Tips & Information

Here’s what you need to know about cannabis and your pet

Written by

Petline Insurance

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Published on: Apr 18, 2019

With cannabis recently becoming legal for recreational use across Canada, and more and more people discovering its therapeutic benefits, as a pet owner, you may be wondering what you need to know about cannabis and how it can affect your dog or cat.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, comes from the Cannabis sativa L plant, usually by drying its flowers and leaves. It contains hundreds of chemical substances, over 100 of which are cannabinoids. When consumed, they can change how cells in the body behave and communicate with each other. 

The most researched cannabinoid is called THC, the chemical that causes intoxication or the feeling of being “high”. Another cannabinoid you may have heard of is called CBD. Unlike THC, it doesn’t produce a high or intoxication. CBD is currently being studied for its possible therapeutic uses in humans.

Cannabis can be taken in different ways. It can be smoked, vaporized, or consumed in drinks like teas and sodas, or eaten in baked goods.

What about medical marijuana for pets ?

Simply put- there isn’t enough research yet to know if cannabis is beneficial or even safe for pets. Vets cannot prescribe any cannabis products to pets and there are no CBD products approved by Health Canada. This means that there’s no legal pathway for vets to obtain or prescribe these products. 

Cannabis can be poisonous to your pet

Whether it’s tobacco or cannabis, all pets are at risk of respiratory irritation from second-hand smoke and can be affected by smoke inhalation. For the sake of your home, your children and your pets, it’s best to smoke cannabis outdoors.

If your dog or cat ingests some of your cannabis, it can be very dangerous. If you think your pet ingested cannabis and you notice any of these symptoms, call the vet immediately:

-       Lack of balance and coordination

-       Fatigue or weakness

-       Excessive salivation

-       Vomiting

-       Dilated pupils

-       Tremours or seizures

-       Disorientation

-       Slow heart rate

-       Change in body temperature

-       Sensitivity to light and sound

-       Urinary incontinence

Make sure you always store your cannabis products in a safe area like a latched (or locked) cabinet, out-of-reach of your pet. Remember, places like inside the nightstand, inside lower cabinets, the table or kitchen counter can be accessed by a hungry and determined pet. Plus, if you have children, it’s safer for them too if it’s locked away.

Pet insurance can help with the cost of vet visits

If your pet accidentally ingests something they shouldn’t, Petsecure can help with the cost of vet visits, treatments, diagnostics, medication and more. Learn what’s covered by Petsecure and get a free quote today.  

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