My Dog Ate Marijuana! What Pet Parents Need to Know About Weed & CBD

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With marijuana becoming legalized in more states, it's important to ensure that your human-friendly THC or CBD products are stored somewhere your dog can't access. Still, accidents can happen, especially with curious canine companions sniffing around.

If your dog ate marijuana and you don't know what to do — first things first, don't panic. This guide will help you both understand the short- and long-term effects of THC and CBD consumption on an animal and what to do for immediate treatment.

If My Dog Ate Weed, What Are the Side Effects?

If your dog does ingest marijuana or THC or CBD products, you're probably wondering what type of reaction you'll see. Will your pet act sleepy or overly excitable? Will they get sick or be completely unfazed?

"Dogs will act like they are drunk at first with marijuana and THC," said Sara Ochoa, DVM and veterinary consultant for Dog Lab, in an interview for this article.

Later, they may start vomiting or acting twitchy. Your pet might experience some gastrointestinal issues depending on the product and how much they ingested.

Black lab with red collar sits in a field with tongue out looking back over shoulder.

In addition to appearing drunk or twitchy, dogs that ingest marijuana or marijuana products may exhibit some serious side effects — once again, depending on what they ate and how much they consumed. These may include diarrhea, incoordination, drunk walking, tiredness, seizures and neurological symptoms, according to Ochoa. In very rare instances, eating too much marijuana can lead to a coma or be fatal for a dog.

The ASPCA lists marijuana as a plant that's toxic to dogs. They report that eating weed may cause your dog to experience:

  • Prolonged depression
  • Excitation
  • Hypersalivation — producing a high, abnormal amount of saliva
  • Dilated pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low body temperature

How to Help a Dog Who Ate Marijuana

If you know that your dog ate marijuana, or if they're experiencing any of these side effects, it's time to take action.

Ochoa recommends bringing your pet to a professional immediately instead of taking a wait-and-see approach. "It is best to go to your veterinarian, especially if it was a large amount [of marijuana] or a small dog. This could potentially be life-threatening," she said. "The earlier you seek veterinary attention, the better."

If you're unable to get in touch with your vet, the ASPCA recommends calling their Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Can Eating Marijuana Cause Any Long-Term Health Effects for Dogs?

"Usually, once a dog recovers from ingesting marijuana, there are not many long-term effects seen," according to Ochoa. "However, if your dog has a seizure from ingesting marijuana, then there could be life-long brain damage or more seizures." Your vet will be able to tell you, based on your dog's exposure and reaction, what to expect in regard to short- and long-term effects.

To avoid ever having to worry about your dog consuming any weed, your best bet is to store marijuana and THC and CBD products well out of reach from your pet. No pet parent wants their furry friends inebriated. Preventing your dog from eating marijuana intended for humans can also keep them safe from some serious side effects.

If your pet does happen to get into your products, make sure you take them to the vet for treatment right away.

Contributor Bio

Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila is a pet enthusiast who believes in the power of words and how a message can inform — and even transform — its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in creative writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her here.

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