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My Dog Ate Marijuana: What Should I Do?

My Dog Ate Marijuana: What Should I Do? | BetterVet

Accidents happen, and if your dog has accidentally ingested marijuana, you may be worried and unsure of what to do. Rest assured, you're not alone in facing this situation. With the increasing legalization of marijuana, cases of pets consuming it have become more common. In fact, the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Hotline received over 6,200 reports of suspected marijuana ingestion in pets in 2021, with dogs being the most affected. 

In this article, we'll provide you with essential information on how to handle such a situation and ensure your furry friend's well-being.

Key Takeaways:

  • Marijuana is toxic to dogs due to the presence of THC, the compound responsible for its psychoactive effects.
  • Dogs do not experience the enjoyable sensations of being "high" like humans do; instead, they may feel ill, scared, and helpless.
  • If your dog ingests marijuana, contact a veterinarian immediately for guidance and seek urgent veterinary care in severe cases.

Is Marijuana Bad for Dogs?

Yes, marijuana is toxic to dogs. The compound responsible for the psychoactive effects in humans, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can cause physical and mental changes in dogs as well. It's important to note that THC differs from CBD, which is another compound derived from cannabis. CBD can have healing properties without mind-altering effects.

Dogs can accidentally consume marijuana, especially edibles, because they may mistake them for food. Dogs are attracted to the strong smell of marijuana, which can be confusing for them.

Can Dogs Get High From Eating Weed?

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

Signs and Symptoms of Dogs Eating Marijuana

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.

Should My Pet Be Seen by a Veterinarian?

Let’s Start!
Should My Pet Be Seen by a Veterinarian?
1. Have you noticed changes in your pet’s appetite or thirst?
2. Have you noticed changes in your pet’s elimination patterns (pottying habits)?
3. Has your pet vomited more than once in 24 hours?
4. Is there a change in your pet’s breathing?
5. Is your pet pacing and unable to settle?
6. Is your pet panting more than usual?
7. Is your pet drooling more than usual?
8. Are there changes to your pet’s eyes?
9. Is your pet whining or vocalizing more than usual?
10. Is your pet shaking more than usual?
11. Is your pet hiding or avoiding physical contact more than usual?
12. Is your pet more lethargic and sleeping more than usual?
13. Does your pet have a cough?
14. Are you concerned about changes in your pet’s behavior?
15. Have you noticed a new bump or growth on your pet?
16. Has your pet eaten something that could be toxic or a foreign object?
17. Has your pet experienced a seizure?
18. Is your pet having a hard time moving around?
19. Does your pet have a distended (bloated belly)?
20. Does your pet have a wound or injury?

Should My Pet Be Seen by a Veterinarian?

1. Have you noticed changes in your pet’s appetite or thirst?
2. Have you noticed changes in your pet’s elimination patterns (pottying habits)?
3. Has your pet vomited more than once in 24 hours?
4. Is there a change in your pet’s breathing?
5. Is your pet pacing and unable to settle?
6. Is your pet panting more than usual?
7. Is your pet drooling more than usual?
8. Are there changes to your pet’s eyes?
9. Is your pet whining or vocalizing more than usual?
10. Is your pet shaking more than usual?
11. Is your pet hiding or avoiding physical contact more than usual?
12. Is your pet more lethargic and sleeping more than usual?
13. Does your pet have a cough?
14. Are you concerned about changes in your pet’s behavior?
15. Have you noticed a new bump or growth on your pet?
16. Has your pet eaten something that could be toxic or a foreign object?
17. Has your pet experienced a seizure?
18. Is your pet having a hard time moving around?
19. Does your pet have a distended (bloated belly)?
20. Does your pet have a wound or injury?

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Risks and Dangers of Dogs Consuming Marijuana

Marijuana poisoning in dogs can pose risks to their well-being. While it's rare for marijuana ingestion to be fatal, there is no safe amount of THC for dogs. THC can lead to dangerous physical symptoms and cause extreme anxiety in dogs. Additionally, edibles containing marijuana might also have other toxic ingredients like chocolate or xylitol, which can be harmful to dogs.

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. 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. Still, they 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.

Symptoms of marijuana ingestion in dogs infographic

Preventing Marijuana Exposure to Dogs

Prevention is critical to keeping your dog safe from marijuana exposure. Follow these tips:

  • Store marijuana products securely in closed containers or locked cabinets.
  • Keep marijuana edibles or infused products out of your dog's reach.
  • Dispose of any marijuana waste properly to prevent accidental ingestion.

Conclusion

It's crucial to be aware of the symptoms, risks, and immediate steps to take if your dog ingests marijuana. Marijuana can be toxic to dogs and may cause various complications. Prevention, prompt action, and seeking veterinary assistance are vital to ensure your dog's well-being. By understanding the effects of marijuana and implementing preventive measures, you can help keep your furry friend safe.

If your dog has been affected by this issue, or you have additional questions, please book a check-up with a veterinarian.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is weed bad for dogs?

Yes, weed is bad for dogs. The THC in marijuana can be toxic to dogs and lead to various symptoms and potential health complications.

Can dogs have THC?

Dogs should not consume THC as it can be harmful to their health. THC toxicity can cause distressing symptoms and require veterinary intervention.

Can dogs eat edibles or marijuana leaves?

Dogs should not eat edibles or marijuana leaves. These products contain THC, which is toxic to dogs and can lead to adverse effects.

Is marijuana harmful to dogs if ingested?

Yes, marijuana can be harmful to dogs if ingested. It can cause physical and mental changes, leading to various symptoms and potential complications.

Can dogs overdose on marijuana?

While dogs can experience marijuana toxicity, overdosing on marijuana is rare. However, prompt veterinary attention is crucial to prevent serious consequences.

How long does it take for weed to get out of a dog's system?

The duration of marijuana's effects on a dog's system varies based on factors such as their weight and the amount consumed. The symptoms can last from a few hours up to 18-24 hours.

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