Cannabis For Dogs: Risks And Benefits

May 1, 2023
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Is cannabis safe for dogs?

Is marijuana bad for dogs? Or is marijuana good for dogs? If you just realized your dog got into your weed stash and ate some cannabis, you may be wondering, “what happens if my dog eats weed?” or “is weed bad for dogs?” In this article, we will discuss whether cannabis is safe for dogs, what effect marijuana has on dogs, what happens if a dog eats marijuana, and everything else you need to know about dogs and marijuana. As a dog owner, it's important to know the answers to these questions, even more so as the use of recreational and medical marijuana continues to grow. We will also look at dog THC products and whether dispensaries sell marijuana for dogs.

Can dogs get high?

Like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system, so dogs can get high. Dogs can get high from cannabis if:

  • your dog ingests cannabis buds or leaves
  • your dog ingests cannabis infused edibles. In this case, additional toxic ingredients like xylitol, chocolate, or raisins might be involved.
  • your dog inhales second-hand smoke

So, if dogs can get high, should you give your dog cannabis?

Is weed bad for dogs?

According to research studies and veterinarians, weed is bad for dogs. Dogs have a greater density of cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans, so dogs are more susceptible to the adverse effects of marijuana than humans. As cannabis legalization spreads, the number of dogs poisoned by cannabis rises. For example, the Animal Poison Control Center reported a 765% increase in calls related to marijuana poisoning in pets in 2019 compared to 2018. "I see an increase in pups overdosing on marijuana, even as more people treat pets with cannabis oil," said Dr. Jeff Goodall, who heads Sunnyview Animal Care Centre in Bedford, Nova Scotia. “Curious dogs often get into things they shouldn't get into – brownies or people's stash. And it messes them up pretty bad.” When dogs ingest marijuana, typically by eating marijuana or cannabis-infused edibles, they may experience these intoxication symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Whining or crying
  • Lethargy
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Breathing problems
  • Seizures
  • high or low body temperature
  • Agitation
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Coma

If your dog has gotten into your marijuana and you notice any signs of toxicity or intoxication, you should take your dog to a veterinarian promptly.

How long does a weed high last for dogs?

If your dog got into your weed stash and ate marijuana, or your dog was exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke, you might be wondering, “how long does a weed high last for dogs?” Like humans, cannabis “affects each dog differently” according to Riverview Animal Hospital.

If your dog is exposed to second-hand cannabis smoke, they may immediately display the symptoms listed above. However, if they eat cannabis or edibles, it may take between 30-90 minutes for your dog to experience the effects of marijuana.

It is important to understand that a weed high for dogs may often be an adverse experience. Dogs have much more sensitive cannabinoid receptors, so stoned dogs are often scared and disoriented. This adverse experience can last from a few hours to several days, depending on the dog and the dose of cannabis ingested. As a result, CBD for dogs may be a better option than THC or CBN products. So, the answer to “how long does a weed high last for dogs?” depends on a variety of factors, just like it does for a human. But stoned dogs typically don’t enjoy the experience, due to inherent differences in the dog endocannabinoid system.

Can weed kill dogs?

As a dog owner, it is important to know that while it is rare, weed can kill dogs. One study on dogs and marijuana explored cases of marijuana toxicosis in dogs at Colorado veterinary hospitals and found that two dogs who ate cannabis-infused edibles died.

How does weed kill dogs?

More research is needed, but it appears that marijuana is bad for dogs because canines have different CB2 receptors and different metabolism of cannabinoids than humans. While most people don’t know that weed can kill dogs, veterinarians have reported many canine deaths due to marijuana toxicity. Death is usually caused by the dog slipping into a coma and vomiting while unconscious. According to Dr. Jeff Goodall, "since THC prevents vomiting, we give intoxicated pets activated charcoal or flush their stomach to save them."

Dog THC and marijuana for dogs?

Although marijuana is bad for dogs in general, there are some situations in which a dog’s quality of life could be improved with the right cannabis product. For example, a literature review of marijuana for dogs states that “marijuana cookies may well find a place in the veterinarian’s arsenal for treatment of epilepsy and side-effects of cancer.”

Are there pet products like dog THC, dog weed, or special marijuana for dogs? In fact, there are cannabis products designed for dogs and which target pet owners. However, these products are not well-studied or well-regulated. Former president of the California Veterinary Medical Association Ken Pawlowski recommended against using marijuana for dogs: “There is no research that shows any benefit… Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than any other animal that we know, and therefore are potentially more susceptible to toxicities.”

Research into dogs and marijuana has revealed that cannabis isn't safe for dogs. As a result, owners should keep marijuana somewhere where their dogs cannot access it. If your dog gets into your weed stash and you observe any signs of marijuana toxicity, you should take your furry friend to the vet.

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