Cannabis and Pets – Cannabis can be dangerous for your pet. Here’s how to prevent them from poisoning themselves with cannabis.
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If you live with a pet, there is a good chance that you consider him or her to be part of the family. We know that pets, dogs, cats, birds or rodents can have a beneficial effect on our health.
When cannabis was legalized in parts of the United States, there was a significant increase in visits to cannabis-related children’s hospitals and poison center calls. Pets are also vulnerable. Just like the humans in our family, they are prone to become sick.
Working as a researcher, veterinarian and social worker at the University of Saskatchewan, we are teaming up to try to prevent the situation from happening again on our side of the border in Canada.
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Dogs are attracted to cannabis
The most recent estimates and purchase data indicate that an appreciable amount of recreational cannabis has been purchased since its legalization in October 2018.
In addition to the illegal supply available, this increases the likelihood of intoxication of domestic animals with cannabis.
In addition, with the production and sale of edible cannabis planned for October 2019, the risk of exposure will be even greater.
Pets can also be exposed to medical cannabis.
At the University of Saskatchewan, we are studying the effectiveness of service dogs as psychiatric support for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Cannabis has been prescribed to a large percentage of the veterans we work with, and we know that dogs are attracted to the substance. Ensuring the safety of the animal is essential for both the dog and the veteran.
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Dogs are more sensitive to psychotropic effects
The duration of cannabis intoxication will depend on various factors, such as the amount consumed, the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration, and the size of the animal. Although it is relatively rare, in some cases the toxicity of cannabis can be fatal. This is particularly worrying for dogs because of their remarkable ability to locate interesting scents, and sometimes to ingest the source. We also know that dogs are more sensitive than humans to psychotropic effects altering the state of consciousness of THC.
Keeping tabs on the safety of cannabis with pets will protect all members of your family. Here is what you need to know.
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How to ensure the safety of your pets
Proper storage: Cannabis, cannabis products and accessories must all be safely stored out of the reach of pets.This includes by-products, such as butts, filters or liquid from water pipes. An empty container of 900 grams of coffee, with a secure lid, can do the trick.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms : This can be translated into animals by disordered movements, loss of balance, disorientation, hyperactivity, pupil dilation, squeaks, temperature changes and heart rate. drooling and the possibility of urinary incontinence.
In severe cases, seizures, tremors and coma may follow. It is really important to tell your veterinarian if you think your pet has used cannabis. A quick diagnosis can save his life and save you money in veterinary fees.
Seek support as needed : If your pet shows signs of poisoning, it is important to provide immediate medical attention. Your veterinarian can help monitor and control his vital signs for his safety. A specific treatment program will be proposed by the attending veterinarian depending on the clinical condition of the patient.
Signs of poisoning may be immediate or occur hours after exposure and may be of short duration or continue for several days.
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Hemp is not approved for animals
Many people are unaware that recreational and medical cannabis products can be harmful to our pets.Because medical cannabis is prescribed, it is often believed that it consists primarily of non-psychotropic CBD (cannabidiol), but may contain high levels of THC. It is also common for medical cannabis products to take concentrated forms, such as oils, so that they are potentially more harmful if ingested by domestic animals.
Pets are increasingly exposed to hemp products – specifically as a cure for ailments such as pain or anxiety.Hemp has a very low THC content, less than 0.3 percent.
While there are many stories of people using it for their pet’s health care, it is important to know that there is little scientific evidence. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association notes that the use of any type of cannabis is not approved for animals and may interact with other medications and have unknown side effects. There is a need for research in this area.
As with all loved ones in the family, it is essential to know the facts. This allows us to make informed choices and behave responsibly for the benefit of our pets.
Colleen Dell, Professor and Research Chair in One Health & Wellness, University of Saskatchewan; Erin Wasson, Clinical Associate, Veterinary Social Work, University of Saskatchewan et Kevin Cosford, Assistant Professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Saskatchewan