It happened to me. It can happen to you, too. On a night when I had movie date plans, I asked my stoner roommates to watch my puppy — words that must have gone in one ear and out the other. When I came home hours later, I noticed my furry best friend was acting, um, different. He couldn’t walk in a straight line. He bumped into walls and doors. He slept with his tongue hanging from his mouth. His eyes? Bloodshot red. It was apparent that my dog ate marijuana. If this ever happens to you, here’s what you should do.
First things first, GO.TO.THE.VET. Stop playing around. Stop assuming everything will be fine. Okay, yes, the concept of a dog being stoned might be a little funny, but it’s even more so dangerous. According to PetMD, dogs will consume flower if it’s lying around in open reach. The same goes for edibles and other marijuana-based products. You know your dog is not a picky eater.
Hear It From The Professionals
Dr. Carly Fox, DVM, staff doctor at Animal Medical Center’s Emergency and Critical Care Service in New York City, explains that THC will likely change your dog’s natural state, the same way it does for you. The primary symptom in canines is ataxia (the loss of coordination that can show up as an uncoordinated or “drunken” walk). This sounds a lot like what happened to my pup. Hypersensitivity to sounds and touch is another common side effect. “During a physical exam, a vet may also notice a slower heart rate and lower temperature than normal,” says Dr. Fox tells. Oh, and don’t be surprised if your pup vomits.
On a brighter note, Dr. Fox notes that marijuana consumption is rarely fatal. Most dogs fully recover between 12-24 hours. Here’s a little trick I learned from my vet visit — dogs have this reflex to straighten out their paws. Make your companion sit, take one of their front paws and bend it gently. If he/she naturally places their paw back on the floor, it’s a good sign that all cognitive functions are operating properly. It’s also a good idea to comfort your dog during their psychoactive state with cold water and fresh food.
Now imagine that you live in a state where marijuana is illegal but you know your dog needs immediate help. Vets agree that the main goal here is to help the animal, not report you to the cops. “I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of cases and not one has ever gone in a legal direction, ever,” says Dr. Fox. “Our biggest concern as veterinarians is treating the dog.” Please be honest about what happened during your vet visit. This is not the time to be coy or secretive.
Is CBD Safe For Dogs?
Okay, what have we learned so far? THC in marijuana can make dogs vomit, experience ataxia, promote hypersensitivity, and lower their heart rate. But let’s shift gears to the other popular chemical compound in plants and flower — CBD. Since it has very little to no amounts of THC, it’s unlikely that your dog will experience the same type of sickness. In fact, CBD is often given to canines as a form of medical treatment, the same way you and I take it. CBD oil can be used to relieve:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Symptoms of cancer
On a final note, your kneejerk reaction as a pet parent should be to take your baby to the vet immediately. There will be tell-tale signs that your dog ate marijuana — look for them! Don’t turn a blind eye. First and foremost, it’s the vet’s job to treat your dog, so don’t worry about them silently judging your parenting skills. Food, water, and a warm blanket will help your dog feel better as marijuana leaves its body. Lastly, be smart about where you store flower, marijuana seeds, edibles, etc. A container with vacuum sealing is ideal.