As Twitter was pulverising my productivity into oblivion one morning this week, I landed on this video. It features a Staffordshire bull terrier sitting in the passenger seat of a car, wearing a bandana and vibing to 2Pac ft. Dr. Dre’s California Love. The owner, sitting in the driver’s seat next to the dog, exhales what appears to be smoke. The Staffy seems seriously chill.
Comments underneath the video, which was originally a TikTok and uploaded to Twitter, argued that the dog looked high. Some went further. “This is literally animal abuse and y’all tryna say he vibin’,” one user said. “This video is sick. And I don’t mean that in a good way,” another chipped in. “The dog is in an abusive relationship,” barked another.
I managed to track down the guy in the video – username @love_n_naz – and it turns out that the commentators were wrong.
“I don’t even smoke,” he told me through an Instagram DM, before clarifying that he was vaping nicotine and doesn’t use weed. And, he added, there was a perfectly logical reason for his dog’s sleepy demeanour: “That day she was tired.” For sure, there’s no evidence to suggest that he was getting high with his dog there. A cloud emerges from his lungs, yes. But whatever he’s hitting is just off camera, yet the way he’s holding it does make it look like a vape.
Despite @love_n_naz’s apparent innocence, though, the whole thing did get me thinking: could smoking weed in the presence of your dog or cat accidentally get them high? I’ve never had a pet, but loads of people I know get high with their cat padding across the room. Does that mean that all the pets are stoned?
“Cats and dogs are affected by passive smoking of any sort,” Dr Sarah Elliott, Central Veterinary Officer at animal welfare charity Cats Protection, tells THE FACE. “Studies have shown that it can lead to cancer in pets.” So smoking in front of your pet is definitely bad for their health – but could your pet get stoned if you were smoking a spliff the size of a doggie chew? “It’s a little harder for pets to get intoxicated by inhaling cannabis smoke passively, but it can happen,” she says.
According to Dr Elliott, weed intoxication in cats and dogs is more commonly associated with accidental ingestion if they, for instance, “lick ashtrays or eat the remnants of a blunt”. Signs of your dog or cat being high, she notes, includes “wobbliness, disorientation, changes to pupils, dribbling (saliva or urine), low heart rate and low body temperature”.
Quite similar to humans, then, apart from developing a penchant for inordinately long YouTube videos about true crime. But if your pet ends up ingesting a ferociously-potent, I’m‑going-to-repeatedly-lose-my-keys strain, she warns, the results could be more serious, perhaps resulting in “tremors, seizures and coma”.
Dr Justine Shotton, President of the British Veterinary Association, told THE FACE that people should always keep their drugs “well away from pets” and if anyone thinks that their dog or cat is stoned they “should seek the advice of a vet” immediately. “Any exposure to illicit or recreational drugs can prove extremely harmful for animals and adversely impact their welfare, including exposure through second-hand smoke or ingestion.”
Dogs getting stoned is a big problem in Canada, apparently. Dr Lucy Troup, a clinical neuroscientist researching the effects of cannabis there, told THE FACE that her dog spent 48 hours at the vets after suffering from a monumental whitey. “My husband and I were away snowboarding and the kids were at home when the ingestion occurred,” she explains. “It’s like catnip for dogs but it’s very toxic, especially with the THC concentrations in Colorado. With edibles, and even bud, it’s obviously problematic.”
Ingestion aside, Dr Troup believes that a dog or cat could get high from second-hand smoke, but it would have to be a lot. “If kids are hotboxing, absolutely. Contact highs are not just for humans.”
So, what did I learn? Don’t leave your weed out where your pet could get it, obviously. Put it away, in the same way I imagine parents do to avoid stoned toddlers scurrying around. And smoking or vaping around them is bad, too. Open the windows at the absolute bare minimum – or, even better, maybe just smoke outside.
But, ultimately, if in doubt: paws for thought…