Marijuana and Dogs and Cats: A Risky Combination

If your pet is unable to walk or cannot be roused after being suspected of ingesting marijuana, contact your veterinarian immediately. Please be aware that veterinarians are not required to contact the police, even in states where marijuana is illegal. It is most important that your pet gets medical assistance. Affected animals should have their heart rate and blood pressure monitored. Treatment for marijuana intoxication can include confinement to prevent injury, intravenous fluids to keep the blood pressure normal and medications to lower the heart rate. Severely affected animals may benefit from intravenous lipid emulsions to help decrease the amount of circulating cannabinoids in the pet’s system.

A Pet Pain Reliever?

Given marijuana’s usage in humans for problems such as chronic pain, especially back pain, some people have logically asked, “What about using marijuana as a pain control option for my pets?” At this point, more research is needed in this area to provide an answer. There is no known appropriate dose for pets, and the raw plant material has variable amounts of cannabinoids in it. If you are concerned about your pet’s comfort level, speak with your veterinarian and use one of the many available medications, such as opioids, gabapentin or NSAIDs, that have been shown to be safe and effective for managing pain in animals.

Finally, as with any potentially toxic substance, always keep marijuana and marijuana-laced food items out of the reach of pets and children. While the trend toward legalization in many states may make marijuana more available in many homes, remember that it remains a highly toxic substance for pets.

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