What To Do in Case of Marijuana Intoxication

By: Christine New, DVM

TVMA Member
Dallas, Texas

Published December 2015

Marijuana in all forms is toxic to dogs and cats. Marijuana ingestion occurs much more commonly in dogs than in cats because dogs tend to be less scrupulous in the things they eat. After consuming marijuana, dogs typically show clinical signs within 30 to 90 minutes. Signs include wobbliness and incoordination, drowsiness, jitteriness, restlessness and hypersensitivity to touch, sound and lights, meaning they startle easily. Dogs may urinate on themselves, have low heart rates and dilated pupils.

Drug Testing

Veterinarians are not required to report pet marijuana ingestion to law enforcement. If there is a possibility that marijuana was in the pet’s environment, it is best to be honest and forthcoming so prompt and appropriate treatment can begin. Similarly, you should disclose any other possible drug ingestion (illicit or prescription) to your veterinarian. If there is marijuana in your pet’s environment and your pet is not acting normally, you should assume your pet has access to it. Remember, dogs can be adept in gaining access to things they would like to eat.

If marijuana ingestion is suspected, a urine sample can be tested to confirm exposure and likely intoxication. Human urine drug tests can be purchased without a prescription from any drug store as well as the pharmacy section of many grocery stores. Human urine drug tests are highly accurate at detecting marijuana and other drugs in your pet’s urine. If there is a suspicion that your pet may have ingested a drug, your veterinarian may ask you to provide a urine drug test while clinic staff members obtain a urine sample for testing. Urine drug tests provide accurate results within five to 10 minutes.

Treatment Options

Treatment for marijuana intoxication is focused on removing the marijuana from your pet’s body. If ingestion occurred within 30 minutes of the time of presentation and your pet is alert and appears to be acting normal, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to remove as much of the material as possible prior to absorption. This greatly reduces the potential for toxicity. Owners should not attempt to make dogs vomit since serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as choking and aspiration can occur.

Your veterinarian may recommend hospitalization of your pet for 12 to 24 hours for close monitoring. Additional treatments that may be administered include intravenous (IV) fluids and oral activated charcoal, which can further help absorb the marijuana in your pet’s system. IV fluids hasten the excretion of the drug in your pet’s urine while activated charcoal binds to the drug within the gastrointestinal tract to further reduce absorption and aid in excretion in subsequent stools.

Close monitoring of your pet’s body temperature, heart rate and breathing are also needed until the marijuana has been cleared from your pet’s body and your pet returns to normal. Marijuana is a powerful sedative, and at high doses, it can induce a life-threatening coma. With appropriate, interventional care by a veterinarian, marijuana toxicity is almost never fatal. Long-term side effects are extremely rare.

Dr. Christine New practices veterinary medicine at the Hillside Veterinary Clinic in Dallas.

26 Responses

  1. Bri says:

    My dog ate a roach wrapper with nothing on it he got the little head shakes and he peed himself he won’t drink or eat anything yet and I’m very scared is he gonna be okay

  2. Billy says:

    I had about a quarter joint. I’m not for sure if he ate it or not. I can’t find it. He’s a Maltese, weights about 11pounds

  3. Kim says:

    My 12lb Havinese got into some of my Marijuana. He is Latrogic and is sleeping. Not sure how much Marijuana he ate. Please advise me what to do.

  4. Jimmy mulkins says:

    My dog is 11weeks and ate a gram of marijuana she weighs 15lbs what can I do she is showing all the signs wh
    at can I do

    • Chevh says:

      My dog eat a fat blunt sometime during the night and she is very wobbly and shaking will she be ok

    • TERRI HANEY says:

      Last night I got home and my 9 week old puppy got into my resin scrappings. Couldn’t walk and head wobbling! Thought he had a seizure but then found my empty container. So scary! So I lowered all noise in my room and held my hand on his back patting it then kept my eyes on his breathing. Next morning (this morning) he woke up normal as can be!! This is what I did but if your puppy is still not acting right get it to the vet. My dogs breed is Chihuahua so he’s only about 1 1/2 lbs. I’ll pray for your baby!

  5. My 11 lb dog are some seeds and /or small leaves. She’s not walking very well and a little wobbly. Should I take her to the vet?

  6. Nikki says:

    My dog ate a whole 1/8 and she not moving or anything. She is breathing and I checked her pulse. Is there anything to do

  7. Terrance L Hall says:

    My goldendoddle at a small amount of Marijuana this morning. He was very hyper and now he is peeing on himself and has the bobble head. Will he be okay?

  8. Sabine says:

    For everyone asking “what can I do?”, take the dog to the vet immediately, like the article says!!

  9. Jeanne says:

    Okay for people that are NERVOUS and are probably high right now, please do not fret. Lol. My dog and my cat have eaten some weed sometimes and honestly, they were just simply…high. Lol. They were jerky, shaky and pupils were dilated. All I can say is, if you’ve gotten here and searched like I did when my pets had gotten high, you love your fur baby. So just hold them, and give them comfort. Think of consoling someone when they have a paranoid high. Be their trip sitters! Give them some water, maybe some rice or their food of choice -my pets love carrots- and just be there for them. If you do feel the need the call the vet or go to emergency care, please do, you are the only one who knows your pet best. I’m just speaking from experience and they’re both healthy and showing no long term side affects and it’s been months since the occurrences. PS: go get water! They might not want to drink it, but I would give it to my dog through a straw because he liked it more, and thought of it like a treat.

  10. Vicki says:

    My chuaha ate some I’m not sure how much but she’s not herself not barking n sitting under the table

  11. Debra McKee Pinion says:

    My dog is dying of cancer. Can I give him a small small amount of pot by crushing it up into his food. He weighs about 15 lbs. There’s lots of THC in it but is a small amount beneficial for a dying dog? He’s not in pain. But is aware he’s dying and I want him to forget for a while. It is pressing on his neck and breathing is hard sometimes. I can’t afford to put him down.

  12. John Martinez says:

    My Dog , ( 100lb Germ.Shep.)
    Got into a little,
    He seems OK,
    He really just went outside and layer down
    I brought him food and water to check on him.
    He appears fine, well actually, he is calm, and relaxed… he’s 6yrs, so he is starting act like me,
    ( cranky, having aches, moving a little slower)

    I am wondering if weed in a small dose
    Would help him,, ( he’s has had a exciting life,
    , he has always been very active … ?

    • SIGRID HOWE says:

      My little Loki who never has eaten a pill that might have fallen on the floor. I can see he licked an ibuprofen but he didn’t eat it. He hates pills because I have given him Benadryl which is safe for dogs. He never steals food or begs. He can be a picky eater. Honestly I don’t smoke much weed and this was the first time since I got him three years ago. Bit a friend of mine gave me what was left of a joint we smoked. There was really not much at all left but Loki (who is sneaky anyway) stole it off my night stand. I had no idea. I forgot all about it. But when I saw him I was like OMG! He’s stoned. He was okay but just completely stoned. He would jerk a little bit if I startled him but I just turned the lights off and watched TV. But my real question is.. there is no doubt in my mind that some dogs I know LOVE WEED and Will beg for it or steal it. Why are they so drawn to it???

  13. Patricia A Coniker says:

    My dog ate a little marijuana and seemed jittery but allowed me to pet him and I put him on the couch hoping he would sleep it off. He vomited a little hoping he brought some of it up. He’s a king Charles cavalier Spaniel……please tell me he’s going to be okay. Had to leave him to mind my grandchildren and it appeared like he was going to go to sleep.

  14. Erin says:

    My frenchie chewed up a THC-O vape that I bought at the gas station. She is out of it completely! Still breathing, but very hard to rouse. She is not getting up or walking. Just laying there breathing with her eyes half shut. Someone tell me what the hell do I do I am flipping all the way out!!!!

  15. Crickett says:

    My 10pounds mixed bread full grown got a hold of my pip and ate some smoked pot and resin I’m scared to death because she has never been around it or even smelled it before. Any advise???? Scared and paranoid!

  16. Brittany says:

    My puppy is 10 weeks old and ate part of a joint not sure how much . He is only 6 pounds.

  17. Linda says:

    Ok my 50lb plus pitty just ate 5 or 6 100 percent infused sour apple rings he came down hall walking wobbly he then tried 2 times to get into the bed he grabbed his blanket put his head on my pillow and went straight to sleep when my other dog barks he usually gets right up and goes to see whats up he just lifts his head and moans a little moan then back to sleep he goes im watching him and keeping him next to me all nite which is how he sleeps normally steady breathing no change in body temp actually he is so high strung this is a different dog so we will see how he is in the am i will keep you posted

  18. Phil says:

    My 100 lb Lab/border collie mix ate some weed that was used to make weed butter. After 1 1/2 hours he was laying down and peeing small puddles. This morning he did not want to leave bed and will not eat or drink. His right hind leg seems to be bothering him and he is not walking well. Is there anything that I should do.

  19. John Hobbs says:

    Though sharing your Chronic Cannabis may not be an ideal activity to start up, lets face it $#!] happens.
    Everything that enters the body has to exit the body. THC is very lipid-soluble, which means that it is easily stored in the fatty tissue in the liver, brain, and kidneys before being eliminated from the body. THC is metabolized in the liver and the majority (65-90%) is excreted in the feces, while a small percentage (10-35%) is eliminated through the kidneys. The drug has to be metabolized and excreted for the effects to wear off.

    How toxic is cannabis?
    Cannabis is considered to have a high margin of safety for people; however, not all people, and certainly not all pets, follow a single pattern of intoxication. A small amount may affect one pet more than another, so there is no official safe level of exposure. Differences in age, health status, and body size are some of the factors that can lead to toxicity differences.

    “A small amount may affect one pet more than another”
    Ride it out unless you see some serious problems with your pet, then please seek the help of your local Veterinary. .. and one more thing….. Wake up people! please be responsible Cannabis users. And “Stash your Stash”! ——–× Cpt. NuGGz…

  20. Crystal says:

    My German Shepherd 100+ lbs ate to roach joints from my sons room. He is acting tired, and paranoid. Will he be ok

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