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Cannabis and Pets

the do’s and don’ts of cannabis and pets

Pet owners looking for all-natural ways to help their furry friends have been flocking to CBD in particular to treat canine cases of seizures, cancer, anxiety and even arthritis. While the endocannabinoid system isn’t currently being taught in veterinary school (or medical school for the matter) a recent study out of Cornell University testing the efficacy of CBD treatment for canine arthritis found a significant decrease in pain, an increase in mobility with no observable side effects. 


Also, a study at Colorado State University assessing the efficacy of CBD to treat epilepsy in dogs, showed an a reduction in frequency of seizures in 89% of dogs that received CBD. When it comes to our feline friends, CBD could be an even more valuable tool as cats are often more difficult to treat due to high sensitivity towards typical pain medications used for animals. While this positive research might have you Googling “Best CBD dog treats” it’s important to remember a few things first.


  1. Vets aren’t currently legally allowed to prescribe cannabis, so any anecdotal evidence is coming from people who are either using homemade tinctures or products marketed as pet products sourced from the illicit market.

  2. No pet products that have been approved by Health Canada. Cannabis products from the illicit market do not undergo 3rd party lab testing so it’s impossible to guarantee the purity or concentration of ingredients.

  3. In May 2019 The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association lobbied to authorize veterinary use of cannabinoids. The CVMA have since been advised by the Health Minister that it is not a priority currently, but could be considered when the Cannabis Act is reviewed.

  4. While CBD may have treatment potential for pets, THC poses an increased risk in animals as they have a higher concentration of cannabinoid receptors which means a higher likelihood of an extreme reaction. Unlike humans, a cannabis dose to a dog in high concentrations could be fatal, especially for smaller dogs.

As we navigate these tricky grey areas post legalization, we’ve put together a couple do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to pets and cannabis


Do – Consult with your vet first – while they won’t be able to provide a prescription, they can offer up their own opinions and can share any anecdotal experiences of other patients.  


Don’t – leave edibles laying around, in addition to the above danger THC presents to animals, edibles may also contain additional ingredients toxic to dogs like chocolate or raisins. If you ever suspect your pet has consumed cannabis, we recommend speaking with your vet or calling the 24 hour pet toxicity help line immediately.


Do – Keep your Cannabis Securely Locked Away. Even child proof bags can be chewed through given enough time and determination. If you share your home with a pet, we recommend keeping your cannabis in a cupboard, drawer or high shelf.


Don’t – keep pets in a hot boxed room – due to the higher amount of endocannabinoid receptors mentioned above, a nice chill high for you could be a more intense and overwhelming experience for them. Additionally, second-hand smoke can cause respiratory harm in pets, which have both smaller lungs and much faster metabolism.


Do – dispose of your roaches responsibly when consuming cannabis in and out of your home as they could possibly be ingested by pets or kids

There you have some of our best advice on keeping your home pot friendly and pet friendly at the same time. As regulations shift and pet friendly cannabis products get the green light to go to market, we look forward to seeing how cannabis has the potential to help our animal companions to live their lives fully.

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