Health & Wellness

Puff, Puff, Pass: Should We Get Our Pets High?

Dogs are extremely sensitive to cannabis, btw.
Dogs are extremely sensitive to cannabis, btw. /

Pet-owning potheads have been known to blow plumes of smoke in the faces of their dogs, cats, parakeets, iguanas, all in an attempt to get them stoned. 

And it can be pretty humorous, too – sometimes even funny as hell -- to watch a tongue-wagging Fido fiend for the green and then stumble into the kitchen on a full-tilt mission to sniff out a heaping bowl of kibble to tear into before bed. 

Some pets thoroughly enjoy getting stoned as much as their hooman counterparts.

Some pets love weed, but…

"My cat Toker [loved weed]," Cheyenne from Forest City, North Carolina told The Bluntness. "Whenever that baggy crinkled or the lighter struck, he was in your face. Couldn't escape him. No matter where he was, you'd just hear him tear through the house until he was pressing his face on your lips." 

Other cat owners we spoke to say this reaction to reefer is not uncommon: "My wife brought home a cat from the vet's office that just had its rear leg amputated," a man named Brent told The Bluntness. "When she heard the lighter, she booked it faster than a four-legged one."

Meanwhile, some of our furry friends approach cannabis with curiosity at first, only to find themselves, minutes later, flipping out around the house like a teenager who got too high after asking everyone in their vicinity, "Wonder what'll happen if I eat the whole 1000mg." 

Take it from Jamie of Tallahassee, Florida. He had a pot-loving pup, once upon a time, who got entirely too stoned for his own good, yet never seemed to learn from his mistakes. 

"We'd get my dog Rex smoked out all the time," he told us. "He'd get the zoomies and eventually crawl in the corner and shake like crazy like he was seeing ghosts or something. He did it every time, so we finally stopped giving it to him no matter how much he begged for it. He just couldn't handle it."

Cruelty to animals?

Although it can be a source of great entertainment to watch our four-legged friends be stoned, it could be argued that doing so makes people the real animals. 

In many ways, getting a pet high could be considered cruel. After all, pets do not have the mental capacity to decide to ingest intoxicating cannabis on their own terms. They don't understand the effects like most humans. Maybe Toker the Cat did, but pets like him are the exception. There are still plenty of pets like Rex out there who suffer through the horrors like a good boi and pray there's a comedown.

Some cannabis users argue that weed isn't dangerous for pets because it is natural. "Animals are smart," 29-year-old Felix from Lexington, Kentucky, told us. "If you put a bowl of beer and water in front of them, they'll drink the water every time. They won't even touch the beer. Weed's not much different from catnip. They wouldn't fuck with it if they sensed it would harm them."

Before you go nodding your head in agreement with Felix, please remember that dogs will eat just about anything. They've been known to consume socks, plastic toys, even poop. And don't even get us started on cats. Sure, finicky felines might appear to have snobbish palettes, but they still lick their own ass and eat their own puke. We love em', but gross.

Listen, pets just can't be trusted to make intelligent decisions about their culinary endeavors. Put the two-month-old Hamburger Helper rotting in your fridge in front of a dog, and that silly sucker will devour it, all of it, without considering the rumbling repercussions on his tummy.

Therefore, while even the most experienced cannabis consumer might shudder at eating a 100mg edible (because they know what's going to happen to them if they do), a pet will chomp it down without thinking twice – even if it isn't their first rodeo with the grim reefer. 

Some weed products more dangerous than others

Some weed products can spell trouble for the pet in a big way since marijuana is, in fact, toxic for pets, according to Tina Wismer, DVM, Senior Director at ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. She told The Bluntness that while plant material might not cause them as much harm, a slew of pot products can.

"Edibles and any other concentrated form of marijuana, such as synthetic cannabis, marijuana wax, and oil, are more dangerous than the plant material," she explained. "One thing to consider is how concentrated the product is. Different products come in different levels of concentration and if a pet gets into a product with a higher concentration or larger quantities of marijuana, more serious concerns are possible."

It's tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating cannabinoid known for producing stoned effects, that can set a pet on a crash course for unsavoriness. Therefore, edibles and other concentrated forms of cannabis (arguably the stuff that's more potent than blowing a little smoke in their furry faces) can prove detrimental enough to send them spiraling out of control.

"The more THC a pet ingests, the more severe the signs generally are, so it takes a smaller amount of concentrated material –like edibles–to cause an issue than it would with plant material," Wismer said.

In the case of edibles, there's more risk to a pet than just THC. Many edible pot products are made very similarly to other sugary treats, which are without a doubt poisonous to animals. This is especially true of chocolate. So, while it is never a good idea to feed a pet a THC-infused edible for shits and giggles, the ingredients of these items alone are all the more reason to avoid it.

"We can see issues with edibles containing toxic ingredients other than THC, such as chocolate and xylitol," Wismer said, adding that these components can cause low blood sugar and damage to the liver. Chocolate is especially a big no-no for pets since it can present a variety of gnarly effects that could make them ill. "It can cause a high heart rate, hyperactivity, and seizures," she said.

However, it's not all gloom and doom for people who opt to get their pets stoned. 

Wismer admits that it's unlikely your beloved fur buddy will drop dead after catching a buzz from secondhand smoke. Even in cases of edibles, when veterinary assistance is required to help a pet recover from a bud bender, death is not the likely outcome. 

Still, the symptoms of marijuana intoxication are frightening enough to convince some pet owners that their creature of comfort is about to journey off to the great litter box in the sky. They include depression, vomiting, urinary incontinence, ataxia, tremor, stupor, bradycardia (low heart rate), and hypothermia.

"While fatalities are rare, we can see symptoms that do require veterinary care," Wismer asserts.

Again, many of the pets living in marijuana-friendly environments seem to enjoy the effects. Some of the pet owners we talked to even believe a little pot smoke helps them medicinally. Some experts agree. 

It's just when a pet's pursuit for pot goes overboard that they can experience high, wild times. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to keep your animals from crossing the line to requiring veterinary assistance. Still, accidents happen. "If you suspect your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, contact your veterinarian immediately," Wismer said.

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