Is Marijuana Safe for Dogs or Cats?

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, contains psychoactive compounds such as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) that can have varying effects on animals, including dogs and cats. While some pet owners may use cannabis-derived products for their pets, it is important to note that marijuana is not safe for dogs or cats, and its use in pets is generally not recommended.

THC can cause various adverse effects in animals, including but not limited to:

  1. Neurological issues: THC can affect a pet’s coordination, balance, and cognitive function, leading to disorientation, confusion, and impaired motor skills.
  2. Toxicity: Dogs and cats are more sensitive to THC than humans, and even a small amount of THC can cause toxicity in pets. Signs of THC toxicity in pets may include vomiting, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, increased heart rate, and tremors. In severe cases, seizures and coma may result.
  3. Respiratory issues: Ingesting marijuana products can cause respiratory issues in pets, such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and bronchitis.
  4. Digestive issues: Ingesting marijuana can also cause digestive issues in pets, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  5. Other potential risks: Marijuana products for humans may contain other ingredients or additives that can be toxic to pets, such as chocolate or xylitol, which are harmful to dogs and cats.

Depending on the amount of THC exposure, symptoms can last from a few hours to several days.

If you suspect your pet has ingested marijuana or shows any signs of marijuana toxicity, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. The need for honesty cannot be over emphasized. While death due to marijuana toxicity is extremely rare, the veterinarian and their medical team can care for the pet most effectively when they know why they are seeing the pet. Please bear in mind that cannabis edibles may contain other ingredients that can be even more harmful, such as chocolate or xylitol, an artificial sweetener known to be highly toxic to pets.

Never intentionally give your pet marijuana or any cannabis-derived products without veterinary guidance, as it can be dangerous and potentially harmful to their health. Veterinarians strongly recommend treating marijuana and derived products as medications and securely out of reach of pets to prevent accidental exposure.