March 21, 2023

What you need to know about Cannabis and Pets

It’s 420 somewhere, and while people around the world celebrate cannabis culture, we want to talk about the impact on pets. In recent years, marijuana has become a hot topic, since recreational and medical laws have become more inclusive across the U.S. and Canada. We scanned our extensive database of more than 400,000 insured pets for a few facts & figures you may want to know about pets and cannabis.

What’s in a name? Pet owners will sometimes express their affinity for weed through the names they give their pets. Over the years, we have seen cannabis-influenced pet names pop up in our database including MaryJane, Indica, Sativa, Kush, and Skunk. Other pet names we found in our database include Endo, Tweed, Reefer, Doobie, and Bong.

Fun names aside, make sure your stash is locked up and well hidden from your cat or dog (we see over five-times the amount of claims that involve cannabis ingestion than that of alcohol). THC is toxic for pets – causing balance problems, irregular heartbeat, incontinence, or worse. Even inhalation through second-hand smoke can be very dangerous to your pet, not to mention hazards accompanying edible forms of THC, like chocolate toxicity from those weed brownies.

We’ve found that around 10% of marijuana toxicity claims are paired with chocolate toxicity. On their own, substances such as chocolate, butter and oil can be harmful to pets and when combined with marijuana, the results are far worse.

Case in point: After munching on some elevated brownies, a Sheepdog in California spent five long days and nights being treated at their local veterinary hospital. After advanced veterinary care including induced vomiting, IV fluids, assorted medications and other intensive care, the Sheltie went home clearheaded and happy. The cost of care – just over $6,000 (covered at 90% by their Trupanion policy).

Not all cases are that severe, mind you. The average cost to treat marijuana toxicity is around $500, and the Trupanion policy has paid nearly $180,000 in suspected marijuana toxicity claims to date. Trupanion saw marijuana toxicity cases per capita increase by 50% from 2014 to 2015. However, that number has since plateaued. We see the highest frequency of marijuana toxicity claims in Washington, California, and Colorado (in that order). However, we see double the amount of marijuana toxicity claims per pets enrolled in Canada than we do in the United States.


Bottom line: Regardless of the region you live in has legalized cannabis or not if you suspect your pet has consumed marijuana in any form, immediately take them to the closest emergency veterinarian.