A small white dog looks a little out of it while wearing a red, bejeweled collar against a white background

Since the passing of Proposition 64 in 2018, cannabis use has exploded across California. Although the drug can have a positive impact for both medicinal and recreational users, the effects on our pets is quite the opposite.

Since pot was first legalized, veterinarians throughout the state have seen a dramatic increase in cases of marijuana toxicity in pets. Pot and pets simply don’t mix, and it’s critical that all pet owners, regardless of whether or not they use the drug, be aware of its dangers to their furry companions.

Pot and Pets

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active compound in marijuana, has an entirely different effect on pets than on people. Ingesting even a small amount of THC can produce an adverse reaction in a pet’s body, and should be considered a pet poisoning emergency

Give us a call or bring your pet in right away if they have been exposed to marijuana, or are exhibiting any of the following signs of exposure:

  • Stumbling/loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Urine incontinence (“dribbling”)
  • Glassy eyes/dilated pupils
  • Listlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excitement or agitation (about 25% of pets)
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma 

Marijuana toxicity in pets is not usually fatal, although it has happened. A pet’s reaction will typically last 3-12 hours, and because there is no antidote, treatment consists of supportive efforts such as IV fluids and medications to control vomiting or seizures. The sooner your pet receives medical attention, the sooner they will feel better and be back to normal.

Stash Your Stash

Our pets are naturally interested in whatever we’re doing, and keeping marijuana safely stored out of their reach is the single best way to prevent accidental exposure. Keep an eye on your pet while out walking or when visiting other people’s homes – many cases of marijuana toxicity in pets happen without the owner even realizing what their pet was investigating until it was too late.

It’s not just smokable cannabis that can harm your pets; edibles and tinctures are of particular concern, too. This is due, in part, to the fact that pets (especially dogs) are interested in food. Because the THC levels in edible goods and tinctures tends to be highly concentrated, they pose an additional risk to our pets – especially those that are made with chocolate or Xylitol, two compounds that are highly toxic to pets on their own.

What About Medicinal Use?

Medical marijuana enthusiasts are understandably curious about the drug’s potential benefits for pets, but there simply isn’t enough data yet. Before trying any THC product on your pet, please consult with your veterinarian. Don’t hesitate to contact the staff at Goldorado Animal Hospital with further questions regarding pot and pets.