Marijuana Poisoning In Dogs

Marijuana Poisoning In Dogs

Marijuana is legal in some states now, and the number of dogs getting sick from it has shot up.

Luckily, it's rarely deadly, but it can cause some scary symptoms. If you think your dog has eaten marijuana, it's important to get them to a vet ASAP.

Why the Sudden Increase in Cases?

With marijuana being more accessible, there's been a big jump in cases of dogs getting sick from it. For instance, in 2019, the Animal Poison Control Center saw a whopping 765% increase in calls about pets eating marijuana compared to the year before. Similarly, the Pet Poison Helpline reported over a 400% rise in marijuana-related incidents over six years.

A study in Colorado found that cases of marijuana poisoning in dogs reported to two vet hospitals quadrupled between 2005 and 2010.

How Do Dogs Get Exposed to Marijuana?

Dogs are more likely to get sick from marijuana than cats, mainly because it's often mixed into yummy treats like brownies or cookies that dogs love to eat. But dogs can also get poisoned by eating any part of the plant (leaves, seeds, stems, flowers), inhaling smoke, consuming hashish oil, or even eating the poop of someone who has used marijuana.

Symptoms of Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

Heads up we'll get into the science of this but first watch out for these signs if you suspect your dog has ingested marijuana:

  • Stumbling and crossing over their feet
  • Lethargy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Agitation

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the part of marijuana that gets you high, and dogs are way more sensitive to it than humans. Symptoms usually show up within 30 minutes to an hour after eating it, or even sooner if they inhale it.

Dr. Stacy Meola from Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Colorado, who led the study mentioned earlier, says, "The most common sign is stumbling and crossing over their feet, walking like they're drunk (ataxic)." This happened in 88% of the dogs in the study. Plus, about 50% of the dogs were dull and lethargic, had dilated pupils, and reacted to quick movements toward their face.

Interestingly, around half of the dogs dribbled urine uncontrollably. "I bet the drug wouldn't be as popular if 50% of people dribbled urine when they used marijuana!" jokes Dr. Meola.

Other symptoms can include vomiting, tremors, shaking, agitation, and in severe cases, dogs can become comatose.

Treating Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the symptoms. Some dogs can be treated at home, while others may need hospitalization for intravenous fluids and supportive care.

“For severely affected animals, we recommend a treatment called intralipid therapy,” says Dr. Meola. This involves infusing lipids (fats used in IV nutrition support) to help bind the marijuana and speed up its elimination from the body.

With proper treatment, most dogs recover fully within one to two days.

Why It’s Important to Seek Veterinary Help

While marijuana poisoning is rarely deadly, it's super important to get your dog to the vet right away. A lot of cases involve the drug mixed with chocolate or artificial sweeteners like Xylitol—both of which are also toxic to dogs—in brownies or cookies. Plus, medical-grade marijuana butter products can be even more dangerous when baked into treats.

Dr. Meola points out, "Because the potency of marijuana varies and the amount in edibles isn't regulated, it's hard to know exactly how much a dog has ingested. We also don't know the toxic or fatal dose when inhaled or eaten, so it's always best to have a pet checked out."

If you think your dog has eaten marijuana, don't panic, but do get veterinary help right away. Acting fast can make a big difference for your furry friend.

Keeping your dog safe from things like marijuana poisoning is just one part of being a responsible pet owner. Another key part is making sure they're secure and comfortable during walks.

The Joyride Harness is made for maximum comfort and control, so walks are more enjoyable for both you and your dog. Its easy-to-use design and reflective features help keep your furry friend safe on all your adventures.

Want to make walks safer and more fun? Check out the Joyride Harness today! Visit our website to find the perfect harness for your pup and enjoy peace of mind on every walk.


Source: American Kennel Club

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