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Dog | TeleLeaf

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests Marijuana

  • In most cases, THC isn’t toxic or fatal to dogs—but it can be at incredibly high doses.
  • While you should call your vet if you think your dog has ingested marijuana, they may recommend that you care for your dog at home.
  • If your vet recommends home care, monitor your pet closely and keep them comfortable.

If you’ve been prescribed medical cannabis for anxiety or another medical issue, you’ll need to keep your supply safe from some members of your household—including your pets.

While cannabis is only toxic to dogs in massive quantities, it can still negatively affect them. In addition, some ingredients found in cannabis edibles and smokables can be toxic to dogs. All in all, keeping your stash away from your dog is a wise choice.

But what happens if your dog does break into your supply of medical marijuana? In this guide, we’re breaking down everything pet parents need to know about the toxicity of marijuana to dogs, steps to take to treat your dog, and tips for keeping your supply safe in the future.

Is Marijuana Toxic to Dogs?

Yes, marijuana can be toxic to dogs. But, like humans, dogs need to ingest an impractically large dose of THC to even scratch the surface of fatal health threats.

A lethal dose of THC for dogs is approximately 3 grams per kilogram of body weight. Here’s a quick table of minimum lethal doses for dogs of various body weights:

Body weight (lb) Body weight (kg) Minimum lethal THC dose (g)
10 4.5 13.5
20 9.0 27.0
30 13.6 40.8
40 18.1 54.3
50 22.7 68.1
60 27.2 81.6

It’s important to note that these lethal doses are:

  • In grams – Dispensary-grade marijuana flower is very dry and light. There are 28 grams in an ounce, which is typically the largest unit sold at the dispensary; and an ounce is a lot of cannabis flower.
  • Referring to THC – In addition, the lethal doses described above refer to THC—not cannabis flower as a whole.

This should put you at ease—unless your dog ate an incredibly large volume of cannabis.

Your Dog Ingested Marijuana—What to Do

Even if you’re confident that your dog didn’t consume a potentially lethal dose of marijuana, you should still take a few steps to care for them.

Step 1: Observe Their Behavior

First, pay close attention to your dog’s behavior. After your dog eats cannabis, you may note symptoms like:

  • Lethargy (which may present as depression if your dog is usually upbeat and friendly)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dilated pupils (or other ocular discrepancies)
  • Disorientation or clumsiness
  • Incontinence
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Fast heart rate

Most of these are benign, but there are certainly symptoms that might indicate intense distress. If you notice any of the following, contact your vet right away:

  • Frequent and severe vomiting
  • Seizure symptoms (e.g., trembling, falling to one side, temporary stiff limbs)
  • Extreme agitation

If your dog experiences any of the above symptoms, your vet will likely treat them with IV fluids, seizure medications, and anti-anxiety drugs, respectively.

Instead of taking your eyes off of your dog to write down their symptoms, consider using tools that will make it easier to supervise your dog, like your smartphone’s:

  • Voice-to-text feature
  • Voice recorder
  • Video camera

This documentation will help your vet determine what kinds of treatment your dog needs, if any.

Step 2: Review Ingredients

While THC and cannabis are only toxic to dogs in very high doses, there are two other ingredients to watch out for if your dog breaks into your stash:

  • Nicotine – If your dog ate smokeable products containing nicotine (like blunts or spliffs, which contain tobacco), take them to the vet right away. Nicotine from any source is toxic and can be lethal to dogs. While not all cannabis smokeables contain nicotine, any home-rolled blunts or spliffs could prove very dangerous to your dog.
  • Chocolate – Chocolate contains theobromine—a compound similar to caffeine. While this compound isn’t present in cannabis, it might be present in any chocolate-flavored edible products your dog could have eaten.

In most cases, nicotine ingestion is much more dangerous for dogs than chocolate ingestion, especially in the context of cannabis products. Nicotine can be toxic to dogs in doses as low as 9 to 12 mg/kg of body weight—the average cigarette contains 12 mg of nicotine. So, just one blunt or spliff could put your dog’s health in jeopardy.

Theobromine, on the other hand, rarely poses fatal toxicity concerns for dogs. Plus, you’ll only find dangerous levels of theobromine in high-quality baker’s chocolate or dark chocolate; white chocolates and artificially flavored chocolate products pose very low risks.

Nonetheless, you should do your best to determine which kinds of cannabis products your dog ate—this will help you communicate with your vet.

Step 3: Call the Vet

After recording your dog’s symptoms and doing some quick investigating, it’s time to call the vet—even if your dog isn’t showing many symptoms or there aren’t any toxic ingredients in your cannabis supply.

Why call the vet even if you’re not concerned about toxicity or fatality?

  • Additional health concerns – If your pet has a diagnosed health concern (like a seizure disorder, cardiac abnormality, or anxiety), your vet may want to monitor them in a clinical setting.
  • Statistical recording – Some vets may record how often certain medical events happen in their patient population to create statistical reports for veterinary journals and other publications. This data helps other veterinary professionals assess population-wide health risks, and you could contribute to ongoing research that will benefit your pet, future pets, and your community.

Your vet may tell you that it’s safe to remain at home with your pet; we’ll break down how to care for your pet at home in the next section. If they ask you to come in, head to the clinic as soon as possible.

Step 4: Keep Your Dog Comfortable

a-man-sleeps-on-the-couch-with-a-labrador-dog-pet-2023-11-27-05-22-10-utcIf your vet recommends keeping your dog at home while they recover from their high, they’ll likely also recommend a few ways to keep them comfortable in the meantime:

  • Keeping them warm – This is a great time to break out the doggie sweater or turn on the space heater—cannabis can cause hypothermia in dogs, so keeping them warm is paramount.
  • Reducing stimuli – Dogs can experience high anxiety or agitation while intoxicated from THC. To help keep your dog calm, limit loud noises, lower lights if possible, and avoid touching them if they’re trying to keep their distance from you.
  • Making a nest – Your dog likely already has a bed, but adding a few extra pillows, blankets, towels, or even a heating pad (under at least one blanket to prevent overheating) will give them a cozy place to sleep off their high.

The effects of the high should wear off in a few hours. Once your dog has recovered, make food and water available and do what you can to encourage eating and drinking.

Keeping Your Supply Safe from Your Dog

As your dog recovers, start thinking about what you can do to keep both your pet and your supply safe in the future. We recommend:

  • Secure containers – Glass jars and thick plastic containers with childproof lids are excellent options for pet parents.
  • Safe storage locations – Keep your containers in an area that your dog can’t reach—on high shelves or in the refrigerator, for instance.
  • Kenneling – If your dog has a habit of destroying your belongings or eating your food, consider kennelling them when you leave the house to keep them safe.

In addition, consider choosing cannabis products without ingredients that are toxic to dogs to mitigate risks as much as possible; opt for nicotine-free smokeables and chocolate-free edibles on your next dispensary trip.

TeleLeaf: A Supportive Community of Providers and Patients

If you’ve been prescribed medical marijuana for back pain or any other health issue, keeping your supply out of your dog’s paws (and mouth) is a must—safe storage and kennelling are two options that will help you keep your pet safe from potential incidents.

If you’re currently dealing with a situation like this, you’re not the first: many cannabis patients have experienced the same. This is why it’s so critical to have access to a supportive cannabis community that shares your experiences and can offer advice when you’re struggling.

That’s exactly what we do at TeleLeaf. In addition to being the best online medical marijuana card service provider out there, we also foster a supportive, healing community of cannabis patients ready to share their experiences and walk the path to recovery together.

Ready to unlock the healing power of cannabis? Make an appointment with us today.


Sources:

Topics in Companion Animal Medicine. Marijuana Poisoning.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23796481/

VCA Animal Hospitals. Seizures in Dogs.
https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/seizures-general-for-dogs

American Lung Association. Keeping Your Pets Safe from Nicotine Poisoning.
https://www.lung.org/blog/nicotine-poisoning-in-pets

VCA Animal Hospitals. Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs.
https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/chocolate-poisoning-in-dogs

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