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What to Do If Your Pet Accidentally Eats Marijuana

As marijuana becomes more widely available and socially accepted in the United States pet owners face a new challenge: what to do if their furry friend accidentally ingests cannabis products or forms of cannabis.

While it may seem like a minor mishap the psychoactive effects of marijuana on pets can be serious and even life-threatening. In this article well explore what to watch for and how to respond if your pet whether its people who use marijuana or not accidentally consumes marijuana.

Chris Dorcey
Inheal Editor
Post date
April 13, 2024
Time to read
6 mins 23 secs
marijuana edibles dangerous for pets

Key Takeaways

  • Marijuana toxicity can cause serious sometimes life-threatening symptoms in pets
  • Signs include lethargy uncoordinated movement vomiting and more
  • Different forms of marijuana can have different adverse effects on pets
  • If you suspect ingestion call your vet or pet poison control immediately
  • Prevent poisoning by securely storing products and avoiding use around pets
  • Quick supportive treatment can help most pets recover fully

Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

dog ate marijuana symptoms

The active ingredient in marijuana THC affects pets differently than humans. Dogs and cats are especially sensitive due to their smaller size and different metabolisms. Common signs that your pet may have ingested marijuana include:

  • Lethargy and sleepiness
  • Uncoordinated movement and stumbling
  • Dilated pupils and glassy eyes
  • Vomiting and drooling
  • Vocalization such as whining or crying
  • Agitation or nervousness
  • Tremors seizures or coma in severe cases

Symptoms typically begin 30 minutes to 90 minutes after ingestion and can last for several days. The severity depends on the amount consumed relative to the pets size and whether the marijuana was highly concentrated.

Dogs and Marijuana

Dogs are curious creatures and their powerful sense of smell can lead them straight to your stash. Common scenarios include:

  • Eating marijuana buds or leaves
  • Consuming edibles like brownies cookies or other baked goods
  • Drinking cannabis-infused oils or tinctures

Ingesting any form of marijuana can cause toxicity in dogs. However edibles pose an additional risk as they often contain chocolate or other ingredients that are harmful to canines.

Cats and Cannabis

While cats are typically more discriminating than dogs they can still fall victim to marijuana toxicity. Possible exposure routes include:

  • Nibbling on cannabis plants
  • Ingesting edibles or other cannabis products
  • Inhaling secondhand smoke from a pipe bong or other smoking device

Cats may also be attracted to the smell of marijuana and rub against plants or surfaces where it has been used. This can lead to THC being absorbed through their skin or ingested during grooming.

Other Animals and Marijuana

Its not just cats and dogs that can be affected by marijuana. Other pets like rabbits ferrets birds and even horses have been known to accidentally ingest cannabis products. The signs and treatment are generally similar but its important to consult a vet who is familiar with your specific animal.

Different Forms of Marijuana and Their Effects

cat cannabis toxicity signs

The type and amount of marijuana your pet consumes can greatly impact the severity of their symptoms. Here are some common forms and their potential effects:

Marijuana Buds and Leaves

Eating raw marijuana plant material can cause mild to moderate toxicity depending on the amount consumed. Symptoms may include lethargy incoordination and vomiting.

Edibles and Other Cannabis Products

Marijuana-infused foods oils and tinctures can be especially dangerous for pets. They often contain higher concentrations of THC and may include other harmful ingredients like chocolate or xylitol. Ingesting edibles can cause severe toxicity with symptoms like tremors seizures and even coma.

Secondhand Smoke

Inhaling marijuana smoke can cause milder symptoms in pets such as lethargy and incoordination. However secondhand smoke can still be harmful especially to birds and other small animals with sensitive respiratory systems.

What to Do If You Suspect Marijuana Ingestion

veterinarian treating marijuana toxicity pet

If you believe your pet has consumed marijuana quick action is crucial. Here are the steps to take:

  • Remove your pet from any remaining marijuana products
  • Call your veterinarian or pet poison control hotline immediately
  • Do not attempt to induce vomiting unless instructed by a professional
  • If advised by your vet bring your pet in for examination and treatment
  • Provide a safe quiet space for your pet to rest and recover

With prompt treatment most pets will recover fully from marijuana toxicity. However its crucial to be upfront with your vet about what happened. They are there to help your pet not judge you.

Treatment for Marijuana Toxicity

The specific treatment for marijuana toxicity will depend on your pets symptoms and the amount and type of product consumed. Common interventions include:

  • Induced vomiting or activated charcoal to remove toxins from the body
  • IV fluids to combat dehydration and support organ function
  • Anti-nausea medication to control vomiting
  • Monitoring of vital signs blood pressure and neurological function
  • Oxygen therapy or ventilation in severe cases

In most cases pets can be treated on an outpatient basis and will recover within 24-72 hours. However severe cases may require hospitalization for more intensive care.

Preventing Marijuana Poisoning in Pets

treating pet marijuana ingestion

Of course the best treatment for marijuana toxicity is prevention. As a responsible pet owner take these precautions:

  • Store all marijuana products in secure containers out of your pets reach
  • Avoid smoking or vaping marijuana around your pets
  • Educate guests especially those unaccustomed to pets about keeping their stash secure
  • Consider avoiding marijuana use entirely if you have curious pets prone to getting into things
  • Keep your vets number and pet poison hotline saved in your phone for quick reference

Final thoughts

Discovering your pet has accidentally consumed marijuana can be a scary experience. But by staying calm acting quickly and working with your veterinarian you can help your furry friend pull through. Use this incident as a learning opportunity to pet-proof your cannabis stash and prevent future accidents. With a little caution and a lot of love you and your pet can navigate this new world together.

As marijuana becomes more common its important for pet owners to be aware of the risks it poses to their furry friends. Accidental ingestion can happen in the blink of an eye but with quick action and proper treatment most pets will make a full recovery.

By taking precautions and staying informed you can keep your pet safe and healthy in a world where marijuana is increasingly mainstream. Remember while cannabidiol (CBD) from hemp may have potential benefits THC from cannabis plants is toxic to pets and should be avoided.

Frequently Asked Questions

When in doubt err on the side of caution. Call your vet and follow their guidance based on your pets symptoms and size.

Its not advisable. Marijuana toxicity can be unpredictable and professional supportive care is the safest approach.

Veterinarians are bound by confidentiality and are concerned with treating your pet not reporting you. Be honest so they can provide the best care.

Symptoms often last 24-48 hours but can persist for several days in some cases. Your vet can give you a better estimate based on your pets condition.

No pets should never be intentionally exposed to marijuana. Repeated exposure can lead to chronic health issues long term effects and behavioral changes.

Disclaimer

The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. FDA has not evaluated statements contained within the blog. Information on this website or in any materials or communications from Inheal is for educational/informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions, correct dosage or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

by Chris Dorcey

A connoisseur of cannabis creativity and true contemplation with more than 20 years of experience, Chris extracts deep thoughts from getting lightly baked and shares his wandering mind. He blends cuisine and cannabis culture into nutritious, delicious recipes and insights for other hemp lovers.

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