Cannabis and Pets

Cannabis and Pets

Cannabis poisoning in pets is no laughing matter. We received a call from Bronson’s owner after he had managed to sneak off with and eat one marijuana cookie. It was indeed Bronson that stole the cookie from the cookie jar. Bronson looked very tired and a bit unsteady on his feet, and whilst he had been fully toilet trained for years, had peed a little on the floor inside.

Pets that ingest cannabis or cannabis products classically develop drowsiness, weakness, unsteadiness on the feet, dilated pupils and often dribble urine. With more severe poisoning, convulsions and even coma have been reported. Whilst there is no specific antidote for cannabis poisoning, close observation and good supportive care provided by a veterinarian usually leads to positive outcomes.

Following global trends, it could be expected that progressive state-based or even national decriminalisation of cannabis in Australia could occur over the coming years. We have already seen this occur in the ACT. These legislative changes could possibly result in more households storing cannabis or cannabis products for medical and recreational use, and as a result a greater number of pet exposures is possible. If you have cannabis or cannabis products in your house, please ensure they are kept out of reach of pets (and children!). Do not allow pets to enter an area with cannabis smoke until it has been thoroughly ventilated.

If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to cannabis, please call the Animal Poisons Centre on 1300 869 738 (from Australia) or 0800 869 738 (from New Zealand) for advice. Our service is free (and non-judgmental) for all pet owners.