Why Can't You Give Your Dog Marijuana?

As strange as this question might sound, there are lots of dog owners who ask themselves this question. Read this article to learn about the potential health consequences of giving your dog marijuana.
Why Can't You Give Your Dog Marijuana?

Last update: 26 March, 2019

This might seem like a weird question, but many dog owners have pondered the issue. That’s why we wanted to take a moment to research and write an article about the topic. If you give your dog marijuana, it can have some serious health consequences. Keep reading to learn more.

Why can’t you give your dog marijuana?

It can be fatal for a dog

A black dog lying on the ground beside a bone.

Just about any substance could kill a dog in large enough doses. It’s hard to be watching your dog 100% of the time at home or outside, so it’s not always possible to keep it from ingesting toxic substances.

When it comes to marijuana, it can actually be fatal for a dog. The reason it’s so bad for dogs is that it contains the substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the main ingredient in the drug, and what gives it its psychotropic effects.

In general, a dog has to eat about 0.05 oz per pound of its body weight for it to be fatal. For example, if your dog weighs 20 pounds and eats around 1 ounce of marijuana, you’ll have to take it straight to the vet to get its stomach pumped.

Dogs are much more susceptible to the drug because they weigh so much less. If it accidentally eats some marijuana, the effects should wear away after a couple hours.

In the meantime, you should keep it in a calm place with fresh air and lots of fresh water. If two hours have gone by and it’s still laying down and acting sleepy, take it straight to the vet.

What does marijuana do to dogs?

This drug does more to dogs than it does to human beings. But the hallucinations aren’t necessarily the main problem, unless your dog starts to act strangely or attack the things around it.

Marijuana severely limits a dog’s motor skills. Its dopamine levels will be completely out of balance, which could lead your dog to lay down in the same position without moving a muscle for a long while. 

When dogs ingest weed they’re generally clumsier and more aggressive than usual. It won’t have good coordination and will run into walls, furniture, and other objects. It will probably also disobey your commands and instructions.

Other effects of marijuana on dogs

The most serious effects of marijuana are lack of coordination, falling, depression, or euphoria (it might alternate between the two moods). It might also whine and bark for no apparent reason, because it’s seeing things. Lastly, marijuana can also cause digestive problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and saliva build-up.

If this is going on with your dog, don’t try to change its mood, whether with loud music, yelling, trying to play with it, because its behavior will be completely unpredictable. Again, it might act the total opposite of how it usually does. It could try to attack you, bite you, or hurt you when it’s under the effects of marijuana.

Your dog could be under the effects for hours, but the problems should go away after that. From there, it’s your responsibility to keep it from happening again.

If it’s bad enough that you have to take your dog to the vet,  don’t lie or hide anything from them. Tell them it has ingested marijuana and try to be precise about how much. This will make it easier for the vet to help it.

Medical marijuana for dogs?

A husky dog is laying down beside a vet.

Although we’ve been talking about how marijuana isn’t good for your dog, there are some cases where you can give it to your dog to help with symptoms of chronic, untreatable, or degenerative diseases like cancer.

It also has benefits, like an increased appetite, joint pain relief if your dog has arthritis, and overall pain relief if it has cancer. Just be careful with this kind of treatment and talk to your vet so that you can both keep track of its health. 

The vet will tell you what doses are the correct ones, and how to administer the marijuana to your dog. They’ll also supervise the process to make sure it’s actually helping your dog with its condition.

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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.