If you are a cannabis user, you may enjoy the relaxing and euphoric effects of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. But did you know that THC is toxic for dogs and can cause serious health problems for your furry friend?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is one of the many compounds called cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. When humans consume THC, it binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other parts of the body, producing various effects such as pain relief, mood enhancement, appetite stimulation, and altered perception.
However, dogs have a different response to THC than humans. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans, and they can also recycle cannabinoids in their bodies. This means that dogs are more sensitive to the effects of THC and can experience a higher level of intoxication and toxicity.
The amount of THC that can cause poisoning in dogs depends on several factors, such as the dog's age, health, size, breed, and the amount and type of cannabis product they ingested or inhaled. Some common sources of THC exposure for dogs include:
Secondhand smoke from cannabis users
Cannabis plants (buds, leaves, stems, seeds)
Cannabis-infused edibles (brownies, cookies, gummies)
Cannabis oils or butter
Feces from humans who have consumed cannabis
The symptoms of THC poisoning in dogs usually appear within 30 to 60 minutes after exposure, or sooner if they inhale it. The symptoms can last for 18 to 24 hours or longer in some cases. Some of the signs of THC poisoning in dogs are:
Stumbling and crossing over their feet (ataxia)
Dullness and lethargy
Tremors and shaking
Hypersensitivity to sound and touch
Low heart rate
Coma (in severe cases)
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you should seek veterinary attention immediately. Your vet will perform a physical exam and may run some tests to confirm the diagnosis of THC poisoning. They may also induce vomiting or give activated charcoal to your dog to reduce the absorption of THC in their system. They may also provide supportive care such as fluids, oxygen, anti-nausea medication, or anti-seizure medication if needed.
The prognosis for dogs with THC poisoning is generally good if they receive prompt and proper treatment. However, there is always a risk of complications or death in very rare cases. Therefore, it is best to prevent your dog from getting exposed to THC in the first place.
Here are some tips to keep your dog safe from THC:
Store your cannabis products in a secure place that your dog cannot access.
Do not smoke or vape cannabis around your dog or in an enclosed space with them.
Do not leave any cannabis edibles or leftovers within your dog's reach.
Do not feed your dog any cannabis products or let them lick any cannabis oil or butter.
Do not let your dog eat any feces from humans who have consumed cannabis.
Educate yourself and others about the dangers of THC for dogs and how to recognize the symptoms of poisoning.
If you suspect your dog has ingested or inhaled THC, do not wait for the symptoms to appear. Call your vet or an animal poison control center right away.
THC is not a harmless substance for dogs. It can cause serious harm to their health and well-being. As a responsible pet owner, you should protect your dog from THC exposure and seek help if they get poisoned.
Remember that your dog's life is more important than your high.