Learn how to recognize if your dog has eaten weed and what steps you should take to ensure their safety. With the legalization of cannabis in many countries, including Canada and some states in the US, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks for your furry friend. While some components of cannabis can have health benefits for dogs, high levels of THC can be toxic or even fatal. Discover the symptoms of weed ingestion in dogs and find out how to handle a situation where your dog has consumed weed. Prompt action and veterinary care are essential in protecting your beloved pet.
THC Poisoning is No Joke
You should know how to tell and what to do if your dog eats weed. Cannabis (AKA marijuana, weed, pot, and more) is now legal in Canada for both Medical and Recreational usage and on the rise in the US and other countries. This means more cannabis may be found in more places in more forms so more dogs may be exposed.
Cannabis can contain CBD (Cannabidiol) and Terpenes which may be beneficial in appropriate dosages. However, cannabis may also contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and high levels of THC can be potentially toxic or even fatal to pets.
Questions the Vet Might Ask
Once you see a vet or speak to the ASPCA, give them the following information:
- What did your dog ingest? Did they inhale second-hand smoke? Eat a joint or an edible? Did the edible contain any other toxic products?
- How much did they consume?
- How long ago did they consume it?
- What is your dog’s breed, size, weight, age, and health?
They can then compare to other cases and research, and help you decide what you should do next. Even if weed is not legal where you live, you need to take your dog to a vet and the vet needs to know exactly what they might have in their system.
Treatment If Your Dog Eats Weed
Vets will usually try to induce vomiting in your dog to stop anything they’ve eaten from getting into their system if you get them there soon enough (usually within 30 minutes). They will probably give them IV fluids to try to clear their system faster. It is also often recommended to give your dog activated charcoal and water. If your dog is lethargic because the THC is already in their bloodstream, you should not try to induce vomiting because the dog could swallow it and asphyxiate. They will still probably give fluids and monitor them for seizures if they ate a lot. Most dogs do well with the right treatment and recover from marijuana poisoning within 3-12 hours, but it can stay in the system longer.
Accidents Happen But Take Precautions #PetSafety
I am sure we all intend to keep products that contain THC out of reach, but dogs can be curious and resourceful. Vets in cities in the US where cannabis is legal are reported to be receiving lots of calls about dogs who have accidentally ingested it. Dogs can steal weed cookies or brownies or edibles or even a joint off the counter or out of a backpack left in reach or off a dining room table after dinner, or they can be around secondhand marijuana smoke or they could pick up a fallen joint or edible in a public space. It’s important to be careful where cannabis and edibles are consumed, stored, or discarded. Keep vigilant on walks and in public spaces, and do not smoke near your dog.
Stoned Dog Symptoms
If you are worried your dog has consumed weed, here are some of the symptoms you should look for:
- Breathing problems
- Sleepiness or excitation
- Irregular or low heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Low blood pressure
- Low body temperature
- Incontinence, uncontrolled dribbled urine
- Loss of balance, difficulty walking, lack of control and coordination- they may look a little wobbly or “stoned”
- Exaggerated response to any stimulus
More severe signs include seizures and comas.
Can cannabis kill my dog?
Yes, cannabis or marijuana could possibly kill your dog if your dog eats weed in a large enough amount or eats something that contains high doses of THC and you do not get treatment. Three grams of THC per kilogram of a dog’s weight can apparently be a lethal dose. That is a LOT, but smaller amounts can still be dangerous or unpleasant for your dog.
What about medical marijuana?
You may be wondering if medical marijuana could help your dog’s quality of life if they suffer from certain diseases, like it has for some people. Scientific and clinical research indicate CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, MS, chronic pain, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders in humans. There may be similar benefits for dogs. It may even have anti-cancer properties. However, the effect of cannabis on dogs needs further study and changes in legislation before any can be prescribed as a way to manage a disease, so be very careful. Consult with your vet.
Has your dog ever got into something they shouldn’t have? Tell us in the comments.
Did your dog ever accidentally consume weed or THC products? Share your experience in the comments below.