With the legalization of marijuana in full swing in many states across the US, the effect of weed on dogs has become an even more pertinent question. The VRCC Animal Hospital in Englewood, Colorado reported to ABC News that they receive 2-3 animals a week who have accidentally ingested medical marijuana, and 97 percent of them are dogs. It’s unclear as to whether the number of dogs accidentally eating marijuana has gone up significantly since its legalization in Colorado, or whether people just feel more comfortable bringing them to vets. Regardless, every dog owner should know the signs.
If my dog ingests marijuana accidentally, what symptoms should I look out for?
Dogs can ingest weed, just like humans, accidentally: By eating a pot brownie off the counter, or being around secondhand marijuana smoke. Of course, you should not keep marijuana or food made from marijuana where your dog could eat it. Similarly, to be careful you should not smoke weed in the same room, or even the same house, as a dog.
Common symptoms of a dog ingesting weed include:
- Breathing problems
- Lower blood pressure
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Loss of balance
But these are just some common symptoms—there is no way to anticipate how your dog will respond, especially considering the size of your dog and what else they’re ingesting along with the pot. If you suspect your pup has gotten into your stash, especially if he has ingested chocolate as well as the weed, take him to your vet, ASAP.
How do you treat a dog who has eaten marijuana?
First, you should take them to the vet immediately. Vets will usually try to induce vomiting in your dog to get anything they’ve eaten out of their system. If your dog is too lethargic (a hint that the THC is already in his bloodstream) you should not try to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide because the dog could swallow it and asphyxiate. Vets will then watch the pup for seizures (which can happen if they ate a LOT of weed) and give them fluids to try to clear their system faster. But then you’ve just gotta watch and wait.
The most important thing to know is that it doesn’t matter what illegal substances your dog has ingested: You need to take your dog to a vet and the vet needs to know exactly what they might have in their system. Your dog can’t be treated if the vet doesn’t have all the information, and no, they will not arrest you.
Can marijuana kill my dog?
It takes a LOT of weed to kill your dog: During a study of dog reactions to cannabis in legalized medical marijuana states, 2 out of 125 dogs who ingested cannabis butter (basically butter with marijuana extract) died. It is most likely that extremely high levels of marijuana are toxic to dogs, but research has yet to determine whether or not cannabis is the primary cause of death, or whether ingesting other toxins along with the marijuana (say, chocolate) is more to blame. Owners should be vigilant, especially if you have a small, old or sick dog.
Can I give my dog marijuana for pain relief?
You should never give your dog anything that has THC in it but CBD might be an option you can consider for your pup. CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural substance found in hemp plants whose health benefits come free of the effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance in marijuana that produces feelings of being “high” or intoxicated.
CBD is completely non-psychoactive and it may help ease dogs’ discomfort associated with chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, noise phobias, and other physical and emotional conditions, without a prescription or significant side effects. To find out more about CBD, visit BarkShop and read this article!