Now that cannabis use has been legalized in many US states, more people have access to it. Unfortunately, according to the statistics of the Animal Poison Control Center of the ASPCA for the last two years, the cases of marijuana poisoning in dogs have increased by a whopping 765% compared to previous years.
While it is improbable that your dog will try to eat smelly buds, the chances are that most edibles infused with marijuana can be pretty tempting for it. In some cases, your pup may get hold of THC-infused products outdoors or even without the knowledge of its parents.
Whether you smoke, vape, or eat cannabis for recreational or medical reasons, keeping your weed safely out of reach from your four-legged friend is essential.
The reason is that while the “high” for humans will wear off in a few hours, for dogs, weed consumption can lead to poisoning and severe adverse effects.
It is essential to understand that even a small quantity of cannabis can lead to marijuana toxicosis and other harmful effects on canines. The reason is that dogs do not break down the THC in marijuana as humans do.
THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Ingesting it can lead to mild to more severe symptoms in pups.
The good news is that in most cases, the toxicity is not as bad as that caused by other substances and human foods which are toxic to dogs. So, an emergency trip to the vet is rarely needed.
But still, it helps to know the symptoms of marihuana poisoning in dogs and when you may need to take your four-legged companion to the vet.
Is Cannabis Bad for Canines?
Marijuana and other products containing THC are rarely dangerous for dogs. Still, ingesting them can lead to some serious adverse effects in canines.
Despite what many people think, dogs will not get a pleasant “high” from consuming weed.
Instead, they can get quite sick, disoriented, and scared, which is definitely not a good experience for them or their dog parents.
The severity of the toxicity depends on the size, age, and health of your pup and on the quantities consumed.
How Much Weed Is Poisonous For Dogs?
There is no clear-cut answer to this question because the toxicity can vary depending on the product’s strength and concentration of THC.
Even if you have purchased a legally labeled weed product, there is no guarantee that the concentration percentages on its label are exact. This is so because the regulations are not as strict as those for traditional medications.
This is why it is hard for dog parents and vets to determine the amount of THC consumed in different instances.
Also, according to the Federal Government, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule One controlled substance. This is why there are many limitations to the potential scientific studies that can be performed to examine this matter further.
Will My Dog Get High After Eating Weed?
Yes, but unlike most people, this experience is not pleasant for canines. You should refrain from blowing smoke in the dog’s face and treat it with a THC-infused edible.
Canines will experience symptoms that can be scary and confusing to them. They can become really sick after consuming a product containing weed.
So, for those dog parents who enjoy some occasional delicious cannabis-infused edibles such as cookies, gummy bears, and other foods that can be attractive to pups, it is vital to keep them safely stored away from your pet.
This is essential because dogs rarely have self-control and will often gobble up as much of the food they can get.
And ingesting large quantities of marijuana can lead to severe and even life-threatening effects in canines.
How to Tell If Your Dog Ate Weed?
The signs of ingestion of cannabis can differ among the different dogs. They depend on the dog’s size, health, age, and quantities ingested, as well as the concentration and strength of the marijuana.
There are many instructional online videos that you can watch to see the symptoms of cannabis toxicity in dogs.
Here is a list of the most common signs that your pup may have ingested some cannabis or products containing THC to look for:
- Sudden strange behavior and symptoms in a healthy pup
- Extreme sleepiness
- Dribbling of some urine or urinary accidents
- Uncoordinated movements and wobbling
- The dog gets startled easily or is unusually jumpy
- Its pupils are dilated
- A low body temperature
- Vomiting (in some cases)
Some of these common symptoms can occur due to other types of poisoning and emergencies in dogs.
There are other signs that do not occur in most marihuana toxicity cases. So, your dog’s gums will not turn pale or gray and will remain pink and healthy-looking. Plus, it is not likely to experience difficulty breathing. In most cases, your pup will not lose its appetite either.
The problem is that the typical symptoms of cannabis toxicity in dogs can easily be mistaken for symptoms that occur after a dog has ingested human medications like high blood pressure or anti-seizure drugs.
Some household detergents and chemicals can also lead to similar symptoms. You should call your vet or an emergency Animal Poison Control hotline if you suspect it has ingested cannabis, human medication, or chemicals.
Getting advice from your vet or a toxicologist will help you determine the next steps and whether your furbaby needs to be rushed to the clinic for emergency care.
How Soon Will the Symptoms Appear, And How Long Will They Last?
The symptoms of marihuana toxicity in canines usually will start appearing about an hour after the ingestion. Usually, they begin as mild symptoms and will worsen over the next several hours.
In most cases, when the poisoning is not severe, the symptoms will disappear after 24 hours, without any specific treatment.
The symptoms may last for up to 48 hours for small dogs that ingest larger quantities of cannabis.
When Is It Time To Go To The Vet?
In most cases, the poisoning and unpleasant symptoms of marijuana toxicity in dogs will gradually wear off and resolve themselves without veterinary care. But in some cases, you may need to take your pup for a checkup and emergency treatment.
Some of the signs you should immediately head off to the veterinarian are problems swallowing, an alarmingly low body temperature, loss of consciousness, and other serious symptoms.
The normal body temperature of dogs is about 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), and the ingestion of weed or other THC-containing products can lower it. If your pup’s temperature is below 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Another sign that you need to take your pet to the clinic immediately is if it has problems swallowing.
To determine whether your pup is experiencing difficulties swallowing, try offering it a small treat or gently pulling out its tongue. If your furbaby cannot swallow the food or fails to pull back its tongue, you should immediately head off to the veterinarian clinic.
If you can’t seem to wake your sleeping dog up, this too means that it is time to see the vet.
Last but not least, you may want to take your fur baby to the vet if you are having trouble coping with the stress of the poisoning and if you prefer that it is under the care of professionals until the symptoms disappear.
How to Help Your Dog If It Eats Weed?
Take It to the Vet
While in the majority of cases, marijuana toxicity in canines does not require emergency treatment or hospitalization, some dog parents may feel more comfortable if their four-legged companion is under the care and monitoring of professionals while the symptoms wear off.
There is no antidote or direct treatment to reverse cannabis poisoning in dogs. Thus, if your dog is not experiencing more severe symptoms such as a very low body temperature, difficulty swallowing, not waking up, or loss of consciousness, then your vet can only provide supportive care for it until the signs of the toxicity disappear.
Of course, you should rush off to the clinic immediately if your pet has some of the abovementioned more severe and life-threatening symptoms resulting from weed ingestion.
Provide Treatment At Home
If your vet has recommended that you treat your pup at home following an incident of marijuana toxicity, then here are some tips to make the experience easier on you and your furbaby.
Set the alarm on every two hours, so you wake up or are reminded to check up on your pet, even in the middle of the night. Check whether the dog is doing okay by measuring its body temperature, whether it can swallow adequately, and whether you can wake it up.
You can try walking it for a little bit. Clean up if it has experienced some urine dribbling or has had an accident, which can happen after the ingestion of THC-based products.
Offer your pup some food and water, and ensure that it is dry, clean, warm, and comfortable.
By keeping it engaged, you can help speed up the wearing off of the THC from the dog’s body.
If the symptoms start to worsen after hours, and your dog’s body temperature gets dangerously low, or it cannot swallow or cannot wake up, then you should take it to the emergency vet immediately.
It is better to be safe than sorry, so if you have any doubts about the well-being of your dog, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Of course, as with all other potentially toxic and dangerous plants, foods, substances, and other things, as pet parents, you should ensure that any weed, edibles, or other products containing THC are kept safely away from your dog at all times.
Also, keep an eye on what your pet chews on or swallows when spending time outdoors.
These steps can help keep your fur baby happy and healthy.