What comes to your mind at the mention of marijuana? It’s that intoxicating thing that can get you high. You may also know it by other names, like weed, grass, dope, and pot. Besides marijuana smoke or vapor, they are also available as edibles, infused into cookies, bars, and brownies. Also, many dispensaries may even sell gummies, oils, teas, and candies having marijuana in them.
Several states in the United States have legalized the consumption of marijuana. This has increased the demand for edibles.
As the consumption of marijuana is getting higher day by day, the cases of accidental ingestion of marijuana by dogs are also on the rise. In recent decades, there has been a dramatic surge in the incidences of marijuana toxicity in canines. Let’s read on to learn of the effects of 400 mg edible on your dog and how to treat your canine if he is affected with marijuana toxicity.
Is Marijuana Bad for Dogs?
Dogs are more prone to marijuana toxicosis than their feline counterparts. The reason is that many owners often infuse marijuana in baked goods. If your dog is curious about exploring and tasting everything on the countertops, he’ll easily access the marijuana.
Now, talking about the adverse effects of marijuana, it is essential to mention that marijuana is bad for dogs. Research has shown that the brains of canines possess cannabinoid receptors in increased numbers. This makes them more susceptible to marijuana toxicity. Small amounts of marijuana can be increasingly toxic.
As per the reports of the American Poison Control Center, there has been an immense increase in calls regarding pets who have ingested marijuana by around 765%. However, it is essential to mention that inhalation of the vapors or smoke through marijuana vapors or cigarettes will be more intense.
Regarding the edibles, it depends on what your dog has eaten and how much of it has been consumed. For instance, a 10 mg or 15 mg edible will be less potent than a 400 mg or 500 mg edible. It is a deadly combination if the edible is inside a brownie or a chocolate. Your dog has ingested two toxic components and needs treatment not just for marijuana toxicity but chocolate toxicity as well.
The main component in marijuana is the psychoactive (affecting the brain) THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which can damage your canine. There is another compound in marijuana, CBD (Cannabidiol), which is non-psychoactive (not affecting the mental process) and is not known to cause harm to pets.
Signs and Symptoms of Edible Ingestion in Dogs
If your dog has ingested marijuana, the symptoms will take 30 minutes and an hour to become prominent. However, if your canine has inhaled marijuana, the symptoms will show up earlier. Here are some common signs and symptoms to watch out for when your dog has ingested edible.
- Wobbly and uncoordinated movement that involves your dog making stumbling movements or crossing over its feet
- Increased hyperactivity
- Dilated pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Fluctuating blood pressure
- Slow breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Seizures, tremors, and even coma (in severe cases)
Dr. Stacy Meola, associated with the Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, mentioned that the most typical signs of marijuana toxicity seen in most dogs are stumbling and showing uncoordinated movements. She explained that dogs would walk in a way that seemed like they were drunk.
Through a study regarding the effects of marijuana on dogs, it was shown that around 88% of dogs exhibited stumbling movements. About 50% of the canines displayed dilated pupils and lethargy symptoms. Another common symptom most of the dogs eating marijuana displayed was urinary incontinence.
My Dog Ate a 400 mg Edible: 3 Immediate Steps to Take
When you have identified that your dog has had marijuana, you will have to act immediately. The slightest delay could make matters worse for your dog. If the edible dosage was around 400 mg, that’s quite a huge amount and needs urgent medical treatment. Here are some steps you need to take at once to save your dog from a hazard.
1. Analyze the Situation
The first 30 minutes are crucial, as the symptoms start showing up after this time. So, if you’ve seen your dog eating marijuana edible, it will help you act sooner. Once you have identified that your dog has had an edible, you must assess the situation quickly. Besides the harmful effects of marijuana, there are other concerning factors.
Certain edible candies contain xylitol, the ingestion of which can cause dangerous effects in dogs like liver damage and hypoglycemia. Another harmful ingredient to watch out for is chocolates. Say, if your dog ate a brownie infused with marijuana and sweetened with xylitol, the effects could be deadly. It needs immediate medical attention.
If the edible your dog ate just had THC, a vet’s attention is the need of the hour. You should also note if your dog has eaten just the edible or even the wrapper. If that’s the case, then your dog has also put itself at risk of choking hazards and gastrointestinal blockage.
It would help your vet understand the severity of your dog’s situation if you take the wrapper or foil pack containing the edible. In that way, the vet can understand the dosage and ingredients.
2. Monitor Your Dog’s Symptoms
If your dog consumed an edible with THC, it would not always result in massive damage. A dog’s size and the amount of marijuana he consumed also matter. For instance, if your Great Dane or St. Bernard ate an edible candy, that may not harm him much. But the same cannot be said for your Yorkie or pet cat. The symptoms will be visible within an hour of the consumption. It is a medical emergency if your dog is vomiting, dilating pupils, drooling, and showing uncoordinated movement.
If your dog is vomiting, that could be worrisome since there is a possibility of your dog aspirating its vomit. This will happen even more if your canine has become disoriented and cannot reposition itself.
3. Do As Your Vet Directs
If your pet is a victim of marijuana toxicity, then taking him to the vet is of utmost importance. If the vet isn’t available, you must rush him to the nearest emergency clinic. Once the vet has examined your dog and started the treatment, you should follow whatever he says. Avoid trying anything by yourself at home. It may make matters worse for your dog.
When you see your dog disoriented and in discomfort, care for him at the utmost. You may rub his palms gently to soothe him and give him as much attention as possible. Also, watch your dog closely for any other symptoms that may show up late, perhaps once you’ve got home from the vet’s office. Keep your vet informed of your dog’s slightest physical and behavioral changes.
Treatment and Care
The treatment procedure depends on how severe your dog’s condition is. While for some canines, the vet might prescribe home treatment, especially if the symptoms aren’t severe.
Some might require hospitalization and may need supportive care and intravenous fluids. If it hasn’t been long since your dog had the edibles, the vet might opt for inducing vomiting. But it would help if you never tried this at home since it might worsen your dog’s condition further.
Some vets might even opt for intralipid therapy in dogs that have been affected severely, which helps the marijuana quickly be eliminated from your dog’s body. Suppose your dog is additionally suffering from chocolate or xylitol poisoning. In that case, your vet will also have to treat your dog for those.
When your dog gets proper and immediate treatment, he will likely recover in a day or two. Besides taking your dog to the vet, you should also care for it immensely once it has been established that it has eaten marijuana. Your dog will show uncoordinated movements, so you should keep a close watch on the way your dog moves. If your house has many stairs, ensure your dog doesn’t climb them.
When your dog lacks proper balance, he may injure himself while climbing the stairs. Keeping your canine in a small and confined place is safe to lessen self-injury chances.
Your dog’s anxiety will already heighten because of physical discomfort. So, you should keep calm and, at the same time, do your best to comfort your dog. When your dog is anxious, the symptoms could aggravate further. Give your dog his favorite toy, and keep him busy. This will help to keep his stress levels under control. If your dog is distressed, you may use the ‘sit,’ ‘heel,’ and ‘down’ commands to calm him down.
How Do You Avoid Your Dog from Eating Edibles?
Your dog will get hold of the edibles if they are easily accessible. So, the first thing you must do is keep these things out of your dog’s reach. It’s safe to store them inside a container and add a firm lid. In this way, your dog will not be able to get at it.
Also, ensure that if you’re having an edible cookie or brownie, you discard the leftovers instantly to prevent your dog from licking them. Similarly, you should be cautious about dumping the wrappers into the trashcan to avoid choking hazards.
The Role of THC in Dog Toxicity
The main component of marijuana is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), a psychoactive substance. It tremendously impacts the nervous system, affecting the mental process immensely. As per studies, THC, when inhaled (2-3 mg) or ingested (5-20 mg) can impair one’s attention and memory.
So, it’s pretty clear that increased ingestion of edibles could adversely affect your dog’s health. However, the overall impact of THC on dogs depends on the amount ingested and your dog’s size. THC toxication is an emergency and requires immediate treatment.
Long-Term Effects of Edibles in Dogs
Over the years, the number of dogs with marijuana intoxication has increased drastically. Most dogs are susceptible to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and can suffer from serious side effects upon ingestion (as mentioned above). Many vets have even said that marijuana consumption will not have long-term effects unless consumed excessively.
But the symptoms dogs face are alarming indeed. However, in humans, long-term usage of marijuana can impact the development of the brain. So, it is well-understood how harmful edibles can be to dogs.
Can marijuana poisoning cause death in dogs?
Yes, it can, but it is rare. When your dog has edibles highly concentrated with marijuana, then it could be life-threatening, especially if medical attention isn’t sought immediately. Moreover, how harmful the effect could be on a dog depends on its size.
Is there any OTC drug test to determine marijuana toxicity in dogs?
There is an OTC (human) urine drug test to diagnose marijuana exposure. However, the test doesn’t produce authentic results for dogs in most cases. The (UPLC-MS/MS) method seems to be a better and more authentic one, done by evaluating dogs’ serum and urine samples.
There’s been a drastic rise in marijuana toxicity cases in dogs in recent times. This means owners should be more cautious to keep their stuff out of their dog’s reach. Also, it is advisable to keep the dogs on leash when taking them out lest they may end up consuming marijuana products in the field.
Elena Gherman is a highly skilled and knowledgeable animal care expert. At the start of her career, she gained practical expertise with multiple animals. In addition to that, she works as a DVM veterinary editor for Joy Pet Products, which focuses on offering reliable information on pet health and wellbeing. She meticulously reviews each piece of writing before it is published to make sure pet owners get the most precise and updated information possible.