Marijuana Safety in Pets

June 8, 2021

Two chihuahuas

With well over half of the states in the United States having legalized medical marijuana—37 to be exact—and 16 states having legalized recreational marijuana, it is quite clear this drug is becoming more and more popular. This likely means that it can be found in more homes, leading to larger exposures in pets. 

While marijuana ingestion is not usually life-threatening to pets, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to make sure you have all the information you need to keep your pets safe as there are still concerns with ingestion. So, if you or someone in your household has marijuana or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of marijuana) infused products at home, keep these three tips in mind! 

1. The taste will not deter your pet from eating it. Marijuana edibles—food infused with marijuana or THC—are just as enticing to pets as any other type of food. Our pets also don’t feel the need to watch what they eat or stop at just one bite, they will eat as much as they can get, consuming several human doses at once. 

2. Even though it is likely not life-threatening to pets, there is still cause for concern. Signs pets commonly show after ingesting marijuana or marijuana products include unsteadiness on the feet, depression, dilated eyes, dribbling urine, sensitivity to sound and touch, slow heart rate and even low body temperature. 

One thing to consider is how concentrated the product is. Different products come in different levels of concentration and if a pet gets into a product with a higher concentration or larger quantities of marijuana, more serious concerns are possible. Your pet may show signs of low blood pressure, agitation, seizures or even aspirate. In rare cases, death has occurred. 

3. Keep any and all marijuana or THC products out of paw’s reach. Whether its your own or a house guest’s, treat marijuana or THC products as you would a medication and keep it in a cabinet where snooping noses and paws cannot get to it. This is especially important for edible products since our pets have an incredible sense of smell and can always find a way to sniff it out. 

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to or ingested marijuana or THC products, please contact your local veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888)426-4435 immediately.