Can Dogs Take Medical Marijuana?

 |  Aug 26th 2010  |   1 Contribution

I have two 4-year-old, beagles. One is a completely happy, normal dog, but her sister has serious anxiety issues. My vet has been working with me, and we have tried behavior therapy and a couple medications.

She is currently on Reconcile. The Reconcile seems to help, but not enough. She misses out on so much, and I'd like to improve her quality of life. I have been wondering about trying a small amount of marijuana in a baked good, but I didn't know what a safe amount would be. She weighs about 30 lb.

Logan, Utah

I don't recommend it. First, medical marijuana for pets isn't legal in California, let alone Utah. Second, dogs don't generally do well under the influence of marijuana. In short, they are prone to bad trips.

Reconcile is a relatively new brand of a well-known medicine. It is used to treat anxiety disorders in dogs. The active ingredient in Reconcile is fluoxetine. Fluoxetine is known most commonly as Prozac.

Recently the media has been giving a great deal of attention to the development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5) for human psychiatry. Veterinary medicine doesn't even have a DSM-I. But it is clear that dogs and cats are capable of suffering from complex behavioral (that is to say, psychiatric) disorders.

Many dogs with anxiety disorders benefit from Reconcile or other antidepressants. But the drugs aren't panaceas. Humans who take Prozac usually also continue therapy sessions; the drug doesn't cure anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any other "abnormality" (I use quotes because it is impossible to define normal or abnormal). Reconcile similarly does not work miracles. It works best when it's combined with a long-term behavioral modification program (the veterinary equivalent of therapy).

As for marijuana: I don't recommend it but I suppose there's only one way to find out. I've never seen a published dose, but I'd imagine that a 30 pound dog should take about 1/5 as much as a 150 pound human. If you decide to throw caution to the wind and try it, remember that brownies and cookies can be dangerous to dogs--chocolate is poisonous to them.

Photo: We're not talking about that type of Dogg.


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