What to Do If Your Dog Eats Weed (Marijuana)

Even with vigilant supervision during walks, dogs can occasionally consume unexpected items, including marijuana. In such situations, it's crucial to be prepared for the well-being of your furry friend.

Marijuana poses a threat to dogs due to the presence of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for inducing a 'high' in those who ingest it. Dr. Emily Singler, an on-staff veterinarian at Fetch, emphasizes that THC can lead to potentially severe health issues in dogs if they ingest a sufficient quantity.

The Risks of Marijuana for Dogs

Once more, it's vital to underscore that marijuana is hazardous to dogs primarily due to THC, Dr. Singler stresses. However, if marijuana consumption involves additional factors such as wrappers (possibly containing tobacco or pesticides), xylitol (a toxic artificial sweetener), chocolate, or baked goods (which may lead to pancreatitis), the risk of health complications for your dog can escalate.

Recognizing Marijuana Ingestion in Dogs

Dr. Singler outlines several signs of marijuana consumption in dogs, including low energy levels, lack of coordination, heightened sensitivity to sound or touch, restlessness, dilated pupils, and, on occasion, urinary incontinence. In instances of substantial marijuana ingestion, coma and seizures may occur, although these reactions are infrequent.

Immediate Steps to Take if Your Dog Eats Your Weed

If you suspect that your dog has ingested marijuana, contact the pet poison control hotline at 800-213-6680 and attempt to ascertain the type and quantity of the substance your pet consumed. Subsequently, seek prompt veterinary assistance. Refrain from inducing vomiting in your dog unless specifically advised by a veterinarian, as it can potentially exacerbate complications.

Veterinarians diagnose marijuana ingestion based on your dog's physical symptoms and any relevant information you provide. Therefore, providing a comprehensive account of the situation to your dog's veterinarian is essential.

Dr. Singler emphasizes the importance of sharing this information with your veterinarian, even if it might feel awkward or uncomfortable. Veterinarians are solely focused on the well-being of their patients and have no interest in judging pet owners or causing them trouble.

If you're uncertain whether your dog ingested marijuana, your veterinarian may conduct a urine drug screening test to detect signs of exposure.

Veterinary Treatment for Dogs Exposed to Marijuana

In most cases of marijuana exposure in dogs, treatment revolves around supportive care. This entails addressing any effects or complications arising from the drug while allowing the body to metabolize and eliminate it naturally.

 Treatment may involve ensuring that your dog remains adequately hydrated, minimizing the risk of self-inflicted harm, maintaining a safe body temperature, and managing any seizures if they occur. In mild cases, dogs may be monitored at home, but this decision ultimately rests with the veterinarian.

Dr. Singler underscores the importance of pet owners taking precautions to keep such products out of their dogs' reach and promptly contacting their veterinarian if their dogs' health concerns arise.

Signs of Cannabis Toxicity in Dogs

Marijuana poisoning in dogs can manifest through various symptoms, including:

  • Gait abnormalities, such as stumbling and crossing over their feet.

  • Lethargy and a general state of dullness.

  • Dilated pupils, which appear larger than usual.

  • Urinary incontinence leads to unintentional urination.

  • Vomiting.

  • Tremors and shaking.

  • Restlessness and agitation.

It's important to note that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the potent psychoactive compound in marijuana, elicits a significantly more severe reaction in dogs compared to humans. These symptoms typically become apparent within 30 minutes to an hour after marijuana ingestion or even sooner if the substance is inhaled.

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