You should know how to tell and what to do if your dog eats weed. Cannabis (AKA marijuana, weed, pot and more) is now legal in Canada for both Medical and Recreational usage and on the rise in the US and other countries.
This means more cannabis may be found in more places in more forms so more dogs may be exposed.
Cannabis can contain CBD (Cannabidiol) and Terpenes which may be beneficial in appropriate dosages. However Cannabis may also contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and high levels of THC can be potentially toxic or even fatal to pets.
THC Poisoning is No Joke
I have seen people on TV or in movies think it funny if their dog gets high on smoke or edibles but far from it. Three grams of THC per kilogram of a dog’s weight can apparently be a lethal dose, and smaller amounts can still be dangerous, triggering the nasty symptoms below, including discomfort, seizures and even comas.
Questions the Vet Might Ask
Once you see a vet or speak to the ASPCA, give them the following information:
1) What did your dog ingest? Did they inhale second-hand smoke? Eat a joint or an edible? Did the edible contain any other toxic products? – See: 20 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog
2) How much did they consume?
3) How long ago did they consume it?
4) What is your dog’s breed, size, weight, age and health.
They can then compare to other cases and research, and help you decide what you should do next.
Even if weed is not legal where you live, you need to take your dog to a vet and the vet needs to know exactly what they might have in their system.
Treatment If Your Dog Eats Weed
Vets will usually try to induce vomiting in your dog to stop anything they’ve eaten getting into their system if you get them there soon enough (usually within 30 minutes). They will probably give them IV fluids to try to clear their system faster. It is also often recommended to give your dog activated charcoal and water. This was what we had to do when we took Kilo to the vet for eating a whole tray of chocolate brownies under the supervision of the vet.
If your dog is lethargic because the THC is already in his bloodstream, you should not try to induce vomiting because the dog could swallow it and asphyxiate. They will still probably give fluids and monitor them for seizures if they ate a lot.
Most dogs do well with the right treatment and recover from marijuana poisoning within 3-12 hours but it can stay in the system longer.
Accidents Happen But Take Precautions #PetSafety
I am sure we all intend to keep products that contain THC out of reach, but dogs can be curious and resourceful. Vets in Cities in the US where cannabis is legal are reported to be receiving lots of calls about dogs who have accidentally ingested it.
Dogs can steal weed cookies or brownies or edibles or even a joint off the counter or out of a backpack left in reach or off a dining room table after dinner, or they can be around secondhand marijuana smoke or they could pick up a fallen joint or edible in a public space.
Imagine how toxic the chocolate brownies Kilo the Pug stole while my husband wasn’t looking or the onion quiche he stole off the counter would have been if they contained THC as well.
- Be careful where cannabis and edibles are consumed, stored or discarded.
- Keep vigilant on walks and in public spaces.
- Do not smoke near your dog.
Stoned Dog Symptoms
If you are worried your dog has consumed weed, here are some of the symptoms you should look for:
- Breathing problems
- Sleepiness or excitation
- Irregular or low heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Low blood pressure
- Low body temperature
- Incontinence, uncontrolled dribbled urine
- Loss of balance, difficulty walking, lack of control and coordination- they may look a little wobbly or “stoned”
- Exaggerated response to any stimulus
While more severe signs include
Here is a handy Infographic to Save or Pin- you may wany to add emergency vet numbers.
Can cannabis kill my dog?
Yes, cannabis or marijuana could possibly kill your dog if your dog eats weed in a large enough amount or eats something that contains high doses of THC and you do not get treatment. Three grams of THC per kilogram of a dog’s weight can apparently be a lethal dose.
That is a LOT but smaller amounts can still be dangerous or unpleasant for your dog.
What about medical marijuana?
You may be wondering if medical marijuana could help your dog’s quality of life if they suffer from certain diseases, like it has for some people. Scientific and clinical research indicates CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, MS, chronic pain, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders in humans. There may be similar benefits for dogs. It may even have anti-cancer properties.
I have seen many positive stories on the use of CBD but THC could be scary and dangerous for dogs.
Hemp based products with CBD for dogs are exploding in popularity in the US since they became legal. While many vets in Canada seem in favor of CBD for management of pain, inflammation and diseases like epilepsy, the CVMA says that cannabis’ effect on dogs needs further study and changes in legislation before any can be prescribed as a way to manage a disease so be very careful. Consult with your vet. See the CVMA fact sheet on CBD products in Canada here .
Has your dog ever got into something they shouldn’t have? Tell us in the comments.
Michelle Stern says
Our friend’s dog found some weed behind a school and ate it, unbeknownst to them. Sadly, she had a seizure! Thanks for this helpful post.
Michelle & The Paw Pack says
Good post, especially with weed becoming legal in more areas lately. I remember once, many years ago, one of my sister’s dogs getting into her stash. That was both an awkward and expensive trip to the vet, lol.
Amy Shojai, CABC says
Great post and caution. When I interviewed vets for my CBD blog post, they mentioned that an increase in pet poisoning had been seen especially in areas where marijuana was legal. Dogs are not people and do not react in the same way to all the components within the plant. Even beneficial drugs can be overdosed, too, so I’m delighted to read your great post on the subject!
Hindy Pearson says
Great post especially since, like you say, it just became legal in Canada. Actually that happened when I was there this summer, lots of mixed reactions. Luckily where I was there was no chance of my dog accidentally getting into any!
Ruth Epstein says
Great post especially as it is becoming more and more legal and have often wondered about that although Layla gets CBD oil. I suppose like anything that is harmful to our pets we have to take extra care that they do not get hold of it. I do not use it but I see people in the parks smoking it and it does worry me so I keep Layla away from all the smokers. Rather be safe thank sorry
Quite timely as marijuana becomes legal in more and more places. Some people think it’s funny to try and get their dog high, but it’s not funny at all.
K. Gabrielle says
This is an awesome post. Just repinned. What are your thoughts on giving dogs CBD oil?
Talent Hounds says
I personally am a big fan of CBD oil and terpenes for humans (I have horrendous pain and swelling from arthritis and it seems to help) and I think there is probably potential for dogs for certain conditions (eg epilepsy or arthritis). I have not heard of bad side effects but there has not been that much research yet so I would ask your vet. I know several people in our group have done research too.
Great advice. I had no idea cannabis could be quite so lethal to dogs. Good to know! Cannabis is not legal in the UK and it’s not something we have lying around the home, so hopefully it’s not something we’ll need to worry about. It’s always good to know the signs though if she does consume something when we’re out and about.
Ruby and Kristin says
Wow, I wouldn’t have even thought about this, but you are right as it becomes legal in more places this could certainly be an issue. That’s scary. When I was a bit younger I had friends who smoked around their dogs and I always wondered about the effects it might have.
We fortunately haven’t had any serious issues with Ruby getting into stuff. She has a few times broken into the mouse food, which has caused some intestinal issues, but nothing too serious.
I’m going to pin and tweet this post.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Washington State for a couple of years. The veterinarians around here say they have definitely seen an increase in dog sick from THC. I’ve often seen it happen when someone goes for a hike, or to the beach, and their dog finds a bag of weed and eats it. Most don’t see it happen but their dog gets sick pretty quickly so they take them to the vet where they are diagnosed with THC poisoning.
Talent Hounds says
Yes- you have to be very vigilent in public spaces, especially if dogs are off leash.
Lola The Rescued Cat says
I never thought about this! This is very timely, considering marijuana is being legalized in so many places. I do hope all animal parents are very careful and store it carefully.
Jana Rade says
So much more important since marijuana got legalized around here. The only time we ended up inducing vomiting in Cookie was after she found outside and swallowed what may or may not have been a pot brownie.
Lindsay N Pevny says
Very important distinction between CBD and THC! It’s so unfortunate that incidents are increasing where pot is legalized.
Sweet Purrfections says
I don’t think I realized there were two different things in marijuana – CBD and THC. I don’t plan on any of my pets or myself being around it, but one never knows.
Thanks for sharing this! My Puggle mix once got into plain M & M’s and even though they are milk chocolate (much less toxic than dark chocolate), he still had to go the Emergency Vet. We had a puppy once who chewed a Hydrangea and was quite sick. Thankfully, we got her to an emergency vet in time.
Oh I just I just saw an episode on Animal Planet with a veterinarian trying to save the life of a dog that had ingested marijuana brownies. Luckily the dog did survive but yes it’s very lethal.
Cathy Armato says
This post is perfect, so timely now that weed is becoming legal in so many countries. One more potential danger for pers in the home. Great information, I’m sharing!
Love & biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
Carol Bryant says
This is such an important post. I am reading more and more cases of dogs on beaches where weed is legal eating it and getting sick or worse. Tweeting this, too.
Dorothy "FiveSibesMom" says
This is such an important and very timely post. It is so important for folks to be careful…and to understand the difference between CBD and THC. I also just Pinned on my Bark About board to share! Excellent post.
My dog getting into my cannabis is like my worst nightmare!
Here to say this post helped me tonight as my dog got into some human feces containing THC tonight while camping. This answered lots of questions while I was out of reach from our vet!
Talent Hounds says
Hope your dog is OK.