Marijuana in Minnesota: What pet parents need to know

Dog outside smiling at camera

With the recent legalization of marijuana in Minnesota, pet parents may be left with questions about the potential risks to their furry friends. 

While there are very few studies and evidence-based medicine for veterinarians to rely on it when it comes to the effects of marijuana on animals, many vets have informed experience to help pet parents navigate potential emergency situations.

We chatted with Dr. Graham Brayshaw, Director of Veterinary Medicine at Animal Humane Society, to learn more about the potential effects of marijuana on cats and dogs and what pet parents need to know to keep their pets safe. 

How does marijuana affect cats and dogs?

There's little scientific data on the exact effects of marijuana on pets, but vets have observed a similar impact to what's seen in people. According to Dr. Graham, the effects are likely dose dependent. 

"Lower doses may show up as sedation, decreased reactivity to pain, and decreased anxiety, while higher doses show more depression and signs of GI upset," says Dr. Graham.

Like with people, the effects can also differ from pet to pet even if a similar dose is consumed. It's not known yet what or if there's a dose of marijuana that can be fatal to cats and dogs.

What do pet parents need to know to keep their pets safe?

It's best to keep marijuana out of reach of pets and secured in containers. Edibles can be especially appealing to pets who view them as food. 

If your pets do ingest marijuana in any form, call your vet. "You should always be honest with your vet as to what your pet may have eaten," Dr. Graham says, "especially if it's a drug."

Your vet's top priority is always to keep your pet healthy and safe, and it's important they they understand the full picture before they can diagnose or make recommendations. If possible, let your vet know the amount and form of marijuana your pet consumed. 

With marijuana ingestion, your vet can help guide you on next steps and whether there's concern of overdose. In some cases, your vet may suggest inducing vomiting or giving your pet binding agents. 

Have additional questions about your pet?

Our free Pet Helpline provides caring, compassionate advice and resources to address whatever animal issues you may be experiences. Call the Pet Helpline at 952-HELP-PET or send us a message

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