Oh Cannabis!  Your Canine and Cannabis.

With the cannabis industry now up in running in Canada many people (including our customers), users and non-users have questions. We’re going to blog about some in our pot education series we’re calling, ‘Oh Cannabis!’ (Get it?)  In terms of cannabis SEO and cannabis digital marketing, understanding this evolving industry is critical to the safety of our clients.

Today’s blog will discuss, your canine and cannabis and the potential health effects.

What Do You Need to Know about Pot and Pets?

Safety first!

With Cannabis now legal in Canada, there are some safety concerns, and debate amongst the safety of its different applications. But what about safety for your pet?

Possible Pet Perils from Pot

Health effects of pot on your pet are a real concern. If you choose to smoke in your home, you’re probably aware that second hand smoke isn’t healthy for children, but what about our fur babies?

According to Dr. Eric Bauhaus, of Dogster.com, your pet isn’t likely to suffer the affects of second-hand marijuana smoke unless you’re in a room without proper ventilation. It also depends on the size and breed of your pet. If you’re smoking with your buddies, while cuddling your toy poodle on your lap, it might not be the best idea.

If consumed, marijuana can lead to toxicity in animals just like any other drug or poisonous substance.  Symptoms vary and depend on the amount consumed, the type of product, as well as an animal’s size, breed, and relative health. Store your stash safely out of your pet’s reach as you would any other potentially harmful substance.

Be a responsible owner

While Dr. Bauhaus says he’s never seen a pet perish from marijuana intoxication, he has witnessed their demise because of poor judgement while their owner was stoned. If you’re going to partake in cannabis consumption, imbibe responsibly. Make sure someone sober can take care of your pet while you’re under the influence, just as you would with alcohol.

Is THC toxic to our pets?

These days, marijuana products are varied. There are many with little to no THC, such as medicinal oils. It’s the THC that poses a real threat to Fluffy’s safety. According to the pet poison hotline, THC impacts a pet’s central nervous system. Signs of poisoning to look out for are:

  • Severe depression
  • Walking drunk
  • Lethargy
  • Coma
  • Low heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Coma
  • Hyperactivity
  • Vocalization
  • Seizures
  • lack of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Alternating between sleepiness and hyperactivity

If your pet accidentally ingests a THC product contact the pet poison control centre, or visit your vet or emergency pet hospital immediately. Be honest with your dog’s doc about what Fluffy got a hold of.

According to the Ontario SPCA, “if your pet is exhibiting any unusual signs such as having difficulty breathing, seizures, or losing consciousness then your pet requires immediate treatment. If your regular veterinary clinic is closed, there are many pet hospitals that are open after-hours. It is always useful to have the phone number and address of the veterinary hospital or after-hours clinic that is closest to your house, in the event you are faced with a pet emergency down the road. It is also helpful to attending veterinarians if you are able to provide symptoms you observed, as well as the chemical ingested, the amount of the product, and the time elapsed since exposure (if known).”

You can also contact the American SPCA American Poison Control Centre’s hotline open 24/7 365 days a year. 1(888)426-4435 (fee may apply)

Okay, so those are some of the potential dangers but are there any possible benefits for dogs when it comes to medical marijuana?

What Are the Benefits of Cannabis Oil for Dogs?

There has been some evidence that cannabis oil extracted from the marijuana plant that uses CBD with little to no THC, used for medicinal purposes to treat humans for years, may also be medically beneficial for dogs. It’s now being used to treat pets suffering from seizures, nausea, stress, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, symptoms of cancer, and gastrointestinal issues. Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California, points out that cannabis oil has no psychoactive effect on dogs when dosed properly. “Depending on the nature of the product, if it contains little or no THC, then the dog is not going to get high.”

Life-threatening risks for dogs from medical cannabis are “exceedingly rare,” Richter says, adding that toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients.”

Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary advisor with petMD, says more evidence is needed that the CBD version of cannabis actually works on pets and isn’t just a cash grab. FDA testing has shown that many CBD products contain little if any CBD, she adds.

She also worries about ingestion since large amounts of marijuana has been fatal in a number of dogs. Again, Dr. Richter argues, the correct dosage is imperative.

“As is the case with any medication, success has everything to do with dosing,” Richter says. “If you dose pets properly, then they are going to get the positive effect that you’re looking for while not having any psychoactive side effects.”

This is where Coates takes issue. The research needed to determine the correct dosage for CBD oil in dogs simply hasn’t been done yet, Coates says.

Whatever you decide about medical marijuana for your pet, you should talk to your vet first, just like you would before administering any other medication. Ask about dosing, potential side effects and the most reputable sources to get the oil.

There you have it some info on cannabis and your canine. More info is coming out all the time as the Cannabis industry hits Canada, you can review the Cannabis Act for more details. We’ll continue to blog about cannabis and what it means to Canadians on our site in our ‘Oh Cannabis’, series. Stay tuned!

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