Don’t let your dog eat your weed

Amouse13 via Wikimedia COmmons

My favorite thing about being a millennial is that we’re all rejecting typical milestones like getting married, buying a house and having children because most of our priorities revolve around adopting dogs and paying off our student loans. I love dogs, but like the normal amount and not in an insufferable way where I have a full-on conniption fit every time I pass one on the street. Calm down, obnoxious white people who rely on golden retrievers to fill out your personality.

But truly, I can’t wait for the day I get a dog so I can stop talking to humans altogether. Obviously, I’m going to be an amazing dog mom because living in Boulder has taught me the most important thing about dog ownership: 1) Adopt from a shelter so people confuse you with Mother Theresa and 2) Don’t let your dog eat your weed (or anything else that could harm them or your wallet with an expensive trip to the vet).

With the rise of people using cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, there’s no doubt that dogs are getting stoned too, mostly because they will eat anything and owners are accidentally leaving it around for them to get into. Little data is available on how dogs respond to marijuana, but all the evidence suggests the psychoactive components of the drug (THC) are unpleasant for them.

According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, the most common clinical signs your dog has ingested marijuana are ataxia (drunken gait), lethargy and urinary incontinence. Depending on the size of your dog and how much they ate, it’s relatively harmless. However, about 25 percent of dogs may present stimulated instead, which means they may experience disorientation, a slowed heart rate, low body temperature, dilated pupils and tremors. If dogs get into a stash with high concentrations of THC, it’s possible for them to experience a steep drop in blood pressure or slip into a coma.   

So purposefully getting your pet high on THC is not cool or funny and could actually be life-threatening. If you are doing this in a sad attempt to go viral on Youtube, I will personally break into your house and take your dog away. Even if you’re not hotboxing your dog on purpose, they could still accidentally get into your stash. Maybe they ate half the joint you flicked into your yard and forgot about or confused your edibles with their treats. Perhaps they just ate the flower you had sitting out on your coffee table. No matter how it happened, you’re left simultaneously panicking, yelling at your boyfriend and profusely apologizing to your dog. Stay calm! Here’s what to do if you find yourself in that situation.

The potency of your weed plays a huge factor in the severity of your dog’s situation. If they got into your edibles, how much did they eat? 10 mg of THC is very different than 100 mg of THC, especially in a 50-pound dog. Raw cannabis flower is the least severe because it’s not decarboxylated, so the THC hasn’t been activated. Concentrates are super potent and can have a bigger effect on your dog, especially smaller breeds. The danger level for edibles vary depending on the potency and ingredients, especially chocolate since that alone can be toxic for dogs.

If your dog ingested a small amount, you’re lucky that it is likely a mild case. Activated charcoal can soak up the toxins in your dog’s stomach, including any remaining THC that hasn’t been absorbed into their bloodstream yet. If that doesn’t work, you can use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting, which will make you feel heartless because your dog doesn’t understand why this is happening and you can’t explain it to them.

If your dog has consumed a large amount of THC or you’re super worried about the situation, go to the veterinarian. Depending on how much they ate, this could be a life-saving step. It’s not doing you or your dog any favors if you’re too paranoid about smoking weed to mention it. Be honest and as specific as possible with your vet so they know the risks and can remedy the problem as best as possible. Tell the vet what kind of product, its potency, how long it has been since it was ingested, etc. Best case scenario is that your pup will be fine, but your bank account might hurt a little.

Also, this doesn’t make you a bad person. Dogs, especially puppies, are a big responsibility and a lot to handle. Accidents happen from time to time, so don’t beat yourself up over it and just try to be more responsible about it in the future.