Some of us might have a friend whose pet accidentally ate a pot brownie once, but a veterinary hospital in Denver recently reported a significant rise in dogs coming in after ingesting marijuana edibles. Alameda East Veterinary Hospital used to see seventeen dogs a year for marijuana sickness, but since marijuana became legalized, it’s now increased to seventeen dogs a month, according to staff.
What causes dogs to become so sick from edibles? Dr. Jamie Gaynor of Peak Performance Veterinary Group says it’s hard for veterinarians to tell how much THC a dog has ingested, and that some ingredients in edibles are potentially lethal for dogs. “People don’t know how much of an edible the dog has gotten into, whether it’s one edible or a whole bag of edibles,” he explains. “Chocolate or xylitol are common ingredients in edibles, and are also toxic to the dog.”
Add in the effects of cannabis, which gets dogs much higher than humans, and you’ve got one more thing to keep out of reach of your furry friends. To make sure your pets are safe from any dangers of marijuana consumption, we asked Gaynor how to realistically keep edibles away from dogs, and what to do in case they eat some.
Keep edibles stored in high places
The rule “Keep out of reach of children” is often applied to dogs, too. Edibles placed at the back of the kitchen counter or in the middle of the dining table might keep edibles at bay from smaller dogs, but likely won’t be far away enough for bigger, hungry dogs.
“An upper cabinet makes it easier to keep your edibles stored,” Gaynor says. “Neither a small or large dog would be able to get into it and try to ingest them.”
It’s also important to remember to put away any leftover edibles right after eating them, and before the effects kick in — because we all know how much stoned people like to clean up.
If your dog eats an edible
If you notice right away that your dog ate an edible, call your veterinarian to determine the best way to help the dog vomit and avoid further problems. Hydrogen peroxide is one way to induce vomiting for your dog; just be sure to calculate how much you need based on your dog’s weight.
If it’s too late, and your dog is showing signs of marijuana ingestion — exhaustion, wobbly legs or urinary incontinence — contact a veterinarian so they can provide supportive care. There’s no reversal for THC in the dog’s system, but a veterinarian can make sure that dogs ride out the effects with the proper medical attention they need.
Caring for a high dog
Once dogs have ingested marijuana, their body functions could be affected for over a day. Monitor them as they walk, especially if your house has stairs or they like to jump on furniture; it’s best to keep them in a safe place until your veterinarian appointment. Closing off certain areas is useful to keep them from injuring themselves, but the best way to make sure they’re safe is constant supervision. You’ll also want to monitor and possibly assist them in going to the bathroom, and making sure they don’t go inside the house.
“Direct supervision is the best way to make sure they’re safe,” says Gaynor. “You never know what your dog can get into in the two minutes you’re gone to get a glass of water.”
Keeping dogs in smaller, confined areas where they can’t hurt themselves, like a laundry room, makes it easier to ensure they won’t hurt themselves, Gaynor adds.
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.
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 clinicshouldn’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.