Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Pot & Pets: Is Cannabis Safe for Your Furry Friend?
  • Is marijuana safe for pets if they get into your stash or grow? What happens when a pet breathes in cannabis smoke or gets into the cannabis plant, bud stash, edibles, or hash oil?
  • What are the medical uses for CBD in pets? New research continues to reveal the medical benefits of marijuana in people. Let’s look at the evidence for CBD oil and treats and what conditions they’re being used to address.
  • How can you properly dose your pet with cannabidiol (CBD)? If you and your vet determine CBD oil could help your pet, what’s the right amount? We’ll look at different factors that affect dosing in dogs and cats.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: This article is meant to help start the conversation about treating pets with cannabidiol and should not be construed as medical advice. Speak with your veterinarian if you have questions about treating your pet with CBD oil or treats.

Is Marijuana Safe for Pets?

In short: no. At least not the loose bud, edibles, or THC oil you may have lying around the house.

That doesn’t mean cannabis can’t be properly dosed for pets (more on that later), but there is a huge difference between carefully monitored, veterinarian-recommended doses of hemp CBD oil and your dog or cat getting into your stash of high-THC kush.

If your dog or cat gets into marijuana flower, edibles, or concentrate—especially if you aren’t sure how much—we recommend taking the following steps:

1. Look for signs of marijuana toxicity.

A mild amount of marijuana toxicity could leave your pet sluggish, lethargic, wobbly, and cause excessive saliva production.

A more severe level of THC could result in loss of bodily control (including urinary incontinence), low blood pressure, slow heart rate, seizures, or even death.

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, contact your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

2. Try to assess how much cannabis your pet had.

A bit of flower that falls out of your grinder is different than a bit of more concentrated THC oil. Once you know how much THC your pet ate (or inhaled), you can better determine how severe the marijuana toxicity may be and what steps you may need to take.

Consider, also, the type of product and the size of your pet. A Great Dane eating a gram of raw Northern Lights flower isn’t ideal, but it’s better than if the big guy (or girl) ate a 10mg infused chocolate—chocolate is already toxic for dogs. And the same amount of weed could cause more serious problems in a small Chihuahua than a large Maine Coon cat.

3. Call your vet.

While CBD can be used to treat different conditions in pets, THC is a toxin that could cause potentially serious complications. If you believe your pet got into your THC stash, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is available 24-hours a day, every day of the year. They may charge a $65 consultation fee, but that’s a small price to pay if your vet isn’t available and you believe your pet is in danger.

You can reach the APCC at (888) 426-4435.

4. Take action.

If it’s an option, your best bet is to bring your pet to your local veterinarian. If your vet isn’t available or you called the APCC and they recommend immediate action, you need to take one of two actions.

One of the first steps to remove THC from your pet’s system is to induce vomiting. According to a Leafly article, you can use one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per 10 pounds every 15 minutes—and no more than 3 times. We don’t recommend trying this until after speaking with a vet or poison control center as there are risks to inducing vomiting in your dog or cat (or goat or other pet). Too much hydrogen peroxide could cause excessive vomiting or bloody stool. And the last thing you want is to remove one problem just to create a new one.

Alternately, you can use activated charcoal (available at most drug stores) to soak up remaining toxins and THC from your pet’s stomach.

Don’t use charcoal if you already induced vomiting!

Is Marijuana Smoke Inhalation as Bad as THC Ingestion in Pets?

The most common form of marijuana toxicity in pets—and typically the most severe—comes from chomping on their owner’s marijuana stash.

While your dog or cat can get high from secondhand smoke, it likely won’t be enough to cause the more serious symptoms. That said, marijuana smoke can cause breathing problems, loss of balance, and abnormal heart rhythms in pets (among other side effects) that won’t be pleasant for your fur-baby.

We recommend treating your pet like you would a house guest who doesn’t like cannabis smoke.

  • DON’T blow smoke in your pet’s face.
  • DON’T force your pet to sit next to you while you smoke.
  • DON’T hotbox a room or vehicle that your pet is in.
  • DON’T laugh if your pet is showing signs that they’re intoxicated. Keep an eye on them and be ready to call a vet for help if their condition worsens.

Can Marijuana Really Kill a Dog or Cat?

Yes it can.

But as with humans, the amount of THC needed would be quite large. According to a 2013 study, the minimum lethal dose would be 3 g/kg (of pure THC). That means a 5 pound Chihuahua would need to eat close to an ounce of marijuana flower. A 50 pound bulldog could eat well over 2 ounces of marijuana flower.

A smaller amount of THC could still lead to serious problems, however.

There have been cases where pets have died as a result of marijuana ingestion, but it isn’t from marijuana toxicity alone. A dog or cat that passes out from marijuana toxicity could choke on their own vomit (asphyxiation). Or, in the case of a Chihuahua from New Zealand, blood vessel dilation could cause hypothermia.

The biggest risk to pets comes from medical-grade cannabis edibles, particularly those that may contain other ingredients toxic to cats or dogs.

If you keep a close eye on your pet and follow the advice in this article, most complications can be avoided, and most pets will make a full recovery.

Better yet, always keep your marijuana out of your pet’s reach to avoid the risk of marijuana toxicity altogether.

What Can CBD Oil Treat In Cats and Dogs?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and the focus of a majority of medical research. It won’t get your pet high, and it can deliver many of the same benefits we have seen in humans.

Veterinarians and pet owners are turning to CBD oil to help their pets with a variety of conditions:

  • Reduce Anxiety
  • Stronger Immune Response to Cancer
  • Treat Seizures & Epilepsy
  • Relieve Pain
  • Reduce Inflammation
  • Increase Appetite
  • Fight Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Improve Heart Health
  • Reduce Nausea

But remember, many CBD products (particularly at recreational dispensaries) contain trace amounts of THC. For help finding pure CBD oil for your pet, speak to your veterinarian.

And—as with any medication—dosage is key.

How Can You Safely Dose Your Pet with CBD Oil?

Before you run out to the local recreational marijuana dispensary for CBD oil, consider whether the product you’re getting is pure and whether there is any THC. A 1:1 THC/CBD oil is not safe for pet consumption.

Be careful buying CBD oil online, as well. That’s not to say you can’t find great, legal options, but remember that you’re buying medication, not trying a new kind of dog food. Finding the right product could mean the difference between giving your pet pain relief and giving them a trip to the vet.

So, where can you find the best, purest CBD oil for your fur-baby? And how large a dose should you give your dog or cat?

First, keep an eye open for our CBD sister company, Colorado Hemp Extracts. We are committed to providing environmentally friendly, additive-free products you can trust.

If you need CBD oil now, though, we recommend speaking with your vet before starting a CBD treatment. Not only will they be able to identify products for purchase, but they can help plan dosage amounts and timing based on your pet’s unique medical history and needs.

If you’re buying your own CBD oil, consider the following:

  • Buy pure. Pure cannabis oil extracts won’t have harmful pesticides, fungicides, or solvents.
  • Spare no expense. No, you don’t want to spend a ton. But what would you rather give your pet: a low-cost oil with additives and other toxins, or a pure, clean-extracted option that costs a bit more?
  • Check THC and CBD levels. Some CBD oils contain THC. Others hardly have enough CBD to be effective. Find a brand and oil you trust and stick with what works.
  • Consider tinctures. While you can buy CBD treats, it’s easier to adjust dosing when you’re using a CBD tincture.

Once you find the right CBD product for your fluffy companion, start slow. A small dose may be all he or she needs to feel better. If not, it’s easier to add another drop than to try and remove excess marijuana from your pet’s system.

Most pets will take CBD treatments orally—through a tincture or treat—and the variety of flavors and methods you can use to dose your pet make CBD easier to administer than many other pet medications.

A Word of Caution: DON’T take your pet off prescribed medication to start a CBD treatment without speaking to your vet first. While CBD has shown incredible promise in helping alleviate pain, anxiety, arthritis, and seizures in pets, it may not be a full replacement for other medications your pet is on.

Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy with CBD Oil

Cannabis research and careful veterinarian analysis has shown that CBD oil can be a great option for your dog or cat when administered appropriately.

For all your personal and pet care needs, check out our CBD sister company: Colorado Hemp Extracts.

And in the meantime, stop by Karing Kind in North Boulder for clean-grown bud, pure CO2 oil, and secure storage containers to keep your stash (and your pet) safe.

Karing Kind is located just off of US-36, one mile north of Broadway, open MON-SUN from 9am to 10pm.

While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available.