What I Learned When My Dog Accidentally Ate a Cannabis Edible

Seattle, the Emerald City, is known for being green. And during my six-month sojourn in Seattle this year, it really was. It’s a great city for cannabis (for more on that, read our Hi World travel guide to Seattle), and with its open outdoor spaces, it’s a pretty good place to raise a dog too, at least as urban sprawls go.

I temporarily transplanted myself to Seattle to change the pace of my life and establish new routines. As a dog dad, that meant new routines for Igor, too: morning runs around Green Lake, swimming at Alki Beach, and learning the city with me on long walks downtown.

If you’ve been to Seattle, you know that parts of the city are gleaming, while other parts remind you that this was the home of grunge. The streets can be dirty, littered with rubbish from Amazon tech bros, the homeless, and everyone in between, including cannabis-consuming city dwellers and tourists alike. And sometimes, a stroll with your animal-best-friend intersects with the remains of a THC-infused cookie left on the sidewalk.

How did I know that Igor had surreptitiously scarfed down an edible? He may not be the smartest of dogs, but he’s generally as even-tempered, athletic and well-coordinated as they come. It was obvious that something was amiss seeing him lose his balance and pace and pant with anxiety. Concerned and confused, we made a beeline to the vet’s office, where what felt like a surprisingly casual and quick examination by the doctor led to the conclusion that he had probably ingested THC. Whereas veterinarians induce vomiting and take more serious measures for more severe overdoses, Igor was forced to befriend time, often the best remedy to sober up for humans and dogs alike.

As it turns out, according to the North Seattle Veterinary Clinic, it’s rare that pet owners bring in their dogs due to accidental THC-poisoning. Even in states like Washington, where adult use is established and edibles are relatively ubiquitous, the chances of Fido getting his paws on an infused treat seem to be minimal.  But these things do happen, and the professionals recommend getting your pup to them as soon as you suspect they’ve gotten into your stash.

Where does the hammer fall on cannabis for canines then? The answer is on the level of specific cannabinoids. You may have heard positive reviews of CBD for pets from friends, animal care professionals and the wellness community. Beyond that, there’s research that suggests that CBD is not only safe to consume but also delivers benefits to dogs, especially a reduction in anxiety. Of course, you’ll want to look for products from trusted brands, formulated specifically for pets.

On the other hand, THC has an adverse reaction with the biology of dogs and may cause symptoms like incontinence and low blood pressure. In extreme cases, exposure to an excess of THC (the definition varies by factors like dog size) can even be fatal. Man’s best friend may share many experiences with us, but cannabis is on the wrong side of the line. For those who take inspiration from Ashton Kutcher at his peak in his 2000 film Dude, Where’s My Car?, we’re sorry to disappoint.