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Are Weed Edibles Safe For Pets?

What to do if your pet eats weed edibles.
Keep weed safe from pets

What happens if your pet gets into your stash?

With consumption of cannabis on the rise, have you ever wondered whether or not weed edibles are safe for pets? In states where marijuana has been legalized, CBD oil for dogs can now be commonly found on the shelves of various pet stores. So, does that mean your dog or cat can eat THC infused edibles, too?

The answer is a firm no. While there hasn’t been much research on the effects of cannabis on animals, it’s becoming clear that THC edibles are definitely not okay for your pet. They can cause health problems for your furry friend, and in some cases, death.

Can Dogs and Cats Get High if They Ingest Weed Edibles?

happy dog that with cbd food

Your dog or cat can indeed get high from weed edibles. This is not the fun-loving, happy-go-lucky high that you experience with your friends. Marijuana toxicity in pets causes serious issues, especially in dogs. Last year, NBC News reported that calls to the Veterinary Services Poison Helpline climbed by 448 per cent over previous six years. This is likely due to the increase in marijuana legalization. It is worthy to note that the most severe cases often involved the ingestion of cannabis edibles.

Their indiscriminate taste buds and penchant for sweets makes dogs particularly prone to sneaking away with your edibles. They almost always eat as many as they can get their snouts into. After all, dogs aren’t exactly well-known for self-restraint when it comes to treats. A plate of pot brownies left unattended and within reach is impossible for them to resist.

Cats, on the other hand, don’t have the same penchant for sweets that dogs do. They’re a little less likely to break into a bag of sugary weed edibles on the sly. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to be careless with weed edibles if you’re a cat owner. Cats are still at risk of ingesting cannabis edibles and it is dangerous for them to get high.

What Happens if Your Cat or Dog Gets High?

While you may enjoy the feeling of being stoned, your dog or cat probably won’t. Dogs actually have more cannabinoid receptors than humans do, and even more so than other animals. This causes a high sensitivity to the effects of weed edibles. The experience can potentially be very traumatic for to your dog. It can also result in serious health problems.

Peter Bowie, a veterinarian at Pet Emergency & Special Center of Marin, Calif., told NBC News that “the best way to compare it is to the idea of a really bad trip. They are disoriented, hyper-reactive and they can also be somnolent. They stumble around and they pee on themselves.”

Dr. Heidi Houchen, a veterinarian at Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Clackamas, Ore., told NPR, “…they can progress through the sedate, leaning, urine-dribbling stage to becoming completely comatose or absolutely rigid. They’ve come in and had seizures. They can come in a panic, really sensitive to noise and touch. They can pass away.”

And if your pet eats a pot brownie? Even worse. Chocolate is toxic for dogs and cats, making that brownie a double dose of conflicting toxins, which could create challenges for veterinary treatment. Sugarless weed lollipops are also more problematic than the average weed treat, since they contain xylitol, which is also toxic to your dog or cat.

What to do if Your Pet Eats Your Weed Edibles

Along with seizures, dribbling urine and a stumbling gait, symptoms of marijuana toxicity in pets also include low body temperature, low heart rate, low blood pressure, dilated pupils and tremors. In short, it’s not something to shrug about. If your dog or cat is high from eating cannabis edibles, it’s important to get them to a veterinarian immediately.

How quickly and how high your pet can get depends on the animal and how many edibles they eat. The effects can show up in only a few minutes or it might take a few hours. And the symptoms can last anywhere from thirty minutes to several days, depending on the dose. A veterinarian can help your pet get through the ordeal. Typically, they’ll monitor their temperature, their breathing, keeping them hydrated and safe from accidentally injuring themselves, and in some cases, they may induce vomiting if the situation is critical.

Basically, the sooner you get your pet to a veterinarian, the better — even if your dog or cat hasn’t yet shown signs of marijuana toxicity. And more importantly, keep your weed edibles out of reach from your pets. Just like you’d keep them away from your kids. 

If your pet has eaten cannabis edibles and you don’t live near a veterinary emergency facility, you can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center by calling 888-426-4435.

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