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As 420 rolls around every year, you may have questions about the effects of marijuana on your pets. Maybe someone has told you that there are medicinal benefits of marijuana for people, and you wonder about your pets. Whatever the case may be, we are here to help you understand the risks. So before you light up that joint, and settle into a day of vibing and munchies, make sure that you know how to keep your pets safe.

Do Dogs Get High From Marijuana?

Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not experience the same effects as a result of THC as humans. They do not get high when ingesting or inhaling marijuana as humans do but instead experience other effects brought on by THC, and it’s not pleasant. Instead of getting high, dogs endure side effects that range from mild to very severe. They typically experience ataxia, which is a form of clumsiness and loss of movement control, their pupils become dilated, and they may exhibit tremors and even seizures.

Moreover, dogs do not simply ingest the recommended amount of marijuana as a human would. If they encounter edibles, they will ingest as much of them as is available, which just worsens the adverse effects. If a bag of marijuana is within a dog’s reach, they will eat all its contents without blinking, as the plant itself tastes good to them. Therefore, leaving marijuana and THC products lying around the house could have dire consequences. Edible ingestion is also the leading cause of THC toxicity in pets, according to Jibram Khokhar, PhD, so it is certainly worth keeping such products inaccessible to pets.

In the most severe cases, dogs can go into a coma and potentially die from ingesting too much marijuana, and since they won’t follow the instructions listed on the product, the likelihood of them ingesting excessive amounts is large.

Although marijuana is becoming more widespread and accepted for both medicinal and recreational purposes, it is important to note that dogs do not reap the same benefits from it as humans. The effects of THC on dogs are more closely related to anxiety and panic than relaxation and healing.

Sad puppy under blanket

How Will A Veterinarian Treat THC Toxicity In Dogs?

Pet owners should never hesitate to contact their veterinarian if their dog has ingested marijuana as a result of it being accessible in their home. There will be no judgment or subjective reaction involved, as doctors merely want to help your dog be as healthy as they can be. Therefore, it is essential to always be transparent and honest with your veterinarian about your dog’s exposure to marijuana to ensure the best possible treatment for the symptoms they are exhibiting.

The symptoms of THC toxicity in dogs typically mimic that of other drugs and will be handled according to their severity. If a dog has ingested marijuana within a relatively short period before coming to see the veterinarian, their condition is often best treated by making them vomit the contents of their stomach. Activated charcoal is also commonly used to reduce the rate at which they absorb THC. If the matter has progressed to the point that the dog isn’t responding, they will need to be hospitalized immediately and receive supportive care to get them back to health

Are Cats At Risk of Getting Into And Eating Marijuana?

Cats generally stay away from marijuana and THC products. Contrary to dogs, cats won’t typically eat accessible marijuana, putting them at risk of toxicity. Although such cases are rare, it certainly isn’t impossible. In cases of cats with pica, which is a condition where pets ingest non-food items, the possibility of a cat ingesting marijuana is a likely threat. Therefore, it is important to ensure marijuana and THC products in the home cannot be accessed by your feline friend. If you suspect your cat might have gotten into such substances, contact your veterinarian immediately to ensure they are not at risk of THC toxicity.

Is There A Safe Amount Of Marijuana For Dogs?

In truth, any amount of marijuana, regardless of how little, will bring about adverse effects in dogs. The exact amounts that will only result in mild side effects or extreme consequences are currently under speculation, but it is safe to say that a dog will not feel very well for up to two days after ingesting THC of any amount. Therefore, no amount of marijuana is entirely safe for dogs.

How Soon Should I Take My Dog To The Veterinarian If I Suspect They Have Ingested Marijuana Or THC Products?

If there is any indication that your dog may have gotten into marijuana, edibles, or any other THC products, you should take them to see the veterinarian immediately. If you confront the issue early, the chances of treating their side effects before they escalate are better. A veterinarian can induce vomiting in dogs that have ingested marijuana or edibles within the last 30 minutes, mitigating any further side effects they will experience.

If more than 30 minutes have passed, your dog will likely have absorbed most of the THC, and treatment options will be limited to supportive care, such as administering IV therapy. Your veterinarian will also take all possible measures to prevent your dog from becoming severely ill and ensure they are safe and comfortable while the symptoms wear off.

Sick dog visiting veterinarian

What Are The Effects Of Smoking Weed Around Cats And Dogs?

There are many instances of lung cancer in cats and dogs resulting directly from secondhand smoke. Pets also suffer severe asthma because they are continuously exposed to smoke, and vape smoke is no different than that of cigarettes or marijuana. The chemicals of any form of smoke are extremely harmful to pets and may lead to very undesirable conditions that could have been prevented by protecting cats and dogs from smoke exposure.

Are Smoke and Vaping Dangerous For Pets?

There are many instances of lung disorders in cats and dogs that are believed to be attributed to secondhand smoke. Pets also suffer severe asthma because they are continuously exposed to smoke, and vape smoke is no different than that of cigarettes or marijuana. The chemicals of any form of smoke are extremely harmful to pets and may lead to very undesirable conditions that could have been prevented by protecting cats and dogs from smoke exposure.

What Are The Side Effects To Look For In Pets That Have Been Exposed To Smoke?

The signs to look for in cats and dogs that have been exposed to marijuana smoke closely resemble that of marijuana ingestion. When pets are exposed to marijuana smoke, the same chemicals circulate through their system as when they ingest THC products.

The signs to keep an eye out for include the following:

  • Ataxia
  • Dilated pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Vocalization
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Drooling

To best protect your pets against the effects of THC toxicity is to keep in mind that if you can smell the smoke, your pet is exposed to and absorbing it.

Can Weed Help A Dog’s Anxiety?

In reality, weed does the opposite of relieving anxiety in dogs. They will experience tremors and substantial fear and anxiety when they are exposed to THC, and these effects will not subside in a matter of hours. Dogs can remain in this anxious and fearful state for days following exposure.

What Is The Difference Between THC And CBD?

CBD is cannabinol, which does not have any sedative properties, in contrast to its THC counterpart. THC is the chemical that causes the sedative and high effects of marijuana. CBD is the primary component of marijuana that is believed to have medicinal properties. Although these beneficial effects may apply to humans, the benefits of CBD in pets are minimal and relatively unproven. There may be high-grade CBD products that have advantageous effects on pets, but they are very few, and most people lack the knowledge to distinguish between helpful products and those that realistically don’t do much to promote the health of your pet.

If A Pet Owner Wants To Try CBD For Their Pet, What Do Veterinarians Recommend?

The best recommendation is to discuss the matter with your dedicated veterinarian in depth to ensure transparency and optimal results. A trained and knowledgeable veterinarian may be able to recommend certain products that can potentially help your pet, but it is important to remain subjective to the matter and consider all options.

Some people market their products without having a clear understanding of a pet’s physiology and any form of medical training that could further substantiate their statements and suggestions. Therefore, a competent veterinarian is the best person to consult regarding the use of marijuana products in pets, as they are informed about all the recent scientific studies that relate to alternative medicinal approaches.

In Closing

If your pet has been exposed to any part or form of marijuana, including smoke, oil, resin, or leaves, it is essential to provide them with professional veterinary care as soon as possible. Many pet owners believe that CBD will not have harmful effects on their pets, but in truth, even CBD contains small amounts of THC, which may result in undesirable reactions.

Veterinarians are dedicated to improving the health and longevity of all pets and will never judge an owner’s choices or habits. Therefore, you should never hesitate to consult your veterinarian about any matter relating to marijuana and THC. We are here to help, not criticize, so feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns, and we will always do our best to provide valuable information on how to give your pet the best possible life.


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  • Cat Emergency Care