Cannabis and Pets: What you should know
For many of us, our pet is family. In this post, we’ll address the two questions we hear
most often concerning cannabis and pets:
- What happens if my dog or cat eats my medical cannabis?
- Cannabis makes me feel better; can I give it to my dog or cat to help its arthritis, cancer, etc.?
Cannabis Intoxication in Pets: What it looks like and what to do
Despite your best efforts to keep your medical cannabis up and out of reach, your clever
pet managed to eat some of your medicine. Depending on the strain and concentration
of the cannabis, the age, size, and health of your pet, the reaction may be mild or
problematic. Keep an eye on your pet: If you see distress symptoms such as lethargy,
depression, excessive drooling, vomiting, agitation, tremors, and convulsions, call your
veterinarian, local animal emergency hospital or an animal poison control center
immediately. Depending on the reaction, your pet may require intravenous hydration or
a sedative. In most cases, the effects of the cannabis will resolve in 3-12 hours.
Cannabis Products for Pets
We get it. Cannabis dispensaries make you feel better, and you think there’s a good chance it’ll
make your pet feel better too. And while we don’t disagree with you, the American
Veterinary Medical Association doesn’t recommend it at the present time. Animals
metabolize chemicals different from humans. Think chocolate, grapes, onions and
avocado—humans eat vast quantities of these foods, but they make many dogs ill.
That said, all you have to do is turn on the TV or do an Internet search to hear pet
owners swear that low-THC, high-CBD cannabis products have improved their pet’s
quality of life. Seizures have been reduced or eliminated completely in dogs suffering
from epilepsy. Old, arthritic cats begin purring again.
How to know for sure? One word: research. There’s no doubt that even though the
federal government is slow to concede this point, cannabis research will answer many
In the mean time, if your pet is suffering, our best advice is to talk with your veterinarian
about treatment options. While veterinarians aren’t allowed to recommend medical
cannabis for pets, not even in states where medical cannabis is legal, there are hemp
products on the market that may help your pet should you decide to investigate that
option. Just be sure you know what’s in the product before giving it to your pet. As with
human medical cannabis dosing advice: If you decide to try a cannabis-based product,
start with a low dose and go slow.