By Adam Parsons

Pretty much any time people enjoy cannabis, whether it’s for some chill time at home or when having fun at a concert, there is secondhand cannabis smoke. For us friends of the magical herb, this isn’t a big deal; after all, what’s wrong with the smell of some nice, dank weed? On the other hand, secondhand cannabis smoke is often a nuisance for those who are not into cannabis. And let’s be honest, who could blame them, seeing that the smell sure can be quite intense. But what about your pets? Can they get high from secondhand smoke?


The average person doesn’t need to be concerned about getting high from a whiff (or a few) of your secondhand cannabis smoke. The main reason for this is that people are much larger and heavier than household pets, so the small amount of “active stuff” in weed that floats around in secondhand smoke doesn’t really make an impact. But it’s a different story with pets.

The smaller size of your dog or cat makes them a lot more sensitive to cannabis, making it possible for them to get high if there’s a lot of secondhand smoke wafting around.

You taking the occasional hit in their general vicinity shouldn't get your pet high, but a hotbox surely will. And them getting high isn’t the only potentially negative effect of secondhand smoke; dogs and cats also have a much more sensitive respiratory system, and secondhand smoke can cause them serious breathing problems and irritation.

As a general rule, the smaller your pet, the bigger the risk of being harmed by secondhand smoke.


Some stoners believe that what’s good for them is also good for their dogs. They may blow weed into their dog’s face or even give them some edibles, not knowing that this can actually result in severe and life-threatening reactions. Not cool. Although your furry friend isn’t going to die by interacting with lingering fumes around the house from time to time, blowing it in their face or feeding it to them is seriously irresponsible, and may cause serious symptoms such as shaking, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and even seizures.


Then again, if your dog has a medical condition and you think CBD may be of benefit, this could indeed be a possible mode of treatment. However, you should first consult with your vet before medicating your pet. Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating, so it won’t cause them to experience the same mind-altering effects. However, even if you’re smoking a CBD-rich strain, you still want to avoid having your pet come into contact with the smoke. Your vet will likely recommend better ways, like CBD oil, to administer the cannabinoid to your dog, in the right dosage.

Receptors on your Pets


Just like dogs and most other small pets, cats can get stoned from cannabis. Their smaller size makes them especially receptive to the THC from secondhand smoke. In a study from 2018, researchers found THC in the bloodstream of cats that had been exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke. This indicates that cats respond to THC and metabolise it just like we do. But don’t think that they would enjoy it if you shared your stash with them. They sure won’t. Just as with dogs, having your cat partake in your love for weed is really a bad idea, and potentially dangerous for your four-legged friend.


The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has established that cannabis is toxic for cats, dogs, and horses. Marijuana intoxication can lead to serious side effects that range from depression, to vomiting, to sleeping troubles, low blood pressure, drooling, seizures, and in extreme cases, even coma and death.

Another issue has to do with the way animals experience the “high”. While most of us certainly enjoy it, your pets will have no idea what’s going on, so it may end up being quite traumatic for them. In other words, even if your cat or dog doesn’t show obvious signs of marijuana intoxication, they are likely feeling freaked out by what’s happening.

Like dogs, CBD oil for cats is a valid option for some; consult with your vet first.


So, what if your dog or your cat finds your weed cookies? Here’s the good news; although marijuana is bad for dogs and cats, fatal accidents from weed are relatively rare. The side effects from marijuana intoxication, such as the above-mentioned, are normally short-lived and last no longer than 72 hours.

That being said, if you suspect that Fluffy got into your stash, this is an emergency and you should consult your vet immediately. Likewise, if you think that your pet may have gotten too intoxicated from secondhand smoke, contact your vet as soon as possible just to make sure. If you notice strange behaviour in your pets such as panting, pacing, restlessness, or general distress, it may be time to act. Getting your cat or dog to the vet is particularly important if your pet is older and/or has an underlying health condition.


These days, even the most adamant cigarette smokers know that the habit is bad for them. Lighting up a joint can also release unhealthy substances that one doesn’t necessarily want in their body. While those who smoke normally know about these risks, the word is still out on whether secondhand smoke is equally bad for your health. Some studies say it is at least as bad as smoking, while other studies suggest it has fewer risks. But even if secondhand smoke is less likely to cause long-term chronic health problems, it is known to cause acute irritation. Your pets are super sensitive to the harmful substances in smoke, even if the smoke doesn’t contain THC.

If you are someone who smokes regularly in the home, your rugs, furniture, and curtains probably have lingering smoke sticking to them too. Over time, this may be harmful to your pets. Consider giving these a deep clean once in a while.

Pets Secondhand Smoke


There are definitely some things you can do to reduce the risk for your pets when enjoying cannabis.

• Vaping

Vaping cannabis instead of smoking has a whole lot of advantages. Since vaping skips the entire combustion part, it releases much fewer harmful chemicals than smoke. Vapor will also disperse quickly, and will not linger in your room or stick to your furniture. In other words, it’s cleaner and healthier not just for you, but also your pets. So consider vaping as the better alternative if you love Fluffy as much as your weed!

• Keep your stash safe

Whether you have a bunch of jars with some juicy buds or have just gotten some “loaded” baked goods from your weed-loving grandmother, you should keep the stuff safe and sound so that your pets cannot get into it. These days, with cannabis edibles being increasingly legal in many places, vets are getting flooded with dog and cat owners whose pets have gotten into their cookies. Such accidents could be easily avoided if you keep your marijuana in a safe container, securely closed and away from your pets.

• Ventilate your room

If you are smoking with your pets around, open the windows and don’t let your room get all sticky and stinky with your cannabis smoke. Needless to say, don’t blow smoke in Fluffy’s direction “just for fun”—this is just mean.

• Watch your pets

Always keep an eye on your pets. If your pet is behaving oddly and you think it may have gotten into your stash, don’t hesitate and consult the vet right away.


If you love cannabis like most of us, but you also own pets, know that they don’t necessarily share your enthusiasm. In fact, marijuana is bad for them. If you are a responsible cannabis smoker, you should also be a responsible pet owner.

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