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My Dog Ate Marijuana, What Should I Do? Vet-Verified Facts & Recommendations

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

My Dog Ate Marijuana, What Should I Do? Vet-Verified Facts & Recommendations


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Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

BVM BVS MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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If your dog ate marijuana, take your dog to your veterinarian, or the nearest emergency vet, immediately.  Ensure you are aware of what type of marijuana your dog ate (buds, leaves, edibles) so that you can relay that information to your vet. Also, if you know how much marijuana your dog has eaten, that is very helpful information to tell your vet.

Accidental ingestion of marijuana (cannabis) is more common these days now that many states have legalized the plant, and while rarely fatal, your dog could still suffer ill effects from consumption. Keep in mind that your dog’s safety is more important than the embarrassment you may feel, and it’s crucial to be honest with your vet and seek treatment for your dog.

Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs

Marijuana toxicity in dogs is on the rise, given that many U.S. states have legalized the plant for either medicinal or recreational use (depending on your particular state’s laws). To demonstrate just how much marijuana toxicity in dogs has risen, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reports that calls regarding accidental ingestion of marijuana have increased by 765% in 2019, compared to the previous year.

There are many forms of marijuana, including marijuana-infused edibles, liquid in a tincture, buds, leaves, and rolled marijuana cigarettes, and the toxicity effects will depend on how much your dog ate and in what form. Marijuana buds have the highest concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive component of marijuana. Therefore, the effects of eating a marijuana bud will be more troublesome than marijuana leaves. It’s vital to note that medical-grade marijuana is more dangerous and accounts for most cannabis-related deaths in dogs.

You should also be aware that smoke inhalation is also dangerous for your pet; never blow marihuana smoke into your dog’s face.

If your dog is a counter surfer, they are more likely to ingest edibles that are not secured or put away. Baked goods, such as pot brownies or chocolate bars pose an extreme risk due to the marijuana but also the other toxic ingredients they might contain, such as chocolate, cocoa powder and raisins. Some edibles may even contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is also highly toxic to dogs.

woman holding marijuana leaves
Image Credit: Erin_Hinterland, Shutterstock

How Is Marijuana More Toxic to Dogs Than Humans?

THC is the cannabinoid psychoactive substance found in marijuana that produces the “high.” Dogs have a more severe reaction to this substance because they have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared to humans, increasing the sensitivity. Signs are typically visible within a few minutes of consumption or can take hours. Nonetheless, knowing the signs is crucial so you can act accordingly.

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Signs of Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

Female vet examining sick and sad Rhodesian ridgeback dog
Image Credit; Zontica, Shutterstock

If you are a user of marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational use, you should familiarize yourself with the signs of marijuana poisoning in dogs so you can act swiftly.

Possible signs are:
  • Sedation/lethargy
  • Stumbling/incoordination (ataxia)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Lethargy
  • Jerking the head if something gets close to the face
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
In severe cases:

How Is Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs Treated?

Your vet will likely draw blood and perform a urinalysis to determine your dog’s level of toxicity and to check organ function. If the incident occurred within the previous two hours, your vet will likely induce vomiting to prevent further absorption of the drug.  If the 2 hour window has passed by the time your dog gets to the vet, inducing vomiting is unlikely to be helpful.  In these cases, treatment is likely to be supportive and may evolve as your dog’s signs change.

Treatment may include:

In most cases, activated charcoal will be administered orally every 6 to 8 hours to absorb the toxins.

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How to Prevent Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs

owner petting happy dog
Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

The best policy is to prevent marijuana toxicity in the first place, and this can be done by being aware of the effects marijuana has on dogs and implementing a few safety measures to ensure your dog cannot gain access to the substance. While these events are scary and worrisome, most dogs recover. Still, you’ll need to prevent such an event from happening to begin with. Here are a few simple steps to take:

  • Keep an up-to-date inventory of the exact amount (and form) of marijuana you have in the home.
  • Keep the marijuana out of reach or locked away from your dog with a secured lid or container.
  • Avoid dropping ashes on the ground when smoking a marijuana cigarette (small pieces of bud could fall from the joint and onto the ground).
  • Keep buds off the floor when rolling a marijuana cigarette.
  • Never exhale marijuana smoke in your dog’s face (it’s not funny and will make your dog ill).
  • Keep your dog outside of the room you are smoking in.

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Marijuana toxicity is no laughing matter, and prompt treatment is necessary if your dog gets into your stash. Remember that your dog’s safety is more important than the embarrassment you may feel having to take your dog for treatment. Unfortunately, marijuana toxicity in dogs is more common nowadays, but it doesn’t have to be. Implementing a few safety measures will go a long way in keeping your pooch safe.

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