A Georgia woman says one of her Chihuahuas died and another became ill after she fed them “calming treats” made with CBD oil.
Dorinda Phillips, who uses CBD to help with her own Lupus, said both of her rescued dogs suffered from anxiety, and that she tried the product after a sales representative handed her a complimentary bag of dog treats called Happy Tails Calming Treats, made by the Charleston Hemp Company.
She gave each dog one treat the first day, and the second day. Then, she said, she noticed they were both acting sick.
According to the package each treat contains 5 milligrams of “full spectrum hemp.”
The sicker of the two dogs, Phoebe, died at the vet’s office; the other dog, Hannah, was sick but survived.
“It’s been rough. It’s been lonely,” Phillips told WRDW in Augusta.
“I rescued her to take care of her and now I got to live with it,” Phillips said. “I was responsible for giving her something that killed her.”
Phillips said her vet told her Phoebe, who had cardiac problems was “adversely effected” by ingestion of CBD product.
“She said it is definitely a CBD overdose, and I did go get a second opinion from a second vet in Columbia County and he said he had over four in Columbia County overdose — dogs from CBD — and my little Phoebe would have been five,” Phillips said.
The second vet, Phillips said, documented that Hannah “OD’ed on CBD cookies”, writing “she is throwing up water” and “seems very weak.”
Though such treats have flooded the market, the FDA maintains it is illegal to use CBD as an active ingredient in human and pet foods. The agency has taken few actions against those who are making and marketing such products, other than warning letters sent to a handful of manufacturers.
While the FDA says the science is still out, customers aren’t waiting. They’re snapping up the hundreds of products now available for both their own use and use on their dogs.
Hemp and CBD products have become one of the most lucrative segments of the pet product industry, and those offering dog treats that purportedly soothe joint pain, anxiety and a host of other problems are being marketed by everyone from Willie Nelson to Martha Stewart.
Phillips said, based on her own use of CBD oil, she didn’t hesitate to give the small treats to her dogs.
She gave one to Hannah in hopes it would help her anxiety and “I saw immediately she was calmer,” Phillips said. “The next night I gave her one and I saw she was a little too calm.”
The next morning, Phillips said she found both her dogs dazed and violently ill.
“Neither one of them could get out of their cage,” Phillips said. “They were stumbling, walking in circles — one of them collapsed.”
Company officials pulled the treats from their website, but said they doubt there was any connection between the treat and the dog’s death.
“It horrifies me that someone’s animal died,” Dr. Chip Mathis of the Charleston Hemp Company said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s because of our product.”
After the dog’s death the FDA released this warning: “Pet owners: CBD is not generally recognized as safe for pet food.”
“I disagree with that,” Mathis said, adding that Cornell has done multiple studies using CBD and Hemp extract in dogs for anxiety and arthritis and the results have all been positive.
But the FDA wants to know more before giving hemp companies the okay to market towards pets, including the risks in certain species and breeds.
“I wish there would be some FDA regulations,” Phillips said. “People need to know just because it’s in the bag and says, ‘good for your pet’ — they need to be aware they need to check dosages think about the age of the dog.”