Pets and Marijuana: Keeping Your Furry Friends Safe

June 26, 2018

a small dog

Nowadays, it seems like marijuana is in the news on a regular basis. With medical marijuana being legal in 29 states, and recreational marijuana being legal in nine states, it is not a topic that is likely to go away. 

But what does this have to do with your pets?  

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) advises that if there is something in your pets’ environment, there is always a chance that they could ingest it. After all, our furry friends are forever curious. So if you or someone in your household may have marijuana or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of marijuana) infused products in your home for whatever reason, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind.  

But my pet wouldn’t eat it…

If you think that taste will deter some pets from eating foreign objects and substances, then we have unfortunate news: it won’t. Marijuana edibles—which are commonly dessert-type foods, such as cookies, brownies or gummies, made with marijuana or laced with THC—have become very popular. And just in case you didn’t see our Top 10 Toxins from 2017, our four-legged friends love desserts just as much as we do! In addition, pets don’t feel the need to watch what they eat or stop with just one dose—they will eat all they can get, frequently consuming several human doses at once.

But marijuana won’t hurt my pet … right?

Some people may think: “So my pet will just be stoned for a while, that’s not a big deal.”  

While many times marijuana ingestion is not life-threatening for pets, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some concerns. 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. 

However, one thing to consider is that nowadays there are many highly concentrated forms of marijuana available. If a pet gets into a product with a higher concentration, or large 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.  

So how do I best keep my pet safe?

If you or someone you know has any type of marijuana in your home, it is best practice to treat it as a medication and keep it far out of paws’ reach. This is especially important for the edible products, since our pet’s sense of smell is much better than ours, and curious paws and noses can always find a way. 

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances or ingested something dangerous, contact your veterinarian or call Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435 immediately.