A dog in front of cannabis bushes. we look at what you need to know about dogs and marijuana and whether CBD for dogs is safe

Dogs, Marijuana and CBD Oil: Your Need-to-Knows


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Cannabis remains illegal in most of Australia. However, medical marijuana – and with it, cannabidiol (CBD) – was legalised here in 2016. Since then the interest in medical marijuana use for both dogs and humans continues to increase. People we speak to in our industry are mostly asking “is CBD safe for dogs?”

Let’s take a look at the difference between medical marijuana and CBD, the effect it has on dogs, and whether this could be treatment that’s beneficial to your fur kid.

A cannabis leaf. we look at what you need to know about dogs and marijuana and whether CBD for dogs is safe

Dogs and marijuana: Medical cannabis vs CBD oil

Firstly, it’s important to note there’s a distinct difference between medical marijuana and CBD.

The marijuana plant contains many different compounds, called cannabinoids. One of them is called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has a psychological, mind altering effect. This is what makes users feel “high.”

THC sits primarily in the leaves and flowering parts of marijuana plants. Medical marijuana contains THC.

CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves and stems of plants. CBD products must adhere to certain government regulations, including that they contain no more than 0.2% THC. This means the level of THC is so low that it doesn’t cause the user to get high.

Medical marijuana = THC
CBD = Extremely low/no THC

Most CBD products are not derived from marijuana but from hemp.

Is medical marijuana safe for dogs?

No, it’s not safe for dogs, in that medical or any type of marijuana containing THC is toxic to dogs. The same goes for cats, horses and more. It can even be lethal. Dogs have a higher level of CB1 receptors in the brain (the receptors that make the user feel high) than humans. This means marijuana affects them much more than it does us.

The minimum lethal oral THC dose for dogs is anything more than 3g per 1kg. If your dog accidentally ingests THC, they may lose balance, dribble urine, be anxious, vomit, have dilated pupils, a low temperature and a dazed or “high” expression. Apparently it’s not the THC in marijuana that can kill your dog, but side effects like vomiting, which can block their airways.

As for second-hand smoke from a marijuana cigarette, dogs are unlikely to get high off it. That is, unless they’re confined to a room with a copious amount wafting about. Nevertheless, dogs have very sensitive lungs and you shouldn’t expose them to any kind of smoke. Simply put, dogs and marijuana don’t mix!

women wonders why her dog is vomiting and comforts it

What do I do if my dog ate marijuana?

If you suspect your dog’s eaten marijuana – however big or small the amount – you need to take them to the vet immediately.

If you’re there within 30 minutes of suspected ingestion, your vet may induce vomiting. They’ll do this by feeding your pup activated charcoal to get the marijuana out of their stomachs (while monitoring that they don’t choke).

If it’s been longer than 30 minute since ingestion, the THC will have entered your dog’s bloodstream and vomiting will not expel it. Since there’s no cure for marijuana intoxication, your vet will provide supportive care. This may include administering anti-vomiting medication so they don’t lose too many fluids, controlling your dog’s temperature, and keeping their fluids up.

Marijuana ingestion is no fun for a pet. Under no circumstances should you feed your dog marijuana or expose them to second hand marijuana smoke.

While you’re here, read up on other food and plants that can poison your pet. You may also want to find out what to do in the case of your dog or cat choking, before it happens!

Is CBD safe for dogs?

Now we know the danger of dogs and marijuana, you may be wondering whether CBD is safe for dogs. After all, an increasing number of pet parents use CBD to treat a host of illnesses in their pups. You may have heard of CBD for anxiety, pain and arthritis to seizures and even cancer.

Anecdotal evidence seems positive

So is CBD safe for dogs? Research is limited, but CBD is considered non-toxic to dogs. There’s no scientific evidence yet to suggest that CBD is effective for any of the conditions listed above. However, there’s a wealth of anecdotal evidence from pet parents who say CBD has helped their dog.

Prescription rules and side effects

With all that positivity on one hand, CBD can have some side effects on the other. This includes diarrhea, eye discharge and redness around the eyes.

Plus, in Australia, a vet is the only one who can legally administer CBD to your pet. By law, it needs to be prescribed by a medical professional. Because there’s little control over unlicensed CBD vendors, it’s also illegal in Australia to purchase CBD online.

Why? Because you have no way of knowing what’s in the product you’re getting. It could contain contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides or bacteria. And, as mentioned, it can have more than 0.2% of THC – which is toxic to dogs.

So, the short answer to “is CBD safe for dogs?” CBD is generally seen as safe for dogs if administered by a qualified and knowledgeable vet.

What about hemp seed oil for my dog?

You’ll see hemp seed oil products readily advertised for pets across a range of legitimate and popular Australian websites. These products don’t have THC in them, so there are no psychoactive effects, and usually they don’t have any CBD.

They’re legally allowed to be sold without a prescription if they contain less than 0.01% of CBD. Whether that small amount is enough of a therapeutic amount is up to you to decide. Every pet is different.

Dogs and marijuana

Protect your pup

Dogs and marijuana aren’t the only hazards a fur kid can face. Despite your best efforts, accidents and illnesses happen. Which is why it’s so important to make sure you have a dog insurance plan that can cover the vet bills in the case of a health issue.

PD Insurance is an award-winning brand that offers value rich, month to month cover. Why not get an obligation-free quote today?

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