Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs

As marijuana becomes more available, we have seen more poisoning in our clinic. We need to be more careful about having it around our pets. Recreational “pot” is a moderate to severe toxic to our pets. Regardless of if it is from second-hand smoke, eating a laced food (brownies worst of all as the chocolate is also toxic to pets), or having eaten the “stash” that has been sitting around, they are all worrisome.

When your pet eats these products, there are issues with the messages that are sent to the brain, and this causes some medical concerns. When they get “high” it causes many of the following:

  • Weakness, lethargy
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Breathing issues
  • Loss of balance
  • Decreased body temperature
  • Urinary incontinence (leaking urine as they lose the ability to keep in the bladder)
  • Lose of swallowing ability
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Coma

Issues can happen quickly or over a few hours, depending on the amount of marijuana your pet got into, size of pet, the age of the pet and what the carrier medium was. They are always a concern and should be addressed by a veterinarian.

We need to treat supportively. This means if your pet ate the “pot,” then we may make it vomit to get it out of the system (this is hard as marijuana is an anti-emetic – it stops vomiting). Treatment is also dependent on the time it was eaten. We may need to give IV fluids, hospitalize, give heart meds, etc. – anything to make things better as quickly as we can. However, it is often a waiting game to see how and if your pet responds to treatment.

The moral of this story is to keep all these things away from your pets and make sure if your pet does get any marijuana, please let those treating your pet know, so it can be treated correctly.

Written by Manitou Animal Hospital