Marijuana and pets: Keeping pets safe
by Ontario SPCA and Humane Society | General Pet Care | March 9, 2020
The legalization of marijuana in Canada has impacted many aspects of society, but what effect has it had on our pets?
We spoke with Dr. Lawrence Woodley from the Georgina Veterinary Clinic to learn about the increased risks for pets since marijuana was legalized.
Dr. Woodley says he has seen an increase in marijuana-related visits to the clinic since legalization of the drug occurred. He says THC found in the drug is poisonous to animals and pet owners need to take precautions in order to keep their pets safe.
What are the main health concerns for pets who ingest marijuana?
Dr. Woodley: Dehydration and neurological issues are the main concerns. Most pets are able to sleep off the drug, but it all depends on the amount of marijuana consumed. In order to prescribe the appropriate treatment, it is helpful when pet owners can inform their veterinarian on which type and how much marijuana their pet may have consumed.
What are some symptoms to watch for if you think your pet may have consumed marijuana?
Dr. Woodley: When pets consume marijuana, it causes them to urinate frequently, be spacey, hypersensitive and jumpy to loud noises and touch. We often conduct urine or blood tests to confirm drug consumption.
What marijuana products affect pets the most?
Dr. Woodley: It all depends on the type and amount of marijuana they ingest. Edibles containing dark chocolate, for example, can pose more of a threat, because it would mean double the toxicity, as chocolate is also poisonous for dogs. Most cases we see are of dogs who consumed remnants of cigarettes left in a garbage can or on the street. Dogs are particularly attracted to the remnants of marijuana cigarettes.
What precautions should pet owners take?
Dr. Woodley: While on walks, don’t let pets explore and eat things they find. Also, be sure to survey the area for cigarettes if you smell pot. If you are a marijuana user, make sure to keep your stash out of reach of your pets. If you host a party where recreational drugs will be consumed, inform your guests that remnants need to be disposed of in a closed container.
Is there anything else pet owners can do to protect their pets?
Dr. Woodley: It is extremely important to know which products are being used in your home. That way, if your pet does consume marijuana, your veterinarian will know what treatment needs to be prescribed in order to keep your pet healthy. If you or your kids are using marijuana, make sure your products are being disposed of properly and kept away from pets.
Speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves
Keep up the good work speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves. A society who cares for their animals is a better society. Thanks for your good work!