JUN 20, 2019 6:09 AM PDT

Is Marijuana Harmful to Pets?

WRITTEN BY: C Reardon

Dorrie Black works at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services, a 24-hour veterinary clinic near Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. She says she often treats up to three dogs per week who have ingested marijuana. "Dogs will get into anything and everything," she says. 

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia now have legalized the drug in some form, meaning that marijuana can be commonly found in many U.S. households, whether it be for medical or recreational use.  

Black says dogs will ingest marijuana by eating the remainder of a joint or getting into edible marijuana in both the house or the park. In cities with higher homeless populations, it is not farfetched that an animal could ingest human feces tainted with cannabis and that this could get them high. 

Black and other veterinarians believe this problem is becoming more common in areas like the Bay Area, where homeless populations continue to grow. 

Benjamin A. Otten, a veterinarian who works at the allCREATURES veterinary clinic in El Cerrito, California, suggests owners use the following identifiers when identifying marijuana toxicity in a dog or pet:

  • Wobbly movements
  • Dribbling urine
  • A dazed look in the animal's eyes
  • Low body temperature
  • Nervousness

A dog attempting to sit up straight after ingesting cannabis. Photo Source: Laura Klivans/KQED via NPR

Pets will exhibit these symptoms due to the fact that the psychoactive property of marijuana, THC, is poisonous to them. However, none of these veterinarians have seen or heard of an animal dying from the toxicity. 

"There's nothing about that actual drug itself that will kill them," Black assures. "It doesn't cause any organ failure. It doesn't cause liver failure or renal failure," she claims. The drug sedates that animal so intensely that it has the potential to inhale its vomit, which could be fatal. 

Ironically, CBD oils are marketed to pet owners as an aid to specific pet ailments like anxiety and seizures.  Much like in the study of humans and CBD, there is limited research existing to prove this to be either true or false. 

One Colorado study found that two dogs died after ingesting chocolate edibles baked with marijuana-infused butter. However, it was undeterminable if the cause of death was the chocolate, the marijuana, other ingredients, or a combination. 

Black suggests that if an owner does not know if, or how much, their animal has ingested, that it is always a good idea to take them to the vet. The vet can do one of three things to attempt to remove the drug from its system: induce vomiting, pump the animal's stomach, or give it activated charcoal. 

She encourages pet owners, marijuana users or not, to be careful and aware as she says that we have heavier marijuana toxicities to worry about "because of medical-grade marijuana and because of edibles." 

About the Author
  • Chelsey is a content strategist and copywriter with a business degree. She has a background in public relations and marketing and enjoys writing about various topics, from health, to lifestyle, to women’s issues. Since 2016, she has written for a variety of online publications, earning well over 100,000 shares. She published her first book in 2019.
You May Also Like
JUL 17, 2020
Immunology
More Potential Antibody Therapies for COVID Emerge
JUL 17, 2020
More Potential Antibody Therapies for COVID Emerge
When it comes to clinical countermeasures against COVID-19, one class of molecules stands out among the others: antibodi ...
JUL 28, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Cancer Diagnostics Go Skin Deep
JUL 28, 2020
Cancer Diagnostics Go Skin Deep
The average adult human has between 16 and 22 square feet of skin. This multifaceted organ serves a multitude of functio ...
JUL 29, 2020
Cancer
Regulating Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer
JUL 29, 2020
Regulating Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer
Cancer treatments tend to work in one of a few ways. They can target the immune system, prevent cancer proliferation and ...
JUL 29, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
CBD Tablets Help People Quit Cannabis
JUL 29, 2020
CBD Tablets Help People Quit Cannabis
Cannabis use disorder is essentially cannabis addiction. Although research suggests that it affects 9% of peop ...
JUL 29, 2020
Health & Medicine
New Study to Put Medical Cannabis to a Proper Test
JUL 29, 2020
New Study to Put Medical Cannabis to a Proper Test
Real world use of medical cannabis is going to be put to the test in a first-of-its-kind study that should add a lo ...
AUG 11, 2020
Cardiology
Investigating the Link Between a Kidney Protein and Hypertension
AUG 11, 2020
Investigating the Link Between a Kidney Protein and Hypertension
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common cardiovascular condition with plenty of treatment options and preventi ...
Loading Comments...