VPIS - Veterinary Poisons Information Service

Cannabis in dogs

image credit Brett Levin via Flickr (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

With recent votes legalising the use of both recreational and medicinal cannabis in some US states (Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon) and the growing popularity of cannabis-infused pet products, there has been a lot of discussion around its effect in animals. The US’ Pet Poison Helpline have reported a 200% increase in the number of enquiries they have received on this agent.

Clinical effects of cannabis toxicity in dogs are similar to those reported in humans, and usually appear after 30-90 minutes if ingested, and 6-12 minutes if inhaled. Out of the 286 cases with follow up presented to VPIS, the most common clinical effects reported were ataxia, dilated pupils, vomiting, drowsiness and hyperaesthesia. Both bradycardia and tachycardia were documented as well as hyperthermia and hypothermia; only 18 dogs remained asymptomatic.

Trupanion, an American pet insurance company, reported receiving a claim of over $6,000 for a Shetland Sheepdog who ate a tray of “weed brownies” and needed to be hospitalized for seven days.

While dogs typically recover from cannabis intoxication with no long-term effects, complications, the exposure to a potent strain, or the ingestion of a large amount of the drug can be fatal.

VPIS is interested in hearing of any cases you see of animals ingesting cannabis – please use the “Report A Case” functionality on our website if you do not actually need to contact us regarding the case.