THC, the main active ingredient in Cannabis, affects humans and animals differently. Cannabis has been found to help people in several ways, but does it also pose any risks to our furry friends? In this blog post, we'll talk about whether or not THC is toxic to dogs. We'll talk about how much they need to eat before they get sick, what kinds of products may contain it, and the side effects. Read on to learn about the dangers of giving your dog substances related to Cannabis.
What exactly is THC?
THC, or Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a natural compound in the cannabis plant. As the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC is responsible for the euphoric and mind-altering effects that users often describe. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, affecting mood, appetite, pain, and more. With the recent legalization of marijuana in several states, THC has become a hot topic of discussion. While it can benefit some conditions, THC can harm mental health and cognitive function. Regardless of its pros and cons, understanding THC is essential for anyone interested in Cannabis.
Is THC toxic to dogs?
As more people turn to Cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes, pet owners must be aware of its risks to their furry friends. Dogs' bodies break down THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in weed, differently than humans. Cannabis is a known toxin for dogs, and even a tiny amount can cause a bad reaction and lead to cannabis toxicosis.
Unfortunately, the incidence of cannabis poisoning in dogs is on the rise, with a 765% increase in calls to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center in 2019 compared to the previous year. While Cannabis is rarely fatal for dogs, it can cause severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention. Pet owners need to keep Cannabis and related items out of the reach of their pets and seek help if they suspect their dog has been exposed.
What are the signs that THC has intoxicated a dog?
As more states legalize Cannabis, the risk of accidental pet ingestion increases. If your dog has started to exhibit unusual behavior, it could be a sign that they have ingested Cannabis. Some common signs that suggest Cannabis has poisoned a dog include:
- Have a very low heart rate
- Very sensitive to sounds and touches
- Trembling and shaking
- Urinating without control
- Dilated pupils
- Looks tired and lethargic, but jolt to their feet if they start to fall over
- Look or act "drunk" by stumbling and swaying their body
How soon will you notice the effects of THC kicking in?
As curious creatures, dogs explore their environment with their nose and, sometimes, their taste buds. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to unintended consequences, such as consuming Cannabis. While the risk of accidental ingestion shouldn't be taken lightly, it's important to note that it takes at least 30 minutes for the effects to set in, and even longer if they eat it rather than breathe it in. Of course, there are variables to consider, such as:
- The amount of dosage
- Size and age of your dog
- How your dog came into contact with it
- Other health problems your dog could have
How long does the high effect of THC last?
As dog owners, we know how important it is to keep our furry friends safe and healthy. However, accidents can happen, and sometimes our dogs can accidentally ingest THC, whether from edibles, joints, or the leftovers from a party. It's scary to think about, but the effects of THC can last up to 24 hours in dogs and have serious consequences. The high is not enjoyable for them and can result in disorientation, vomiting, and even seizures. It's important to remember that dogs cannot simply "sleep it off," If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately. Keep your pup safe, and always keep THC products out of their reach.
What Causes THC Toxicity in Dogs?
Dogs' brains have cannabinoid receptors that process chemicals like THC, just like ours. But even a little bit of it is dangerous for your pet. It is because the cannabinoids in your dog's body can be reused. When your dog eats something that has THC in it, the THC is absorbed by the gut and stored in bile, a fluid made by the liver. The THC-filled bile will enter the intestines when your puppy eats its next meal. It shows them again. Because of this, your dog's symptoms are a lot worse.
There are many ways for dogs to be exposed. They could:
- Inhale smoke from someone else
- Parts of the cannabis plant can be eaten (buds, leaves, or stems)
- Eat baked goods like cookies or brownies that have Cannabis in them.
- You can lick or eat THC butter or oil.
- Eat poop after someone has digested Cannabis.
If your dog eats Cannabis along with other known toxicants, like chocolate, raisins, the artificial sweetener xylitol, or high-fat foods, the poisoning could be worse.
How is THC toxicity in dogs diagnosed?
There's no way to tell if THC has poisoned a dog. If you think your dog has been exposed to THC, your vet may:
- Get a thorough medical history.
- Check the dog's body.
- Check the stomach and urine for THC
- Order an X-ray to look for packages of marijuana like foil, vape pens, or pipes
They may also order more tests to rule out alcohol, opiates, tranquilizers, pesticides, and other known poisons as possible intoxication causes.
Treatment for dogs that THC has intoxicated
Your dog may need to go to the vet, depending on how bad the reaction is. Depending on whether the symptoms are worse, different treatment methods may exist. If your dog goes to the vet less than 30 minutes after consuming THC, the vet may be able to make it throw up. After 30 minutes, it's too hard and dangerous to keep going.
If this is the case, some possible treatments are:
- Treatments to stop throwing up and feeling sick
- Medicines for irritability, tremors, or seizures
- Fluids are given through an IV through a catheter
- Activated charcoal to cut down on how much THC is absorbed
- Temperature therapy, which involves either warming or cooling
Tell your vet the truth, and don't keep anything from them. Your vet's primary concern is your dog's health; they don't have to tell the police about anything. Bring any THC products your dog may have come in contact with to the vet with you. It can help your vet avoid tests or treatments that aren't necessary.
The expected recovery time for your dog
If your dog gets help soon after being exposed, things look good. But if your dog is exposed to synthetic Cannabis ("Spice," "K2," or "fake weed"), the effects are worse and may take longer to go away. Most dogs get better in one to two days if they get the proper care at the right time. In more severe cases, it could take three days or even longer.
While there is no definitive answer on the long-term consequences of ingesting THC, acute symptoms of intoxication can cause confusion, disorientation, and changes in both heart rate and blood pressure. These can be very dangerous for animals not well-versed in coping with these effects. Ultimately, it is best to avoid giving your dog THC definitively. Plenty of natural dogs treats and supplements can provide many benefits sought by owners looking to treat their pets without worrying about potential risks and harm. In addition, if your pet accidentally ingests THC, seeking immediate medical attention is essential, as any ingested drug can seriously compromise a pet's internal functioning and overall health.