Cats, Dogs, And Weed: How Marijuana Affects Your Pets

Last updated: 12 March 2021

Critters and cannabinoids

Before we get started, we’re going to answer the obvious questions right away: is weed bad for cats? Is weed smoke bad for dogs? Absolutely. Your furry friends don’t like getting high, and it can be dangerous for their health! Marijuana makes humans feel good, but THC is toxic for pets and consumption will likely lead to a vet visit. So, cats and weed, as well as dogs and weed, don’t mix at all! Let’s explore the problem further, and learn what you can do to make sure your pets are safe while you’re toking on some delicious, human-safe bud.

What’s The Deal With Critters And Cannabinoids?

Why is weed so dangerous for pets compared to how fun it is for humans? The thing is, pets have a different endocannabinoid system, so weed affects them in other ways. Compared to humans, animals have very intense reactions to THC, and it only takes a small amount of it to become toxic – even the act of smoking weed around cats and dogs can be extremely unpleasant and outright dangerous for them.

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Endocannabinoid System Of Cats And Dogs

Dogs and cats both have many more cannabinoid receptors than humans; their endocannabinoid systems run all throughout their brains and bodies. This means that when they ingest THC, the cannabinoid can bind in more places and quickly shock and overwhelm them. Because animals are so much more sensitive to THC, they don’t get high like people do. Dogs especially can be poisoned by cannabis, since they are generally more likely than cats to chomp down on an unattended edible or even some bud left lying on the table.

Can Pets Get High?

Marijuana isn’t only toxic to your pets, but also does get them “high” in a sense. However, this high is not an enjoyable experience for them, since they don’t know what’s going on. Trust us – unlike humans, animals don’t want to smoke weed. Even if you can’t tell that your critter is high, exposing them to a lot of smoke can still lead to intoxication in your pets, and they might be feeling distressed and confused even without serious side-effects. If you’re hotboxing the living room with your pup on your lap, she’s inhaling secondhand smoke. The smaller your pet, the more sensitive they are to marijuana and THC.

Dogs And Weed: THC

Is weed smoke bad for dogs? Definitely. You should never blow smoke in a pup’s face. Man’s best friend can handle being near cannabis fumes every now and then, but shouldn’t be regularly exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke. Not only are their respiratory systems more sensitive than ours, but consuming cannabis can also cause some pretty serious symptoms. The side-effects of marijuana intoxication in dogs include vomiting, shaking, drooling, seizures, and in the worst-case scenarios, coma and death.

Cats And Weed: THC

Dogs aren’t the only pets that THC can have an effect on; cats can also get stoned. Since cats are usually pretty small, they’re exceptionally sensitive to cannabinoids. A study from 2018 shows that cats metabolize THC similarly to humans, which means that they respond to it like we do, too. That doesn’t mean that they like it though, and it can still be dangerous for them. It’s for the best if they stick to catnip.

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Accidents Happen: What If Your Pet Gets Intoxicated?

Okay, so getting your pet high is obviously not cool, and it can have serious consequences. What if you look away for just a moment and Rover snarfs up the pot brownie on the living room table? What if you’re hotboxing and don’t realize until it’s too late that the cat is in the room? What should you do?

Scenario 1: An Edible Eaten

Maybe you come home from your local dispensary and set down a potent weed brownie that you’re planning on enjoying later. You turn around to take off your coat when suddenly, you hear the sound of smacking lips and slobber. With horror, you lock eyes with Buddy as he gulps down the infused treat in one bite. What do you do now? How will it affect your best buddy?

Edibles and pets

Edibles And Pets: Dangers

The dangers associated with THC consumption in animals vary depending on your furry friend’s size and the dose they consume. Symptoms of marijuana intoxication in animals include difficulty walking, glassy eyes, and wobbling or shaking. Your pet’s heart may race, and they may start whining or crying from confusion and discomfort. The more serious dangers of toxicity range from seizures to coma and, in the worst cases, death.

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Scenario 2: Secondhand Smoke

Let’s set the scene: it’s Saturday night and time to get high. The crew comes over with their bud, bubblers, and bubble hash. Everyone loads their bowls and starts puffing away. An hour – or maybe two? – later, you notice that your cuddly cats are cowering in the corner, shaking and mewing quietly. You didn’t realize they were in the room, and certainly didn’t mean to be smoking weed around cats and exposing them to secondhand smoke!

Secondhand weed smoke and pets

Secondhand Weed Smoke And Pets: Dangers

Eating weed or edibles can have dangerous effects on animals, but how dangerous is smoking weed around cats and dogs? Aside from your pets potentially getting high and not feeling good, secondhand smoke can have other effects on them. Dogs and cats have more sensitive respiratory systems than humans, so consistently breathing in secondhand weed smoke can cause irritation and breathing problems. Smaller animals like rats, rabbits, and reptiles are even more at risk of being hurt by secondhand smoke.

What To Do In Case Your Pets Got Intoxicated With Weed

In minor cases of secondhand smoking, keep a close eye on your pet, offer (but don’t force) them water, and keep them calm. If your pet has eaten some weed edibles and is starting to show symptoms, it’s best to immediately take them to a veterinarian to receive the proper medical care. It is a medical emergency for your pet if they have eaten cannabis. At a vet clinic, your pet’s symptoms can be monitored as they recover; this is especially important for older pets and those with health conditions.

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Ways To Keep Your Pets Safe From Weed

There are a few things you can do to avoid the awful situation of accidentally having a pet intoxicated by cannabis. As long as you keep an eye on your dogs, cats, and your weed stash, you’re halfway there to keeping your fluffy pet safe and happy.

Watch Your Stash

First things first: keep the goods secure. Especially with the legality of edibles in many places, veterinarians these days are seeing more cases of cats and dogs who got into some weed brownies or cookies. Storing your buds or edibles in a sealable container is a good way to keep everything fresh anyway, with the added bonus of security from sniffing noses and wagging tails. Keep your stuff out of reach on a high shelf or in a cabinet, and utilize jars (or another kind of container) that seal tightly.

Keep an eye on your pets

Keep An Eye On Your Pets

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to know if something is wrong with your pet. If your animal is acting differently than usual or displaying any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, or if you have a suspicion that they somehow got into your stash, it’s a good idea to call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Catching a severe reaction early is the best way to ensure your pet’s health, so stay vigilant.

Ventilation Is Key

You can reduce cats and dogs’ exposure to weed smoke by enjoying your cannabis outdoors, or if you smoke inside, by keeping your pets out of the room while you puff away. Open your windows and keep the room well-ventilated. Once in a while, put in the effort and deep-clean your rugs, furniture, and curtains to minimize any lingering smoke stuck to them. Pets are sensitive to smoke of all kinds, with or without THC, so the same advice goes for tobacco and CBD weed. Keeping your smoke space well ventilated will reduce your pet’s exposure to secondhand weed smoke and marijuana poisoning. Not only that, but your pet shouldn’t even be in the room while you’re smoking, and you definitely shouldn’t be blowing smoke in their direction! Treat your pets with respect; they don’t want to breathe in weed or any other smoke, so do what you can to prevent this.

Try alternative consumption methods

Try Alternative Consumption Methods

These days, there are plenty of ways to consume cannabis without smoking. Vaping and tinctures are both safer ways to consume cannabinoids without putting your pet at risk. By switching to vaping instead of smoking cannabis, both you and your pet can appreciate the advantages. Since the marijuana isn’t burning, fewer harmful chemicals are released into the air. Vapor also disperses very quickly and doesn’t cling to furniture like smoke does. It’s healthier for both of you! When it comes to tinctures, these are always safely sealed and can’t be accessed by pets. The options these days are limitless, so when you choose one for yourself, don’t forget to take your pets into consideration.


Pets And CBD: A Completely Different Story

Marijuana, and specifically the THC it contains, can be bad news for the fuzzy members of our families, but there’s some evidence that CBD can be beneficial for pets. It can relieve pain, inflammation, and even help with epilepsy. There are plenty of CBD oils out there, and even CBD dog treats are on the market! The problem with CBD oil for dogs is that many essential oils intended for humans are not safe for animals. Even though the CBD content is okay for them, the oils may not be, and it’s also hard to find products that are actually entirely THC-free. So, definitely talk to your vet first about treating your pet’s medical condition with CBD oil for dogs or cats.

Pot is not for pets

Pot Is Not For Pets

Smoke responsibly, both for your own sake as well as your pet’s. Besides people, no animal should smoke weed – the only creature that should be puffing on cannabis is the human! Now go smoke some pot, but don’t share with Fluffy!

Herbies Head Shop expressly refuses to support the use, production, or supply of illegal substances. For more details read our Legal Disclaimer.

my mother in law's chihuahua has eaten my brother in law's stash at least 3 times that we know of, and I'm convinced the dog is doing it on purpose. the dog stumbles around the house, his eyes are glassy and bright red, and he always looks super proud of himself, we see that stupid smirk on his snoot and everybody knows the dog is high af again.
bruce ramsey
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