We’ve all been there – our furry best friend snuck a snack from the kitchen cabinet again wreaking panic and most likely leaving a mess. It is widely known that chocolate, grapes, and chicken bones among other human foods are harmful to dogs, but what if your dog gets into your stash or eats cannabutter?
The THC that we all know and love is poisonous to most domestic pets. Whether through direct ingestion, second-hand smoke or the consumption of foods (edibles) containing THC, your pet could experience moderate to severe toxicity.
Depending on the size and age of your dog, and type of exposure, marijuana poisoning can put a serious strain on the liver, lungs, muscle fibres and nervous system.
Pet Poison Helpline lists these as common symptoms:
- low heart rate
- low blood pressure
- pupil dilation
More severe cases can lead to:
Symptoms can begin between 5 minutes and 3 hours after consumption and typically result in lethargic behaviours, alternatively it can cause hyperactivity and anxiety. Despite being an anti-emetic substance, THC can cause your pet to vomit so be careful that your dog doesn’t asphyxiate from its own excretions.
How much is too much?
Edible medical marijuana products tend to be more dangerous due to the large concentration of THC used in them. The Journal of Veterinary and Human Toxicology found that the minimum dosage that can lead to signs of intoxication is 84.7mg/kg. Plainly that means my cute, miniature poodle would begin experiencing its high after ingesting about 6g. While there is a high margin of safety and a lethal dose is 3g/kg, this is by no means an invitation to feed my poodle 5.9g to “see what happens.”
Ingestion can also be life threatening, although most experiences result in a “bad trip.”
According to The Denver Post dogs love the smell and taste of marijuana despite its toxicity. Particularly dangerous are butter and edibles containing butter as dogs are naturally attracted to fat-laden products too.
What do I do now?
If your dog has taken a bit of the good stuff here’s what you can do:
- Induce vomiting
Depending on how much your furry friend consumed, inducing vomiting may be the solution. Before your dog starts to experience symptoms (ideally within 30 minutes), inducing vomiting is encouraged. Go to your vet for vomit-inducing drugs or activated charcoal that is used to treat poisoning. Beware that vomit should detox the system but asphyxiation is possible so watch your pet closely.
- Do nothing
Inducing vomiting can be expensive and not to mention scary. If symptoms are unclear and very little was consumed, the best antidote is to make them comfortable and leave out lots of water. Watch your dog for the next few days to make sure the condition doesn’t worsen and hide your stash.
The High side
As medical marijuana is beneficial to human health, it has its upside for canines as well. Small doses can be given to dogs for arthritis, anxiety, brain tumors, cancer and bowel disorders. Pet Medical Cannabis company Canna-Pet states that Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, can also help relieve pain in several organs:
- bones & joints
Take home message: if you’re looking to lift your dog’s spirits, take him to a new dog park, visit the neighbor’s dog or give him a good belly rub instead. Don’t be fooled by those puppy-dog eyes, once they’ve had a taste, they will like it and they will ask for more, so stash the hash!
Image courtesy Whale Oil blog http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/12/bet-wendyl-nissen-will-cats-dog/