Your pets are everything you could ever ask for – they are cute, fun, and loyal members of the family. Yet, they are also playful and naive when it comes to being mindful of any marijuana plants you are cultivating. Unintentionally, they could wreak havoc on your cannabis grow therefore, it is imperative that you do everything you can to ensure they do not interfere – for their sake and yours. More than keeping the plants safe, there is another compelling reason to do so, too.
Keeping Marijuana Plants Safe from Dogs and Cats
Before getting down to the business of keeping your dog or cat away from the cannabis plants, you should know what kind of damage they could do. If not for anything else, knowing this should be more than enough motivation to prevent access as soon as possible before anything unfortunate occurs.
Damages Caused by Pets
In an outdoor garden, a pet dog or cat roaming free could be helpful in certain situations. For example, they can chase away other animals such as birds, rabbits, and rats. On the other hand, they could also cause harm.
Dogs, as you soon will find out, causes less harm than cats. Nevertheless, they could still cause destruction in the garden. For one, they are naturally curious, in the absence of anything else to do, they might start playing with the marijuana plants. They could dig the soil or trample the plants and leave your crops completely ruined. While I’m sure it’s difficult to stay angry with your pet dog, you will be at a loss if all of your hard work growing marijuana comes undone in this way.
Cat urine is high in nitrogen and ammonia. If allowed to urinate around your marijuana plants or compost, it could be problematic if unchecked. An excess of nitrogen, for example, can cause a nutrient burn. A bit of ammonia is healthy, but an excess could lead to ammonia toxicity (Moore 2016), which can then cause burnt leaves, blackened roots, or even death.
Cat excrement, on the other hand, may not harm the plants directly. However, it can be harmful to humans if not properly cleaned up – furthermore the smell alone should be enough to ensure this problem is dealt with properly.
By eating infected rats, birds, and other small animals, a cat could get infected with toxoplasma – caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This microbe can be passed on, contaminating the soil through feces (‘Toxoplasmosis: An Important Message for Cat Owners’). Because you are handling the medium as part of nurturing the plants, then you could also get infected.
Incidentally, cat feces could also contain other parasites such as roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm. All these could also infect you, posing health risks.
Protecting the Plants
To protect the marijuana plants from pets, all you need to do is to follow the law or regulations governing growing at home for personal consumption. In every state that allows you to grow marijuana plants at home, you are required to secure the garden, preventing access by minors – both indoors and outdoors. Undoubtedly, the measures you undertake should be more than enough to keep dogs or cats away.
Inside the house, keep the growing space locked up. Outdoors, fencing might not be enough as the pets can easily find ways around this or in some cases simply jump over the fence. You could construct a cage to house the plants.
You could also dust the area around the immediate vicinity of the plants with substances like hot chili peppers to ward off your innocent pets and prevent them from causing harm to your plants. Not only does it keep your pets away, but also other pests.
One thing that also helps take the attention of dogs and cats away from the plants is to ensure that they have activities and toys to play with. Cats should have a litter box where it could conduct its business.
Keeping Pets Away Is Keeping Them Safe
The plants are, by no means, food that dogs or cats seek out. On the off chance that a pet ends up chewing the plants, even a tiny bit of THC could wreak havoc, causing marijuana intoxication. For us, humans, getting high is beautiful. For dogs and cats, it is hellish primarily because they are hundreds of times more sensitive.
Do you know what happens to pets that get high (Moore 2016)?
Neurological signs include:
- Disoriented, unbalanced, and uncoordinated
- Dilated pupils giving them a wild-eyed appearance
- Drool excessively or vomit
- Urinary incontinence (i.e., urine leakage)
Physically, an intoxicated pet may exhibit these:
- Low or elevated heart rate and blood pressure
- Slowed respiration rate (breathing rate)
- Increase or decrease in body temperature
As you can see, when you protect the plants, you are also keeping your dog or cat safe.
Keeping Pets Away Makes Everyone Happy
The law is clear in states where marijuana is legalized and allows adults to grow for personal use at home. The plants should be kept secure, preventing access by minors. If you could keep young people and children out of the growing space, then that should suffice in keeping the dogs and cats away.
Not everyone conforms to the regulations, though. In that case, then consider how harmful marijuana is to the pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control reports that since 2009, the number of calls reporting marijuana intoxication has risen by 50%, steadily. From 2005 to 2010, there was a four-fold increase. Pet Poison Hotline reports that the number of pets ingesting marijuana has increased by 200%.
Granted, the vast majority – if not all – of these cases involved edibles or other forms of cannabis, not plants. Still, you do not want your pets to unwittingly harm themselves, do you?
Keeping the pets away from the plants is not at all challenging. As long as you keep the plants secure, your plants will reach full maturity and provide a bountiful harvest under your care. Your pets are unharmed, everyone is happy.
Moore, Sarah. “Will Ammonia Kill Plants Outside?” SF Gate, Hearst Newspapers, 7 Oct. 2016.
“Toxoplasmosis: An Important Message for Cat Owners” Center for Global Health Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Wismer, Tina. “Marijuana and Dogs and Cats: A Risky Combination.” Vetstreet, 4 Mar. 2014.