Is Marijuana Exposure Really Harmful to Pets?


As marijuana legalization spreads, a crucial question arises: Is it safe for pets? The risk of marijuana toxicosis in pets, particularly dogs and cats, is becoming a growing concern in veterinary circles. Despite its perceived harmlessness to humans, marijuana can be quite dangerous for our furry friends.

Marijuana toxicosis most commonly affects pets through ingestion, but inhalation can also be a cause. Dogs, in particular, are more prone to ingest marijuana, whether it be from edible products, plant material, or food contaminated with cannabis. Cats, however, are more susceptible to the effects of smoke exposure. The most common signs of marijuana intoxication in dogs include dribbling urine, swaying or general unsteadiness, drooling, and a noticeable decrease in alertness. Cats, on the other hand, may exhibit signs resembling neurologic diseases, such as abnormal reactions to stimuli.

The rise in marijuana poisonings, especially among dogs who ingest discarded joints and edibles, is alarming for veterinarians. An incident involving Bondi, an 8-month-old toy poodle, highlights this growing concern. After ingesting marijuana, Bondi began exhibiting severe symptoms, leading to a rush to the vet.

THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. The increasing accessibility of medicinal and recreational marijuana has correspondingly led to a rise in cases of marijuana poisoning in pets. It’s important to note that synthetic marijuana products can be even more harmful, with reported effects ranging from hallucinations and kidney damage to seizures and, in severe cases, death.

Given these risks, pet owners are advised to exercise caution. Avoid smoking cannabis around pets, and ensure that any marijuana products are kept out of their reach. The consequences of marijuana exposure in animals can be severe, and while there may be a growing acceptance of its use in humans, the same can’t be said for our animal companions.

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For more in-depth information on this topic, you can visit these resources:
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,
Animal Health Topics / School of Veterinary Medicine,
Marijuana Toxicosis in Pets,
Veterinary Medicine at Illinois.

Marijuana Toxicosis in Pets

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