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Can marijuana kill dogs?

I was prompted to ask the question in the title because a person on had feverishly written, “HELP!! My dog ate a weed muffin.”

The person’s dog became sleepy and he could not stand. He vomited twice and puked a huge hairball the second time. The dog weighs 55 pounds and is docile. The person was looking for tips to deal with the crisis. The advice was to take him to an emergency animal hospital. That would cost about $1000.

Weed muffin

Weed muffin. Photograph is in the public domain.

My research using an insurance company indicates that marijuana can kill a dog indirectly if the concentration of the marijuana is strong enough and the dog falls into a coma and chokes on their vomit. Apparently there has been a 448% increase in cases of pets consuming marijuana over the past six years. I suspect that this applies to dogs eating human foods such as weed muffins!

With the legalisation of marijuana for recreational use in California in 2018, it is no surprise that dogs end up in hospital having consumed the stuff. If the foodstuff is high in THC concentrations and perhaps contains chocolate or raisins it is more dangerous to dogs and dogs do not react to marijuana as humans do. The effects are likely to last longer and be more intense for dogs. They have more cannabinoid receptors in the brain than humans.

It may take a couple of days for the symptoms to completely wear off. With proper care the dog should fully recover. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour for the marijuana to take effect. The eyeballs become dilated, the heart rate slows down and the dog will have difficulty in walking. In addition the other symptoms might include: drooling, vomiting, ataxia, disorientation, whining, howling, barking, dilated pupils, unusual eye movements, incontinence, breathing difficulties, collapsible shop, lethargy, agitation or hyperactivity and a rapid heart rate. The symptoms might not last long.

You should keep your dog hydrated with lots of water. In worst cases there might be seizures and coma. Under these circumstances you should contact an emergency veterinarian immediately. You can induce vomiting but you need to seek your veterinarian’s advice on that.

Clearly the best course of action is preventative but accidents do happen despite the best intentions. My personal view is that marijuana is not as benign and as beneficial as people make out. The strength of THC in these products is much higher than it was in the past and I think you will find stories of people occasionally suffering from psychosis through using marijuana. Further, it can be a stepping stone to harder drugs. It depends upon the person but the person doesn’t know whether they are susceptible to damage from marijuana. This leads one to the conclusion that all people should leave it alone.

In the UK, I am convinced that a substantial proportion of the working community, particularly young men, go to work on marijuana. They can’t work without it. This may particularly apply to young men in work concerning manual labour. It is not a good thing. How many accidents are caused on building sites because the worker is slightly high on cannabis?

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