Marijuana Exposure on the Rise in Our Campbell River Community

Recently at the Campbell River Veterinary Hospital, we are getting a very high number of emergency phone calls and cases (mostly dogs) of acting acutely “drunk.” A large number of these cases are pre-adults and puppies. The typical history is “We were on a trail hike or nature walk or at a campsite, and now my dog is acting lethargic.” This summer has been a record high of inadvertent ingestion of marijuana, and this will likely be on the rise in the coming months due to legalization. We want to inform the public about what signs to look for in their pet.


  • Salivation
  • Sleepiness
  • Fast or slow heart rate
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Low body temperature
  • Wobbling, pacing and agitation
  • Vocalizing
  • Sound or light sensitivity
  • Inappropriate urination
  • Vomiting

If you Suspect your Pet has been Exposed- per CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medical Association)

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to something they should not have, take them to a veterinary hospital immediately for professional care. Veterinarians can induce vomiting if ingestion of marijuana was within 1-2 hours, which may prevent clinical signs of toxicity from developing.  If your pet is already showing clinical signs, they may require hospitalization and supportive care.

Do not be afraid to tell the veterinarian your pet has accidentally ingested marijuana products, as not knowing this can make managing your pet’s case difficult. As per privacy laws, be assured they will not contact the police.

Treatment may include inducing vomiting, administrating activated charcoal to prevent further absorption and intravenous fluids.

Further research is recommended to understand the safety and efficacy of marijuana in veterinary medicine. For now, marijuana is not approved for medical use in animals until further studies have been done.

Written by: Dr. Peter Woodward, Veterinarian