No matter how closely you watch your dog while on a walk, they can still gobble things up that you didn’t see coming — like marijuana. If that happens, it’s helpful to be prepared.
“Marijuana is toxic to dogs because of the ingredient Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes a ‘high’ in those who consume it,” Dr. Emily Singler, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains. “THC can cause potentially serious health problems in dogs if a sufficient dose is consumed.”
Again, the actual marijuana plant is dangerous to dogs because of the THC, Dr. Singler reiterates. However, other factors, like if there are wrappers (which might include tobacco or pesticides), xylitol (an artificial sweetener that’s toxic to dogs), chocolate or baked goods (which could lead to pancreatitis) involved, there may be an even higher risk of health complications for your dog.
Low energy levels, incoordination, sensitivity to sound or touch, agitation, dilated pupils and sometimes leaking urine are all signs of marijuana consumption in dogs, Dr. Singler shares. If a pup eats a lot of marijuana, coma and seizures could occur — however, these reactions are uncommon.
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If you think your pup ate marijuana, call the pet poison control hotline (800-213-6680) and try to determine what formula your pet ingested and how much. Next, visit your vet's office as soon as possible. Don't try to help your dog throw up the marijuana unless advised by a vet, as it can sometimes cause more complications.
Veterinarians diagnose marijuana consumption through your dog's physical signs and any relevant information you share. So, it’s crucial to be as thorough as possible when explaining the situation to your dog’s vet.
“It’s very important for pet parents to share this information with their vet, even if it feels embarrassing or uncomfortable,” Dr. Singler says. “Veterinarians only want to help their patients and aren’t there to judge pet parents or get them in trouble.”
If you’re unsure if your pup ate marijuana, your veterinarian might use a urine drug-screening test to look for signs of exposure, Dr. Singler adds.
“Most cases of marijuana exposure in dogs are treated with supportive care, meaning treatment to improve any effects or complications the drug causes while allowing the body to process and get rid of the drug on its own,” Dr. Singler explains.
Depending on your dog’s case, treatment could include ensuring they’re hydrated, don’t hurt themselves, have a safe body temperature and any seizures are managed (if they occur). Sometimes, dogs with mild cases can be monitored at home, but it’s up to a veterinarian to determine if that’s OK.
“Pet parents should take special care to keep these products out of their dog’s reach and call their vet right away if they’re concerned about their dog's health,” Dr. Singler adds.
The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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