Has Your Pet Accidentally Consumed Marijuana?

Every year, more and more states are legalizing recreational marijuana. But, this increase in use has had a serious and surprising impact on the number of calls being placed to pet poison control centers. In fact, the Pet Poison Helpline has seen a 200% spike in cases involving accidental consumption of marijuana in pets over the last five years.

Guide to Pet marijuana consumption

Just How Serious Is Marijuana Toxicity in Pets?

In terms of danger, marijuana toxicity is considered tame when compared to the ingestion of other toxic materials, because the plant has a wide margin of safety. This means that in order for it to be lethal, a pet would have to consume a very large quantity of the substance. To date, no marijuana-related pet deaths have been reported.

Symptoms of Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

When a pet consumes marijuana, she will exhibit many of the same traits as a human who uses the drug. The symptoms start about 30 to 60 minutes after consumption and they can last for as long as 36 hours, depending on the strength of the marijuana. These symptoms include:

  • Dilated eyes
  • Stumbling
  • Drunk-like behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Agitation

How Is Marijuana Toxicity Diagnosed?

There is no test yet available that veterinarians can use to determine marijuana toxicity in pets with 100% accuracy. Therefore, it is important to let the veterinarian know before starting the examination that your pet ingested marijuana. Knowing the amount and the source of the drug is helpful for your vet to be able to treat your pet effectively.

Treating an Animal That Has Ingested Marijuana

Treating a pet that has consumed marijuana consists mainly of keeping the pet comfortable, because there is no treatment that can reverse the effect marijuana has on the body. You will simply have to support your pet until the effects wear off.

In extremely serious cases of toxicity, the vet may administer activated charcoal to help absorb some of the toxins from the pet’s bloodstream. Intravenous fluids and medications to help manage vomiting and/or seizures or tremors may also be employed.

One of the most common reasons why pet owners fail to take their pets to the veterinarian after the consumption of marijuana is that they fear the vet will contact the authorities. You can rest assured that the veterinarian will not. The vet only cares about treating your pet.

The only time a veterinarian will contact the authorities is when the evidence supports that the pet is being abused, and accidental consumption of marijuana does not fall under that category.

If your veterinarian prescribes any medications or supplements for your pet to help her overcome the effects of marijuana, you can receive a free quote for the medications from Diamondback Drugs. We can help you save money on all of your pet medications.


Author: Giano Panzarella