Pets and Pot Don’t Mix

Category: Fall 2018 105 0

Animals have a tendency to get their paws into things that aren’t for them, and marijuana buds or edible pot products can be especially tempting. In the past six years, calls to the Pet Poison Helpline reporting that an animal has gotten into or been given marijuana, including via secondhand smoke, have skyrocketed 448 percent.

“Some pets will eat just about anything, so it’s important to be cautious about what you’re leaving within their reach,” says Dr. Tanya Coty, a veterinarian at VCA Mission Animal and Bird Hospital. Here’s how pet parents can tell if their animal is high: Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, urinary incontinence, disorientation, hyperactivity and in the most severe cases, tremors and seizures. Be especially diligent if your pet has had edibles containing highly concentrated THC. Although it’s unlikely, this can be fatal.

“The effects of THC in pets can vary based on how much they consume, but the worst cases I come across involve edibles, because they’re more concentrated. If pets are affected by THC, the first signs you’ll notice are a loss of balance and sensitivity to movement and sound,” Dr. Coty says. Also, if you suspect your pet has ingested marijuana, don’t attempt to induce vomiting yourself. It can potentially cause further harm. The best thing to do is to get to an emergency vet hospital right away for treatment. If you suspect your pet has gotten into your stash, contact your veterinarian or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.

Proposition 64, which legalized adult-use marijuana, also ushered in a new wave of cannabis-derived pet products lining dispensary shelves, but the jury’s still out on whether these oils, tinctures and treats—typically made with a non-psychoactive component called CBD—have medicinal value. So for the time being, it’s best to err on the side of caution.


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