Cases of marijuana poisoning in pets, and specifically in dogs, increased dramatically in states such as Washington and Colorado after recreational use was legalized. With the legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon on July 1, pet owners should be aware of the potential risks to their dogs or cats if they ingest this drug. Please keep all marijuana plants, as well as products and foods containing marijuana, in secure locations such as pet-proof containers and in locked cabinets.
What should I do if my pet ingests marijuana?
Seek veterinary care promptly. While it’s rare for pets to ingest enough marijuana to be fatal, it can happen. Inform your veterinarian what the pet has ingested, as proper treatment can be administered only if the veterinarian is aware of the toxin. Treatment for marijuana poisoning often includes decontamination of the GI tract, IV fluids, and anti-vomiting medication. In severe cases, it may include oxygen support, monitoring blood pressure, regulating the pet’s temperature, and ventilator/respiratory support.
How can my pet be poisoned by marijuana?
- Inhalation of the smoke
- Ingestion of the plant
- Ingestion of products containing marijuana or hashish
- Ingestion of foods containing marijuana, such as brownies, cookies, candies and butter. When foods also contain chocolate, the risk of poisoning is increased. Never leave a plate of marijuana-laced brownies or marijuana products out where your dog can reach them.
What are the symptoms of marijuana poisoning?
Symptoms are usually seen within 30-60 minutes of inhalation or ingestion and may include:
- Glassy eyes
- Stumbling, lack of coordination
- Dilated pupils
- Drowsiness or agitation, excitement (dogs)
- Urinary incontinence, dribbling (dogs)
- Tremors and seizures
Can marijuana help my sick pet?
Please consult with your DVM before giving your pet any medication, herb or supplement, as there may be contraindications. The efficacy of marijuana as a treatment for pets is being studied, but it has not been scientifically established, nor has a therapeutic dosage been determined.