With the legalization of marijuana in some states in the U.S, it is becoming a mainstream more than ever before. Marijuana being a common drug used for recreational and medicinal purposes in the U.S, it is easy for dogs to get exposed to it whether intentionally or accidentally. Unfortunately, for this reason, payspi confirm that there is a rise in the number of dogs being brought in for marijuana poisoning.
How Can Dogs Be Exposed to Marijuana?
Just like humans, dogs can be exposed to marijuana through ingestion. By directly ingesting the marijuana buds or leaves, your dog is more likely to get marijuana intoxication. However, the most common way of ingestion that gets dogs high is by eating foods and other edibles laced with marijuana. This includes things like butter, cookies, chocolate, muffins, brownies, and many more.
Also, dogs can get intoxicated by breathing second-hand smoke. When you smoke marijuana, your dog can get high, causing them to have breathing issues.
When the drug enters the body of the dog, it binds with specific neurotransmitters in the brain. When this happens, it alters the neurotransmitter function. The effect of marijuana is more evident in dogs because they have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain than humans.
How Does Marijuana Affect Dogs?
As mentioned by the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), marijuana is deadly to animals like dogs, cats, and horses. The effect of marijuana on the dog depends on the dogs’ size as well as on the amount it consumes. However, there is no safe level of exposure since a small amount of marijuana can have severe effects on one dog more than the other.
The signs of marijuana toxicity can last longer in dogs compared to humans. Some of the common symptoms that indicate marijuana toxicity in dogs include:
- Dilated pupils
- Prolonged depression
- Difficulty in walking/stumbling (ataxia)
- Sleepiness or excitement
- Urinary incontinence
- Hypersensitive to sounds
In rare cases, dogs may experience signs such as coma, seizures, low body temperature (hypothermia), abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure (hypertension), respiratory problems, and very rarely death. Death is mostly experienced when the pet has ingested foods with highly concentrated marijuana such as medical-grade THC.
Signs of toxicity in dogs can be seen 5-12 hours after the exposure and they can last anywhere between 30 minutes to several days, depending on the amount ingested. While these symptoms are short-lived, they can make the dog miserable and can be dangerous in some instances.
Measures to Take if Your Dog Gets Exposed to Marijuana
If you notice that your pet has been exposed to marijuana, it is important to contact a veterinarian. Most dog owners feel ashamed to take their dogs to the vet or disclose how much their dog has ingested especially if marijuana is still illegal in their state. However, experts recommend taking your dog to the vet as soon as you realize the symptoms so that treatment can start immediately.
If you take your dog one or two hours after ingesting marijuana, there is a chance that marijuana has not yet been absorbed and vomiting can be induced. If marijuana has already been absorbed, the vet may give your dog intravenous fluids to help reduce the absorption rate and dilute the toxins.
All the same, more research is needed on the effects of marijuana on dogs. As science evolves, there is a likelihood that safe ways will emerge on the use of medical marijuana on pets. But, for now, it is advisable to keep marijuana far from your dog. Thus, you can be assured of your dog passing a drug test.