I was gonna walk the dog...
May 29, 2007 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Is it wrong to get my dog high by blowing marijuana smoke at him? I am asking medically and ethically, of course. He's neutered and very good natured. I have known people that have intentionally 'smoked out' their animals from time to time, and it hasn't seemed to be harmful, but I was just wondering, since it's come up recently.
posted by chlorus to Pets & Animals (48 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's as toxic to them as it is to you. But the big worry is dogs eating marijuana, and then it's very, very bad.
posted by frogan at 10:09 PM on May 29, 2007

Where are you getting "very, very bad" from that, frogan? I don't think anyone would want to let their dog eat their pot, but it says "Research in dogs and monkeys showed that oral doses of delta 9-THC and delta 8-THC ranging from 3,000 to 9,000 mg/kg were not lethal, and all dogs recovered within 24
hours of ingestion."
posted by ludwig_van at 10:14 PM on May 29, 2007

Speaking purely to whether it's nice/ethical, I have seen dogs act like they are frightened when they are disoriented or lose confidence in their instincts -- and certainly grow more nervous when they are confused by their surroundings -- so I tend to think it would not be a nice thing to do.

At the very least, have a huge stack of milkbones at the ready.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 10:16 PM on May 29, 2007

I would say that it's rather reprehensible to foist psychoactive substances on someone/something that is unable to choose to consume them.

Substitute "my developmentally-disabled brother" for "my dog." Would you even have to ask the question then?
posted by killdevil at 10:25 PM on May 29, 2007 [13 favorites]

Physically, I don't see the harm in it, provided he's a full-grown dog. ("toxic", frogan? Cite, please) I guess it's possible that some dogs out there that like being high, and your dog could be one of them.

However, since your dog can't talk and tell you whether this is true or not, you should assume that he doesn't like being high, just like many humans. Err on the side of caution, and don't do it.
posted by zardoz at 10:43 PM on May 29, 2007

1) not medically harmful;
2) not ethical.
posted by lorimer at 10:55 PM on May 29, 2007

My feeling is that if you would not slip marijuana into your friend's food or beverage without their knowledge, you should probably also not cause your dog to ingest it, for roughly the same reasons - namely, your dog might not like it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:09 PM on May 29, 2007

Killdevil has it. Wrong.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:17 PM on May 29, 2007

I hate to be cliche, but if someone said that people jump off a bridge on a regular basis for fun with no ill consequences, would you join them?

I haven't heard anything that says that it's more harmful to dogs than it is to humans. But it begs the question, why the hell would you want to do that in the first place? Would you do that to your own child, if you had one?
posted by arishaun at 11:19 PM on May 29, 2007

Some dogs (particularly older ones) will come running towards smoke. I'm guessing it means they like it.

No, it's not ethical. But you can make your own choice.
posted by Orrorin at 11:22 PM on May 29, 2007

Physically, Dogs can definitely get lung cancer. From what I've read, the dispute between marijuana and lung cancer is still up in the air, but why on Earth would you put your buddy at risk?

If you look at your dog as a source of entertainment as opposed to a companion, a friend, a sentient being that can only react to the environment they're in versus a buddy sucking the bong next to you, then piss off. You don't deserve a dog. Especially if you'd rather hotbox your dog instead of walk him/her.

I'm neutral on the pot issue, so long you're smoking recreationally. I never cared for it, but I'm all for legalization. But how would you feel about someone frequently giving their dog a couple of shots of vodka and tonic just to watch it puke and pass out?

I guess I'm just a big-hearted Internet saint, but fucking quit it.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:22 PM on May 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

cripes, why would you want to do this to your dog? i mean, the only reason that i can think of would be so that you might get some twisted amusement from seeing him high. which. sheez.

i agree with everyone who contends that because your dog can not choose to be smoked out, then don't do it.
posted by violetk at 11:27 PM on May 29, 2007

I'm with killdevil and seemingly everyone else -- it's wrong to force psychoactive substances on anyone or anything that can't consent to them.

You wouldn't slip LSD in someone's coffee, or hash into an infant's food, just for fun, right? Your dog can't choose to get high, so it's really about the same thing.

Now, if you had asked about a cat and catnip, that would be different ... there, it's more about restraining them from doing it all the freaking time...
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:40 PM on May 29, 2007

Actually animals can choose to get high and if your dog would like to get high I say more power to you and your dog.

Otherwise it's unethical.

Interpreting your dogs intent is going to be pretty difficult, so unless you get some sort of overwhelming sign that he'd like to get high you should probably error towards not getting him high.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 11:45 PM on May 29, 2007

I lived with a cat that liked it. The smoke irritated her, but she'd squeeze her eyes shut and inhale. This was followed by a long, drawn-out purring session. Apartment cat, boring life style. No wonder she liked it.
posted by Goofyy at 11:56 PM on May 29, 2007

Well for cats I suppose catnip is questionable? I agree that it is wrong to trick or force this on an animal however, especially in excess. But moderately, it's probably one of the least harmful types of smoke for canine's to inhale. It's unethical however, mainly due to pot being illegal as is (whole different topic there tho)
posted by samsara at 12:09 AM on May 30, 2007

so the whole catnip industry is unethical aswell?
posted by Iax at 12:53 AM on May 30, 2007 [5 favorites]

Where are you getting "very, very bad" from that, frogan?

You need to read between the lines, bud. The toxicological brief is aimed at vets.

If an animal presents with an acute onset of ataxia, depression, or recumbency, consider marijuana toxicosis
as a differential diagnosis.

Differential diagnosis = "Vets don't see this problem very often, so you're likely to miss it. You need to consider this potential problem when presented with these symptoms." This is the thesis statement of the entire piece.

Obtaining an accurate history can be difficult in
cases of illicit drug exposures.

In other words, be extra careful, because your client will probably lie to you.

Finally, if you read the suggested treatment:

Administering activated charcoal every eight hours for the first 24 hours helps reduce the severity and duration of signs ... Monitor respiratory function (since secondary aspiration pneumonia from prolonged recumbency can occur), cardiac function, and body temperature. ... For symptomatic animals, supportive care includes intravenous fluid administration (lactated Ringer’s or saline solution starting at maintenance rate), thermoregulation, and alternating the animal’s body position every four hours.

For pet care, this is unbelievably expensive (the dog won't have the munchies for activated charcoal and eat it himself, believe me). And 99 percent of pet owners don't carry pet insurance.

Summing up:

* The vet won't know what he's dealing with.
* The client will probably lie about what really happened.
* The correct treatment is very expensive.
* There will likely be complicating factors, like the dog drowning in his own vomit.

Know what's going to happen here?

Most of these dogs will be euthanized.
posted by frogan at 1:08 AM on May 30, 2007

Animals like getting high, ourselves included. I've seen some dogs that seriously love beer and will practically knock you down to get it. I've seen a flock of starlings get falling down drunk on a tree full of overripe figs. They knew what they were doing, and they waited until that fruit was boozetastic.

That said, some people really anthropomorphize their pets and consider giving them drugs no different than giving drugs to a toddler. These people will tell you that it's terribly unethical and bad for the health of your pet.

I'd like to counter that by pointing out the fact that, assuming the animal is at the age of consent (for a dog, 1 year = 7 dog years so probably a bit after age 3), you can give them the choice. Be sure to discuss the risks, and don't enable their addictive behavior. Remember that you and your pet will die one day, and why deny them the experience of getting high with their best friend?
posted by mullingitover at 1:33 AM on May 30, 2007 [7 favorites]

Just one or two comments on frogan's last post. Charcoal, IV Ringer's and keeping the dog warm are not going to be expensive and very few vets would do charcoal. Although the vet might not get a good history, a dog that is ataxic will have "ate something he shouldn't" as an obvious differential. Finally, no dog is going to be euthanized for a condition that clears up in a day or two. If you read the study, there were two deaths in 250 cases and the only death where there was necropsy was actually due to an unrelated heart condition.
posted by Lame_username at 1:43 AM on May 30, 2007

Re: Ufez's comment:

From what I've read, the dispute between marijuana and lung cancer is still up in the air

This is not true! (sorry)

Actually, cannabis has more tar than tobacco -- A LOT more.
posted by mateuslee at 2:39 AM on May 30, 2007

I don't think it's a good idea. Most animals actively dislike smoke and I've seen a couple that look pretty uncomfortable from a contact high.

That said, I've been at a trimming party where a young, very frisky - to the point of annoyance, mouthy - as in biting hands all the time, dog mellowed completely out within an hour or so. We weren't in the best shape ourselves so we couldn't figure out why he was so relaxed and passive all of a sudden. And his eyes were so red, what was that about? It wasn't like he had been smoking. After commenting on it a couple of times, I happened to look over at him and he was stretching his head just far enough to lazily lick the hair and the crystals right off the blade of a very used pair of scissors. By that time, I would guess he had been going at it, off and on, for about two hours.
posted by BigSky at 3:33 AM on May 30, 2007

As far as I see it the dog has a choice.

If I sit down somewhere, my dog is naturally going to come and sit next to me, but if I'm doing something he doesnt like he is going to get up and leave as soon as he's had enough.

As long as you aren't physically restraining him, or keeping him there by some other means (food for example), and he is free to leave the area completely at anytime then I'd say it's his choice if he wants to stay or go.

For those asking why you'd want to do it, chlorus obviously gets some enjoyment from being high, and most likely wants to share this experience with a friend. Which to me sounds perfectly reasonable.
posted by eeno at 5:33 AM on May 30, 2007

I guess I would consider that depending on the size of the dog, the relative concentration of the chemical in the body could create health issues.

You are say, 150 lbs., and your dog is maybe 50 lb? So, he is getting three times the amount of THC/tar/whatever other herbicides/pesticides/beetle bodies that are in the bud.

I wouldn't do it. Medically or ethically. Just as I wouldn't give him candy, scotch, or chewing tobacco. Even if he did enjoy it. Besides, the scotch is too expensive.
posted by fox_terrier_guy at 6:18 AM on May 30, 2007

If I sit down somewhere, my dog is naturally going to come and sit next to me, but if I'm doing something he doesnt like he is going to get up and leave as soon as he's had enough.

As long as you aren't physically restraining him, or keeping him there by some other means (food for example), and he is free to leave the area completely at anytime then I'd say it's his choice if he wants to stay or go.

OK, but "choice" takes on a slightly different dimension given that dogs are bred and trained for loyalty and companionship. Even on an inter-human basis, this sounds suspiciously like a 1970s Mac Davis song.

For those asking why you'd want to do it, chlorus obviously gets some enjoyment from being high, and most likely wants to share this experience with a friend. Which to me sounds perfectly reasonable.

Putting the "choice" thing aside, chlorus' ability to predict and determine after the fact whether his friend likes it -- and whether his friend knows what's good for him -- is impaired, even before he lights up.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:43 AM on May 30, 2007

I have struggled with this very question in the past but at this point, I think I'm leaning towards the Dogs Have Free Will argument. Anecdotally, I was at a party this weekend where a puppy was wilfully knocking over beer bottles so he could lick up beer. Now, neither of my two dogs will ever lick up spilled beer (and they've had plenty of opportunities) not even the dog who is so dumb and so hungry that he might well lick up spilled turpentine on the theory that if people use it, it must be good. They choose not to drink, while my friends' puppy is choosing to knock 'em back. (OK, OK, he's underage, I know, it's terrible.)

Similarly, I used to be fervently against smoking dogs out. But. I have noticed that one of my dogs is drawn - really drawn, like he puts his head right up to it - to this activity and one leaves the room immediately. So now I think it's pretty much up to them. I'm still not going to blow anything in his ear, though. If he gets a contact/second hand smoke high and likes it that's one thing, but actively shotgunning your dog seems a little over the top. I've never gotten that ear thing anyway - I mean, why ears?
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:52 AM on May 30, 2007

For those asking why you'd want to do it, chlorus obviously gets some enjoyment from being high, and most likely wants to share this experience with a friend. Which to me sounds perfectly reasonable.

To me too. I'm not prejudging the medical issues, since I Am Not a Veterinarian, but assuming for the sake of argument there are no medical problems, I don't see any ethical ones as long as the dog is free to wander off if he doesn't like it. And I'm surprised at the amount of "OMG pot is evil how could you do this to a poor widdle dog!!!" commentary here. Some people have watched Reefer Madness once too often.
posted by languagehat at 7:16 AM on May 30, 2007

One more try -- the freedom argument is all well and good, and everyone knows that "choice" is always encumbered in one way or another, but with dogs I imagine that choice is heavily leavened by breeding, training, and loyalty. Anyone who has ever watched a dog put up with having its tail pulled by a child (not MY child or dog, mind you) knows that dogs will put up with a degree of unpleasantness before vacating. Personal experiences seem to vary, but I think of my dogs as being free to go if they don't like something I'm doing, but there's a virtual weight retarding their departure, and they tend to trust that whatever I'm doing to them is for their own good.

So what's being tested here isn't whether the dog grooves on it or not, but whether the dog either grooves on it or is sufficiently willing to put up with it.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:26 AM on May 30, 2007

Most of these dogs will be euthanized.

I wouldn't smoke my dog out, but the article you linked doesn't even hint at this. In fact the end of it notes two deaths in animals from cannabis consumption: a cat (and that was probably a preexisting condition) and a horse, who probably could stand to eat a lot more than the average dog. There's plenty of good arguments against doping your dog without having to resort to unsupported hysteria.
posted by norm at 7:27 AM on May 30, 2007

I bet your dog likes table scraps but you probably moderate how much you give him because you're concerned for his health. Your dog is not a dummy, he knows when you're smoking pot just like he knows when it's meal time. Does he beg to get high like he begs for table scraps? If so, share in moderation; there's nothing wrong with a little treat even if there's a small trade-off between what makes him (and you) healthy for what makes him (and you) happy.

Beyond that, I knew a guy that used to blow marijuana smoke into his aquarium bubbler to get his fish high. I didn't consider the medical or ethical aspects of his behavior, I just thought he was stupid. Don't be that guy.

To frogan: wouldn't 3,000 to 9,000 mg/kg of THC require an average dog to consume pounds of marijuana? Nobody would feed two pounds of dope to a dog just for fun. So I don't see your point.

To mateuslee: Tar is not the issue. The tar is probably being filtered out by chlorus's lungs and, for what it's worth, smoking low tar cigarettes does not reduce the risk of lung cancer anyhow.
posted by peeedro at 7:30 AM on May 30, 2007

My family had an old dog with a host of medical problems which caused him a fair amount of pain. The vet prescribed him barbituates which pretty much just knocked him out. We would sometimes "smoke him out" for medicinal reasons and he was able to move around and exhibit some signs of his happier, younger doggy self.

That said, it many cases it is simply a juvenile act to get your dog stoned. They don't have the same level of cerebral functioning than (most) people so we really don't know if the subjective experience for them of marijuana is anything at all like our own. They also have extremely sensitive noses so any little amount of smoke can serve to distort one of their primary means of sensing the world.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:36 AM on May 30, 2007

What you should definitely not do is put a cat in a cooler with a huge bag of ice on top and blow smoke into the spigot on the side. That would be really mean.

(and whatever you do, don't tie a fun cat toy to its tail when you let it out)

Anecdotal story. My family's dog accidentally got a hold of some of my sister's pot brownies once. These were apparently very strong, and my understanding is that he ingested more than one.

The following things happened:
1) Dog got squirrelly, chased tail, played with toys, etc
2) Dog chowed down on a big bowl of yummy dog food
3) Dog passed the fuck out and woke up the next day completely normal

Notice that none of the above are abnormal behaviors for our canine companions.

The aftereffect of the incident is that this dog really does not like getting high, and avoids it. Which is fine, because we don't chase him around trying to blow smoke in his ear. Another friend's dog comes running into his room when he hears him wake up, since he knows its time to get ripped! (disclaimer: daily wake and bake is probably a bad idea)

So in summation, it depends on the individual. If your dog will chill out in the room with you while you smoke, you might try blowing a little bit his way to see how he likes it. If he runs off, don't do it again. If he chills, relaxes, and doesn't seem to mind, just don't do it too often.
posted by baphomet at 7:45 AM on May 30, 2007

Anecdotal: When my sister was in college in the 1970s, she had a kitten at her apartment. Her neighbors used to blow marijuana smoke in the kitten's face. She got concerned about it and eventually have the kitten to my mother. The kitten grew up to be the strangest, moodiest, creature I've known, on the lines of "bipolar kitty." He would change from being sweet and nice to clawing and angry at any moment. We can't assume that the marijuana caused this, of course, but there it is.

On the other hand, the cat I have now came from a crack house around the corner from where I used to live, and I know that she was exposed to drugs, too. She kept escaping from her home and jumping in my window. I think she was initially attracted to my house by the smell of a pregnant mouse in the house. This cat turned out to be the the most loving and friendly feline I've ever met. She insisted that she wanted to live with me, and kept coming back even when I put her outside. Eventually the lady from the crack house moved away to live in her van, after her boyfriend went to jail. She gave me the cat and we lived happily ever after through three moves and two states.

Final anecdote: We now have two dogs along with the cat. One dog loves beer and insists that I share it with him. His favorite is Shiner Bock or any other German-style brew. When I have a beer, he will nudge me and "talk" to me until I pour a little bit out into a saucer for him. The other dog couldn't care less; she won't touch the stuff.

What can I say? YMMV. Take clues from the animal in question.
posted by Robert Angelo at 7:46 AM on May 30, 2007

I don't think beer is analogous. My dog likes beer too, but I would never give her enough to get her drunk (1/3 cup is the max she gets). Yet she still likes it. So how can people conclude that dogs that like beer like it for the mood/mind-altering effects? Maybe it's just the taste.

The difference between giving your dog table scraps and smoking him out is that (hopefully) you know how many table scraps are too much, and what scraps specifically shouldn't be shared (onions, chocolate). The dog doesn't necessarily stop begging for scraps when it's had enough, or know not to beg for things that are harmful - mine would probably eat until her stomach bloated and she needed emergency surgery. The "free will" argument might work if you think your dog is smart enough to regulate his/her high and not hurt itself. I don't think that's a very responsible thing to assume.
posted by misskaz at 8:04 AM on May 30, 2007

I vote for "mean", personally. Potentially rising to "cruel". They won't know why they're feeling funny, and could get anxious and frightened. Depending on how much you're smoking around them, and how well ventilated the area is, they're probably getting plenty of smoke anyway.

But the big worry is dogs eating marijuana, and then it's very, very bad.

Well, they do get stoned off their asses, but that's about it. Unless they weren't given the pot, but just found it and scarfed it down, in which case they may also be yelled at. All of that could go out the window if the pot has been cut with something else.

A dog we had when I was a kid loved pot, to the point that my parents couldn't leave any within her (possible) reach, because she'd do whatever she could to get it and eat it. The time she tracked down and ate all my Dad's hash (~$600 in the early 80s), oh man....she was zonked and beyond caring about much of anything for a day and then back to normal. Dad, on the other hand....
posted by dilettante at 10:16 AM on May 30, 2007

yes. very much. and thank you, I try ever so dryly.

deadly toxic - yes, a bit hyperbolic, but not untrue. chocolate can kill your dog.
posted by valentinepig at 11:16 AM on May 30, 2007

[a few comments removed, please try again without all the insults]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:16 AM on May 30, 2007

[do not try again, do not collect $200, please take your issues directly to metatalk, they are not appropriate here.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:51 AM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

The dispute between marijuana and lung cancer is still up in the air. Remember this FPP?

It will probably cause emphysema, though....
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:39 PM on May 30, 2007

I knew a small dog that ate 5 hits of LSD once off a table when the minders' backs were turned. The drug was in liquid form, dosed out on cookies. The dog seemed to experience olfactory hallucinations for a while, but it was ok the next day.
posted by BeerFilter at 3:51 PM on May 30, 2007

I've had a couple of cats that liked getting high: it escalated from a kitty version of "What IS that stuff? It smells better than those other cigarettes he smokes all the time," to damn near burning themselves trying to eat the lit end, to loud insistent meows that clearly translated to "C'mon guy, don't be a bogart!" So I'd blow 'em tiny shotguns, mindful that a 10-pound critter won't need much, watching carefully to see their reaction. That's how I learned that cats DO understand the concept of "inhaling" and that only lack of opposable thumbs keeps them from toking up themselves. This one cat liked the first experiment so much he snatched the baggy from my friend's shit pocket, dropped it on his lap, and meowed and meowed till he rolled another doobie. (He'd tried treating it like catnip before, rolling in it and eating some, but we didn't like having to scrape it back up from the dirty carpet.) I recommend being careful, an amount that won't phase a 150-pound human might well be toxic for a much lighter animal (and some animals, like some people, have "atypical" reactions and should not get high a second time), but I see nothing wrong with sharing with one's furry friend.
posted by davy at 4:07 PM on May 30, 2007

Well, dogs will also drink antifreeze, which will kill them, so don't assume that just because the dog seems to enjoy it that it is OK. My wife (the Veterinary Technician) has seen marijuana ingestion cause irreversible neurological damage. It also lowers the seizure threshold, making the animal more prone to seizures in the future, which aside from being scary and dangerous in their own right, can cause brain damage themselves.

Also, if your dog does get into your weed and you need to bring it into the vet, please just tell them the dog ate/smoked weed. They will not bust you -- they just want to help your animal.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:07 PM on May 30, 2007

This is absolutely no different from giving psychotropic substances to a mentally disabled person.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:14 PM on May 30, 2007

Catnip, by the way, is not psychoactive for cats. That's not why they like it. They're not getting stoned.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:42 PM on May 30, 2007

See this thread for more stories about dogs and weed.
posted by hindmost at 6:35 PM on May 30, 2007

Catnip, by the way, is not psychoactive for cats.

How, exactly, does one determine when a substance is psychoactive for a cat?
posted by mediareport at 9:53 PM on May 30, 2007

I'm with Rock Steady. Dog's love even common substances like chocolate, but it's bad news to give it to them
posted by Sparx at 1:52 AM on May 31, 2007

Not to prolong this thread, but I have a follow up question to this one.

What if your dog had cancer? Would it be more ethical to allow them to get high to help ease their pain and bring back their appetite?

munchies for thought..
posted by smart_ask at 7:10 PM on May 31, 2007

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