Veterinarians in Canada said they are seeing a growing number of dogs getting sick after ingesting cannabis. They are warning pet owners to be extra careful, especially as Canada prepares for the legalization of recreational cannabis this year.
According to Dr. Jeff Goodall, a vet at Sunnyview Animal Centre in Bedford, N.S., he has seen three cases of dogs with cannabis toxicity in 2016, and five in 2017.
Goodall said that the THC or tetrahydrocannabinol content in cannabis does not make dogs high. Instead, it makes them sick.
THC, he explained, is very toxic to dogs and it causes profound levels of confusion. THC then makes them cry , then they become hyperactive. After getting over this phase, they start to drool and they start having a hard time walking properly. And by the time they are taken to the clinic, they are already urinating uncontrollably or excessively.
Goodall said that in rare cases, cannabis toxicity can lead to death.
He pointed out that the owners in four of the five cannabis toxicity cases he saw last year had been upfront about what caused their pets’ illness. Thus, they were able to quickly proceed with the treatment plan.
Goodall said that cannabis-based edibles, like brownies, are also harmful.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association posted an article on its website stating that dogs are generally more sensitive to the active compounds in cannabis compared to people. In small dogs, excessive amounts of cannabis can easily lead to toxicity.
Cats, on the other hand, are not immune to cannabis toxicity but they are more selective in the things they eat. Moreover, cats do not have the sweet tooth that makes cannabis edibles attractive to dogs.
Goodall said that he would like to see greater education for the public as to what cannabis can do to pets. He clarifies that while cannabis may have components that could be useful in treating medical conditions and symptoms that pets suffer from, more research into this is still needed.
For now, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association says that cannabis is not yet approved for therapeutic or medical use in dogs and other animals.