Beyond the buzz: Dogs and cannabis |

Beyond the buzz: Dogs and cannabis

Local vet weighs in on dogs and consuming cannabis.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The short answer to the question, “Can I get my dog high?” is “yes.”

But the effects are a little different than what people may experience.

“The tricky thing with dogs is you never really know what they got into,” said Dr. Lee Meyring with Steamboat Veterinary Hospital. “Half the time people don’t know what it got into or the quantity. Usually people will call in and say, ‘My dog is acting strange, is lethargic and generally comatose.’” 

Dos and Don’ts of dogs and marijuana

Dogs are more sensitive to THC than people.

A large quantity of pot can be potentially toxic or even fatal to pets: 3 grams of THC per kilogram of a dog’s weight can be a lethal dose, and smaller amounts can still be dangerous, triggering seizures and even comas.

“Dogs can show the effects if there’s enough exposure to the THC,” Dr. Meyring said. “Most of the time they will just act ataxic (unsteady, wobbly or drunken). It can last just a few hours or up to 48 hours.”

Signs and effects of marijuana and dogs

  • Lethargic
  • Breathing problems
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Loss of balance
  • Disorientation
  • Stumbling

“Dogs can show the effects if there’s enough exposure to the THC,” Dr. Meyring said. “It can last just a few hours or up to 48 hours. More recently, we had a dog who was profoundly affected and had eaten a lot of hash. It was a startling thing.”

What to do if dog has consumed marijuana:

“Dogs must find the THC palatable,” Dr. Meyring said. “People say they have no idea how their dog got into their stash, but the dog must smell it and will seek it out to find it.”

If the dog has consumed THC of some kind, they should be taken to the vet immediately.

Vets will watch the dog for seizures and will also give them fluids to try to clear their system faster. Watching and waiting is about the only thing the owner and vet can do.

Tell the truth

“It’s frustrating when people say it’s not possible their dog could’ve gotten into any kind of marijuana, then we prove that it is,” Dr. Meyring said. “Sometimes, people get nervous about telling the truth with this even though it’s legal. It’s just an unnecessary goose chase.”

Dr. Meyring said it’s important to tell the veterinarian the truth so they can treat the pet to the best of their ability. 

How much is dangerous?

Dr. Meyring said it’s uncommon for a dog to die from eating marijuana, but it’s still important to seek medical help right away. Dogs can become ill from dehydration and low blood sugar.

CBD oils and dogs:

“We actually do use a lot of the CBD oils that have minimal THC in them,” Dr. Meyring said. “We have seen positive results from that, there’s certainly some application in pain control for cancer patients to arthritic dogs.”

Conditions in dogs that may be alleviated with the use of CBD products include: arthritis, general pain, including pain from cancer. lack of appetite, nausea, cognitive dysfunction, epilepsy and seizures, stress and anxiety and other autoimmune disorders.

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