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Pets & Cannabis Consumption

The Williamsburg Yorktown Daily recently published an article stating that the Pet Poison Helpline is reporting increased nationwide and, specifically, Virginia-originated calls relating to cannabis poisoning in household pets. Because at Hearts at Home Pet Sitting our job is to keep pets safe and happy while you're away from home, we wanted to address pets & cannabis consumption from a professional pet sitter's perspective.


Cannabis Consumption: More Available Than Ever


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With laws surrounding the consumption of cannabis-based products changing nationwide for both medicinal and recreational uses, cannabis is more available today than it has been in years past. It will likely continue to become more available and, unfortunately, pet exposure will continue to rise.


From flowers, tinctures, topicals, edibles, and vapes, pets can be exposed to cannabis and THC both by consumption and exposure to secondhand smoke. Our focus today is on consumption but please read this article to learn more about the dangers of cannabis use and second and thirdhand smoke in pets.


Cannabis Consumption: Effects on Pet Health


When discussing cannabis today, we are specifically referring to cannabis grown and cultivated for human consumption. We are not referring to pet-safe CBD products and supplements like CBDDogHealth's tinctures, which are designed with species-appropriate ingredients and dosing in mind. Even pet-specific CBD products must be administered properly and sourced from reputable brands to ensure their safety but human-specific cannabis-based products should be kept away from pets at all times.

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According to this Pet Poison Helpline blog, "Common symptoms of marijuana toxicity include sedation/lethargy, dilated pupils or glassed over eyes, dazed expression, difficulty walking and vomiting. Other symptoms can include either a low or high heart rate, vocalization such as whining or crying, agitation, trouble regulating temperature causing the body temperature to drop or rise and incontinence/dribbling urine, tremors, seizures and potentially coma. Signs of toxicity can be seen anywhere from 5 minutes to 12 hours after the animal is exposed to marijuana. The signs can potentially last 30 minutes to several days depending on the dose ingested."


Because cannabis edibles may contain dangerous toxins such as xylitol, which can kill a dog in small doses, the dangers associated with our pets getting into edible and flavored products go far beyond cannabis and THC.


Cannabis Safety: Storage


When we're away for hours or days, our pets tend to get bored or anxious, which can lead to boredom or anxiety-related behaviors. Some pets will open drawers, rummage through closets and under beds, and counter-surf. Even if your pet has never displayed boredom and anxiety behaviors, there is no guarantee that they won't start doing so during your next workday or trip. For this reason, protecting your pet from cannabis exposure and consumption is especially important when you are away from home for the day or traveling for extended periods of time.


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As professional pet sitters, we urge you to consider keeping your cannabis-based products in a safe, under lock and key or code. Many locking "weed boxes" exist on the market, some of which control humidity for the cannabis flower connoisseurs out there. Cannabis products should be treated as you would any pharmaceutical and kept out of reach of pets and children in the same way you would opioid painkillers and birth control pills.



Please note that the State of Virginia has very specific handling instructions to keep minors and pets safe, including proper disposal requirements.


Cannabis Safety: Communication

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It's imperative that you be honest with your pet sitter and your veterinary team if you suspect that your pet has been exposed to cannabis while in our care.


As professional pet sitters, we will pick up remnants of anything we find in your home that has been ingested therefore being honest with us will save everyone from an awkward conversation down the line. Our priority, as is your veterinary team's, is to get your pet the care they need no matter what they've ingested. Being up-front with us about what your pet may have gotten into will save valuable time, which may make all the difference in your pet's recovery. Honesty is truly the best policy, especially when time is of the essence.


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At Hearts at Home Pet Sitting, your pet's health and safety is our priority. Our in-home pet care services range from midday dog walking while you're at work and pet sitting visits while you're traveling. Our team of highly trained pet care providers gets to know your pets so we can recognize when they aren't feeling or acting quite right. If ever we find your pet has consumed anything between visits, we will contact you and your veterinary provider immediately. You can count on us to get your pet the care they need no matter the circumstance and regardless of how far away you may be.


We offer premier quality pet care in the Tabb, Grafton, and Seaford areas of Yorktown as well as Poquoson, Virginia. To learn more, please contact us by email at Hello@HeartsAtHomePetSitting.com or by phone at 757-745-9868.


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