Even though pets, including cats and dogs, have endocannabinoid systems much like humans do, it can be dangerous if they eat cannabis edibles. Not only are dogs highly sensitive to THC and process it differently than we do, some of the additional ingredients used in edibles make them potentially lethal to pets. Human foods like chocolate, raisins, coffee and butter are commonly used in consumable cannabis products, yet are really dangerous for pets to ingest.
So, if you leave your indica gummies or infused chocolate in a place where Fido or Smokey can easily jump up and gobble it down, you need to know what to do and a plan of action to take should your four-legged bud get greedy for ganja.
Signs Of Cannabis Poisoning In Pets
The effects of eating edibles will vary from pet to pet. Bigger, more mature dogs will be less affected than will small dogs or puppies. Plus, like humans, dogs have different reactions to weed; some get weird and hyper, while others seem sad and sleepy. Because cats are generally smaller, it’s even more risky if they get into your edible stash.
It’s important to know the signs of cannabis poisoning in pets. They can include:
- Loss of balance and swaying
- Depression and lethargy
- Dilated pupils
- Wobbling and disorientation
- Vocal displays
- Wide-eyed and drooling
- Incontinence (inability to control urination or defecation)
More serious symptoms include:
- Slowed heart rate
- Breathing problems
Symptoms will appear between 30 minutes and as much as three hours post edible ingestion, and pets would need to eat a lot for the more severe symptoms — think over a pound of potent pot brownies.
What To Do If Your Cat Or Dog Eats Cannabis
First of all, call your veterinarian right away, especially if your pet’s eaten an edible with other harmful ingredients, like chocolate, dairy, caffeine or raisins. The sooner your pet gets medical attention the better, because less amounts of psychoactive THC will absorb into their bloodstream. It’s important to be honest with your vet, even if you don’t live in a state where cannabis is legal, so they can properly treat your pup or puss.
The most common course of action vets will take is to induce vomiting in your furry friend, and the sooner this is done, the better. If vomiting can’t be induced, the vet may have to pump your pet’s stomach in extreme situations. Enema’s may also be used to decrease toxicity in the intestines and stomach. Vets will likely give your pooch or kitty IV fluids to rehydrate them and dilute the THC.
With quick treatment, most pets will recover in as little as three to 12 hours. They could show some signs of cannabis intoxication over the next few days, but only in severe cases.
How To Avoid The Problem Of Cannabis Intoxication In Pets
The answer is obvious: Keep your edibles locked up high and out of reach. Before leaving the house, take extra precaution with edibles containing chocolate and raisins so that curious tailwaggers don’t get up to any mischief that could result in costly and worrisome vet visits.
But before we go, one more thing…
Is All Cannabis Bad For Pets?
Nope! In fact, in moderation, cannabis in the form of dog treats or oil can help our fluffy children with a range of medical issues. Dogs and cats with chronic pain, anxiety, arthritis, epilepsy, cancer and skin problems have been known to benefit from both THC and CBD — it just has to be in small amounts.
And according to the House Rabbit Society, while there is no evidence on marijuana toxicity in rabbits and vets are not legally able to prescribe cannabis oil as a treatment, many people within the North American bunny community give their big-eared buds small doses of non-psychoactive CBD oil to treat such ailments as seizures, arthritis and tremors. But remember this: As with humans, when it comes to treating animals, the dose is crucial and you should always start small.