Marijuana & Your Pets
Now that Marijuana can be sold legally in Illinois, it’s time to start talking about what this means for our pets. Can it hurt them? What do I do if my pet ingests some? Will they be ok? Should I take them in for emergency care? Read on for the answers! We’ve got you covered.
More about the drugs
Marijuana refers to the dried parts of the Cannabis plant. Cannabis contains more than 100 different chemicals, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC – THC is the compound that causes psychotropic effects and is most useful for treating medical conditions such as muscle spasms, nausea, weight loss, seizure disorders, and Crohn’s disease. THC is also used most often recreationally for the psychotropic effects. This compound is the one with moderate toxicity to animals.
CBD – CBD is non-psychotropic and is considered non-toxic with regards to your animals, although it is too early for research to tell if there are any long-term effects in pets. CBD is considered an antipsychotic, antiemetic, and to be anti-inflammatory.
How can my pet become affected by marijuana?
Cats and dogs can become intoxicated by weed in various ways; inhaling second-hand smoke, eating edibles, or ingesting cannabis directly. Most exposure is accidental and caused by curious pets being in close proximity to the drug. Dogs and Cats are far more sensitive to weed than humans and will have dramatic reactions to a small amount. It is important to keep your THC Marijuana well out of the reach of any pets.
Symptoms of marijuana toxicity
So, let’s say you have some weed with includes THC in your house for either medical or recreational purposes; how can you tell if your pet has ingested some of your stash? Watch out for the following signs, which may appear anywhere from 5min to 12hrs after exposure –
- Low or high heart rate
- Vocalizations such as crying or whining
- Low temperature
- Dazed/glazed look
- Wobbly movements
- Dribbling urine
- Tremors, seizures
Depending on how severe the exposure was, toxicity can last from 30min to several days.
First of all, don’t panic! There is nothing in the drug itself that will kill your pet. The idea now, is to keep an eye on them and manage the symptoms. For that reason, you should call your vet.
When you call, it is incredibly important that you identify what form of cannabis your pet has ingested. A dog that has eaten a pot brownie (chocolate!) will need different treatment than a dog that has inhaled too much smoke. Be as detailed as possible when you describe the situation to your vet.
If your vet decides it is necessary (depending on the amount of marijuana ingested), they may ask you to bring your pet in so they can help manage their symptoms. A few options for pets include pumping their stomach or giving them activated charcoal to help remove the drug from their system. Alternately, for less severe cases the vet may simply want to keep the animal overnight for observation as a precaution.
Marijuana which includes THC should be kept well away from your pet. It won’t kill them, but it will be very uncomfortable and scary for them and may require a vet visit. If you are smoking, put your pet in another well-ventilated room until the smoke clears.
There are several CBD-laced pet products currently on the market. These should be safe for your pet, but it is best to consult your veterinarian about your specific animal and their needs before giving them any new drugs.
We recommend the below websites if you want to find out more about pets and marijuana toxicity –