What you need to know about cannabis and pets
If you have a dog living in your cannabis-positive household, it’s important to consider your animal companion’s health and safety.
There are two separate, related subjects to think about on the subject:
First: Your pet interacting with products containing THC. This is a real danger to your animal companion, and we’re going to talk through some of the specifics.
Second: Your pet and the cannabis-derived compound CBD, which many people praise for its therapeutic benefits for both humans and animals.
THC and your pet
It’s simple. While considered beneficial to humans, THC is not good for pets. The THC found in all cannabis intended for human consumption is highly toxic to the animals in your home. Dogs (and, less frequently, cats) are extremely susceptible to poisoning from ingesting cannabis.
Dogs, in particular, have many times more cannabinoid receptors in their nervous systems and brains than humans do, and because of this, the effects of THC on dogs are overwhelming and can be dangerous.
A dog who has consumed cannabis may display symptoms like disorientation, glassy eyes, wobbling or shaking, “drunken” movement, lethargy, heart irregularities, vomiting and more.
Make no mistake: a dog who has consumed THC is in great physical and mental distress, and the dangers are real. You are advised to seek veterinary attention immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten or otherwise consumed cannabis. In rare cases, dogs have died from an overdose of THC.
If your vet thinks it’s required, your dog may be kept overnight in a safe space, with plenty of prescribed hydration. Effects can last up to 24 hours.
CBD and your pet
CBD is the sister compound to THC, found in cannabis plants. It does not produce a felt ‘high’ when it’s consumed. When marijuana is consumed, it interacts with and alters the effects of the THC compound in the brain in interesting ways.
Pure CBD is available in multiple forms, including edibles and oils, with no or low levels of THC. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD has real, beneficial therapeutic effects for human health. Science has yet to give it a full and confident stamp of approval, but users have widely reported health benefits for anxiety and insomnia, neurological disorders, pain and more.
Similar evidence suggests it can be great for your pet, too. Many people have added small doses of CBD to their pet’s health regimens, but if you’re considering this, there are a few things to think about:
- Your vet can’t prescribe it. Health Canada has not yet approved any CBD product for use with animals, so your vet won’t be sending you home with any. Talk to your vet; see what their opinion is on the subject and see if they have answers to any of your questions. Any CBD product you find specifically marketed toward animals has not had its health claims approved by the Canadian Government.
- Many CBD products are not completely THC-free. Although levels are usually low, if you do decide to use CBD with your pet, make sure you know what’s in the product you’ve chosen.
- CBD products marketed to animals can be expensive and of questionable quality. Do a little research and make sure you’ve looked at price, the safety and purity of the ingredients, and the safe recommended dosage for your pet.
In summary, the rules are simple:
- Keep your pet away from ALL cannabis containing THC. No exposure to second-hand smoke or edibles, however small, is good for your pet.
- Consider the potential health benefits of cannabis-derived CBD for your pet, but take care and do your research first. Consider both the reported pros and the cons before proceeding.
If you feel like it, you can visit any of our Toronto dispensaries for more information