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Pets And Pot: A Bad Combination

Pets and Pot: A Bad Combination  

Attitudes about how we spend our free time are shifting in households across the U.S. For example, more people are consuming cannabis thanks to increased legalization—a recent poll found a record number of Americans have tried marijuana. Another shift in U.S. households is the growing number of pets found in them. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), more than 23 million American households (almost one in five) adopted a pet during the pandemic.  

While we love to see pets living the “high” life in their new homes, the fact is pets—especially dogs—and pot aren’t always a great mix. Ask any dog owner and they’ll confirm their four-legged friend’s innate ability to get into everything, including their stash. 

Dogs on Dope  

As cannabis becomes more common in households across the country, so are cases of dogs consuming cannabis; between 2017 and 2020, the ASPCA Poison Control Center’s national call volume for cannabis ingestion jumped from 1,436 to 3,923 cases. Similarly, the Pet Poison Hotline also saw a >400% increase in the number of calls they took about marijuana-related incidents over a six-year period. 

The connection between legal cannabis and canine consumption is apparent. In California, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2016, call numbers grew by 276% between 2016 and 2020. In Colorado, numbers have risen elevenfold since the state legalized weed in 2012.  

How long a dog will feel the effects of cannabis consumption will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of the dog, the amount of cannabis ingested, and the strength of the cannabis consumed. Marijuana intoxication is rarely fatal for our four-legged friends, but you should still seek veterinary advice if you suspect your dog has gotten high on your supply.

Pet-Proofing Your Pot 

The best solution for dealing with a dog consuming cannabis is to keep them away from it in the first place. This starts by keeping cannabis secure and out of reach of your dog. A stash box, UV-proof lockable container, or Mason jar are all excellent solutions for storing flower. Stash edibles on a high shelf that your dog can’t access. For even greater security, keep them in a child- or pet-proof container. A child-proof or locking jar is also a great solution for keeping pets safe from cannabis concentrates like shatter, sauce, and wax. 

You’ll also want to remain aware of the other methods by which your dog might ingest cannabis. For example, eating a roach left in an ashtray, drinking bong water, and digging a cheesecloth used to make cannabutter out of the trash are all ways dogs can inadvertently consume cannabis. Along these lines, it’s also a sound strategy to pay attention to what your dog is up to when walking outside—after all, there is no telling if the “tasty” morsel your pup managed to scrounge off the sidewalk or in the park is edible or not.

Signs Your Dog Got into Your Stash  

Dogs are man’s best friend, but marijuana isn’t a dog’s best friend. If you’re unsure whether your dog has eaten weed, there are some tell-tale symptoms of cannabis consumption: 

  • Unsteadiness on their feet (acting drunk) 
  • Dilated pupils/glazed look in their eyes  
  • Agitation  
  • Hyperactivity  
  • Vocalization/barking  
  • Elevated temperature  
  • Dribbling urine  

Just as the timeline for feeling the effects of cannabis can vary for you, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour for your pup to start showing signs of having gotten into your pot. Also, not every dog will experience the same symptoms; some may show just one or two signs while others can cover the entire range of indicators. 

What to Do If Your Pet Has Consumed Cannabis  

If your dog does accidentally consume cannabis—or you suspect they did—you’ll want to get them to a veterinarian immediately. The signs of marijuana consumption in dogs are similar to those of other toxin exposures. It’s also worth noting that reports show that dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain and it’s suggested that they’re more susceptible to the toxic effects than are humans.   

Before heading to the vet, clean any residual cannabis product from your dog’s face, fur, and paws so they don’t ingest any more if they lick themselves. Also, try to get a feel for how much marijuana (and the amount of THC) they ingested—for example, did they just sneak a lick from a bowl containing cannabutter or did they eat a whole cannabis-infused cookie?  

Treatment for Weed Consumption in Dogs  

Treatment for dogs who consume cannabis depends on a number of factors. Some dogs will simply get sent home to ride it out under their owner’s watchful eye while others will receive inpatient treatment. It’s common for vets to treat specific symptoms, like administering a sedative to ease anxiety or medications to bring your dog’s temperature back to normal.  

Decontamination is another potential treatment used by veterinarians. One method vets use is giving dogs activated charcoal—a liquid your pet drinks—which helps neutralize the toxin and prevent further absorption. Another way vets achieve decontamination in dogs is to induce vomiting.  

The Lesson of the Tail  

Most dogs make a full recovery after consuming cannabis within a few days. Ensure your dog receives the best care and most appropriate treatment possible by consulting your vet immediately, being honest with them about what happened, and sharing as much relevant information as possible. Dogs eating marijuana is becoming an increasingly common sight at vet offices across the country—they’re not shocked and the more information they have, the less likely they are to run expensive tests.  

Lowkey Dispensary  

Lowkey Dispensary in Boston’s Codman Square is making a case to surpass your four-legged friend for the title of man’s best friend. Lowkey has everything new and seasoned cannabis users expect from a dispensary, ranging from ultra-knowledgeable staff to high-quality products and all the accessories needed to enjoy cannabis. Just remember—when you bring a bag home from Lowkey, keep it somewhere secure and out of reach from your dog. 

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Our goal is to provide cannabis products and education to help you make the most of your everyday experiences and live Lowkey!

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