Just as parents should keep marijuana-dosed candies out of reach from unsuspecting children, pet owners should take every precaution to keep edibles away from treat-seeking dogs. Due to marijuana legalization across the country, more people have access to edible products than ever—and in some cases, their pets suffer as a result.
In 2008, the ASCPA Poison Control Center received 208 weed-related calls on their 24-hour hotline, reports Mashable. That figure jumped to 979 such calls in 2017 and 1,800 calls in 2018. “That’s an increase of 765 percent over the 10-year period,” according to Mashable.
While CBD products have become an attractive option to use for some pets, owners should know that cannabinoids affect animals and humans quite differently. Giving your dog a dropper of your tincture is not a good idea. This is especially true if it includes THC, as dogs can be 10 times more sensitive to THC than their owners. Edibles can be even worse.
“Dogs, oh my gosh, especially [with] the chocolate-based edibles, the number of those calls has skyrocketed,” Dr. Tina Wismer, the ASPCA call center’s medical director, told Mashable.
Here’s a short clip of my dog at the hospital after she found an edible on our walk at the park! pic.twitter.com/ramq9MS96i
— Seth Mersing (@seth_2018) July 31, 2018
Symptoms of marijuana ingestion in dogs include ataxia (wobbling or stumbling like they’re drunk), overreacting to sound and movement, urinary incontinence, dilated pupils or glassy eyes, and in severe cases, low blood pressure and low heart rate. If the dog’s blood pressure and heart rate drop to dangerously low levels, it can be fatal.
Another problem is the lack of regulations in the animal CBD product marketplace. Research is necessary before buying your pup a CBD oil, as some companies simply repackage their products for humans and wrap them in canine labels. While THC isn’t deadly or toxic for dogs, edibles often contain products our dogs shouldn’t be eating, like chocolate or xylitol.
“No one’s regulating these products — is there actually some amount of THC in them?” Wismer said. “Or is it that dogs make different metabolites than people do? Is it just dose related? Unfortunately, no one really knows what the answer is.”