The legalization of medical marijuana comes as excellent news to those who can benefit from its medicinal properties. Some cannabis products, though beneficial to humans, can pose a danger to pets, especially dogs.

Various types of CBD infused products made specifically for animal consumption exist because the majority of products that are available for human consumption are not safe for pets. Our previous article on CBD for Pets for more information on how to safely give your dog CBD as medication for different ailments.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has noted a significant increase in the number of calls they receive about their pets consuming marijuana. APCC states that though dogs are the most likely to come in contact with marijuana, still, other pets such as cats, birds, ferrets, or rabbits are also likely to get into their owners’ medication and have a negative reaction.

Larger animals may react in a very mild manner to the THC in marijuana products but smaller dogs or animals are more susceptible to the cannabinoid, and can have very severe reactions. With the increase in the potency of marijuana and cannabis-infused products available it is more important than ever to make sure that we keep it out of our pets reach. A study in 2012 found two different cases that involved dogs dying after ingesting medical grade THC-butter baked into edibles.

The ASPCA reports show that the APCC worked with a more than 50% increase in cannabis cases in 2017 as compared to the number of cases in 2016. In 2016, there were almost one-thousand cases involving pets ingesting cannabis. This number grew to 1,486 cases in 2017.

The dangers present when a dog ingests marijuana is raised when it has been infused with a chocolate edible (which is very toxic to dogs). Cannabis, specifically THC puts them at a much higher risk of showing adverse reactions than the pets that eat the cannabis plant itself. According to the ASPCA, even inhalation of second-hand smoke can be harmful to pets because of how toxic THC can be for them. To read more on this click here for the article published by the ASPCA.

Symptoms to Look For

If you believe that your dog might have ingested cannabis or a cannabis-infused product, there are some symptoms you can look out for, such as:

  • Balance and coordination issues (your pet may appear to walk as if drunk)
  • Lethargy or abnormal laziness
  • Bladder Control Issues
  • Overreaction to stimuli and disorientation
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Shakiness and irregular heartbeat
  • High dose concentrations of THC can cause dogs to go into a coma.

What to Do if Your Pet Consumed Marijuana?

If your pet has consumed marijuana, you should make sure to keep a lookout and check for any of the symptoms above. Your pet’s size, as well as the amount of cannabis consumed, are going to determine what you will do next.

If you have a large animal or your pet only ate a very small amount, they may only be affected minimally. If your dog is still able to walk, they can possibly be monitored at home. Keep your pet in a quiet and safe place where you can observe them and away from where they will be prone to fall or hurt themselves accidentally. Don’t forget to either stay with your pet or return frequently to make sure that their condition does not worsen.

If your pet is showing severe symptoms (cannot walk or is comatose) PLEASE VISIT A VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELYIf you are unsure, or have any questions, you can call the APCC at 888-426-4435, or just call your local veterinarian with any questions you may have.