A recent research found that 18% of Americans used cannabis at least once in 2019—either by smoking, vaping, or eating it. More than half of Americans had tried cannabis at least once in their lives.
In addition, whether voluntarily or not, dogs frequently follow numerous human lifestyle trends. There are several videos online of dogs dozing off while standing, leaning, or gazing out into space, all while their owners giggle in the background. Although seeing videos of dogs that look to be high could be amusing at first, it’s not safe for dogs to consume cannabis.
The risk to dogs grows when marijuana becomes more commonplace (and more potent) as a result of changing legislation, increased availability, and medical use. When compared to chocolate toxicity events, marijuana toxicity instances were on the rise, according to Blue Pearl Pet Hospital’s annual pet health survey. As more states legalize marijuana, these cases will likely overtake them in 2022 or 2023. Additionally, a recent study that was released on April 20th in the scientific journal PLOS ONE revealed a rise in the incidence of cannabis toxicity in animals.
Canine cannabis ingestion is a rising worry, whether it occurs through inhaling cannabis smoke or sneakily snatching edibles while counter-surfing. What to do if your stash is raided by dogs is included in this guide to dogs and marijuana.
Is cannabis safe for dogs?
Canines should not use marijuana or cannabis. The psychoactive component of marijuana and one of a class of substances known as cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is poisonous to dogs. It may have negative effects and, in incredibly rare circumstances, even result in death. It takes significantly less cannabis for your dog to start exhibiting hazardous effects than it does for people (yes, even less than that friend who can’t talk after a few puffs). Dogs are much more susceptible to the effects of THC than people are.
No portion of the cannabis plant—flower, stems, seeds, or leaves—is suitable for canines to consume, regardless of the processing method used, such as rolling it into a joint or baking it into a treat. It’s easy to believe that marijuana might also benefit dogs because it has proven health benefits for humans. But avoid giving your dog a prescription for weed at home; at best, it will freak them out, and at worst, you risk making them very ill.
And it’s crucial to separate CBD from marijuana, a different cannabinoid that does have certain veterinary benefits (more on CBD later).
How much pot is too much?
A dog cannot consume any amount of marijuana. Simply put, keep it out of your dog’s reach and don’t offer him any of it. Even if your dog appears to “like” it, it’s still a risky game to play, similar to when people share alcohol with their dogs.
The minimum deadly dose of THC, according to a widely-cited 2013 study, is 3 grams per kg of a dog’s weight, which is a considerable amount. To put it into perspective, a typical edible treat has between 10 and 15 mg of THC, whereas a high dose has at least 20 mg.
Even a dose that is not fatal to your dog can cause severe suffering, including in severe cases convulsions and coma. As previously said, marijuana poisoning is extremely unusual to cause direct fatalities. But veterinary professionals point out that as medical marijuana and edibles have become more popular, dogs are now being exposed to steadily greater THC levels.
What are the signs of cannabis intoxication and toxicity in dogs?
About 30 to 60 minutes following consumption, dogs begin to exhibit THC-related effects (sooner if they inhale it, versus eating it). Some dogs who use marijuana appear to zone out, while others become anxious. Films of dogs toppling over, behaving strangely, or bumping into furniture are frequently seen online, but while these videos may be amusing, some of the indicators of intoxication are much more severe.
The following are some symptoms of cannabis intoxication:
- looking off into nothing
- pupil enlargement
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Under- and overheating (body temperature dysregulation)
Although the majority of gastrointestinal side effects are typically rather benign, it is considerably simpler for dogs to overdose. Most significantly, due to some of the effects THC can have on your dog’s physiology, even a non-fatal overdose can result in death. For instance, it has been reported that dogs who ate edibles and choked on their own vomit have died, so it’s crucial to call your veterinarian as soon as you realize your dog has swallowed any cannabis.
What to do if your dog ingests cannabis
Again, marijuana rarely has fatal effects, but it can have negative effects on your dog. Therefore, even if cannabis is prohibited where you live, call or go to the veterinarian right away with your dog.
The following actions can be taken by you and your dog at home: keep an eye out for any more serious symptoms, and keep your dog calm and hydrated.
Your veterinarian may decide to treat your dog in-office if they exhibit severe cannabis toxicity symptoms like tremors, arrhythmia, and abnormal body temperature regulation. They will keep an eye on your dog’s vital signs to maintain a stable body temperature and administer intravenous fluids to keep them hydrated and help the THC leave their system more quickly. In some extreme situations, veterinarians will administer an intralipid injection to bind THC to lipids (fats) and hasten your dog’s body’s removal of the drug.
Since THC is stored in body fat and can sometimes take three to four days to fully metabolize, some dogs may exhibit minor symptoms during this period.
Keeping your dog safe
In conclusion, make sure to always keep your marijuana out of your dog’s reach. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space and your dog isn’t exposed to a lot of smoke if you’re smoking marijuana while they’re nearby (of any kind). Avoid boxing your dog. Make sure to keep your edibles and marijuana out of reach and in a sealed container. On this point, it’s important to keep in mind how strong a dog’s nose is and how cunning they can be when it comes to sneaking into stuff on counters, in closets, etc. Another concern that you might not have thought about is exposure to human waste. Official reports of marijuana toxicity in dogs from ingesting THC-tainted human feces are numerous.
Is any form of cannabis safe for dogs?
According to some studies, CBD may help with a variety of health problems, including anxiety and pain relief. In a study supported by a CBD treatment firm and conducted by Cornell and University of Florida, it was discovered that CBD was both safe and effective for treating dogs with osteoarthritis, chronic joint pain, and geriatric pain and soreness. CBD, which like THC is non psychoactive, is frequently extracted from hemp.
Companies that produce CBD are offering oils, treats, and other products to dog owners looking for all-natural substitutes for conventional medications. Although encouraging, more studies are necessary to fully confirm CBD’s beneficial effects on pain, anxiety, and other conditions. The quality of the ingredients in any particular CBD product may vary greatly because CBD is not yet subject to FDA regulation. Before giving your dog any supplements or treatments, as usual, ask your veterinarian.
reviewed by Burrwood Veterinary’s founding physician, Alex Schechter, DVM. Prior to that, he established Pure Paws Veterinary Care.
What dosage of THC ought I to give my dog?
Although it is uncommon, especially with smaller breeds, that marijuana will cause a dog’s death, it is not impossible. It is more likely that your dog will have side effects at a dose that is approximately 10,000 times lower than one that will cause death.
The Alameda East Veterinary Hospital states that 3 g/kg of THC is the minimal deadly oral dose for dogs. So, for a 30-pound dog, a deadly dose would be 39 grams of pure THC.
The deadly dose of cannabis flower for a 30-pound dog is 195 grams because it is typically ingested or inhaled. A dog would have to consume more than a quarter pound of stuff. If your marijuana has more than 20% THC, use even more caution because THC levels fluctuate among strains.
Concentrates are made from marijuana that has been distilled down to a very small proportion of THC, which results in a significantly lower deadly dose. In this instance, a product with an 80 percent THC content would need 48.75 grams of concentrate to possibly be fatal to a 30 lb dog.
Can dogs safely consume a little amount of THC?
Toxic to horses, dogs, and cats, marijuana is. Numerous foods and treatments that are healthy for us are not safe for animals since they metabolize many chemicals differently than humans do. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, chocolate, and xylitol, an artificial sweetener, are a few of them.
THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component in marijuana that gives users a high, is poisonous to animals. Although more than 500 chemical compounds and 100 cannabinoids have been discovered in marijuana (cannabis) plants thus far, THC and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most well-known and researched cannabinoid chemicals in marijuana. Plant to plant variations in THC and CBD content can be significant. It is believed that CBD is either non-toxic or only mildly harmful because it is not psychoactive. More information is being gathered recently about the pharmacokinetics, effectiveness, and safety of CBD in animals. There is still some risk in using CBD products for pets because even those that state they contain only CBD can contain THC.
People’s edible marijuana products are manufactured using oil or butter, which is utilized to extract THC from the plant material. Because of this, these items frequently have higher THC concentrations than plant material (buds, leaves, and stems), which increases the possibility of harming dogs. Additionally, they might include chocolate or other poisonous or sickening ingredients for animals.
Animals who are unintentionally or deliberately exposed to THC become poisonous, not just stoned or high. They must not just “sleep it off.” They ought to be taken to a vet for a checkup and/or supportive care.
Signs of THC Poisoning: What to Look for
Owners may observe symptoms such as hypersalivation, urine incontinence, lethargy, incoordination, dilated pupils, heightened sensitivity to motion, sound, or touch, and even second-hand smoking can have an impact on pets. An excessively sluggish heart rate and central nervous system depression can both be found during a veterinary examination. Restlessness, hostility, slow breathing, low blood pressure, an excessively fast heart rate, and quick, uncontrollable eye movements are less frequent symptoms. Animals can occasionally experience convulsions or go into a coma. Death is incredibly uncommon. Depending on how much THC was exposed to the animal, the symptoms may last less than an hour or for a few days.
The fact that many of the typical symptoms of THC poisoning are identical to those of the extremely deadly antifreeze poisoning is one of the reasons animals exhibiting these external symptoms of poisoning should be sent to the vet. In some circumstances, an antidote can be administered quickly, but if it is not administered in time, antifreeze poisoning is almost always lethal without prompt treatment.
Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth
Owners should be entirely honest with their veterinarian if they know or think that their pet has consumed or was exposed to marijuana (plant material, edibles, oils, prescription drugs, and/or smoke). The only thing that matters to the veterinary clinic’s employees, doctors, and technicians is the welfare of the animal. They are better able to deliver the greatest and most suitable care and steer clear of pointless tests and treatments when they are open and honest.
Other diagnoses must be taken into account by the veterinarian if exposure cannot be proven. Alcohols (including antifreeze), opioids and other medications, and rodenticides are a few of these.
Diagnostic Tests and Supportive Care
Although marijuana (and other drugs or toxins) can be tested for in diagnostic labs like the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, those tests take days to complete, and animals have usually recovered by the time findings are available. When used on animals for a number of reasons, urine tests that are readily available for human use frequently produce false negative results. One explanation is that dogs absorb THC differently than people do, and that canine urine contains several chemicals that human pee tests cannot pick up on.
Depending on what was consumed, X-rays and routine blood tests may be advised in order to establish a baseline, rule out other illnesses, and track the animal’s reaction to supportive care. Supportive care may include administering IV fluids, warming or cooling therapy (hypothermia is common), employing activated charcoal, forcing vomiting (only in cases when a toxic dosage was consumed, the exposure was recent, and the animal is not showing any symptoms), and basic nursing care. Animals exhibiting more severe symptoms, such as excitement, tremors, seizures, or slowing heart rate, require medication.
The Bottom Line
Like alcohol or medications, marijuana products (plants, edibles, lotions, oils, etc.) should be safely stored away from dogs in the home. Pet owners should take extra care when storing and using items with high THC concentrations. Pet owners should contact their veterinarian or a pet poison hotline right away if they suspect poisoning or see symptoms of probable poisoning in their animals. Veterinarian emergency care might be required. Every day of the year, including holidays, the Michigan State University Veterinary Medical Center is open.
How much THC is required for a dog per pound?
Cannabis extracts and concentrates have made it possible for pet owners worldwide to properly treat their animals in a variety of (pet-friendly) ways.
Your pet can receive cannabis treatment topically, which is the simplest delivery method. The most convenient way to provide cannabis medicine is transdermal absorption, which is equally beneficial for people and animals. Medicated lotions, oils, and salves relieve your pet’s joint discomfort, inflammation, muscle aches, and superficial skin abrasions and are ideal for targeted, rapid treatment.
Products made from cannabis that are used to treat pets are currently scarce. However, medicinal oil tinctures intended for oral intake can be a good alternative to commercially available topical medicines because most dogs will attempt to lick the injured region if they can get to it. Since not all topical products are suitable for consumption, this method cannot be used both ways.
Treatables are for animals, whereas edibles are for people. Before providing it to your pet, you can also mix cannabis medicine to their food or treats. Of course, you may also simply squirt it directly into your pet’s mouth. You decide the ingredients and the strength in any case.
Raw Cannabis Flower/Juice
Fresh cannabis juice can treat your pet’s medical condition without putting them at risk for intoxication if you have access to or are able to grow your own medicine. Fresh raw cannabis is bursting with THCA that hasn’t yet undergone the chemical conversion to THC. Simply put, it has medicinal benefits rather than mind-bending ones.
It should be noted that dried and cured cannabis has little juice and has higher THC concentrations, making it unsuitable for juicing.
Cannabis Dosing for Pets Takes Time
Getting the proper dosage of medicine for animals can be challenging and take some time, just as for their human owners. The ECS differs from person to person, and animals exhibit the same variation.
Find Your Pet’s Dose
There is no turning back once you have given your pet their medication. There is also no way to communicate to your pet that you miscalculated the dose and that the side effects are only transient and not fatal.
Tips to Get Started
You can titrate dosing with cannabinoid isolate tinctures (i.e., CBD or THC just) until you reach the ideal ratio.
A reasonable general guideline for CBD dosage is.
every pound of body weight, 25 mg. After a week, work your way up to full doses.
THC dosage: after a week, increase by.25 mg per day. Start with.5 mg to 1 mg of THC per day.
When you can’t find specific isolates, tinctures with ratios of 20:1 and 1:1 of CBD to THC are a typical and effective option for treating your pet. When thinking about dose, concentrate on THC milligrams and work your way up from there.