Marijuana is more accessible than ever. There is an increased availability for both medical and recreational marijuana in the United States, as well as new forms, such as food pills, oils, and tinctures. This is very bad news for pets. The Pet Poison Helpline has seen a 330% increase in the number of accidental marijuana ingestions in pets over the past five years. And most of these cases involve pets ingesting “medibles.” These are marijuana-infused foods or drinks; brownies, cookies, gummy candies, pizza, breads and more. Pets may also ingest oil products with high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
In the event of an accidental marijuana ingestion, be sure to be honest about it with your veterinarian. Some people may worry about stigma associated with it, but your pet’s health is our primary concern! It’s important that we have as much information about your pet’s condition as possible.
Usually these kinds of cases are dogs, though occasionally cats can get involved in eating something they should not eat. Signs of marijuana ingestion are:
- dazed expression
- glassy eyes
- slow response time
- dribbling urine
- unusually slow or fast heartbeat (bradycardia or tachycardia)
Depending on the mode of administration, the onset of clinical signs may be five to ten minutes from inhaling smoke or thirty minutes to several hours after products are ingested. Thankfully, the margin of safety for marijuana is very wide, with the lethal dose being approximately 1000 times greater than the effective dose. However, often there may be secondary complications, such as the chocolate in a brownie or raisins in a muffin.
If you suspect your pet has ingested foods or other chemicals that may be harmful, call us at 856-875-1323 or one of these pet poison helplines:
- Pet Poison Helpline 855-764-7661 ($49 per incident fee applies)
- ASPCA Animal Poison Control Helpline (888) 426-4435. (A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.)
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