Login Login

Connect with us.

Join thousands of pet parents and get vet-approved guidance, product reviews, exclusive deals, and more!

My Dog Ate Weed: What Should I Do?

Dog head tilted
Skip To

With marijuana use laws easing up in many areas, products containing THC have become more accessible, including to our pets. In 2019, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center logged a 765 percent increase in “My dog ate weed” calls—and it’s a trend that’s expected to continue. Because the symptoms associated with THC poisoning in dogs can be severe, veterinarians are voicing concern.

Knowing what to watch for, preventing dog marijuana accidents, and having a plan in place if exposure does occur can help spare your dog from developing serious health problems. If your dog ate edibles or other products containing THC, we recommend calling your veterinarian as soon as possible for guidance.

Can Dogs Get High From Weed? 

Dogs and marijuana are not a good combination. Our pups are more deeply affected by the main psychoactive ingredient in weed (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) than humans are, says Dr. Karyn Bischoff, a diagnostic toxicologist and professor of practice at New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “THC acts on a receptor in the nervous system called the CB1 receptor, and dogs have more of them than humans do, so they are much more sensitive to THC than people.” 

So, can dogs get high from weed? Yes, though the effects are not the same as they are in humans. “Dogs are generally more sensitive to THC and marijuana, so do not generally show signs of relaxation and euphoria, but more significant sedation or agitation,” says Dr. Renee Schmid, senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. And because dogs don’t understand what’s happening to them, the experience can be frightening, adds Bischoff, who is board certified in veterinary toxicology.

Though larger amounts of THC can intensify symptoms, veterinarians say that even small doses can cause harm. Dosing is further complicated by another factor: “Different cultivars of marijuana and different products are going to have different concentrations of THC,” says Bischoff. “Selective breeding of marijuana plants over the past 50 years have led to much higher THC concentrations in the plant than what was common in the 1970s.”

Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs: Symptoms and Risks

Dog close up head tilted

The risks and symptoms of a dog eating weed vary by the individual dog and the amount consumed (though even a little can cause harm). Generally, common signs of marijuana toxicity in dogs include: 

  • Sedation
  • Lethargy
  • Agitation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Heavy salivating
  • Dribbling urine
  • Vomiting

“Depending on the toxic dose, they may fall or stumble, as they are weak and can injure themselves,” says Dr. Sara L. Ford, a veterinarian with BluePearl Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona.  

Other symptoms of THC toxicity in dogs may include decreased heart rate, low blood pressure, low body temperature, and slower, more inefficient breathing, says Schmid, who has dual board certification in toxicology and veterinary toxicology.

Dogs may also exhibit nervous system issues like extreme depression, shaking, seizures, head bobbing, and increased vocalizations, says Bischoff. Additionally, “A lot of the dogs that have THC poisoning can no longer control their urinary bladder and will wet themselves and drip urine.”

While THC poisoning in dogs usually isn’t fatal, it can result in organ damage. For example, “Persistent low heart rate and low blood pressure can decrease oxygenation to tissues and organs and potentially result in damage,” says Schmid. And vomiting can cause the stomach contents to enter the lungs, which Ford says can rapidly become fatal.

How Long Do Dogs Stay High Off Weed?

Clinical signs from marijuana toxicity in dogs typically last between 12 and 24 hours, says Schmid. “If the dog has mild signs, they are often well within 12 hours. If more severe signs occur, they can persist for 24 or more hours.”

Marijuana Edibles Can Contain Other Harmful Ingredients

Ingredients added to marijuana edibles (like gummies, brownies, or cookies) can also damage your dog’s health. Ingredients may include: “chocolate, which can cause rapid heart rate and tremors; macadamia nuts, which cause extreme muscle weakness; raisins, which can cause kidney damage; xylitol (a sugar substitute) can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar and it can cause liver damage; and all the butter, oil, or other types of fat that can cause pancreatitis,” says Bischoff. 

Of the two reported cases of fatal THC poisoning in dogs Bischoff is aware of, both were linked to chocolate contained in the baked goods. 

My Dog Ate Weed: What to Do

Dog at the vet

Marijuana consumption in dogs is considered a medical emergency, veterinarians stress. If you suspect your dog ate edibles or another marijuana product, contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control center like Pet Poison Helpline, says Schmid. (The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is another option.) “Clinical signs can develop in less than one hour, so pursuing care right away is very important.”  

A dog who has consumed a small amount of THC—like a few brownie crumbs—will probably be fine, says Bischoff. Still, “You can’t rely on that because there are too many other factors to say for sure: the size, weight, and health condition of the animal can make them more or less susceptible, plus all the other potentially toxic ingredients in marijuana products that can add complexity to the exposure.”

Treating Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs

Dog being held at the vet

Treatment largely depends on the amount of marijuana the dog consumed, as well as the severity, type, and timing of symptoms. 

It typically consists of supportive care, which may include administering intravenous fluid therapy to maintain hydration, and monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, respirations, and body temperature. Treatment is also based on symptoms the dog is exhibiting. For example, “Treating clinical signs like vomiting, tremors, or changes in heart rate, are done on an as-needed basis,” says Bischoff.

Veterinarians may choose to induce vomiting if clinical signs haven’t yet developed. “We usually do not induce vomiting because by the time they are showing clinical signs, that marijuana has been absorbed into the bloodstream,” says Ford, who is board-certified in veterinary internal medicine. Inducing vomiting in a dog that’s already in an altered mental state increases the risk of vomit inhalation, leading to a serious condition known as aspiration pneumonia

For extreme cases, more aggressive therapy is an option, but Bischoff says it’s not typically needed. “If it was a large contamination, they may want to do gastrointestinal detoxification, which can involve ‘pumping the stomach’ in the anesthetized dog; or giving oral compounds that bind to toxins and prevent them from being absorbed into the blood.”

My Dog Ate Weed: What Can I Do at Home?  

If your dog ate edibles or weed, always contact your veterinarian for guidance before attempting any DIY options. At-home remedies consist of keeping the dog warm in case their body temperature is low, as well as keeping them safe from harm. “Pet parents should keep pets away from areas that they could injure themselves if they are not able to walk well or if they are not mentally alert,” says Schmid.

Never induce vomiting without a veterinarian’s supervision, says Bischoff. “Inducing vomiting makes it much more likely that they’ll seizure, and again they can’t regulate their airway, so they can end up with vomit in the lungs.”

How to Prevent Dogs From Eating Weed

Dog sniffing something on a walk

Treat marijuana and edibles as you would any other medication. Keep them up high and well out of your dog’s reach, says Schmid. “Animals often like the smell of marijuana and THC products, especially edibles, and having one of these products sitting on a table or counter may be too tempting for animals to pass by.”

Baked goods containing weed can also be a strong source of THC poisoning in dogs, says Bischoff. “Adults are only supposed to consume a certain portion size, like a one-inch square brownie or half a cookie. But it’s difficult to explain this to a dog or a child, so if they come across a tray of brownies or a plate of cookies, they can easily eat far more than a safe dose of THC.”

Also watch what your dog picks up while outside, as there have been instances of dogs showing symptoms after eating marijuana butts on walking trails. Most importantly, be honest with your veterinarian if your dog ate weed. “This is less of a problem with THC now that marijuana is legal in most states, but it’s been a problem in the past when people didn’t want to admit that their dog got their stash,” says Bischoff. “Most veterinarians are more interested in helping your pet than they are in judging you.”

Back to top