Is Marijuana Exposure Harmful to Pets and Children?


The increasing legalization and use of marijuana raise important concerns regarding its effects on pets and children. While marijuana is often associated with images of lethargic, snack-munching individuals, the reality for animals exposed to marijuana is far less benign.

Dr. Llewellyn highlights the potential dangers of marijuana exposure in pets. Dogs, she notes, are particularly prone to ingest the drug, whereas cats are more likely to become ill from smoke inhalation. Symptoms in dogs may include urinary incontinence, loss of coordination, excessive drooling, and a diminished alertness. Cats, on the other hand, may exhibit neurological signs resembling a disease, such as abnormal reactions or behaviors.

Marijuana smoke is not merely an irritant but a cocktail of hazardous chemicals. It contains many of the same carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. Alarmingly, the levels of cyanide and ammonia are even higher in marijuana smoke than in cigarette smoke. This poses a significant risk not only to pets but also to children. Harvard Health advises parents to keep children away from marijuana smoke, emphasizing that smoke lingers and can contaminate spaces like homes and cars.

An article from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Illinois echoes these concerns, advising against smoking in enclosed areas where pets reside. The smoke can lead to a harsh cough in pets and has been linked to cancers in dogs and lymphoma in cats.

In a broader perspective, the legalization of marijuana has led to more common occurrences of marijuana toxicosis in pets. This condition arises when pets ingest marijuana or related products. While such exposures are often accidental, they are more frequently reported in dogs than cats.

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Interestingly, smoke can have positive effects on plants due to the increased carbon dioxide levels, which aid in photosynthesis. However, this benefit is contingent on the availability of water and sufficient sunlight.

Regarding pesticide use around pets, the National Pesticide Information Center offers practical tips. These include removing pets from the treatment area, keeping pet accessories away, and adhering strictly to label instructions to minimize risk.

In conclusion, the evidence suggests that marijuana and its smoke can be harmful to both pets and children. It’s important to be cautious and take preventive measures to safeguard our vulnerable family members, both human and animal.

For further information on the dangers of marijuana exposure to pets, you can refer to the articles from the College of Smoke Inhalation Dangerous to Pets, the Veterinary Medicine at Illinois, and others.

Is Marijuana Exposure Harmful to Pets and Children?

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