Preventing Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, it’s even more important to understand the dangers the drug has on our pets. Pets can either inhale the smoke second-hand or ingest weed-laced foods or the stash itself. While usually not life-threatening, pets can still experience anxiety, fear, gastrointestinal upset, and even physical harm. With responsible use, pet marijuana toxicity can be completely avoided.

When you’re choosing to enjoy marijuana, be sure to keep your furry friend safe. Leave them in a separate, well-ventilated room, keep your stash or any weed-laced foods well out of reach, and don’t allow your pet back in the room until the smoke has significantly cleared.

Why Pets Shouldn’t Join in the Fun

Mental Symptoms

While marijuana is considered relatively safe for humans, pets don’t always understand what is happening to them, and the psychosomatic effects of the drug can lead them to some harmful behaviors. Common mental symptoms include:

  • Anxiety and fear
  • Disorientation and difficulty walking
  • Sedation and lethargy

With a scared, disoriented pet, you can imagine the harm they could cause themselves. They may attempt to escape, or trip down the stairs, and their lethargy could keep them from drinking enough water or eating enough food.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms can be anywhere from mild to severe, depending on the dosage of marijuana toxicity. In pets, physical symptoms could include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Glazed over eyes
  • High heart rate
  • Fluctuating body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty controlling their bowel movements
  • Tremors
  • Or even seizures and potentially coma if their situation is severe

While some of these symptoms won’t necessarily cause harm, others, like seizures and coma, are very dangerous. Even a high heart rate, vomiting, and a fluctuating body temperature can cause some problems. A high heart rate, or tachycardia, generally causes no symptoms, but could lead to heart failure, cardiac arrest, or even death in rare cases. Vomiting contributes to dehydration, and for a pet that also has no interest in drinking, this could be particularly serious. Finally, a fluctuating body temperature could lead to hypothermia if their body temperature drops too low.

Treatment for Marijuana Toxicity

If your pet has ingested any amount of marijuana or has inhaled a significant amount, bring them to the vet right away. Treatment for marijuana toxicity in pets may include:

  • IV fluids to keep them hydrated and regulate body temperature
  • Medications to reduce anxiety or to prevent further vomiting
  • Close monitoring to ensure their oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate remain in normal ranges

If you have any questions or concerns about marijuana toxicity in pets, please let us know! We’ll be happy to help.