Photo by Maresa Smith

Learn | 09.02.2022

What Happens If Your Dog Eats Weed & What To Do

Marijuana poisoning in dogs is a very real thing. If your pooch managed to scarf down some of your edibles, here's what happens and how to treat them.

Ever since cannabis has gained legal status around the country, and the world, marijuana poisoning in our k9 friends has been on the rise.

It’s not uncommon for dog owners and cannabis users to experience the panic that comes with realizing your dog just scarfed down an edible that would’ve kept you couch-locked.

Before any of that happens, we created this guide to help you navigate what to do in those scary situations. Here’s what happens when your dog eats weed and how to treat it. Plus, here are some preventative tips for the future.

Marijuana Toxicity In Dogs

Photo courtesy of Add Weed.

More often than not, you’ll hear a lot more about marijuana poisoning in dogs than in cats.

Although some cats are quite the scavengers and eat whatever’s in sight, this is mostly a problem with dogs, especially those big enough to reach what’s on the counter.

Something else worth noting is how dogs can suffer marijuana poisoning from any part of the plant;

  • Seeds
  • Stems
  • Leaves
  • Flowers

They can even be exposed to cannabis if they ingest the feces of someone who’s recently consumed it.

Causes Of Marijuana Toxicity In Dogs

There are a few different ways dogs can be exposed to marijuana poisoning.

Just like how your body reacts to different methods of ingestion, so do k9s. The most common cases of marijuana toxicity in dogs result from the following;

  • Inhaling smoke, usually the smoke that’s exhaled from a human (or a hotbox)
  • Eating soft gels, pills, tinctures, etc.
  • Eating edible like gummies, cookies, brownies, etc.
  • Ingesting marijuana oils like shatter, live resin, etc.
  • Eating buds and dried flower (this is often the most dangerous)

Symptoms Of Marijuana Poisoning In Dogs

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The culprit that causes marijuana poisoning in our four-legged companions is the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, which is responsible for the high.

Dogs often have much stronger reactions to THC, which can appear within thirty minutes to an hour after it’s eaten. The following symptoms are most common in dogs with marijuana poisoning;

  • Stumbling and discoordination
  • Depression
  • Dull and tired
  • Dilated pupils
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Heavy panting
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Agitation

How To Treat A Dog That Ate Weed

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Depending on how severe your dog’s situation is, the first step we’d suggest is calling your local vet immediately.

Some dogs don’t need much treatment but are monitored for a few hours after ingestion. Your dog might need to visit an animal hospital and get hooked up to an IV in more extreme cases.

These extreme cases also require what’s called intralipid therapy. This process infuses a lipid to help bind marijuana and let it digest and pass through the body at a faster rate.

Symptoms usually disappear within a couple of days after treatment. Still, it’s important we mention that your pup might need further treatments if they ingest a chocolate edible, considering they’re already allergic to chocolate.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Weed

Prevention should be straightforward; keep your edibles, weed, and any other cannabis products far from where your dog can reach.

Ideally, your products should be stored in a cool, dark place anyways, so this also helps prevent your pups from snagging one of your treats.

Living under a government (state or federal) that allows you to consume marijuana comes with responsibilities. As the consumer, it’s your job to ensure you take the proper precautions to avoid scary situations like this.

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