Cannabis Ingestion Leading to Severe Canine Side Effects

Cannabis Ingestion Leading to Severe Canine Side Effects

Cannabis Ingestion Leading to Severe Canine Side Effects

The Rising Trend of Cannabis Use and Its Impact on Pets

With the increasing legalization and acceptance of both medical and recreational marijuana, the incidence of pets, particularly dogs, accidentally ingesting cannabis has seen a significant rise. According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, the number of dogs treated for accidental marijuana ingestion increased four-fold over a five-year period in Colorado, a state where recreational marijuana is legal.

While cannabis can have therapeutic effects in humans, it can have potentially harmful effects on dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that marijuana is one of the most common substances reported in calls to their Animal Poison Control Center.

Understanding the Effects of Cannabis on Dogs

Cannabis contains several compounds, the most notable being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive component that gives marijuana users a “high,” while CBD is non-psychoactive and is often used for its potential therapeutic benefits. Dogs are more sensitive to THC than humans. Even small amounts can cause toxicity in dogs.

When a dog ingests cannabis, it can affect the pet’s nervous system and lead to a variety of symptoms. These can range from mild effects such as lethargy, dilated pupils, and loss of balance, to more severe symptoms like vomiting, urinary incontinence, tremors, and even seizures. In rare cases, ingestion of large amounts can lead to coma or even death.

Case Studies and Statistics

A case study published in Topics in Companion Animal Medicine documented a two-year-old Boxer that ingested a cannabis-infused brownie. The dog presented with signs of severe depression, dribbling urine, and a slow heart rate. After two days of supportive care, the dog recovered fully.

Another study in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care reported a significant correlation between the increase in the number of medical marijuana cardholders and the number of dogs experiencing marijuana toxicosis. The study also found that two dogs that ingested baked goods made with medical-grade THC butter died, highlighting the potential severity of the issue.

Prevention and Treatment

Prevention is always better than cure. Pet owners should ensure that cannabis products are securely stored out of reach of pets. If a pet is suspected to have ingested cannabis, it is crucial to seek veterinary care immediately. Treatment typically involves decontamination procedures like inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal, along with supportive care such as intravenous fluids and medications to control symptoms.


As the use of cannabis continues to rise, so does the risk to our canine companions. It is crucial for pet owners to be aware of the potential dangers and take necessary precautions to prevent accidental ingestion. If ingestion does occur, immediate veterinary care can make a significant difference in the outcome. While cannabis may offer therapeutic benefits to humans, it is clear that it can have severe, even fatal, effects on dogs.

By C.N.W

Keywords: cannabis, marijuana, dogs, side effects, ingestion, prevention, treatment


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