Can THC Kill a Dog? The Risks of Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs

The risk of marijuana poisoning in dogs is moderate to severe and can even be fatal if a large amount is ingested. Learn about the risks and symptoms associated with THC poisoning in dogs.

The risk of marijuana poisoning in dogs is moderate to severe, and in rare cases, it can even be fatal. This could happen if a dog eats a large amount of marijuana, such as if you accidentally leave a stash open from your bag or if your dog gets into a large pan of brownies or other groceries. A Colorado study found that two dogs that had eaten chocolate baked goods made with marijuana-infused butter had died, but it is not clear if this was due to marijuana, chocolate, or the combination of those components. Butter and dark chocolate, common ingredients in edible marijuana products, can be highly toxic to dogs.

The drug can sedate a dog so completely that it will inhale its own vomit, which can be lethal. For that reason, pet owners should be aware of the risks. Three grams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for every two pounds of your dog's weight can be lethal. If your pet is exposed to THC, seek medical help as soon as possible to help your pet recover safely.

If your dog is only experiencing mild symptoms, the veterinarian may end up sending you home with your dog before the effects of THC completely wear off. The severity will depend on the amount of THC involved, along with factors such as the size of your pet. Do not try to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide because the dog may swallow it and suffocate. Your veterinarian may recommend intravenous lipid infusion therapy, which can help get THC through your pet's body faster.

Dogs have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared to humans, and it has been suggested that they may be more susceptible to the toxic effects of THC than humans. Medical grade marijuana can contain much more THC and take much less to be dangerous to dogs. Dogs have symptoms such as lethargy because THC is poisonous to them. There is no specific treatment or antidote for THC poisoning, so most of the treatment provided will be supportive in nature.

CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural substance found in hemp plants whose health benefits come free from the effects of cannabinoids, the psychoactive substances in marijuana that cause the feeling of being “high” or intoxicated. If your dog ate the weed in the last half hour or so, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to prevent your body from absorbing more THC than it already has.