You may not realize it, but today is an important holiday for many people in the world. April 20th (or 4/20) is an annual day for many marijuana smokers to celebrate and partake in one of their favourite hobbies. What started as a group of students (The Waldos) meeting at a statue after class in California in the late 70's to smoke up, has turned into an international code for getting high and smoking weed.
Marijuana can be a way for people to relax, to laugh or to kick back and enjoy life for a while. It's also been widely used for medical reasons and has been shown to have many health benefits for people. The question is does marijuana have the same effect on our dogs? Is it okay to get high with your pooch on 420?
image from main.acsevents.org
Weed and dogs
Just like their human friends, dogs can get stoned by breathing in second hand smoke or by eating it. How it affects the dog can depend on its size and age according to Dr. Robin Downing, a Colorado doctor of veterinary medicine. Obviously a 100lb German Shepherd would react differently than a 20lb Shih-Tzu.
Dogs who ingest marijuana can experience the following symptoms:
lowered blood pressure
abnormal heart rhythyms
loss of balance
As with any drug, not every trip is a good trip. Some dogs aren't calm and relaxed when they smoke or eat pot, but instead display signs of panting, pacing and appear to be quite distressed. according to Dr. Tina Wismer, the medical director at the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center.
In my personal opinion, whether or not dogs enjoy pot doesn't matter so much as their inability to give consent - I couldn't imagine someone getting me intoxicated without me wanting to do so. So whether or not it's fun for dogs doesn't matter to me, they can't really give their consent so I won't be sharing with my dogs.
Medical marijuana and dogs
There are biscuits, edibles and capsules containing cannabis compounds that are being marketed to owners of ailing or elderly animals as natural pain relievers and anti-inflammatory supplements. According to Matthew J. Cote of Auntie Dolores (a manufacturer and online retailer for edibles), there are many parts of the cannabis plant. While many people use it for the euphoric effect of THC, they overlook cannabidiol (or CBD) which is non-psychoactive.
Matthews said they've seen dogs respond very rapidly to the CBD in their edibles. He tells a story of one woman who was ready to put down her dog due to how sick and in pain he was, but then the day before he was scheduled to go under, she administered treats by Auntie Dolores and the dog was able to get up, walk around, and act normal again.
Just like any new medication, it's hard to be sure what you're getting until it's been tested and regulated. Different manufacturers may produce different doses or contain different ingredients. I can honestly say that if one of my dogs were in pain or suffering, I'd be willing to give this kind of thing a try.
image from 3milliondogs.com
My dog ate my pot, what do I do?
Anyone who has a labrador retriever (aka the canine vacuum) can attest to their dog's ability to eat just about anything. A curious puppy of any breed can mistakenly eat your weed thinking it's a snack or treat left out for them. So what do you do when your dog eats your pot?
First of all, don't get mad or sit there laughing, you're gonna wanna call your vet. Usually the vet will try to induce vomiting to get anything they've eaten out of their system. If the dog is too lethargic, according to Bark Post, inducing vomiting would be dangerous because the dog could swallow it and asphyxiate. The normal treatment when a dog ingests marijuana is to monitor the dog for seizures and to give them plenty of fluids in an attempt to clear out their systems sooner. Then you need to just wait it out.
Can your dog die from marijuana? Yes, but that's unlikely. It takes a LOT of marijuana to kill a dog. In a study of dog reactions to cannabis butter, just two of the 125 dogs died. Research has yet to determine whether the primary cause of death is in fact the pot or the food that it's mixed with (chocolate for example). In any case, keep your weed in dog proof container so that you don't have any unhappy accidents with your dog.
If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate 420 with your dog, why not bake him or her some cookies? We've got three easy and delicious peanut butter cookie recipes for your dog that you can try. Alternatively, why not enjoy a dog-friendly beer with Fido? There's a few companies that manufacture these non-alcoholic drinks for canines.
Do you celebrate 420? Has your dog ever eaten your pot? Share your thoughts on dogs and marijuana in the comments below.