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March 26, 2024 0 Comments

Recognizing THC Toxicity in Your Pet

With the legalization and increased accessibility of cannabis products, there has been a notable rise in marijuana poisoning among pets, catapulting it onto the ASPCA’s top toxins list for the first time in 2022. The Pet Poison Helpline reports a staggering 448% increase in marijuana cases, with two-thirds involving pets ingesting edibles.

This uptick emphasizes the importance of understanding the science behind THC and CBD for dogs, recognizing signs of toxic exposure of THC, and knowing how to respond if your pet is affected. The article will delve into these critical areas, offering guidance to pet owners on preventing and managing cannabis overexposure to safeguard their pets’ health and well-being.

THC vs. CBD for Pets

Understanding the distinction between THC and CBD is crucial for pet owners considering cannabis-based treatments for their pets. Here’s a breakdown:

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol): This is the psychoactive component of cannabis that produces the “high” in humans. It is toxic to pets, causing negative side effects and potentially serious health issues.

CBD (Cannabidiol): Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and does not produce a “high”. It’s widely recognized for its potential health benefits in pets including pain relief, anxiety reduction, and seizure control.

Sensitivity and Metabolism in Dogs

Dogs possess a higher density of CB1 receptors in their cerebellum, making them more sensitive to the effects of THC. Furthermore, dogs metabolize cannabinoids differently than humans, which means the impact of cannabis products can vary significantly.

To prevent toxicity in your pets, be sure to always choose CBD-only products and avoid THC completely. If you have THC products for your consumption only, avoid accidental ingestion by your pets with these safety tips:

Secure Storage: Keep all cannabis products, whether for medical or recreational use, in high cabinets or locked drawers.

Avoid Exposure: Do not smoke around pets and keep them in a well-ventilated room away from second-hand smoke.

Education: Be aware that dogs can be exposed to marijuana through various means, including ingestion of the plant, consuming baked goods, inhalation of smoke, or eating feces of an individual who has ingested cannabis.

Recognizing and Preventing Toxic Exposure

Recognizing the signs of THC toxicity in pets is critical for timely intervention. Symptoms include:

• Inactivity and incoordination

• Dilated pupils 

• Increased sensitivity to motion, sound, and touch 

• Hyper-salivation and urinary incontinence 

• Stumbling, lethargy, vomiting, tremors, shaking, agitation, and in severe cases, coma

If toxic exposure to THC does occur, take these steps to help your pet:

Isolate the pet to prevent further exposure.

Observe for symptoms listed above.

Consult a veterinarian immediately if poisoning is suspected, as they can provide guidance and necessary treatment.

If the veterinarian decides your pet needs treatment, that may include intralipid therapy, inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, IV fluids, anti-nausea medication, and medications to decrease anxiety and restlessness. The vet may recommend confining your dog in a safe space and closely monitoring for symptoms such as sedation, lethargy, dilated pupils, and difficulty walking. 

Choosing Safe CBD Products

When selecting CBD products for pets, it’s vital to ensure they are derived from hemp (low in THC) and carry labels such as “hemp-derived”, “THC-free”, “veterinarian formulated”, and “Certificate of Analysis”. These labels indicate the product’s safety and transparency. Always consult with a veterinarian before introducing any CBD product to your pet’s regimen.

The Healing Clinics offers safe CBD products for your dog. Contact our clinic in Shreveport at (318) 277-4088 to get more information or to place an order.


Throughout this article, we’ve delved deep into the important distinctions between THC and CBD for pets, the signs and symptoms of toxic exposure, and essential preventive measures to safeguard our furry companions from the dangers of cannabis poisoning. Emphasizing the critical need for pet owners to be vigilant and well-informed has underscored the potency of understanding and acting upon the information presented, ensuring the health and safety of our pets in environments where cannabis products are accessible.

The journey towards ensuring a safe space for our pets in the context of cannabis does not end here. It requires continuous education, awareness, and action from every pet owner. Take the time today to prevent a potential toxic cannabis exposure to your pets, establishing a proactive stance against accidental ingestion. By doing so, we not only protect our beloved animals but also foster an environment of care and safety, reflecting our deep commitment to their well-being. Let’s embrace the responsibility of nurturing a secure environment, ensuring our pets thrive, free from the risks associated with cannabis toxicity from THC.

John Lewis

John Lewis

John Lewis has long been a proponent of medical marijuana. He is a guest writer for The Healing Clinics along with his many other interests.