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    Dr. Paddo - Wednesday 26 April 2023

    What to do if your dog has ingested weed?

    Do you have a dog and do you ever use weed? Then there is a risk that your cozy four-legged friend will ingest cannabis. Maybe your dog snatched an edible off the table or was sleeping in his basket while you and your friends were smoking joints. Weed can be toxic to dogs. In this blog, you can read what can happen if your dog has ingested weed and what you can do best.


    Help, my dog is high!

    Man has been using substances with mind-altering effects for thousands of years. But surprisingly enough, animals also find psychoactive plants interesting. It has been observed several times that some animals voluntarily eat mind-altering substances. For example, elephants sometimes eat overripe fruits that induce a kind of drunkenness and reindeer like to snack on the Amanita mushroom, which has a strong hallucinogenic effect. And we all know the cats that trip on catnip!


    So animals can get high and so can your dog, if he ate your weed. This can happen when your dog has an edible eats it, or when exposed to second-hand smoke. In those cases, your buddy will ingest THC. The point is that this substance has a very different effect on dogs than on humans.


    Both dogs and humans have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS has the task of regulating various processes in the body, such as the sleep-wake rhythm, blood pressure, resistance and so on. It uses cannabinoids produced by the body to do this, but plant cannabinoids, such as THC, can also transmit signals via the ECS.


    THC causes a high because this cannabinoid binds to CB1 receptors. In humans, this has a pleasant effect. Dogs have many more CB1 receptors than humans. That is why weed has a much more powerful effect and can even be toxic. If you have seen that your dog has ingested weed, it is important to intervene quickly.


    How can you tell if your dog is high?

    Every dog reacts differently to weed. The response to cannabis depends on how healthy the animal is, its age and size. So you will have to take a good look at your pet to see how it is going. Fortunately, a dose of cannabis is usually not fatal, but your dog can become seriously ill from THC. These are the symptoms, the complaints, that your dog can experience if he has eaten or inhaled weed.

    • Listlessness
    • Disorientation
    • Drowsiness
    • Muscle twitching
    • Uncleanliness
    • Hyperactivity
    • Coma

    If you see some of these signs, you need to take action. Sometimes the complaints do not seem so serious, but it is possible that your dog suddenly deteriorates. So it is best to take your buddy to the vet.

    Dog ingested weed: to the vet

    If you take your dog to the vet, be honest about what happened. It is of no use to your dog if you do not clearly explain what is going on, then the vet cannot help your dog. If the amount of THC your animal ingested is minimal, your dog will likely recover quickly. The vet can give you tips on how to help your furry housemate get sober again. You can read more about that in the next section.


    If your dog is very ill, more extensive research will be done. Organ function will be tested, blood pressure measured and medication may be administered, for example against nausea. Your vet may keep your dog for observation for a few hours.


    Helping your dog sober up again

    However, it turned out at the vet, when you return home with your dog, make sure he has a safe and quiet place to recover. Always follow the vet's instructions. Keep an eye on your dog for the next few hours and give him the support he needs. Of course, it is not surprising that your buddy is quite upset and he may still be stoned. Make sure he is warm enough that there is food and water nearby and give him lots of cuddles (if he needs it).


    To help your dog sober up (he may continue to show symptoms for up to 24 hours), you can give him some tasty snacks and healthy, easily digestible food. Think some boiled chicken and white rowst. This kind of food fills the stomach, but is easy to digest, so the stomach is not irritated.


    Preventing problems

    Of course, you don't want to experience this again. Prevention is better than cure. So try to find a better place for your cannabis products. Stop edibles and buds in storage jars that you close tightly. Store it in a cupboard behind a door. Be careful not to leave your weed lying around in the same room where your dog is. Also, make sure your dog stops smoking with you and your friends.


    And dogs aren't the only animals that can be affected by weed. While most cases of cannabis poisoning occur in dogs (96%), it can also happen in cats. However, it is not yet known how toxic weed is to cats, but it is obvious that they too can develop complaints from exposure to weed. So keep an eye out for these hairy roommates when you start using cannabis. Make sure they can't get their hands on weed products and prevent them from second-hand smoke.

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