Dogs, Cats and Cannabis
As cannabis use becomes legal in more states, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the potential dangers and health risks for your pets if they gets into your stash of cannabis flower or edibles. Because of the endocannabinoid system, a biological system in the body that helps regulate and balance key bodily functions, cannabis affects dogs and cats differently than humans and it can lead to toxic reactions. Here are some of the dangers:
- Toxicity: Dogs and cats are more sensitive to the psychoactive compounds in cannabis, like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Ingesting cannabis can lead to THC toxicity, causing symptoms such as lethargy, unsteadiness, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and in severe cases, seizures and coma.
- Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Cannabis can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which may be harmful, especially for dogs and cats with pre-existing heart conditions.
- Respiratory Problems: Inhaling cannabis smoke can irritate your pet’s respiratory system, leading to coughing and difficulty breathing.
- Loss of Coordination: Your pets may lose their coordination and balance, making them more prone to accidents and injuries.
- Central Nervous System Depression: In larger quantities, cannabis can cause depression of the central nervous system, leading to potential loss of consciousness.
- Unpredictable Reactions: The effects of cannabis can vary widely from one pet to another, making it challenging to predict how a particular pet will react to the substance.
- Hypothermia: Cats and dogs exposed to cannabis can experience a drop in body temperature, leading to hypothermia, especially if they become lethargic and unable to regulate their body heat properly.
- Longer-lasting Effects: The effects of cannabis can last longer in pets compared to humans, leading to prolonged discomfort and symptoms.
If you suspect that your dog or cat has ingested cannabis, it's crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. Even small amounts of cannabis can be dangerous, so prompt treatment is essential.
To prevent such incidents, always keep cannabis products and edibles safely stored out of reach of pets, and be cautious when consuming them around animals to avoid accidental ingestion. Responsible cannabis use and proper storage are essential to keep your pets safe.