“Dogs eating cannabis” is not something any good dog owner wants to see in a media headline. Unfortunately, that’s becoming more likely in some states as the number of incidents involving dogs eating cannabis products intended for humans has led to health and behavioral problems.
The latest came from the Los Angeles Times, which proclaimed that “cannabis is increasingly sending dogs on a bad trip.” While veterinarians say some cannabis products, such as CBD, may help dogs cope with pain, owners should take steps to keep cannabis products intended for humans away from their dogs.
However, statistics and anecdotal information from veterinarians show that some owners are not taking those steps.
“If you ask any of our emergency room veterinarians, they would all say that the number of cannabis-intoxicated dogs has increased by leaps and bounds since legalization of medical and then recreational marijuana for humans,” Karl Jandrey, professor of veterinary sciences at the University of California – Davis, told the Times.
Cases Increase as Marijuana Legalization Spreads
Marijuana advocates have always argued that legalization comes with responsibilities. For example, many state marijuana programs financially support programs aimed at preventing teens from using cannabis. Those who use cannabis also are repeatedly warned about keeping children away from any cannabis product.
Another example is protecting pets from finding and eating cannabis in your home. However, the cases of dogs eating cannabis have increased. The national emergency call volume from pet owners reporting cannabis ingestion rose from 1,436 to 3,923, the Times reported. Those numbers increased 276 percent in California since legalization in 2016 and elevenfold in Colorado since legalization in 2012.
Noting this increase, the American Kennel Club wrote: “Fortunately, it’s rarely fatal, but it can bring about some worrying symptoms, and you should always seek veterinary advice if you suspect your dog has ingested this drug.”
That advice is repeated by PetMD. The site reports that dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains, leading them to feel the effects of THC more strongly than humans.
Steps Dog Owners Should Take to Protect Their Pets
As cannabis becomes legal in more states, pet owners who use cannabis should set up a system to safeguard their dogs. What’s good for you is not necessarily going to be good for them!
Make sure to never leave marijuana products out where dogs can reach them. Also, store them behind a closed door in an elevated location dogs can’t reach. Basically, people should think about storing cannabis to keep dogs safe the same way parents think about storing medicine and other items to keep children safe.
When dogs eat cannabis, there are certain systems to watch out for, including:
- Loss of coordination
- Sensitivity to loud noises
- Low heart rate
- Dribbling urine
- Dilation of the pupils
- Low or high body temperature
Remember that dogs eating cannabis typically leads to one or more of these symptoms, but they typically will quickly pass. Take the experts advice and call your veterinarian for guidance on what to do – they know your pet and the right steps to take. But the best advice is to store your cannabis responsibly and prevent this situation from ever happening.