Pot and Pets: Never a Good Idea

Despite past setbacks, advocates of marijuana legalization in Ohio are moving toward a new initiative that would allow adults 21 years and older to grow, transport, possess, use, sell, purchase, and share marijuana and its numerous derivatives. Like residents in other states with similar laws, questions about pet safety will undoubtedly become more prevalent in the years to come. Marijuana can be found in many forms these days, making the issue of pot and pets an even bigger deal than ever before.

Responsible Pet Owners

The use of marijuana is growing in popularity. In fact, it’s almost commonplace. Regardless of where you stand on the initiative, marijuana products are out there, so it’s best to be prepared with pet safety in mind.

Chemical Compounds

Marijuana contains cannabinoids, which are diverse chemical compounds that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are present in both hemp and marijuana products. To understand the problems associated with pot and pets, one should know that THC has psychotropic effects. CBD products are widely considered to have less toxicity in pets.

Why Pot and Pets Don’t Mix

While dried, green marijuana buds continue to be smoked; THC and CBD products are found in capsule form, tinctures, vaping pens, edibles, and more. Pets are extremely sensitive to the effects of THC on their neurological systems.

Animals that eat any form of marijuana can suffer symptoms of toxicity. Obviously, it depends on a pet’s weight, age, overall health, and the type/amount they consumed, but generally speaking, the following symptoms are common indicators of THC exposure:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Disorientation
  • Low heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Alternating between hyperactivity and dulled-down state
  • Easily startled by loud or sudden noise
  • Seizures or tremors

Your pet should be examined as soon as possible. They may need supportive care, such as IV fluids, heat therapy, and more. Pet owners should err on the side of caution and not be overly worried about the unlawful nature of the poisoning (no one will report you).

A Word on Edibles

Marijuana edibles can contain a more concentrated form of THC, which makes them more dangerous to pets.

  • Some products, like brownies or cookies, are made with a THC-infused butter that can cause pancreatitis.
  • Edible pot and pets shouldn’t mix, especially if chocolate is involved.

What About Pet Medical Marijuana?

Currently, there’s not enough research to indicate the safety and efficacy of cannabis products for pets. However, anecdotal evidence has led some pet owners to consider CBD (not THC) products to relieve symptoms of arthritis, nausea, pain, anxiety, inflammatory disorders, and autoimmune disorders.

Always Check First

As with anything related to your pet’s health and wellness, we urge you to contact us before giving anything to your pet. Marijuana cannot be legally prescribed; medical use for pets hasn’t been approved. Ordering CBD products online that are specifically designed for pets may not be safe.

Our veterinarians and staff are always here for you and your pet. Please give us a call if you have further questions about the safety of pot and pets.