Many cannabis enthusiasts are also dog lovers. While this usually results in tons of fun, sometimes a curious pup can ingest marijuana accidentally. Check out our article to learn what to do in case your furry friend eats your stash of cannabis. CBD (hemp oil) treats are becoming more popular to give pets, and some of the same dangers exist as with THC. Find out the symptoms and treatment plans.
Dog Ate Your Cannabis Stash? Here’s What to Do
Y ou know that tasty new edible that you just bought from the dispo that you can’t wait to tear into? Guess what? Your dog wants to tear into that edible, too. Veterinarian Dorrie Black at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services told NPR — and dog owners can confirm, “Dogs will get into anything and everything.”
- Should You Take Your Pet to the Vet if It Eats Weed
- The 5 Best Pets for Stoners
- How to Help Your Pet With CBD
- Cannabis (Marijuana) Intoxication in Cats and Dogs
Alongside increased legal access to cannabis there has been a spike in calls to the Animal Poison Control Center, who saw a 765% increase in 2019 from callers who reported that their pets ingested weed. Calls to The Pet Poison Helpline also surged, reporting an increase of more than 400% over a six-year period.
So if you come home after work and you can’t find your stash, or even turn your back for a moment and your weed is gone, it’s pretty much a guarantee that your dog ate your weed. It’s most likely that your dog will eat an edible (they like them for the same reasons you do) but any part of the plant like flower or seeds, concentrates, or even eating the feces of an individual who has consumed cannabis can make your dog high or sick.
Symptoms of Marijuana Toxicity in Your Dog
Here’s how you’ll know if your dog is experiencing marijuana toxicity. Some symptoms to look out for include:
- Tremors and shaking
- Dilated pupils
- Urinary incontinence (around 50 percent of dogs will dribble urine)
- Hyperactivity or lethargy
- Barking, whining, or howling
- Stumbling and/or walking as if they are drunk
Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?
Before you hit the panic button, take note. THC is rarely toxic to dogs, though on rare occasions it can be fatal. Nonetheless, it is a medical condition that should be urgently addressed.
If your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms above, don’t hesitate. Take them to the vet and be candid with them about your dog getting into your stash so your best furry friend can get the appropriate care.
Remember, there are a couple of things to keep in mind about how humans and pets react to cannabis. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than humans, so the effects of cannabis are more profound and potentially more toxic than they are to humans. Most dogs also weigh much less and metabolize cannabinoids differently than we do.
Additionally, there are ingredients in edibles other than THC that can be dangerous for your dog, such as chocolate (which can be lethal in high doses), butter and other dairy, coconut oil, artificial sweeteners like xylitol, nuts, and caffeine.
If you suspect that your beloved four-legged family member has eaten your weed, keep a close eye on them for at least 30 minutes to understand how they are reacting. If they are not exhibiting serious symptoms, keep them in a quiet room to reduce sensory stimulation and keep them safe, warm, and soothed.
There are a lot of reasons to take good care when storing your cannabis: it stays fresh and tastes better for longer, prolongs its life and efficacy, and keeps it out of the hands (or is it paws?) of children and pets.
How do you keep your stash secure from pets? Share in the comments!
Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.
Erin’s work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let’s Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedIn, WordPress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.
FAQs about CBD Use in Pets
A: Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid produced by the plant Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana. After many anecdotal reports of CBD’s potential health benefits, studies are now underway to look at the potential benefits of CBD for controlling pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis, calming anxious pets, and as a possible treatment for epilepsy in dogs. CBD is being used by many pet owners today, so it’s essential to know enough about it to discuss the potential risks of use.
Q: Is CBD psychoactive?
A: No; however, there are several possible reasons a dog who has ingested CBD may look high:
- The product that the pet ingested contains both THC and CBD. There are many products on the market, some even labeled for use in pets, that contain both CBD and THC at varying concentrations, so check the labels or look up the product online to see what’s in it.
- The pet ingested enough of a CBD product to cause THC toxicity. Hemp can legally contain up to 0.3% THC, so if a pet ingests a large amount of a hemp-based CBD product, mild THC toxicity can occur.
- The product has not undergone quality assurance testing and contains THC.
- The dog also found some marijuana or THC edibles. Ask about any other cannabis products in the home.
Q: What are the most common signs reported in pets after the ingestion of CBD products?
A: Vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, and diarrhea are the most common clinical signs reported. Ataxia can occasionally occur with large ingestions.
Q: How do I treat these cases?
A: Most cases need no treatment, aside from symptomatic care for gastrointestinal upset if it occurs. If it’s a large dose, where the THC content might be a factor, mild sedation, urinary incontinence, hyperesthesia, and ataxia could develop, and the pet should be confined to prevent injury from misadventure. If you see significant signs that look like THC toxicity, treat the pet in front of you and provide IV fluid support, anti-nausea medication, and good nursing care as needed.
Q: Is there anything special I need to know about pet hemp treat overdoses?
A: Products sold as “soft chews” can have an osmotic effect when large amounts of chews are ingested and pull fluid from the body into the gastrointestinal tract. In mild cases, this can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. In severe cases, hypernatremia, hyperglycemia, hyperkalemia, azotemia, and acidosis can occur. Aggressive fluid therapy, while monitoring hydration status and electrolytes in these pets, is critical.
Q: What about interactions with other medications? Any long-term effects to be concerned about?
A: CBD is an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 and has the potential to affect the metabolism of other drugs. While this appears to be of minimal clinical significance in most cases, this may be important when CBD is used in a pet for seizure control. Doses of other anticonvulsants may need to be adjusted. Remember that owners may discontinue anticonvulsants on their own if they feel that CBD is controlling their pet’s seizures, so this is an important discussion to have.
CBD has also been shown to cause dose-dependent elevations in liver enzymes in various safety studies. This has not been noted in acute overdose situations but could be a concern in pets taking CBD long-term. Monitoring liver enzymes and total bilirubin in these pets is recommended.