Can Dogs Get High?

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Imagine having a stash of recreational drugs at home. It could be anything from cannabis to cocaine, amphetamines to magic mushrooms, or ecstasy to LSD. You use responsibly, know your limits, and don't attempt to drive under the influence. It may sound obvious, but you also know which route to take the drugs. You've made the personal choice to use recreational drugs and what you do in private stays in private.

Taking all this into account, you feel taking recreational drugs is a personal lifestyle choice and your decision to make.

But let's throw a spanner in the works. Let's say you own a much-loved dog. That dog has a super-sensitive nose and sniffs out your stash. And dogs being dogs, they eat what they find - the whole lot in one go.

Can Dogs Get High?

YES!

But more than this, it's not going to be a pleasant trip. Their relatively smaller size compared to people, plus a likely overdose, means it's going to end badly. Anyone who suspects their dog has gotten into their stash should contact a vet immediately.

Is My Dog High?

The signs are going to vary depending on what the dog has taken. Therefore, work backwards. Check the stash. Has it been disturbed? If 'Yes' to any strange symptoms you should blue-light the dog to the vet.

  • Dilated pupils

  • Poor coordination

  • Lack of mental awareness

  • Bizarre behavior

  • Stupor or over-activity

  • A slow heart rate or, alternatively, a racing heart

  • Rapid breathing

  • Fever

  • Vomiting

  • Heavy drooling

  • Pale gums

  • Seizures

  • Coma

  • Sudden death

However, these are general signs, which can have other explanations such as:


Regardless of the cause, the best thing to do is get the dog straight to a vet. Make a note of any possible substances the dog had access to and share this with the vet. Now is not the time to be bashful about a habit - the dog's life depends on you. What you tell the vet is confidential.


For more details, click on the links above, where you can also seek the advice of our in-house vet. However, for urgent inquiries with a sick animal, please contact a local veterinarian immediately.

How Do I Treat My Dog's High?

If you are sure the dog has eaten drugs and this happened recently, then making the dog sick may help. This needs to be done within 2 hours of the dog eating the substance, and only if the dog is fully conscious. If the dog is dull or in a stupor, the risk of them inhaling vomitus is too great to take.

The best person to induce vomiting is the vet. They have access to medications which will safely induce sickness. Also, some of the stash may already have been absorbed into the bloodstream, and so treatment is still needed to manage the overdose. This could include intravenous fluids and drugs to control seizures.

How is Being High Similar in Dogs and Humans?

Dogs are just as sensitive to psychoactive substances as people. They can experience the same euphoria or depression as a person on a trip. Drugs also affect their heart, brain, and kidneys in a similar way to people, but are even more susceptible to overdose complications.

How is Being High Different in Dogs and Humans?

The biggest difference is the heightened danger when dogs take drugs. Their body size is relatively small compared to a person, so a terrier taking a single ecstasy tablet gets a massive overdose. Then factor in that dogs are likely to gorge on ill-gotten gains, and you understand the peril the dog is placed in.

Case Study

Eric's dog suddenly shakes uncontrollably and collapses to one side. The dog starts seizuring uncontrollably. In a panic Eric phones the vet, who reassures him and explains most seizures only last a couple of minutes at most.

However, ten minutes later the dog has still not recovered. The vet now insists the dog must be rushed to the clinic for emergency treatment to stop the seizure.

Unfortunately, the dog passes away on the way to get help.

Bereft, Eric returns home without his best buddy. He decides a trip would ease his grief, but discovers the bag chewed open and the contents missing.