Pot and pets can affect pet health and can be a pet toxin, depending on exposure.

Canada made history this year when the Senate approved Bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act. This sweeping legislation paves the way for the legal possession, production, and sale of recreational marijuana for people over the age of eighteen. It also makes Canada the first wealthy nation in the world to fully legalize marijuana (medicinal marijuana has been legal since 2001).

While marijuana enthusiasts are understandably pleased with this new law, pet owners must take care to prioritize their pets’ safety when it comes to marijuana. At Parkside Animal Hospital, we want to make sure our valued readers understand the risks involved when it comes to pot and pets.

Pot and Pets: The Effects of Exposure

The increasing availability of marijuana in our society means a greater chance that pets will be exposed, even if you don’t personally use it. Pets are much more susceptible to the effects of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana products), and it doesn’t take much for it to become toxic.

Pets are most commonly exposed to marijuana via secondhand smoke inhalation, the consumption of edible products (brownies, cookies, gummies, etc.), or from residue left behind on surfaces. Marijuana edibles are of particular concern when it comes to pets (mainly dogs) who tend to seek out people food. Some edibles may also contain chocolate, xylitol, or other potential pet toxins.

When to Seek Help

Clinical signs of marijuana toxicity in pets can be observed within minutes to hours after exposure. Symptoms include:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Loss of coordination, stumbling
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Vocalizing
  • Inappropriate urination
  • Sound or light sensitivity
  • Bloodshot eyes

If you know or suspect your pet has been exposed to marijuana, bring them to our hospital right away or visit the nearest emergency veterinary clinic for treatment. Don’t be afraid to tell your veterinarian that your pet has accidentally ingested a marijuana product – this will make the diagnosis faster and easier, and it could even save your pet’s life. Your veterinarian’s only concern is for the health and safety of your pet.

Can a Veterinarian Prescribe Medical Marijuana?

In short, the answer is no. It’s illegal for veterinarians to prescribe or obtain marijuana products for pets, and there’s very little research regarding dosage, frequency of administration, or side effects. For these reasons, pet owners should not attempt to treat their animal companions with medicinal marijuana products.

Keeping Them Safe

Keeping pot and pets separate is the most effective way to protect your furry loved one! Always store marijuana and hemp-based products securely, and supervise your pet when at someone else’s home.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Parkside with any questions or concerns about pot and pets.