The Dangerous Effects Marijuana Has on Dogs

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The active chemical ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana is extremely toxic to dogs, and can result in a variety of problems from stumbling to death.  Marijuana exposure in pets causes neurologic toxicity, which is not the same as the “high” that people experience.  While it may appear that the animal is exhibiting the same effects THC has on humans, it is a completely different story.

While dogs are at risk for developing symptoms due to second-hand marijuana smoke, the majority of problems arise from actually ingesting it from things like brownies, cookies, and butter.  The risk increases in a household where the dog would have ready access to the leaves, stems, and even joints (where the paper is ingested as well).

Symptoms of marijuana in dogs

Because THC is so rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, you may start to notice symptoms in just a few minutes after exposure, depending on whether it was second-hand smoke or ingestion.

  • stumbling
  • inability to walk
  • twitching
  • dribbling urine
  • agitation
  • depression
  • coma (not as common)
  • seizures
  • dilation of pupils
  • diarrhea
  • drooling
  • vomiting
  • death (not as common)

Dogs may exhibit mild to moderate symptoms for a few days as the THC is slowly released from fat stores.  If you think your pet may have been exposed to marijuana, contact your veterinarian right away.  Usually the first step they will take is to try to eradicate the toxins from the bloodstream.  They do this by administering a medication that will cause vomiting, then give a activated charcoal to help absorb the rest of the THC.  Depending on the severity of the exposure, hospitalization may be required.

In order to prevent dogs from developing any of these symptoms, make sure to eliminate any possible risk.  If you live in a household where marijuana is prevalent, at least keep it out of reach of your pets.  Don’t smoke in the same room as your pets, and absolutely don’t feed them anything with THC in it.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I would like to know where you are getting your information and who are your sources. Did you actually research this topic or just type a bunch of hyperbole and put it on the internet as fact

      • Would you be kind enough to post links to the studies done that you base your “research” on? Also don’t forget to mention the scientist or university where the study was done.
        Also, the symptoms you’re describing have to do specifically with the ingestion of marijiana. I would love to see the study where the dog was exposed to just marijuana smoke, and more specifically how much was administered to the animal.
        Without citing any of your sources this article is completely illegitimate.

      • Research she says!! Haha
        I wonder how many writers actually do this type of “research theft”, writing articles with same information from another writer’s article, just a different format, and a few words added to give it a different feel. Internet can come back to get you at some point if this is the style of “journalist” you want to portray yourself as.
        Shame on you Lori Thomas Dickart!
        Notice the publish date just one day before you published yours.

        http://www.dailycamera.com/lifestyles/ci_20477048/marijuana-toxic-pets

  2. One more thing that I wanted to add. This article mentions that “death” and “coma” are two possible consequences of ingesting marijuana. I, actually did my research, and found the study where this information came from.
    “During a study done in 2002, 250 cases of marijuana ingestion were reported to the ASPCA, resulting in two deaths. It’s harder to know what the mental damage may be to dogs under the influence of marijuana but it’s believed that they will become fearful and scared because they don’t know what’s happening”
    It also goes on to state: “According to the ASPCA APCC Database, the most common side effects of marijuana toxicosis are depression, ataxia, and bradycardia. Other signs include agitation, vocalization, vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, tachycardia, hypothermia, mydriasis, urinary incontinence, seizures, and coma.”
    Which clarifies that dogs should not eat marijuana, I definitely awknowledge this. The thing is that this study was done on “animals” not specific to dogs at all.
    Furthermore: “An LD50 (the amount for a dose that will kill half of those who take it) has not been established in dogs or cats. Research in dogs and monkeys showed that oral doses of delta 9-THC and delta 8-THC ranging from 3,000 to 9,000 mg/kg were not lethal, and all dogs recovered within 24 hours of ingestion.”
    And about the two deaths: “Out of more than 250 cases of accidental marijuana ingestion reported to the ASPCA APCC, two deaths were reported. In one cat, exposure to multiple agents was possible, and the results of a gross necropsy revealed that the animal probably died of complications of cardiomyopathy. The second death reported was a horse with signs attributed to colic, but a gross necropsy was not done. The prognosis is favorable for symptomatic animals with no secondary complications, such as aspiration pneumonia. With supportive care, these animals usually recover within 72 hours.”
    Sooo deaths of a cat and a horse that most likely died from complications… Not too legitimate.
    Anyway, here’s a link to my source http://www.aspcapro.org/mydocuments/download.php?f=z-toxbrief_0602.pdf

  3. i’ve heard it can be used therapeutically in dogs with chronic pain when nothing prescribed worked and became an expense, similar to humans. I know the vets won’t recommend it because of the legalities but just curious to hear your thoughts.

  4. Would you give your children marijuana just for fun? Depending on your answer may be why you would give it to your dog. People are giving their dogs marijuana not only for medical reasons but for fun. Final question. Would you give you child cocaine for fun?

  5. My dog almost died this morning because he ingested weed (not my weed, I do not smoke) All those symptoms are accurate.

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