Is marijuana safe for my dog?

"She was hit by a car a few years ago and has terrible arthritis in her hind legs. I hate to see her suffering."

Marijuana is toxic to dogs, and this is potentially a dangerous situation. If you have any concerns, you should seek veterinary attention asap.

However, it really depends on the quantity your dog ate, and his relative body weight. If he is a large breed, and he ate not too much, in all likelihood he will be ok once it wears off.

If you do some research you will see that most of the treatment the vet will provide will be symptomatic. They will give him fluids to keep him hydrated and put him in a darkish room to minimize any mental distress. It’s important that you to keep him calm. They may also give him something to encourage vomiting.

So to sum up, if he did not eat too much and it happened a while ago (where vomiting won’t help), or he is a larger dog relative to the amount he ate, he will likely be ok if you just let him sleep it off. If he is a smaller breed, or ate a greater quantity, be aware that it is toxic to his system and he may be better off with immediate treatment by the vet.


This is a great question. It really depends on how and in what form they ingest marijuana. There are specific cannabis products made for dogs and pets, which can help with inflammation, pain, arthritis, anxiety, etc. These products have been effective for many people and some research indicates that cannabis made specifically for pets can be a good replacement for more traditional meds.

When giving your dog cannabis, it should be a product made specifically for pets. Often, these products are high in cannabidiol (CBD) which is an analgesic and anti inflammatory. Some products may contain THC, the psychoactive component, but in low dosage. CBD and THC work together to create an entourage effect for your pet, meaning multiple cannabinoids are working together to help alleviate a specific condition.

Three pet products that are out on the market today in California are Constance Therapeutics, Treatwell and Auntie Dolores (hemp based CBD for this last one). I can speak from personal experience that the hemp based CBD cookies from Auntie Dolores definitely helped our 14 year old arthritic dog. When he does not have his cookies, he does not walk as well and appears to be in pain.

When marijuana is not safe for your dog is when your dog gets into cannabis flower and/or eats edibles, such as THC laden cookies or concentrated products like cannabis butter. The effect on your animal is highly variable based on the size of the animal and how much was ingested. Dogs are also susceptible to getting high from second hand smoke, although eating marijuana definitely seems to have a more detectable impact. Eating marijuana products can cause lethargy, slower breathing, lower blood pressure, slower heart rate, loss of balance and can make a dog incontinent or cause them to have trouble going to the bathroom. Some dogs can become distressed, similar to the way people may experience anxiety. Depending on the amount ingested, it can be toxic to your animal, although death would be extremely rare. Most vets would say to get your animal to a facility to be carefully watched and hydrated.

Technically 3 grams of pot per kilogram of a dog’s weight is a lethal dose. This is actually quite a lot of cannabis to consume. Bottom line, only feed your dog products in appropriate dosages from cannabis or hemp products made specifically for pets. If you consume marijuana in other forms keep it locked up and away from other people and pets.


This is a fantastic question that I am asked regularly at my veterinary practice. Not surprisingly, the answer is a little complicated. Cannabis can be very effective medicine for dogs and cats for many of the same conditions for which it is used to treat people. That said, cannabis must be treated like the strong medicine that it is. Like with any other medication, the keys to safe and effective use are in choosing the right preparation and giving the correct dosage. Just like with us humans, the amount (in milligrams) of THC and CBD as well as the relative ratio of THC and CBD are critical to success. Unlike us humans however, animals (dogs in particular) are very susceptible to the psychoactive effects of THC and it would be very easy to overdose pets to the point where they need emergency medical care. My very strong recommendation to anyone who wants to use cannabis for their pets is to get the advice of a veterinarian that has experience with using cannabis as medicine. If that is not available to you where you live, I have two resources that will be helpful. My book, "The Ultimate Pet Health Guide" is a roadmap for pet owners to integrate nutrition, holistic care, and Western medicine to keep pets healthy. There is an entire chapter dedicated to medical cannabis in pets and how to use it safely and effectively. Best of luck with your dog!


At present, vets can’t legally prescribe CBD to their animal patients in Canada, but CBD-infused edibles and tinctures are sold legally in some pet stores, and have been well-received.

According to a survey in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, 64% of dog owners who used CBD to treat their pets’ arthritis pain, seizures, anxiety, or lack of appetite reported that it helped their pets moderately to extremely.

Apart from relief from pain, 50% of dog owners also reported either moderately or greatly improved sleep habits in dogs, and 49% reported less anxiety. Similarly high responses came from cat owners who experimented with cannabis, too. It should be noted that these edibles contain no THC (which is toxic to animals and should not be used).

Kait Fowlie

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