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Is Weed Smoke Bad for Dogs? Our Vet Takes a Look

Written by: Dr. Marti Dudley DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Marijuana Leaf sniff dog

Is Weed Smoke Bad for Dogs? Our Vet Takes a Look

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Dr. Marti Dudley Photo

WRITTEN BY

Dr. Marti Dudley

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Marijuana is a recreational drug that has been used by people for years. Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in 24 states in the United States. With easy access to marijuana, it is important to know the risks associated with canine exposure.

Is marijuana smoke dangerous to dogs? Marijuana smoke inhalation should be avoided, as it could cause confusion and hallucinations. Continue reading below to learn more about the risks of weed inhalation.

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What is Marijuana

Marijuana, also referred to as weed, cannabis, pot, and several other names, comes from the parts of the Cannabis sativa plant. THC is a compound found in marijuana that is psychoactive, whereas CBD is another compound that is not psychoactive. THC, which provides the ”high” to humans, is considered toxic in dogs. Dogs are unlikely to experience a pleasant high from THC but are more likely to experience anxiety and confusion.

Marijuana compounds have been incorporated into several items including lotions, food, and pharmaceutical products. A common way of utilizing marijuana recreationally and medicinally is through vaping or the use of marijuana cigarettes.

Marijuana can lead to intoxication in canine companions, although most commonly this occurs through ingestion. When inhalation of marijuana occurs, intoxication occurs rapidly. In addition to concerns associated with clinical signs of inhalation intoxication, care must be taken to ensure animals with concurrent respiratory conditions are not exposed to smoke of any type, as it can be irritating.

Marijuana leaf
Image Credit: Jan Faukner, Shutterstock

Clinical Signs of Marijuana Intoxication

  • Central nervous system (CNS) depression
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Ataxia
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Disorientation
  • Pupil dilation
  • Exaggerated response to stimulus
  • Seizures

Treatment of Marijuana Inhalation Intoxication

Although significant intoxication typically occurs through ingestion of a product containing marijuana, dogs are at risk of developing second-hand inhalation intoxication. There is no antidote for marijuana intoxication; however, close monitoring and treatment of clinical signs should be done.

Depending on clinical signs, treatment may involve respiratory and blood pressure support. In animals experiencing seizures, anticonvulsants should be used. Treatment for inhalation toxicosis is likely to be less involved than in patients who have consumed products containing marijuana. Gastrointestinal decontamination may be warranted for patients who have consumed products containing marijuana.

Supportive care may require fluid therapy and rest in a room without excessive stimulation. Medications may be necessary to combat agitation in affected patients.

Dog Sick Puppy
Image Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana, Shutterstock

Prognosis for Marijuana Toxicity

Due to the different types of products and variations in plants, it is difficult to predict the toxicity of marijuana products.

Fortunately, the prognosis is good for dogs experiencing mild marijuana intoxication. Severe side effects are more likely to occur with ingestion of marijuana. Recovery from exposure to marijuana can take up to 36 hours.

How to Keep Dogs Safe Around Marijuana

In households where marijuana is used, care should be taken to keep smoke away from companion animals. Smoking or vaping outdoors is preferable to indoors as the smoke can more easily dissipate. Additionally, marijuana products should be kept out of reach from pets and placed in a secure container.

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Conclusion

Although specific research has not been completed, it is possible for dogs to experience second-hand inhalation intoxication through exposure to marijuana smoke. Although inhalation may not lead to dire consequences, it is unlikely that the experience would be enjoyable for canine companions. THC is processed differently in dogs than in people and is considered toxic to our companions. The safest recommendation is to avoid exposing canines to marijuana smoke.


Featured Image Credit: Valeriy Volkonskiy, Shutterstock

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