Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado, there is even a greater chance that your dog (or cat) may have access to the green stuff. Though pot is found to be medicinally and recreationally beneficial to humans, dogs and cats do not react to it the same way as we do.
Edibles in particular are now more and more common and readily available for accidental consumption by Fido, and we have seen a steady increase in dog marijuana toxicity cases coming through our doors. (Dogs are much more likely to ingest marijuana than cats – 97% to 3%). At VRCC, we see anywhere between 2-5 cases per week, in comparison to 2-5 cases per month in previous years. The other thing to keep in mind with edibles is that it’s not just the pot that is toxic, but also the commonly found cocoa, chocolate, or butter, which can cause a set of problems all on their own.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the main mind-altering chemical found in weed, can have a toxic effect on dogs and cats. Though there are some alternative medicine enthusiasts conducting experiments to see if there is a medical benefit of marijuana and pets, we strongly recommend that you keep them away and do not ever give your dog or cat anything before consulting with your veterinarian. There are not nearly enough studies or evidence to show that there is any medical benefit at all from giving your pets marijuana, and we have unfortunately had patients not make it through the battle.
Symptoms to look for:
Clinical signs of marijuana exposure include but are not limited to: vomiting, ataxia, depression, laziness, sleepiness, increased heartbeat, bradycardia, drooling, seizure, and low body temperature.
Even if you aren’t sure that your dog or cat has ingested marijuana, but you have it available in your house and Fido or Fluffy are exhibiting any symptoms listed above, be sure to inform your vet. This could be a lifesaving disclosure.