What to Do if Your Pet Eats Too Much Cannabis


From flower to edibles, tinctures to topicals--there is a plethora of cannabis goods to incorporate into an adult's daily life. Now thanks to regulation, it's not as much of a wild west of weed--with THC dosage limits on edibles and child resistant packaging for anything that contains cannabinoids from the plant. Remember those 1000 mg brownies? Our staff sure does!

Even with all the added safety with regulation, what's to stop your furry (or feathered) friend from tearing into that cannabis infused chocolate bar?

With most cases I've seen or heard about, it's generally not that serious. However, in a study conducted in 2012 by the Colorado Emergency Department, two dogs were reported to have consumed a large amount of THC infused butter and ended up passing. The study also found an increase in dogs consuming marijuana in states that have medical or recreational marijuana programs.

From NCBI:

"During the study period, 125 dogs were evaluated including 76 dogs with known marijuana exposure or a positive UDST (group 1), 6 dogs with known marijuana ingestion and a negative UDST (group 2), and 43 dogs with known marijuana ingestion that were not tested (group 3). The incidence of marijuana toxicosis presenting to both hospitals increased 4-fold, while the number of people registered for medical marijuana in the state increased 146-fold in the last 5 years. A significant positive correlation was detected between the increase in known/suspected marijuana toxicosis in dogs (groups 1-3) and the increased number of medical marijuana licenses."

Dogs tend to be the majority of pets that 'over-medicate' on their guardians pot products. However, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' (ASPCA) and Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has seen a significant increase in the number of calls about pets and marijuana. “Dogs are certainly the most likely pets to get into marijuana, but we've also received calls about cats, birds, ferrets, and rabbits,” said Grace Munns, coordinator of media and communications for the ASPCA.

Marijuana.com reports:

“We've found around 10 percent of marijuana toxicity claims are paired with chocolate toxicity,” said Michael Nank, a spokesperson for Trupanion, a medical insurance company for dogs and cats. “On their own, substances such as chocolate, butter, and oil can be harmful to pets. When combined with marijuana, the results are worse.”

“THC is toxic for pets,” he told Marijuana.com. “It can cause balance problems, irregular heartbeat, incontinence, or worse. Even inhalation through second-hand smoke can be dangerous.”

So what should you do if your pet gets into your stash?

Aside from hiding your stash where your pet can't reach--below are some tips. It should be stated that we at HERB are NOT qualified veterinarians or doctors.

- The amount of cannabis ingested and the size of your dog directly influences your decision about whether you should take your dog to a veterinarian. If they are a larger animal and consumed a small dose, a veterinarian visit may not be required. However, if a smaller pet consumes a bit of cannabis, use precaution and consider taking them to the vet!

- Some pets (like larger dogs) may be only slightly affected and can be managed at home. A big rule of thumb here is if they can still walk without help. If they can, and seem a bit more 'with it' they should be kept in a safe, quiet space where they will not be able to fall and hurt themselves.

- If you're caring for a pet at home that consumed cannabis, make sure to check on them frequently to be sure his or her condition is not worsening.

- If your pet is severely affected and cannot walk or is comatose, see a veterinarian immediately.

- If you're unsure, call the APCC at 888-426-4435, or contact your local veterinarian.

If you are interested in seeking benefits of cannabis use for your pet, feel free to check out the other articles we've written on this subject. You can check out our 'Pet Products' page or give us a call at 844.437.2213 for any questions about the products we provide!

Author Credits: Mike is more of a cat person but loves dogs. He loves writing about cannabinoid science and how cannabis affects mental health and everyday lifestyles.

Information referenced from NCBI and Marijuana.com.

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