Animals often have curious noses, which leads them to eating all sorts of things that aren't good for them. Sometimes that thing happens to be your cannabis stash and unfortunately for them, it is unlikely to go down well. This article discusses how to deal with an intoxicated pet and whether cannabis is safe for animals in general.
Cannabis consumption may very well be enjoyable for humans, but for animals it's a whole different story. Firstly, it is never a smart idea to purposely get an animal high. This is both cruel and potentially dangerous or life threatening for the animal. They are unlikely to have a good time and it won't be funny for you if you suddenly need to make an emergency visit to the vet.
If you're lucky, the animal may just pass out and sleep it off. On the other hand, it could cause some pretty erratic and confused behaviour or even death, so if you consume cannabis and have pets it is of utmost importance you keep them away by protecting and storing your cannabis safely.
Animals such as cats and dogs have an endocannabinoid system similar to our own. This means they can react to THC and will get high from even low doses.
There are plenty of ways an animal can find its way to your stash. The most likely situation is that the animal ate some tasty edibles, as they aren't usually drawn to eating cannabis on its own, although it can happen. Either way, you need to be conscious of where you leave your bits otherwise they may have disappeared the next time you go to collect them.
Like for humans, the effect of cannabis on animals depends on how it is consumed and in what quantity. If your pet ate raw cannabis, the THC will not yet have been activated and therefore will have a weaker effect than if the weed was decarboxylated beforehand by making edibles.
Animals can also get high from second hand smoke. This means it's important to be considerate of any animals present and at the very least you should make sure there are windows open and fresh air replenishing the space so you don't end up hotboxing your furry friend.
Cats are not known to be particularly attracted to cannabis, and make up a small portion of the reported cases. However, it does happen that cats decide they want to have a go on your tasty greens or unintentionally inhale second hand smoke. A study based on a Persian cat in Poland was reported to have ingested cannabis smoke and displayed some extreme, strange behaviour, symptoms of which included having repeat attacks of disorientation, aggression, no appetite, and various other odd reactions.
Cats are generally smaller than most dogs and less THC can affect them much more intensely. The exact lethal amount for cats is still not clear.
Anyone who has had a dog before is likely to know how much they love food. This is why most of the cases come from dogs accidentally eating edibles. In fact, around 96% of the reports are related to dogs. They are very sensitive to THC, and if you're not careful they might gobble up the whole stash when given the chance.
If your dog has sniffed its way into the cannabis edibles you have prepared or bought then you may want to seek professional help unless you're sure the dose is low enough to be safe (the lethal dose for dog orally is said to be around 3 grams per kilo of body weight). Even so, monitor your dog's behaviour so you know whether the reaction is serious or potentially dangerous.
|Symptoms In Dogs
|Symptoms In Cats
Many pet owners have given CBD to their pets as medicine and seen it to improve their health with no bad side effects. There is still a lot being studied in this field, but CBD is being discussed as a potential treatment for anxiety, seizures and pain in animals.
There are many different CBD products labelled as safe for animals designed to aid their well being, however it is best to discuss any treatments with your vet beforehand.
In the event that your pet has consumed some cannabis, the first thing to do is stay calm. Figure out exactly what and how much of the cannabis it has consumed before taking action.
Steps to take if your pet eats cannabis:
Knowing your pets and their tendencies will help you establish a system of trust, so only you will know whether it is safe to leave your pet unattended with some cannabis in the room. It can be easy when you're high to forget about things left on the coffee table at dog level, or passing out on the sofa with the bag of cannacookies at easy reach.
The edibles are where you need to be most careful, as they have the most attractive smell to the majority of animals that might consume them. They are also potentially the most worrying if they do become ingested, because the THC is activated, making it much more intense for the animal. At the same time, the high can last for a lot longer. It goes without saying, but remember to keep your cannabis edibles out of reach of pets.
There are a few things you can be conscious of when preventing your pets from consuming any of your cannabis, whether through inhaling smoke or oral consumption.
Fan leaves can make a tasty snack for pigs. Video by wheedtobeus420 from GrowDiaries.
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Marijuana intoxication in a cat. - Janeczek, A., Zawadzki, M., Szpot, P., & Niedzwiedz, A. (2018).
Marijuana Poisoning, Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, Volume 28, Issue 1. - Kevin T. Fitzgerald, Alvin C. Bronstein, Kristin L. Newquist. (2013).
Preliminary Investigation of the Safety of Escalating Cannabinoid Doses in Healthy Dogs. - Vaughn, D., Kulpa, J., & Paulionis, L. (2020).
US Veterinarians' Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions. - Kogan, L., Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., Hellyer, P., & Rishniw, M. (2019).
Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
This article was updated January 2021.