What exactly happens when your dog eats an edible accidentally, and what's the best way to handle it?
In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and in 2018 permitted recreational use of the acclaimed plant. Given marijuana's success in alleviating chronic pain, regulating diabetes*, reducing anxiety, or helping to treat depression, it was only a matter of time before our pets would start using it. But, the new relationship between canines and cannabis is a love-hate. Sure dogs love treats, but its no fun when your dog ate your edible.
In fact, over the past six years, there has been a 448% increase in marijuana cases with pets.* Listen, accidents happen. Curious pets get into things they're not supposed to all of the time. However, it’s important to be cautious, especially when it comes to edible marijuana products.
Like many concerned pet parents, you might be freaking out and start thinking the worst. Before you do, take a deep breath and read on.
Could an edible kill my dog?
Medicated edibles that are high in THC concentrations are the most dangerous to your dog, especially with chocolate or raisin cookies. (If that's the case be sure to call poison control or an emergency animal clinic).
It is important to note that humans and animals do not react the same way to Marijuana!
So, can marijuana intake kill your dog? Technically, yes it can. But not from marijuana, from falling into a coma and choking on their vomit. Also, keep in mind that the effects of marijuana will likely be more intense and last much longer for dogs; they have a lot more cannabinoid receptors in their brain than humans.
In some cases, it may take a day or two for the symptoms to completely wear off. Realistically, however, it's not very likely. If your dog ingests more than the recommended doses, the chance of full recovery is highly in your favor, with proper care.
Common symptoms of a dog consuming Marijuana (an edible):
If your dog ate an edible infused with THC, it'll take roughly 30 minutes to an hour for the weed to take effect.* Physically, you might notice dilated pupils, a slower heart rate, and difficulty walking, if they can walk at all.
Here are signs of mild to moderate cannabis poisoning in cats and dogs that you should keep an eye out for and report to your vet:
-Wobbly, uncoordinated movements
-Barking, howling, whining
-Dilated pupils or unusual eye movements
-Shock or Collapse
-Hyperactivity or agitation
-Rapid heart rate
Most of the time, these symptoms won't last long, but they can be agonizing for your pet. Keep them hydrated with lots of water.
Signs of more severe marijuana poisoning include seizures and coma. You should contact an emergency veterinarian immediately if you spot these symptoms.
What do you do if your dog has ingested a THC infused edible?
If you know for a fact that your pup has consumed marijuana, there are a few options to reduce the effects on your dog. Your vet can induce vomiting, pump a dog's stomach, or give the dog activated charcoal, which will help remove cannabis from their system.
Your vet may end up not taking any of the actions mentioned above. They might end up releasing your dog before the effects of the THC have completely worn off. This primarily means it's in your hands to keep your pal calm and ensure that they feel safe while sobering up.
How much will the vet visit cost?
The truth is, you left your stash out; a trip to the vet or emergency animal clinic shouldn't be a question of whether you should or should not go.
A vet visit because of a marijuana incident could cost you up to $1,000; between the bloodwork and IV.*
When it comes to our personal stash, it's best to keep them out of sight out of mind. This goes for any items that our pets have no business getting into. Try storing it in a hard-to-access spot next time. Also, make sure to puppy (or cat) proof your house before becoming impaired. Or, if your dog already tends to misbehave in general, consider keeping them crated when you're not at home.
Prepare for Accidents
Is your furry companion fully protected? You might have felt embarrassed searching for this article, but accidents happen. And you’re not alone; THIS accident happens more often than you might think, actually.
In the future, we urge you to be responsible with all substances (drugs, prescriptions, foods) that could be toxic to your pet. But we also encourage you to look into a pet insurance plan if you don’t yet have one.
SPOT offers Accident-Only Coverage that can reimburse you for vet bills related to accidents like toxin ingestion. The premiums for Accident-Only plans are lower than Accident & Illness counterparts if you’re on a budget.
Having SPOT coverage can help make the decision to go to the vet easier when you have a scare. It also gives you access to a 24/7 helpline where you can get live answers to questions like this from a vet Telehealth specialist.
If you've waited for 1 to 2 hours after taking your vet's advice and your pet seems fine, you should still make sure you keep them hydrated.
If your pet is showing any signs of toxicity, you should have already contacted your veterinarian by now (or the closest emergency clinic if your vet isn't available.)