cannabidiol (CBD) caused the death of one of her Chihuahuas and sickened the other, reported CBS affiliate WRDW. The dog owner received a complimentary bag of Happy Tails Calming Treats manufactured by Charleston Hemp Company.

Happy Tails Calming Treats were not featured on Charleston Hemp Company’s website, as of March 3, but the packaging appears in a Facebook post by a South Carolina distributor, Dottie’s Pharmacy and Compounding. The labeling states that each treats contain 5 milligrams of “full spectrum hemp.”

The Georgia dog owner gave her dogs the treats one night, and they seemed calmer, reported WRDW. However, after giving the CBD-infused dog treats to her pets on the subsequent night, the animals appeared lethargic. The next morning both dogs were ill, stumbling and walking in circles. Her veterinarian had to euthanize one of the dogs that had previous heart problems. Her veterinarian asserted that the dog had suffered an overdose of CBD.

Research on safe dosage of CBD in pets

Currently, few studies have examined the effects of varying dosages of CBD on dogs and cats. In one study, eight cats and eight dogs received 2 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight. The animals took the CBD orally twice daily for 12 weeks. The results of the study, published in the journal Animals, didn’t reveal any detrimental effects on the dogs’ or cats’ health.

However, another component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be toxic to dogs and cats, although life-threatening cases are “exceedingly rare,” Gary Richter, DVM, said on PetMD.

"Dogs have so many more cannabinoid receptors in their brain and throughout their body, and that sensitive network can simply be overwhelmed by THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana ,” University of Alberta animal science instructor Connie Varnhagen, said in Folio, a publication of the university. “They can die from the overdose. People get high; dogs get poisoned.”