Protect Your Animals from Consuming Marijuana Products

Protect Your Animals from Consuming Marijuana Products

If you have edibles in your home, you probably already know that they need to be stored in a dry, cool place that children can’t access. But did you know it’s also important to make sure that you keep your marijuana products away from your pets?

Storing your edibles and other marijuana products in a secure location that your pets can’t break into isn’t just about protecting your products, it’s primarily about protecting the health of your pets.

Let’s break down some of the dangers surrounding accidental animal consumption of marijuana and what you can do to protect your pets.

Is Marijuana Harmful to Pets?

As much as consuming or using marijuana products can be fun and beneficial to people, it can be incredibly harmful to pets.

While it’s rare, marijuana intoxication can be fatal to pets in extreme cases. The marijuana itself won’t kill your pet, rather it could cause your pet to fall into a coma and choke on their own vomit.

Even if not fatal, intoxication can cause serious health problems for your pets.

The key takeaway is that marijuana is dangerous and harmful for pets. If you have any marijuana products or accessories in the house, you have to take this issue seriously to protect your pets.

What are the Symptoms of Intoxication in Pets?

There are several symptoms of marijuana intoxication that you should look out for in your pets. Many of them are neurological, including dilated pupils, loss of coordination, disorientation, and hyperactivity.

Other symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Drooling
  • Excessive vocalizing (barking, whining, or meowing)
  • Strange eye movements
  • Incontinence
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Collapse

In the most extreme cases, pets can experience seizures, tremors, or even a coma as a result of marijuana intoxication.

As you can see, some of these symptoms are quite serious. The symptoms usually won’t last very long but they can be very unpleasant for your pet (and you as their owner).

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet and suspect they have ingested cannabis, you should take action as soon as you can.

It’s worth noting that each pet will experience marijuana intoxication slightly differently. Just like no two people are exactly alike, no two pets are the same, either. Factors like the age of your pet, their general health, and their weight will all affect how intoxication could impact them.

The other key factor in determining the level of intoxication is, of course, the size of the dose that the pet consumes. Consuming something with a higher THC level is more likely to harm your pet and cause severe symptoms. Luckily, most recreational cannabis products are not highly concentrated so it’s often difficult for pets to consume very high levels of THC.

That said, highly concentrated, medical-grade cannabis products are becoming more popular and they pose more of a threat to pets.

How Long Will the Effects Last?

Side effects of marijuana intoxication in pets are generally short-lived. If your pet’s case isn’t especially severe, you can expect the effects to dissipate completely within a day or two.

Bear in mind, though, that pets experience the effects of marijuana differently. They will feel the effects more intensely and for a longer period than a person would. Even a small dose of cannabis can have a strong and long-lasting effect on a small animal like a cat or dog.

How Pets Become Intoxicated

The most common way for pets to become intoxicated by cannabis is by accidentally eating their owner’s edibles, whether that’s candies, chips, chocolate, or baked goods. Pets can become intoxicated in other ways, though, such as by inhaling second-hand marijuana smoke or by eating cannabis directly.

Due to their size and the structure of their brains, many household pets like cats and dogs experience much more dramatic effects of cannabis than humans. It only takes a small amount of cannabis to cause harmful intoxication in these animals which is why there is no official safe amount of exposure.

Also be aware that many edibles, in addition to marijuana, contain other ingredients that can be harmful to animals, like sugar or chocolate. Edibles are the most common cause of marijuana intoxication in pets and they may be at extra risk, depending on the ingredients in those edibles.

Take a common edible like brownies, for example. Brownies contain large doses of marijuana but they also have sugar, butter, grease, and chocolate, all of which are very bad for dogs. Something like these brownies is especially dangerous to your pets.

How Do I Protect My Pet?

Since there are multiple ways that pets can become intoxicated, you’ll need to institute several measures around the house to keep your pet fully protected from accidental marijuana intoxication.

First and foremost, make sure to avoid smoking marijuana while your pet is in an enclosed space with you. If you’re going to smoke, move your pet into another area of the house and make sure they can’t get to where you’ll be smoking.

As for storing your cannabis products, this is where you have to be careful. You don’t need to actually lock your cannabis away but it should be completely out of the reach of your pets. Remember to put all your marijuana products and accessories safely away when you’re done with them. Don’t leave anything out where your pet could get to it because you never know what your pet might try to eat.

A good place to store your cannabis products and accessories is in a closet with a door that your pet can’t open. If you also store your cannabis within a tightly sealed plastic box or similar storage container, then your pet should stand no chance of accidentally getting into your stash.

You can’t underestimate your pet. Just putting your products up on a high shelf might not be enough and when your pet’s health is at risk, it’s worth taking extra precautions.

What Do I Do If My Pet Becomes Accidentally Intoxicated?

If you are sure that your pet has eaten one of your edibles or another marijuana product, you don’t need to panic. The best thing to do is to bring your pet to the vet.

Unfortunately, many pet owners do not realize that their pet has eaten an edible until they start acting strangely. That can make it harder to know when exactly your pet ate the marijuana product and exactly how much they consumed.

Whether you notice symptoms or actually catch your pet in the act of eating your marijuana, you should take action as soon as possible. Bring them to the emergency vet and be honest with the veterinarian about what happened, regardless of the laws surrounding marijuana in your state.

The veterinarian needs all the relevant facts. Otherwise, they could waste valuable time ruling out metabolic or neurological causes of the symptoms instead of immediately treating the marijuana intoxication.

How to Treat Marijuana Intoxication in Pets

What the veterinarian will do for your pet depends on your particular circumstances. If you caught your pet eating marijuana products, the vet may induce vomiting to clear the drug out of their system. If, however, your pet is already showing neurological signs of marijuana ingestion, inducing vomiting can be dangerous so the vet will opt for a different course of treatment.

In those cases, the veterinarian will most likely just offer supportive care and supervise your pet while they are sobering up. They may administer IV fluids or give your pet a sedative to treat anxiety.

Another treatment option is to administer activated charcoal every six to eight hours. Activated charcoal helps the animal by neutralizing the toxin and reducing the effects it has on its body.

Many vets will suggest that you leave your pet to stay overnight at the veterinarian’s office for observation. If you choose to bring your pet home instead, you’ll just have to keep a close eye on them to make sure no further symptoms develop.

In the end, while the situation can be quite frightening, the odds are good that your pet will be just fine. Cannabis intoxication is rarely deadly for pets. Once the drug is out of your pet’s system, it should go back to normal without any long-term health effects.

The Bottom Line

Part of protecting and caring for your pet is making sure they don’t have access to any harmful substances, including marijuana. If you keep marijuana products in your home, take steps to ensure that your pet cannot access them. Otherwise, you’re risking your pet’s health and safety.

It’s worth taking the time to put your marijuana products away securely. Due diligence will go a long way toward protecting your pet from accidental marijuana ingestion.

Still, accidents happen so keep the symptoms of pet marijuana intoxication in mind and bring your pet to the vet if you suspect they may be intoxicated. The thing to remember is that marijuana is fun and safe for people but absolutely not for pets

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