Do Dog CBD Treats Really Go Bad? The Expiration Facts Pet Owners Need to Know


CBD (cannabidiol) treats for dogs have exploded in popularity in recent years. As more research emerges highlighting the potential benefits of CBD for canine health and wellbeing, pet owners are increasingly turning to these hemp-derived treats as a supplement for their furry companions. CBD dog treats come in various forms – from chews and biscuits to soft treats and pills. They all contain CBD, which is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from hemp. CBD interacts with receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, helping regulate various functions like pain, anxiety, and inflammation. Though additional research is still needed, many pet owners and some veterinarians report CBD treats can help dogs with issues like arthritis, seizures, stress and anxiety. This has fueled a boom in the CBD pet treat market, with an ever-expanding array of products from new brands. While hype is high, it’s important for owners to research brands, sourcing, proper dosage and potential risks when selecting CBD treats for their dog.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound found naturally in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, CBD does not produce any mind-altering effects or cause a “high”. CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, a variety of cannabis sativa that contains 0.3% or less THC (source).

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate various functions like pain, mood, sleep, appetite, memory and more. Research shows CBD may help with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy and other health issues, though more studies are still needed (source). Unlike marijuana, CBD does not produce a high or have psychoactive properties.

cbd oil

Benefits of CBD for Dogs

CBD has been shown to provide several health benefits for dogs. Some of the main benefits include:

Pain relief – CBD can help reduce inflammation and acute pain from conditions like arthritis or injuries. A Cornell study found that CBD helped increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis (1).

Anxiety reduction – CBD has a calming effect that can help relieve anxiety from separation, travel, loud noises, etc. In a small study by Colorado State University, CBD reduced noise phobia and anxiety in dogs (2).

Appetite stimulation – For dogs who have lost their appetite from illness or medication, CBD may help stimulate their appetite. In a Cornell study, CBD increased food intake in dogs on chemotherapy (3).

Seizure control – CBD has anticonvulsant properties and may help reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures. In some studies, CBD reduced seizure frequency by up to 30% in dogs with epilepsy (4).

Heart health – Preliminary studies show CBD may benefit heart health by protecting against cell damage. More research is still needed in this area (5).


Typical Shelf Life of Dog Treats

The shelf life of dog treats depends on the type of treat and how it is stored. According to PetMD, most commercially packaged dog treats will last 6-12 months past the printed expiration date if stored properly [1]. Vacuum-sealed treats tend to have a longer shelf life of 12-18 months thanks to the lack of oxygen inside the package [2]. Treats like bones and rawhides last 1-2 years in average conditions.

shelf life of dog treats

Once opened, most treats should be consumed within 2-6 weeks. Soft treats or anything with high moisture content tends to mold quickly and should be eaten within just a few days of opening. Hard biscuits and dental chews may last 2-3 months after opening if stored in an airtight container. Freeze-dried treats keep best after opening, lasting up to 2-3 months in an airtight container in the pantry.

Proper storage is key for maximizing shelf life. Store treats in a cool, dry place and make sure the packaging is always sealed tight. The fridge can extend the shelf life of some soft or homemade treats, but avoid storing most treats in the fridge as this can make them stale faster.

Do CBD Dog Treats Go Bad?

Like most food products, CBD dog treats do eventually expire and go bad. However, the cannabidiol (CBD) oil contained in the treats can extend their shelf life. CBD is a natural antioxidant and contains vitamins A, C, and E, all of which act as preservatives (Source).

The shelf life of CBD dog treats depends on factors like the recipe, storage method, packaging, and ingredients used. Properly stored CBD treats can typically last up to 18 months past their production date before going bad. However, they may start losing potency after 12-14 months. Freezing the treats can further extend their shelf life.

It’s important to check expiration dates and look for signs of spoilage before feeding CBD treats to your dog. Expired treats with lower CBD levels may not provide the desired benefits. While CBD acts as a preservative, treats should still be discarded once expired.

Maximizing Freshness

Proper storage is key to keeping CBD dog treats fresh and potent for as long as possible. According to Natural Farm Pet, air-tight containers are ideal for storing dog treats to maintain freshness, especially if original packaging is lost or damaged.

Wiggle Worthy recommends storing homemade dog treats containing meat in the refrigerator once completely cooled. Use an airtight container or bag to prevent moisture loss. Glass, plastic or stainless steel containers work best.

Storables suggests the optimal containers for dog treats are airtight options made of glass, plastic or metal. Keeping treats in these types of containers helps preserve freshness and prevents staleness or spoilage.

Signs CBD Treats are Expired

signs of expired cbd treats

There are some clear signs to look for to determine if CBD dog treats have expired or gone bad. According to sources like PetMD and Thriving Canine, the main things to check are:

  • Changes in smell – Expired treats will often develop an unpleasant, rancid, or bitter smell. Fresh CBD treats have a mild hemp scent.
  • Changes in texture – Treats that are hard or crunchy when fresh may become sticky, mushy, or crumbly when past their prime. Mold is also a bad sign.
  • Discoloration -CBD treats that look oxidized, yellowed, or brown when meant to be white or light in color are likely expired.
  • Taste – If treats taste rancid or bitter, that’s a red flag. Taste a small bite to check.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, expired treats may be safe to feed depending on the ingredients, but quality and potency can degrade over time. It’s best to discard CBD treats once they show any of the above signs.

Safety of Expired CBD Treats

Giving your dog expired CBD treats likely poses minimal risks, but there are some potential dangers to be aware of:

Loss of potency – CBD and other cannabinoids can degrade over time, resulting in decreased effectiveness. Expired treats may not provide the intended therapeutic benefits.

Rancidity – Fats in treats can oxidize and go rancid over time, especially in heat and light exposure. Rancid fats can cause gastrointestinal upset like vomiting or diarrhea.

Mold growth – Moist treats like soft chews can develop mold after expiration, posing toxicity risks if ingested. Dry, crunchy treats are less prone to this.

Bacteria growth – Bacteria like Salmonella can multiply over time in expired treats. Old treats pose a higher risk of bacterial contamination.

Overall, the risks depend on the age and storage conditions of the treats. More recently expired, properly stored treats likely pose minimal health risks. But very old or improperly stored treats may be more dangerous from loss of potency, rancidity, mold, and bacteria.

Disposing of Expired Treats

disposing expired cbd treats

It’s important to properly dispose of expired CBD dog treats to avoid any potential issues. According to the AVMA, spoiled or old pet food should be placed in a securely tied plastic bag before discarding in a covered trash bin to prevent other animals from gaining access to it [1]. This helps contain any bacteria growth and keeps scavenging wildlife like raccoons away.

Some pet owners choose to bury expired treats instead of placing them in the trash. This can work as long as the treats are buried deep enough that wildlife won’t be able to dig them up. However, putting expired treats in the regular trash is generally the easiest and safest disposal method.

It’s not recommended to flush expired dog treats down the toilet. They can cause plumbing issues over time as some ingredients may not dissolve properly. Composting also isn’t the best option, as the treat ingredients could potentially harmful contaminants to gardens.

When disposing of CBD dog treats that have gone bad, make sure they are completely sealed and secure in the trash. Follow any additional disposal instructions on the packaging. With proper precautions, owners can safely discard expired treats without worry.

Key Takeaways

Like any food product, CBD dog treats can eventually go bad. However, CBD itself does not actually expire. The carrier oils, flavorings, and other ingredients in CBD dog treats can degrade over time. Properly stored, most CBD dog treats will stay fresh for 6-18 months. Look for changes in smell, texture, appearance, and potency as signs a CBD treat may be expired. Consuming expired CBD treats is unlikely to make your dog sick, but the potency will be diminished. When in doubt, follow the expiration date and safely dispose of any old treats.

The key points covered in this article include:

  • CBD itself does not expire, but carriers oils and other ingredients can degrade over time
  • Properly stored CBD dog treats typically last 6-18 months before losing freshness and potency
  • Look for changes in smell, texture, appearance as signs of expired treats
  • Expired CBD is unlikely to harm your dog, but potency fades over time
  • Dispose of treats after the expiration date or if there are signs of spoilage
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