Learn more about the dangers of treating your furry friends with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
While there isn’t a lot of information available out there when it comes to cannabis and pets, there are a few things we can say with relative certainty these days. Mainly we know that, although CBD has been determined to be safe and effective for pets, THC is the complete opposite and can cause some uncomfortable and potentially dangerous side effects in your animals.
Cannabis Poisoning in Animals
Because THC has some health benefits, people might be inclined to give it to their pets. However, this is definitely NOT a good idea. Both cats and dogs are very sensitive to THC and, when ingested, they can experience what veterinarians refer to as cannabis poisoning, or “marijuana toxicity“, which experts say is on the rise.
Most cannabis poisoning situations happen when a pet unknowingly gets into their owners supply. Ninety percent of these cases occur in dogs, since they are willing to eat just about anything. Unfortunately, they often end up consuming way too much and thus suffering from an array of uncomfortable side effects.
How THC Can Effect Pets
THC can cause a variety of symptoms in pets, ranging from mild to severe. The size of the animal and how much is consumed will determine what kind of symptoms they may experience.
A study of 213 dogs suffering from cannabis toxicity determined that 99% had neurologic signs and 30% had gastrointestional signs following exposure. Also, because animals metabolize cannabinoids slower than humans, they might be stuck dealing with the side effects for up to 96 hours. According to Pet Poison Helpline, which is like Poison Control for animals, the following symptoms may also occur:
Mild side effects of THC poisoning include
- Difficulty walking
- Rocking back and forth on the spot
- Wide open eyes
- Tense muscles
More severe side effects of THC in pets
- Low or high heart rate
- Changes in blood pressure
- Trouble regulating temperature
- Loss of bladder control (incontinence)
In extreme cases, THC can also cause seizures/tremors or possibly induce a coma, although this is very rare.
It’s still unknown why animals are so sensitive to THC, but we do know that regardless of their size, weight and breed, for their own safety it’s best to refrain from giving them anything that contains this cannabinoid.
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