Marijuana And Your Dog

Marijuana And Your Dog

Did you know dogs are much more sensitive to the effects of marijuana than people? Dogs metabolise the psychoactive constituent, D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), at a much slower rate than humans. Dogs also have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These differences heighten and prolong the effects of THC in dogs making them far more susceptible to poisoning.

Most exposures to marijuana occur within the home; many of them through teenagers hiding their stashes/baked goods which dogs manage to sniff out. The next most common exposure site is a local park. In most cases, veterinarians can confirm a diagnosis of marijuana toxicosis with a quick urine test.

Poisoning can occur through ingestion of the plant (e.g., directly, via joints, etc.), foods made with marijuana as an ingredient (e.g., cookies, brownies, etc.) or through inhalation of smoke (and even through eating the faeces of a marijuana user – yep, it happens).

Common signs of marijuana poisoning include wobbliness (ataxia), dilated pupils, sensitivity to sound/light/touch, disorientation, urinary incontinence and reduced alertness. Sadly, many pets have died from the severity of the poisoning. Fortunately, with early intervention, most animals can be treated successfully and the prognosis for full recovery is excellent.

☎ If your pet has accessed marijuana, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for a risk assessment and first aid advice.

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