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Can Dogs Get High? The Effects of Marijuana on Dogs

a puppy with marijuana leaf over the nose

It may come as a surprise to people who have never owned a dog, but it can be easy for dog owners to forget just how non-human their furry friends are.

Most of the time, there’s nothing wrong with that. Even if your dog doesn’t quite have human emotions, you aren’t wrong to feel loved when your dog comes in for a nightly cuddle or groans with delight during a particularly good belly rub.

Still, as much as your dog is a part of the family, it is important to acknowledge the key differences between dogs and humans. One area where this is incredibly clear is cannabis.

While it can be a remarkable tool for humans, the cannabis plant can be dangerous and even toxic for dogs. Dog owners can responsibly consume medical or recreational marijuana while living in a household with dogs and other pets. Still, they should do so in a way that recognizes the real danger that can occur if a dog accidentally consumes cannabis.

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How Marijuana Affects Dogs

Cannabis is toxic to dogs. After a dog has consumed cannabis, clinical effects can become noticeable fairly quickly, usually starting within 60 minutes. In other words, yes, your dog can get high from cannabis, which is not good.

While many dogs will simply need supportive care and to be examined by a veterinarian, cannabis toxicity sometimes requires more hands-on treatments. Regardless, cannabis can kill dogs, and you should take your dog to their veterinarian (or an emergency vet) as soon as you suspect they consumed cannabis.

Can Dogs Get High From Secondhand Smoke?

Dogs have cannabinoid receptors and can get high from secondhand smoke.

And it’s not just marijuana toxicity that’s a problem with secondhand smoke. Your dog could also face long-term health issues from inhaling tobacco smoke, especially if they already have respiratory problems.

Pet owners should take the risks of secondhand smoke seriously, but common sense should prevail overall. Dogs are much smaller than humans, so if you are hotboxing cannabis in a small, enclosed space and blowing smoke into your dog’s face, you might be putting them at serious risk.

But if you’re smoking half a gram while Fido plays fetch a hundred feet away, you’re probably not putting your best pal at nearly as much risk. So, while it’s important to not underestimate the danger of secondhand smoke, you also shouldn’t overestimate the risks and create unnecessary anxiety for yourself.

How Do I Know If I Accidentally Got My Dog High?

Pet parents of all varieties are well aware; sometimes, pets act a little weird.

Like humans, dogs have their own unique personalities, and their cannabinoid receptors are not necessarily being activated just because they are acting strange. If you know your pet well, you’ll probably be able to tell if they’re acting slightly off.

If your dog is new to the family or you’re just not sure what’s going on, there are some clues as to if your dog might be showing some adverse effects from having ingested cannabis.

We asked Dr. Jamie Whittenburg of Senior Tail Waggers for some guidance on what to look for. She noted the following symptoms as potentially indicative of cannabis toxicity:

  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Dribbling urine
  • Large pupils
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling
  • Weakness in the hind end

Of course, these are not the only possible symptoms. If your pet is acting “off,” and some of your cannabis is mysteriously missing, you should put two and two together and get your dog to the vet.

What To Do If Your Dog Gets High or Eats Weed or an Edible

If you even suspect that your dog somehow got high, like by eating those edibles you accidentally left low to the ground, you should take your beloved dog to the veterinarian right away.

Don’t wait for the signs we mentioned above. You might be worried about being judged, but be honest with your vet. Lying about what happened to your dog could delay proper treatment and be fatal if not treated in time.

According to Dr. Whittenburg, vets will take your dog’s cannabis ingestion seriously and act right away to reduce the chances of fatality.

She tells us, “The treatment given by the veterinarian will vary depending on the pet’s clinical signs, amount eaten, time since ingestion, and other individual health factors.” Dr. Whittenburg also tells us that treatment is done on a case-by-case basis. “Some pets are more severely affected than others by the same exposure amount.”

Still, whether you have a Siberian Husky or a poodle, don’t take the risk by assuming your dog can handle any amount of THC.

The Bottom Line

You can be a responsible dog owner and still enjoy cannabis, whether it is for recreational use or medicinal purposes.

Still, marijuana poisoning is a real issue for dogs and other pets and needs to be taken seriously by all pet owners. There are no circumstances under which you should give your dog cannabis. Not only can marijuana get your dog high, but it could result in your pet’s death.

If you do think that your dog consumed any amount of cannabis, you need to take them to the vet immediately and be honest with the doctors about precisely what happened.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give my dog CBD?

No, you should not give your pet CBD. While it is possible that cannabidiol (CBD) products will be consistently tested and regulated to ensure safety sometime in the future, that is not the case right now. Many CBD products are inaccurately labeled, containing potentially harmful amounts of THC. Accurately labeled CBD products may not be totally harmful to some dogs, but it remains to be seen if there are any actual benefits to giving a dog CBD.

So, while there are many CBD products available on the market that are advertised to pet owners, it is generally recommended to avoid them due to their lack of regulation and potentially harmful or even lethal levels of THC.

How do vets treat marijuana intoxication?

According to Dr. Jamie Whittenburg of Senior Tail Waggers, “Treatment will vary depending on many factors. If the cannabis has been ingested within the last 30 minutes before presentation, vomiting may be induced.” Additionally, Dr. Whittenburg notes, “Pets may also require intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medications, and possibly activated charcoal. The pet will need to be closely monitored in the hospital in most cases.”

Will a pet poison helpline help me if my dog ate weed?

A pet poison helpline can be helpful if you have no clue where to start after you suspect your dog has fallen prey to marijuana poisoning. Still, due to the gravely serious nature of marijuana toxicity, it is better to let a veterinarian take a hands-on approach to treating your pet as soon as possible.

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