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What to Do If Your Dog Eats Marijuana | BetterVet

Your Dog Ate Marijuana: When Should You Worry?

If your dog accidentally ate edibles or another form of marijuana, you will likely have lots of questions and concerns. While this situation causes a great deal of anxiety for pet parents, you are not alone. As veterinarians, we are seeing this issue become increasingly common as a number of states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. According to the ASPCA, their Animal Poison Control Hotline handled more than 6,200 cases of suspected marijuana ingestion in pets in 2021, and most were dogs. Unfortunately, edibles can look and taste like food to dogs and they are also attracted to the strong smell. 

 

Marijuana, otherwise known as cannabis, or “weed,” contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what causes physical as well as mental changes in humans (and dogs). THC differs from CBD (cannabidiol), which can have healing properties but without any mind-altering effects.  

 

Is Marijuana Bad for Dogs?

While accidental marijuana consumption is rarely fatal for pets, there is no amount of THC that is considered to be safe for your dog. Not only can marijuana poisoning in dogs lead to some dangerous physical symptoms, but it can also cause them extreme anxiety. For these reasons, it is important to store all marijuana products out of your pet’s reach and to be vigilant when walking on busy streets and public trails. If you are looking for a natural remedy for anxiety or chronic pain, speak to your veterinarian about CBD, also derived from cannabis, but without the effects of THC. 



Signs and Symptoms That Your Dog Ate Weed

If you know or suspect that your dog ingested marijuana, there are several symptoms to watch out for. First, you may notice that your dog may seem disoriented, demonstrate a wobbly gait, or may even fall down. If your dog did eat a cannabis product, these first signs will typically become evident within an hour or two after ingestion. Other symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Excessive barking
  • Unusually sleepy or hyperactive
  • Dilated (big) pupils
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Urinary accidents 
  • Low body temperature
  • Overly sensitive to sound and touch
  • Stumbling/falling

 

In cases of severe marijuana toxicity, your dog may also have a seizure or become unconscious. In ALL cases of suspected cannabis ingestion by your dog, you should connect with your veterinarian immediately.

 

What To Do If You Suspect THC Poisoning in Your Dog

As stated above, it is rare for marijuana ingestion to be fatal to dogs. Even so, your first step should always be to contact your veterinarian right away, and if symptoms appear to be severe, you should take them to the nearest urgent veterinary clinic immediately. Your veterinarian doesn’t need to know the details about how your dog accessed marijuana, but they do need to know as much as possible about what and how much your dog may have gotten into, as this is critical to diagnosis and treatment. Not only can THC be harmful to your pet, but depending on what they ate, other harmful ingredients could have been present as well. For instance, edibles may contain chocolate or xylitol, an artificial sweetener, both of which are toxic for dogs. 

Symptoms of marijuana ingestion in dogs infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

My Dog Ate Marijuana - How Long Until Symptoms Begin to Show and How Long Will They Last?

Typically, your dog will begin to show symptoms approximately 30 minutes to two hours after accidental consumption. How long these symptoms last depend on a number of factors, such as how much your dog weighs and how much they consumed. A dog who has eaten marijuana may remain impaired for only a few hours or for as long as 18-24 hours. 

 

How Much THC is Toxic for Dogs?

There is no safe amount of THC for dogs. It is difficult to assess how much your dog consumed and how they will be impacted. Therefore, assume that if your dog did ingest marijuana, they will need to be monitored closely by a veterinarian. 

 

Can Dogs Get High From Weed?

Like humans, dogs also experience some mental and physical effects from exposure to marijuana, but they do not  experience these sensations as being enjoyable. What might feel like a "high" to humans may make your furry friend feel ill, scared, and helpless. 

If you have any other questions about marijuana toxicity and dogs, or you would like to schedule a home visit with one of our BetterVet mobile veterinarians, we are here to help.