With marijuana now legal in Illinois and many other states, it is important that pet owners be aware of the dangers of marijuana to pets. Marijuana in all forms can be toxic, and possibly even deadly, to pets. Edibles and concentrates can be especially toxic to pets. Marijuana edibles, such as brownies and candy, can have additional toxicity when made with chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, sugar-free sweeteners such as xylitol or other foods that are toxic to pets. Second-hand smoke can also be a problem for pets.
What if my pet ingests marijuana?
If a pet ingests marijuana, pet owners should immediately contact their veterinarian or a veterinary emergency center. Gather as much information as possible about what your pet consumed and how much your pet weighs. Do not try to treat them at home, and do not try to get your pet to vomit, unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian as it could make the pet’s condition worse.
Symptoms of marijuana toxicity in pets include:
- dilated pupils
- dribbling urine
- lethargic but easily startled
- difficulty walking
- fluctuating body temperatures.
Preventing pets from accessing marijuana is important. Store all marijuana products out of the reach of pets. This includes keeping all visitors’ coats, purses and bags out of reach. Keep pets on a leash and watch closely any time they are outside, as they may find lost or discarded marijuana on the ground.
Medical marijuana for pets
Occasionally, we will get questions from owners about medical marijuana prescriptions for their pet. Federal law prohibits veterinarians from recommending or prescribing marijuana, in any form, for pets.
CBD AND YOUR PET
Many pet owners ask about the use of CBD, or cannabidiol products for their pets. At this time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any CBD products for use with animals. The FDA says that it cannot ensure the safety or effectiveness of CBD products for pets, which currently are not regulated for content, quality or safety. One of the concerns from the FDA is that CBD can cause negative side effects or interact with other medications.
Although studies are underway and early indications show that there may be some benefits to CBD use for pets, we do not yet understand the full effect of CBD on pets. Pet owners should talk with their veterinarian before using CBD products for their pet. Your veterinarian can guide you on how to best care for your pets and address any health issues they may have.
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