Amid the rising tides of cannabis legalization and growing acceptance of the substance overall, pet owners have begun to ask themselves these questions more often. Indeed, there’s evidence suggested that these accidents might become more common. One study suggested that during the steep rise in medical marijuana registrations in Colorado between 2005 and 2010 marijuana toxicosis cases quadrupled at two veterinary hospitals in the state.
Since dogs are far more likely than any other pet to eat your edibles, we see dogs being a lot more curious about things and eating everything than many other species. Cats, on the other hand, are more finicky about what they eat.
CBD Oils Vs. Marijuana
First, it is important to make a distinction between CBD oil and marijuana. You may have heard about CBD oil being used to treat certain ailments in dogs. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is culled from marijuana or hemp plants, but it has very little to no amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes you high. So if a dog ingests CBD oil, they will not suffer from the same side effects that they would if they ingest marijuana.
Fido Ate Your Stash. Now What?
It will take approximately 30 minutes to an hour for the weed to take effect, says Kal Jandrey, a professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Intoxicated dogs look similar but not the same as their humans. Physically they might have dilated pupils, slower heart rate, and difficulty walking – if they can walk at all. They also often dribble urine uncontrollably. Behavior-wise, they tend to startle more easily and be warier of people they normally trust – paranoid much?
It also matters if Fido ate your edibles or your flower. According to Steven Freidenberg, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Veterinary College. Since THC, the main inebriating compound in marijuana, a brownie has a higher concentration of THC of say, an equivalent volume THC infused seltzer. And will mess up your pet more. Size matters too. a weed brownie would probably have a smaller effect on a Great Dane than a chihuahua mix.
The effects of an edible high usually last from 18 – 24 hours where on humans they will last up to 12 hours.
Dogs usually just sleep off the weed, Freindberg says, but there have been some case reposts of dogs dying from eating weed or weed-laden products. Most were small dogs that consumed extremely high doses, which can cause respiratory depression or slow insufficient breathing. Freindberg says such cases are rare.
How High is too High?
So how do you know if you should take your fur baby to the doc or if they will be fine riding it out? For the most part, if you’re concerned about your pet’s health at all and not sure – go to the vet! Let the vet know your concerns and about the weed and what you’re dealing with – you don’t want to run tests for a totally different condition. If you’re concerned about the legal repercussions – Freindberg says, the vet probably won’t care.
If you’re comfortable with your dogs being mildly affected – a little wobbly and mildly incontinent but mostly okay, and their symptoms don’t worsen, they probably don’t need vet attention, Jandrey says. Just make sure they’re eating and drinking normally.
But if symptoms worsen, get to a vet since they could worsen further over the next few hours. If you are unable to rouse your pet or get it to walk, Freindberg suggests you should take your dog to the hospital where they’ll likely be given a lipid solution to help absorb the THC in their system. Head to the ER if you a small dog you suspect has eaten a high dose of THC.
To keep your pet from getting their paws on your weed in the first place, store it in a medicine cabinet, on a high shelf or other hard to access spot. Take these precautions before you become impaired (and potentially forget) rather than finding out that your dog scarfed down the gummies you left on the counter in your edible induced haze. Or if your dog tends to misbehave in general, hide it really well.