With the legalization of marijuana across many states, veterinarians are seeing marijuana intoxication cases skyrocket for our four-legged friends. While dogs are more likely to be the culprit in sneaking the snack they shouldn’t have, it’s true that marijuana can be toxic for any household pet.
Marijuana flowers usually contain less than 10% THC, but candies and other foods made with marijuana can contain up to 90% THC and are most toxic to pets. What’s more is when those marijuana edibles are made with chocolate and butter — two ingredients that humans can digest, but dogs cannot.
How Can I Tell if My Dog Ingested Marijuana?
If you suspect that your dog has gotten hold of your recent flower or edible purchase, it’s important for you to remain calm! Dogs have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans, and so THC consumption will cause effects that are more toxic and severe. A dog who’s ingested marijuana will likely begin to show signs within 30-90 minutes, but sometimes it can take up to a few hours, depending on the THC content and the size of your dog. Signs of marijuana ingestion include:
- Poor coordination (falling over themselves, lack of control over limbs)
- Sensitivity to light and loud noises
- Low heart rate
- Urinating on themselves
- Low or high body temperature
Dogs can also experience more severe symptoms depending on THC levels, which include vomiting, urine retention, and irregular heartbeat. In the most extreme cases of marijuana
intoxication, your dog might experience tremors, seizures, and comatose states.
If your dog is experiencing any of these effects due to marijuana consumption, it’s important that you take your dog to the vet. Even though it might seem helpful, do not try to induce vomiting at home, as this may worsen effects while causing additional medical issues for your pup.
What Happens When We Get to the Vet?
When you’ve arrived at your emergency veterinary hospital, don’t be afraid to tell your vet that you suspect your dog has ingested marijuana. Vets are not required to report marijuana intoxication in pets to law enforcement, and their top priority is the health of your dog! At the clinic, your vet may:
- Put your dog in a quiet room which will help to reduce sensory stimulation
- Evaluate levels of toxicity and the state of your dog’s bodily functions
- To evaluate your dog, your vet will most likely administer blood work and a urinary analysis
- Diagnostic imaging may be necessary if your dog also consumed the edible’s plastic packaging or wrapping
Treatment for Marijuana Intoxication
Once your vet has determined the level of marijuana intoxication of your pet, they’ll begin treatment. Depending on how much your dog has ingested, and the size of your pet, treatment plans will vary. If you caught your pup mid-chew, or very early on in their unexpected journey, the vet may induce vomiting to avoid further symptoms. Other standard marijuana intoxication treatment includes:
- Hospitalization for 12-24 hours to ensure the safety of your pet
- Temperature regulation
- IV and fluids to support blood pressure
- Cardiovascular support
- Anti-nausea medication
If you suspect your dog has ingested marijuana, True Care for Pets is here to help. No matter the time of day (or night), our emergency veterinarians are on call to provide your beloved four-legged friends with the medical assistance they require.