The number of both medical and recreational marijuana users is growing all over the world as weed is increasingly being used either as an alternative medical treatment or a way to relax. With the cannabis market expanding exponentially, people can now choose from a wide array of cannabis products either for themselves or to treat some health conditions of their furry friends.
While previously we’ve covered topics such as whether you can overdose your puppy on hemp oil, and how to know how much CBD to give to your dog, we also need to address the subject of what can happen to your pooch if they accidentally get into your plate of weed brownies. So, let’s get started.
What Do the Numbers Say on Pets Ingesting Cannabis?
Similar to how cannabis consumption has increased in the past few years, so has accidental consumption of cannabis by children and pets in the homes of marijuana users.
According to the Animal Poison Control Center part of the The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), there was a 765% increase in the number of calls about accidental marijuana ingestion by pets in 2019. Similarly, the Pet Poison Helpline had an increase of 448% in pet cannabis consumption. Moreover, synthetic cannabis toxicity can be even worse for your cute chihuahua or boxer since dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brain compared to humans.
While getting your dose of medical brownies is important, so is the health of your furry friend. So, let’s find out how ingested marijuana will affect your dog and what you can do to help them as a dog owner.
How Does Cannabis Affect Dogs?
As we’ve already mentioned, cannabis and cannabis products don’t affect your pet in the same way as they affect you. Same as humans, dogs also have an endocannabinoid system, but they have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Due to this fact, and also the fact that they’re smaller in size, dogs can experience more intense psychological effects as a result of cannabis consumption compared to humans, and a larger dose of weed can even be toxic to them.
According to some articles by vets, even inhaling excessive amounts of secondhand cannabis smoke, as well as ingesting weed edibles or the whole bud can poison your furry friend. To be able to figure out what is happening to their pets and whether they’re experiencing cannabis toxicity, dog owners need to know the signs so they can immediately take their dogs to a vet.
THC vs CBD: Which Cannabinoid Negatively Affects Your Dog?
Even though the cannabis plant has a lot of cannabinoids, the ones that have been researched the most are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is used to treat some medical conditions in dogs such as anxiety, pain, cancer, and arthritis. Although your dog consuming large doses of CBD can lead to vomiting, urinary issues, lethargy, and other side effects, it won’t lead to a fatal overdose. THC, on the other hand, is the one that can have toxic effects in dogs if it’s consumed in large doses.
What Happens When Your Dog Eats Cannabis?
As the legalization of cannabis and cannabis consumption increases, so does marijuana toxicity in dogs. This is why we have more and more studies on accidental ingestion of cannabis and cannabis products in pets. Marijuana toxicity can be a serious condition in pets, and even though the effects of marijuana aren’t often life-threatening, they can be quite serious, even fatal.
According to studies on marijuana poisoning, the minimum lethal THC dose is over 3 grams per 3 kg of your dog’s weight. If your puppy has accidentally ingested a large amount of cannabis, follow the instructions in the next paragraph so you know what to do.
My Dog Ate Weed, What Do I Do?
If you suspect cannabis toxicity on account of your dog getting to your weed stash or cannabis edibles, you need to assess the situation by following our instructions related to marijuana toxicity.
Marijuana Toxicity Signs
The first thing you need to do is check if your dog exhibits some of the signs of marijuana poisoning, which include:
- Elevated heart rate;
- Dilated pupils;
- Drooling or vomiting;
- Irregular body temperature;
- Urinary incontinence;
- Irregular blood pressure;
- Hyperactivity or lethargy;
- Breathing problems.
In less serious cases, the less severe symptoms tend to go away after a few hours, and adequate hydration can help your dog get back on track faster. However, if your dog is experiencing a few of the symptoms, it’s best to contact your vet so your pet can get all the necessary supportive care.
A more serious case of marijuana poisoning will result with signs such as seizures or tremors, which are more urgent, in which case you should take them to the vet immediately. The signs of cannabis poisoning can depend on the size of your dog, as well as the consumed dose of cannabis.
One thing that can help your dog if they’ve consumed edibles is induced vomiting. Pet owners should remember that they need to act really fast (no later than 15 minutes after ingestion) to remove the edible from your dog’s system in order to prevent cannabis poisoning (and also other toxicosis caused by sugar and sugar substitutes such as xylitol, honey, or others). You can do this by orally administering a teaspoon of 35 hydrogen peroxide per 10 pounds of your dog’s weight.
Take Your Pet to an Emergency Vet Hospital
Your vet will know exactly what to do in cases such as this, so getting your dog to the vet hospital immediately is very important. When talking to the vet, leave no information out so they have the full picture when treating your dog. The veterinarian will probably administer some IV fluids to your dog, as well as some sedatives to help them get back to normal.
Dogs and Medical Marijuana
As we’ve previously mentioned, not every cannabinoid is bad for your dogs, and some can even help with certain medical conditions. According to one study, your furry friend can be treated with the cannabinoid CBD for epilepsy, anxiety, arthritis, and other conditions. The adequate dose for your puppy will depend on their weight, and also the condition that’s being treated.
Keep in mind that some CBD medications can have trace amounts of THC which, depending on the size and weight of your dog, may cause some of the side effects we mentioned in this article. For that reason, it’s best to talk to a professional when figuring out the proper CBD dose for treating your puppy.
As a dog owner, you have a responsibility towards your pet to keep them healthy and safe. Therefore, you should remember to place your weed as well as your cannabis edibles out of the reach of your pets after you buy them from the dispensary or make them at home.
If your pet has consumed high doses of cannabis via edibles, you should immediately try to induce vomiting and take them to a vet. The vet will know the best treatment for your furry friend and may administer IV fluids and sedatives.
Finally, make sure you also keep your weed away from your children as they too can accidentally eat some of your freshly made weed brownies. For optimal storage, keep your weed in a cool, dry place, placed in an airtight container on high shelves away from direct sunlight.