Currently, 25 states and the District of Colombia have legalized marijuana in some form or another. Four states including the District of Colombia have legalized recreational use marijuana.
With more and more states either considering, voting on, or approving the legal use of medicinal and/or recreational marijuana, it is important to keep in mind that marijuana toxicity could be harmful to dogs and cats.
How can a pet get marijuana into its body?
In most cases, a dog or cat will either eat the marijuana plant, or if the marijuana is in the form of an edible (such as a candy, cookie, or brownie). Marijuana toxicity in pets can occur through second-hand smoke as well.
How long does it take before a pet starts showing signs of marijuana intoxication?
A dog or cat might start showing signs on marijuana toxicity within 30- to 90-minutes of ingestion. Marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient is delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When ingested, THC is stored in body’s fat deposits. This means the effects of marijuana can last for several days.
How can one tell if a pet has ingested marijuana?
The most common symptoms of marijuana intoxication in pets are lethargy, lack of coordination, dilated pupils, incontinence, vomiting, a drop in body temperature (hypothermia), and a slow heart rate. In extreme cases, a pet suffering from marijuana intoxication can experience a seizure, go into a coma, or even die. Since these symptoms are very similar to a pet taking prescription sedatives, it is important to inform your veterinarian if you suspect or know that your pet has ingested marijuana. Typically, veterinarians are not required to report a case of marijuana intoxication to the police.
How is marijuana intoxication treated?
If detected within 30 minutes of ingestion, try to induce vomiting. In most cases, it might be difficulty to determine how long a dog or cat ingested the marijuana. Therefore, the most effective remedy is to give your pet activated charcoal orally. Safe and easy to obtain activated charcoal traps toxins as it goes through the digestive system. You may also want to try ToxiBan Charcoal which is used as an aid in the treatment of poisoning by most organic chemicals in dogs and cats and other animals. Additional treatment includes keeping your pet warm, administering fluids if your pet has vomited or had diarrhea. If the symptoms worsen, take you dog or cat to a veterinarian right away. If your pet goes into a coma, the veterinarian will be able to administer supportive treatments such as IV fluids and medication.
To sum it up, as more states legalize marijuana whether for medicinal or recreational use, it is important to know how marijuana toxicity can affect a dog or cat. Whether through eating or being exposed to the fumes produce by someone smoking marijuana, it is important to note that your pet can suffer toxic conditions. Symptoms of marijuana intoxication include lethargy, lack of coordination, dilated pupils, incontinence, vomiting, a drop in body temperature (hypothermia), and a slow heart rate. In extreme cases, a pet suffering from marijuana intoxication can experience a seizure, go into a coma or even die. If your pet exhibits these symptoms, you should get it to ingest activated charcoal. In the event, the symptoms do not improve, take your dog or cat to a veterinarian right away. Although rare, marijuana toxicity can cause death in pets.