Your Dog Ate A Joint? What To Do If Your Dog Ate Weed
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
So your dog ate weed. Okay, first things first: Do not panic.
And second, let’s get it out in the open and ease that anxiety of yours: The general rule is that THC or marijuana ingestion is rarely dangerous for dogs, Pawp actually says a trip to the vet isn’t usually necessary. However, you still need to be on the lookout and consider a few important things, so I invite you to keep on reading and learn to recognize symptoms so you can know when to worry and run to the vet when it’s necessary.
Before starting, a very important note: This article is based on information researched and written by professional medical veterinarians on websites like Pawp and Veterinary Emergency Group. If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to have a doctor close.
Table Of Contents
Marijuana ingestion is rarely dangerous for dogs, but that doesn’t mean that your dog is not experiencing a seriously uncomfortable bad trip that could potentially be one of the worst experiences of his life.
Have you ever eaten a little bit too much of an edible by accident? If you have, you probably ended up a lot higher than you intended to, and that’s alright because you knew what to expect and maybe even had an idea of how weird it could get. Your dog, on the other hand, has no idea what he’s getting himself into, so chances are he’s getting pretty sick. Best thing you can do is be near them, observe, and treat them with care.
This is actually a delicate topic because up to this date, scientists have no way to know how much weed is toxic to dogs. According to Pawp, the world of cannabis still has work to do on their standardization and quality control about how strong or concentrated their products are.
What scientists and doctors need to give an accurate answer about this topic is that weed products are verified or regulated just as medical drugs and products are. And since cannabis legislation is still limited in most places, there hasn’t really been studies on the topic, Pawp explains. Again, getting control of the situation comes down to observation, and with that being said–
There could be times when you may not be 100% sure your dog ingested a weed product. Let’s say that one day you’re mysteriously missing a joint; you’re sure you didn’t smoke it and your roommate doesn’t have it either, it’s definitely nowhere to be found. All of a sudden your dog starts acting weird, like having behaviors that are very unlike him. You realize there’s a big chance your dog might have stolen it, most likely even ate it. Now, my friend, it is time to observe.
Here are the typical symptoms of marijuana ingestion, as provided by Pawp:
If these sound familiar I think you can be pretty sure that your dog has been a victim of unsolicited cannabis. Naturally, a very important question will pop into your head.
The short answer: Yes.
Your pup will get high, so whatever you do, do not disturb them, startle them, or make them uncomfortable. Keep in mind that your dog will experience different THC symptoms than you usually do, and it will kick them harder because they probably weigh less than you do. Again, chances are he’s getting pretty sick.
Your dog is probably extremely confused right now, so don’t make it harder than it already is for them. Best thing you can do is keep them company and just be there for them until the symptoms wear out.
Keep in mind that your dog will need extra care if he’s already dealing with health issues, so better take him up with the vet to avoid further risks.
The short answer: Within 24 hours.
According to Pawp, proof that your dog ate your joint or an edible will begin to show an hour after they ingest it. It usually goes like this: your pup will have mild symptoms at first, but they may get progressively worse over the next few hours.
That being said, remember it all comes down to how much weed or THC they ingested; in severe cases, symptoms may last up to 48 hours and then start to wear off.
Since you may not take them to the vet immediately, Pawp recommends treating them at home by following these four steps:
1. Set an alarm every two hours to check on your pup.
2. Try to get them to walk around a bit to see how he’s dealing with loss of coordination.
3. Since peeing might be a problem, make sure he’s warm, clean, and dry so your dog doesn’t get any more uncomfortable than he already is. His favorite blanket and the warmest spot at home might do the trick.
4. Check swallowing by offering food and water, setting their body into motion can help them wear off the THC faster.
As you’re taking care of your dog, there’s some things you should reflect upon and consider after you’ve calmed down and accepted that you’ll have to deal with the situation. This section features a list of things to consider, provided by the professionals at Pawp and Veterinary Emergency Group.
* Determine the type of consumed cannabis; was it buds? Oil? Leaves? What about a gummy edible? If a visit to the vet is required, provide as much information as you can so the doctor can know what to do.
* Consider other ingredients. If your dog ate an edible, you should check the ingredients and the recipe that was used to create it. Since some human food is toxic for animals, food could provide a bit more hazard. For starters, food like chocolate. If your dog ate a brownie edible, don’t even hesitate. It’s best to take him to the emergency vet.
* Watch out for symptoms of intoxication, as they were previously mentioned in the Signs Of THC Ingestion section.
* If you happen to have a rectal thermometer, check their body temperature. According to Pawp, a dog's normal body temperature is around 38º Celsius, or 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. Since THC toxicity pushes it lower, it’s normal that their body temperature does as well. However, if it drops below 37ºC or 98ºF, your pup needs professional medical care.
* Check if your dog can swallow. As it was mentioned before, offer them a treat or water to see if they react. Pull gently on his tongue, and if he doesn’t pull it back into swallow, take him to the vet.
* Loss of consciousness. It’s a fact that weed will make your dog sleepy, but you should be able to wake him up. If he doesn’t respond, take him to the vet immediately.
* Your comfort level. Pawp provides an important question that you need to answer honestly: How are you handling this? Are you okay? Truth is, it can be a lot. If you're stressed and you feel like you’re not able to carry out the situation much longer, take your pup to the vet so the experts can handle it. I guarantee you that he will be in great hands.
* Take your dog to the vet if things get ugly, like an irregular heart rate, a lot of vomiting, or even a seizure. These are signs that toxicity has become even worse, so take your dog to be checked by professionals immediately.
Some side notes: Your dog having a seizure is a more serious emergency, so don’t let it come to that if he has already gone through the symptoms mentioned above. Last but not least, do not be afraid or embarrassed to go to the vet. The great majority of veterinarians will not tell the police or law enforcement what happened.
Remember: Always prioritize your dog’s health, the vet will not judge you.
It’s best to exaggerate on preventing than going through a situation like this, so help your pup stay healthy and happy by applying the following steps.
1. Keep your cannabis products securely stored and out of your dog’s reach.
2. If you’re hanging out with your dog in a room where there’s exposed weed, keep them on a leash so you can be in control at all times.
3. If you grow weed at home, keep in mind that unsupervised access in your yard or the place you keep your weed pots can lead to very bad problems. Buy or build a fence so your dog can keep out of off-limit places.
4. Keep your dog supervised at all times when you’re around weed, cooking edibles, or just having a smoking sesh.
Horton, J. My DOg Ate Weed, What Should I Do Now? Veterinary Emergency Group. Retrieved from https://veterinaryemergencygroup.com/blog/dog-ate-weed/
Meadows, B. Help! My Dog Ate Marijuana! What Should I Do? Dogtime. Retrieved from https://dogtime.com/dog-health/68191-what-to-do-dog-ate-marijuana
Myers, J. (2021) My Dog Ate Weed: What To Do & When To Worry. Retrieved from https://pawp.com/dog-ate-weed/