People have strong views about drugs, both in favor of their use and against it. Of course the law also has a standpoint on drugs usage, which means many people make a personal choice that is outside of the law.
When it comes to so-called recreational drugs, cannabis is arguably top of the list. And here the terminology can get a little confusing because cannabis refers to the whole plant, whilst marijuana and weed refer to products made from the plant, and hash is a dried, compressed resinous type product of the cannabis plant.
So much for the individual's decision to experience the ups or downs of drug usage. But what if a stash at home accidentally gets eaten by the dog, could this do them harm?
Can Dogs Get High from Eating Weed?
From eating a stash, stealing foods adulterated with marijuana, or inhaling weed, dogs are more likely to get high, especially given their smaller size compared to people. Whilst cannabis is rarely dangerous to people (unless they are driving under the influence!) sadly the same is not true for dogs, and it's important to seek urgent veterinary attention for the intoxicated pet.
Is My Dog High?
Signs to be alert for include:
A bizarre gait
Altered mental status and seeming spaced out
An unusually slow or an abnormally high heart rate
Coma and death
Causes of the high are most likely down to the dog's inquisitive nature and scavenging something inappropriate. Also, don't forget that a dog sharing the same airspace is also going to breathe in any weed that's being burnt.
A diagnosis is made by the physical symptoms a vet finds on clinical examination, especially if there is a history of recent access to a stash. This is why it's especially important to confide in your vet and be honest… they won't pass judgment and it could save both time and expensive blood and urine tests to reach a diagnosis.
For more detailed information, visit Marijuana poisoning in dogs, where you can also ask questions of our in-house vet.
How Do I Treat a Dog That Is High?
In all honesty, it's best not to take any chances, and take your pet to the vet. Whereas people usually self-limit the amount they take, dogs are likely to overindulge by accident, which places them at greater risk of harm.
Your vet may place the dog on a drip of intravenous fluids in order to flush out their system and prevent dehydration due to excessive vomiting. In addition, drugs from the benzodiazepine family can calm down the nervous system and reduce the risk of seizures.
How is Being High Similar in Dogs and Humans?
Dogs experience many of the same physical effects as people. What we can't know for sure is how it affects them mentally. Since cannabis has the effect of making happy thoughts even happier, and depression even deeper, there could be a chance that it would disinhibit aggressive dogs and make them potentially more dangerous.
How is Being High Different in Dogs and Humans?
Because of a dog's smaller size relative to a person, they are at greater danger of a serious overdose. This is also the case as they might scoff down the entire stash in one go, whereas the owner might have enough for several sessions stored down.
Whilst there has been no recorded marijuana death in people, the same is not true for dogs.
Dizzy the dog discovers his owner's stash of hash and scarfs it down. His owner returns home to find the dog fitting and unconscious. He rushes the dog to the vet. She sedates the dog with diazepam and places him on a drip of intravenous fluids. Sadly, the dog passed away despite supportive care and intervention.