As of January 1, 2018, recreational marijuana will be legal in California.
It won’t be a pot free-for-all…there are still copious restrictions on who can sell, what they can sell, and how much pot people can buy, but for the first time ever, Proposition 64 will make California a “pot-friendly” state.
But what about your dog?
We won’t get into the nitty gritty on the arguments for and against marijuana, but there are a few things concerned California veterinarians do want you to know about pot and your dog.
Dogs Can (and do) Get High
Yes, your dog can get high by inhaling marijuana smoke and/or ingesting pot edibles. The difference is, dogs feel “high” much, much more intensely than humans do. Dogs are likely to find any state of altered reality extremely distressing.
How Can You Tell if Your Dog is “High?”
If your dog is in the room while you’re smoking marijuana, it’s entirely possible for him to get a “contact high.” Dogs have also been known to eat marijuana buds, and of course, edibles are tempting to them, too. If you’re unsure whether or not your dog may have inadvertently gotten into your weed, look for the following signs:
- Dilated pupils
- Low blood pressure/heart rate
- Easily startled
Can Pot Hurt My Dog?
In a nutshell, yes. There are too few vet-sponsored studies on the effects of marijuana on dogs to know for sure whether or not it’s safe. Never give your dog weed, particularly without first talking to your vet. (Caveat: Some veterinarians believe in prescribing medical marijuana products that do not contain THC for dogs that require pain relief.)
Although pot probably won’t kill your dog, it could make him very sick. Small animals are particularly susceptible to effects of pot. Vets working in states that previously legalized marijuana such as Colorado have reported an uptick in dogs coming in with symptoms of marijuana ingestion. Especially if you’re unsure just how much marijuana your pet has in his system, be sure to get him to an emergency vet right away if you suspect he’s been in your stash. Vet treatment for pot ingestion can include IV fluids, careful monitoring, and even by applying oxygen.
Remember that even if pot isn’t necessarily “toxic” to your dog, the ingredients in some edibles might be.
Keeping Your Dog Safe From Pot
Treat your marijuana the same way you would a prescription medication or alcohol. Keep it out of reach of pets (and children!) and monitor the amount you have on hand closely so you know when any is missing.
Never smoke pot in an enclosed space while your pet is nearby. If your dog does get a hold of the green stuff, try to induce vomiting immediately. And if you need to call in a vet, be honest with her about what’s affecting your dog. Your vet won’t judge you; they’re only interested in helping your pet stay healthy.