Marijuana Poisoning In Dogs

marijuanaLast summer a fellow morning dog walker, who I often see in a park that runs along a river, called me to ask me if my dog was acting ok.

When she got home her dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, started to act dopey and then started to stagger about. As he seemed to be getting worse, she took him to vet. The vet told her they would keep the dog for tests and observation.

Later that day the vet called to tell her that the dog was stoned on marijuana. He had probably found a bit of a “brownie”. Must have been a remnant of some partying down by the river.

The story is funny since the dog made a full recovery.

However, marijuana is poisonous to dogs. It can kill a dog, especially without treatment.

The symptoms of marijuana in a dog are usually not immediate; generally signs can start anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours after the drug has been eaten, depending on the amount, form and the dog. The effects can last for up to several days.

If you suspect a dog has eaten marijuana induce vomiting immediately (see How To Induce Vomiting In A Dog). After the marijuana has started to have effects on a dog it is often hard to make a dog vomit due to the anti-nausea properties of marijuana. Plus if the dog has become sedated, there is an increased risk of them inhaling the vomit (which can lead to pneumonia).

Symptoms of marijuana toxicity vary, depending on the dog, the amount eaten, and the form the drug was in. The signs of toxicity can include being uncoordinated, drooling, dilated pupils, drop in body temperature, either slowed or increased heart rate, and shallow breathing. Occasionally a dog may have a seizure. With treatment death is rare, but can occur.

To treat marijuana poisoning in dogs, the stomach may be emptied by gastric lavage. Activated charcoal is usually given. A sedative may also be given depending on the symptoms. Other treatment involves, keeping the dog warm, giving fluids and observation.

If a dog is healthy, with timely treatment after eating marijuana, they usually will make a full recovery.

Creative Commons License photo credit: indy_slug

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