We recently looked into the rising phenomenon of treating pets with medical cannabis. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s official position on pets and cannabis states: “At this point the ASPCA does not support using marijuana in pets for pain control. There have been no scientifically accepted studies comparing marijuana products to known pain control medications (opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In addition, research has not been able to adequately define what a safe and effective dose of marijuana would be due to the wide variety in product available.”
The clinical effects of THC ingestion in pets can include depression, listlessness, loss of motor coordination and balance, vomiting, hypothermia, agitation, diarrhea, drooling, urinary incontinence, seizures and, in a very few reported cases, coma or death. That’s no fun for Fido—or for any responsible pet owner. So, just as you keep your edibles, dabs, hash and flowers away from kids, keep it off the coffee table so that Mr. Snix doesn’t scarf it down and get all woozy. And here’s what to do if your pet does eat your stash:
1. Figure out what your pet ingested. Did he scarf down a joint? He’ll probably be okay. Did he snarf your 180 mg Bhang Bar? Chocolate can be fatally toxic to dogs, so Bowser may be doubly afflicted if he gobbled a cocoa-licious edible. Either way, play it safe: Don’t wait for symptoms to start. Treat him yourself right away, or get him to a veterinarian.
2. If you choose to treat your precious pooch or kitty at home, give him activated charcoal orally. It’s a good idea to always have some on hand; you can buy it at most drug stores. The activated charcoal traps toxins as they move through the digestive system. Keep your sweetie warm and in a dark, quiet place, and have fluids at the ready if he’s able to drink a little bit.
3. If you’ve given your little guy activated charcoal and he’s not showing signs of improvement, or is getting worse, take him to the vet right away. A veterinarian can put your pet on IV fluids and monitor him in case of more severe symptoms.
4. Be honest with the vet. Vets are not obligated to report marijuana poisoning, and they need to know what’s going on to properly treat your fur baby. Also, you don’t want to pay for a bunch of tests just so the vet can figure out that the dog ate your weed.
5. Stay calm. Animals with marijuana poisoning rarely die. Just be a good buddy, speak in a soothing voice, let your critter know that you’re there for him—and keep your stash in a safer place in the future.