Cannabis Science

Is Weed Bad For Dogs?

a dog

Dog owners love to share things with their dogs. People share everything from their beds and couches to treats such as ice cream or chips. If you’re wondering whether or not you can share your weed with your dog, you’re not alone. Whether you want to share your high with your furry friend or pass on some of the health benefits, you may be wondering if weed is bad for dogs. The answer is a bit complicated but you’ll see why. 

Photo: Unsplash

Is Weed Bad For Dogs?

It definitely can be. Weed is made up of over 100 cannabinoids and they’re not all bad for dogs. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), for example, is bad for dogs while cannabidiol (CBD) can be very beneficial for dogs. 

Before we tackle what’s so great about CBD for dogs, we’ll first cover why THC isn’t great for dogs.

According to Canine Journal, “reports show that dogs have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared with humans, and it’s been suggested that dogs may be more susceptible to the toxic effects of THC than humans.”

Pet MD says that THC acts as a depressant in dogs and can lead to respiratory failure. Usually, dogs can vomit no problem but consuming weed may hinder their gag reflex. If the dog can’t expel the vomit then it might experience respiratory failure. Pet MD says, “If the lungs are physically damaged due to aspirating or inhaling vomit, it can take days to weeks for them to heal, and can also be fatal.”

Can Weed Kill Dogs?

In some cases, weed can actually kill your dog, especially if it consumed a large amount. However, Dr. Carly Fox, DVM, staff doctor at Animal Medical Center’s Emergency and Critical Care Service was quoted in Pet MD saying weed consumption is rarely fatal. 

CBD Oil for Dogs 

On the contrary, many vets believe that CBD can offer a breadth of benefits to dogs. For example, it can help with pain management and anxiety. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any CBD products for pets. 

According to one study, CBD was found to help dogs with osteoarthritis. In another study, CBD was even used to treat seizures in dogs. According to that study, there was a reduction in how frequent the seizures occurred. Researchers want to do further research to see if a higher dosage of CBD would reduce the frequency of seizures even further. 

What Happens If Dogs Eat Weed

While you shouldn’t share your edibles with dogs or have them within reach, accidents happen. If your dog ate your edible, blunt, a marijuana leaf or simply inhaled smoke they will start having side effects. Some of the symptoms your dog may experience are:

  • Ataxia (loss of coordination) 
  • Incontinence
  • Hypersensitivity to touch
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Lower heart rate
  • Whining
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive drooling
  • Problems with breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma

While the dog should be okay within 12-24 hours your dog still needs medical attention. The truth is, just like how weed affects everybody differently, it also affects dogs differently. If they ate weed brownies, the chocolate in the brownies will definitely pose a problem. Remember, chocolate is toxic to dogs. So if you suspect that your dog consumed marijuana, then call your vet immediately.

It’s not recommended that you induce vomiting or give them medication. Leave the treatment to the vet. 

Is Weed Smoke Bad for Dogs?

As mentioned, while consuming edibles directly would have a far greater effect on your dog, weed smoke can also be dangerous. Just make sure you’re in a ventilated room if he keeps you company.

What Happens When You Carry Your Dog to the Vet

According to Pet MD and Canine Journal, your vet may induce vomiting. They do this to prevent the dog’s body from absorbing the THC. However, inducing vomiting is only effective if you bring your dog within two hours of them ingesting the weed. Dr. Tim Hackett, board-certified emergency and critical veterinarian, was quoted in Pet MD saying that if your dog has already started to show symptoms then it’s too late to induce vomiting. 

Other actions your vet may take according to Pet MD are:

  • Supportive care
  • Give intravenous fluids
  • Do diagnostic tests

According to Dr. Fox, if your dog is in severe shape, the vet may give an IV lipid or fat since weed is stored in fat. By giving the dog lipids, the vet hopes it will absorb some of the marijuana from its body. If your dog can’t stand, it’ll be admitted to the hospital. 


The bottom line is, don’t give your dog weed. Be careful to make sure they don’t inhale the smoke from weed because it can affect them too. If your dog is experiencing health problems such as pain or anxiety, talk with the vet about CBD oil which is safe and can be beneficial for dogs.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].