Like any medications, overdosing can lead to potential risks for pets. “The most significant is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they are high,” Richter says. “Depending on how significantly a pet has been overdosed, the effects of that can be quite long-lasting, even days.” During these episodes, a pet may not be able to stand or eat. If you suspect an overdose, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.
Life-threatening risks for dogs from medical cannabis are “exceedingly rare,” Richter says, adding that toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients.” That said, ingestion of large amounts of marijuana has been fatal in a number of dogs, so preventing overdoses with medical cannabis is still extremely important, warns Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary advisor with petMD.
Graham Quigley, owner and acupuncturist at the Holistic Animal Clinic in San Rafael, California, worries that as the popularity of alternative medicine increases, pet parents may buy into “overly ambitious claims about cannabis oil” from unreliable sources. Quigley stresses that cannabis oil is not a “cure-all.”
As with any medication, pet parents should consult their veterinarian first before treating their dog with cannabis oil.