Do Dogs & Cats Know When I’m Stoned?

Puppy and Kitten Closeup Over White
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It's a question mankind has been asking since the beginning of time: Does my pet know when I'm stoned?

We know that dogs can detect that something is off when their human is drunk. Do the same rules apply to marijuana?

Dogs

There is no shortage of people asking this question about their dogs on the internet. Many people claim their dogs act "weird" when they're stoned. But then again, they're stoned, so they probably aren't the best judges of weird behavior.

The answer is complicated and kind of unsatisfying: they can sense that something is different, but they don't have a concept of drugs or inebriation. So, do they know if you're stoned? Eh ... sort of.

Dogs, as you might already know, have an amazing sense of smell. Scientists estimate that a dog's sense of smell is between 10,000 and 100,000 times more acute than ours. Of course, we know that dogs can be trained to sniff out drugs. So there's no question that they can smell marijuana, whether it's being burned (or vaporized), or it's in a bag in your pocket.

Smiling Golden Retriever with sunglasses and marijuana leaf bandana
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Additionally, since dogs are pretty tuned in to our bodies and behavior, they can probably sense that you're behaving differently when stoned. This, however, depends on your behavior — if you're the type that simply likes to chill out and watch TV, it's less likely that your dog will think something is different. If you're the type that gets stoned and tries to build model airplanes, your impaired judgment will probably be more apparent to your dog.

Cats

What about cats, who are famously less tuned in to our behavior? Some people are convinced that their cats know when they're high, but that's not likely to be true.

Portrait of beautiful tabby cat in sun rays
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There hasn't been much research into the subject, so it's hard to say for sure. But it's far more likely that your dog is able to detect your altered state than your cat. Richard Coss, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, notes that cats are much more independent than dogs, and less likely to pick up on their human's impaired state. "If you were behaving in an erratic manner, it would probably be sensed by dogs, but not by cats most likely," he said in an interview with Hopes&Fears.

While cats have a better sense of smell than humans, it's not as good as dogs. So yes, they can smell the weed you have in your pocket, vaporizer, Altoids box, etc. But they have no idea what it is. Like dogs, cats have no sense of what a drug is, so don't worry, they're not going to narc on you.

Just make sure you don't leave any weed products — especially delicious-looking edibles — lying around where your pet could ingest them. Also, it's probably best to walk your dog before getting stoned, lest you fall asleep before taking them out.