I seem to be an internet enthusiast when it comes to questions about pets and marijuana – like “Is smoking grass around dogs dangerous?”
It started when I wrote a few blog posts about what to do if your dog broke into a cannabis warehouse. At the same time, I also composed one Comprehensive website with 100 articles about diseases, conditions and treatment of dogs and cats. One of the covered items is drunk marijuana. The article about cannabis really got the spotlight.
Newspapers (included SF weekly) and a host of pro-cannabis sites, have quoted me – always without permission, always without trying to contact me and sometimes without context. I speak frankly and uncritically about a dog’s marijuana intoxication; This unfortunately has led some to the misconception that I approve of being stoned by dogs. As for profiling: I certainly don’t.
Questions about cannabis and dogs
Because of this “popularity”, I received a series of questions about dogs (and other animals) and marijuana. Many of them are ridiculous to the point of being absurd. But not every question I get is ridiculous. Consider the following question, the question of whether weeding around dogs is dangerous:
I read Dr. Barchas’s post about dogs ingesting marijuana by eating it, but the effects of a dog (in this case a 10-month, 50-pound Basset hound) inhale Smoke from someone who smokes marijuana in his bedroom?
Anxious mother, NJ
So, is smoking grass around dogs dangerous?
The good news is, unless an animal is locked in a room with extremely high amounts of smoke, passive cannabis smoke inhalation is unlikely to lead to intoxication. If this was a concern, it would be difficult to walk the streets of San Francisco without encountering a fuss.
The bigger concern here, however, is the smoke itself. Dogs have very sensitive lungs and smoke can damage them. Smoking weed around the dog (or cigarettes) around the dog every day can affect the dog’s breathing function. On the other hand, if the smoker does not go overboard, does not smoke every day and opens windows while smoking, then there will not be much harm to the dog – at least from cigarette smoke.
Dogs and marijuana – things to keep in mind
Remember though, I’ve never seen a dog die of it drunk marijuana, smoking around dogs can have other consequences. I have dead dogs were the direct result of their owners being stoned. Everyone knows that drunk people tend to have poor judgment. Consider a dog that I worked with a few years ago. The owner’s boyfriend was stoned and decided to hang out on the roof of his apartment building with the dog. The sad dog fell four stories and broke his back. The horrified owner decided to feed the dog (and, I imagine, abandoned her boyfriend).
So keep in mind that situations involving dogs and marijuana can end up badly. Everyone be careful. Don’t let your dogs be stoned. Be cautious if and when you smoke. And please don’t smoke anything (cigarettes or weeds) around your dog.
This work was originally published in 2012.