Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs

mt. carmel animal hospital marijuana toxicity in dogs

There has been a much higher incidence of marijuana toxicity in dogs than in cats.

In the past couple of decades, the number of cases of marijuana toxicity in dogs has risen significantly. Fortunately, it’s rarely deadly. However, it can bring some problematic symptoms, and you must always seek veterinary advice if you believe your dog has ingested marijuana. Mount Carmel Animal Hospital shares more information about marijuana toxicity in dogs and the importance of seeking veterinary support for treatment.

Legalization and Increase in Cases of Pet Toxicity

Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize cannabis use for recreational purposes in 2012, with many states following suit since then. Maryland is one of the most recent states to join that trend, legalizing recreational marijuana effective July 1 of this year. As a result of this increased accessibility, there has been a tremendous increase in the reports of dogs suffering from marijuana toxicosis. For instance, the Animal Poison Control Center reported a 765% increase in calls about pets ingesting marijuana in 2019.

Moreover, there has been a much higher incidence of marijuana toxicity in dogs than in cats. This is because users frequently mix marijuana into baked goods, which can be problematic if a dog tends to surf countertops. With more widespread commercial availability, marijuana is also becoming readily acquired in edible forms, which can be very enticing to dogs. A dog can also suffer poisoning from consuming any part of the actual plant, hashish oil, or from smoke inhalation.


The most potent psychoactive substance in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and dogs react more severely to this than humans. Symptoms are usually visible within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion or sooner if inhaled.

The symptoms of marijuana poisoning in dogs include the following:

  • Dull and lethargic
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Agitation
  • Stumbling and crossing over feet
  • Dilated pupils
  • Urinary incontinence


Treatment for marijuana toxicity in dogs varies depending on the symptoms’ severity. Although some dogs may be treated as outpatients at home, others require hospitalization for supportive care and intravenous fluids. With proper treatment, dogs will typically recover fully within two days.

Even though marijuana toxicosis is rarely fatal, many cases involve ingestion of chocolate or artificial sweeteners, which can cause GI upset. Depending on what the marijuana was mixed with or the form it came in, the other substances ingested can be toxic on their own. Also, medical-grade marijuana butter goods might present a higher risk of more severe symptoms.

Regardless of how your dog’s marijuana ingestion occurs, you must always seek veterinary advice. It can be hard to know exactly how much a dog has ingested when it is mixed with something else. Therefore, it’s always best to have a veterinarian evaluate your pet.


The best thing you can do is to make sure your pet can’t get to anything containing marijuana. Any marijuana or marijuana-containing items such as edibles should be safely secured to ensure your pet cannot gain access. Items should be kept in sturdy containers either out of reach or inside a cabinet or drawer that your dog cannot get to. Additionally, you should never smoke in close proximity to or in an enclosed space with your pet.


Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!

This entry was posted on Friday, July 28th, 2023 at 9:44 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.