How to Keep Your Pets Safe From Marijuana Intoxication

How to Keep Your Pets Safe From Marijuana Intoxication

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As states continue to decriminalize and legalize marijuana, there is a certain member of your family whose safety should be kept in mind: your pets! THC-free CBD products have boomed in popularity, including lotions, drinks, and sleeping treatments among many others. 

The recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in 21 states. My home state of Colorado was the first of many that voted to legalize recreational marijuana in the beginning of 2014. “Veterinarians are seeing a rise in cases of cannabis poisoning in pets as the legalized use of marijuana for recreational purposes continues to spread,” according to this article from the American Animal Hospital Association.

Even if you do not consume or store marijuana products, your pet may be at risk to exposure. So, as a responsible pet owner, how can you keep your pets safe? The first step is to understand how to prevent marijuana ingestion. 

Preventing Marijuana Ingestion

First and foremost, assess the storing of any marijuana products in your household. This includes more than recreational bud or edibles. Make sure you are ensuring secure access – discussing this with your family members may help keep your furry friend safe!

Secondarily, keep your pets away from secondhand smoke. Like humans, secondhand smoke inhalation of marijuana can be dangerous for your pets. Exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to allergies, respiratory problems (which can lead to lung cancer!), eye infections, or nasal tumors. If secondhand smoke is a concern, check out The Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Pets from VCA Animal Hospital for more information.

Thirdly, keep a close eye on your pets outdoors. Any product waste like wrappers or product remnants can be littered near sidewalks or yards, so always pay attention to what is going into your pet’s mouth. 

Most importantly, did you know intoxication in pets can be caused by the consumption of feces of people who have consumed cannabis? If you take your pet into rural areas like campgrounds, make sure they are in your sight to prevent this. This is also a great time to remember: always pack out! Whether in a park, your lawn, or a campground, always pick up after yourself. dogs playing with a stick

Understand What to do in the Event of an Emergency

Make sure you have a plan in place in the event your pet is exposed to marijuana. Firstly, make sure you know how to spot intoxication. If your four-legged friend seems out of the ordinary or disoriented, keep a close eye on them. Heart rate, blood pressure, or breathing changes can be a sign as well as pupil dilation. Any other disrupted bodily functions can also be a cause for concern. 

If you do believe your pet is showing signs from intoxication, it is very important to take them to the vet. Remember to be honest with your vet – they are here to help! Your floof will likely have their vitals assessed first and foremost. 

Your pet may need IV fluids and monitoring, so you should expect hospitalization if your companion has consumed weed. For more information on responding to your pet’s marijuana ingestion, check out this blog from Veterinary Emergency Group.

Talking to your family about an intoxication response plan is not a bad idea to ensure everyone is on the same page. Remember: prevention is always better than reaction! Although your pet’s proximity to marijuana can be a scary thing, it isn’t always a bad thing!
dog laying down

Cannabis Use and Treatment for Pets

Cannabis can bring relief and comfort to pets just like humans! It is important to know that there is not extensive science  related to this, so it is important to do your own research. CBD products can be used to treat pain while salves and creams can help provide allergy relief to your pet’s skin safely. 

If cannabis treatment is something you are curious about, make sure to bring it up at your next vet appointment. It is always a good idea to seek professional guidance to ensure minimal disruption, safety, and efficacy when it comes to alternative pet medicine. 

In Closing… 

Just like human usage of any controlled substances, it is always best to be educated on the dos, don’ts, and best practices. If your pet is going to be around other people or other homes, it is smart to discuss any potential marijuana exposure to keep your pet happy and healthy. So, keeping your goods contained, paying attention to your pet’s exposure, and having an emergency plan in place can keep your furry friend safe from unwanted and dangerous marijuana exposure. 

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