Chances are you’ve thought about pets and psychedelics if you’re a pet owner. So we’re wondering: would you give your pet psychedelics?
Is it ethical? Can we say it’s in an animal’s nature to trip? Is it their right to trip? Or is it completely wrong? What about animal testing? If animals like psychedelics, does that make it okay to test them on animals? Animals in nature seek out psychedelics, so is it really that strange to consider giving your pets psychedelics?
As with all content on Reality Sandwich, we aim to provide the most up-to-date facts on this topic of pets and psychedelics.
Testing Psychedelics on Animals
Animal rights activists do not support the testing of any mind-altering substance on animals. But is it really immoral when you consider psychedelics as a tool for mind-expansion? Could psychedelics help animals reach their full potential?
Animals on LSD: Albert Hoffman’s Observations
Hoffman said that studies reveal little about the effects of LSD on animals. It’s difficult for animals to communicate with humans. Even if a psychedelic effect is happening to an animal, the animal may not always be expressing the effects. But it is easier to see the effects of LSD in “higher” animals such as chimpanzees, dogs, and cats than “lower” animals such as mice and fish.
Mice on LSD
Under LSD, Hoffman observed a mouse had only motor disturbances and altered licking behavior.
Chimpanzees on LSD
In a community of caged chimpanzees, Hoffman observed that chimpanzees were quite sensitive to see only one chimpanzee receive a dose of LSD. The chimp community knew something was off with the chimp who received LSD, even when the chimp who received LSD did not appear to be on LSD. The chimp on LSD disregards the laws of the hierarchy within the tribes which causes an uproar in the other chimps.
Fish on LSD
When fish are on LSD, their swimming pattern changes.
Spiders on LSD
When spiders are on LSD, the patterns of their webs change. At high doses, the spiders’ webs were a disorganized mess. But with microdoses, the spiders’ webs were more proportioned than their “sober” webs.
Cats on LSD
Hoffmann observed the cat experiencing vegetative symptoms and had signs of hallucinations. Symptoms of this were salivation and piloerection–goosebumps. The cat anxiously stared instead of attacking the mouse. The cat avoided the mouse and even looked scared of it.
After Hoffman’s testing on cats, other doctors continued this research.
Testing and Observing Cats on LSD
Cats have BIG personalities. Observing their sober behaviors can be entertaining, but what about while on LSD? That made an interesting experiment for Dr. Barry Jacobs back in the 70s.
He says that cats on LSD tend to have an increase in limb flicking and abortive grooming. The increase in these behaviors is directly correlated to the LSD dosage.
Have you seen a cat’s reaction to water? When a cat dips its paw in its water bowl or accidentally gets wet? It does a limb flick. This is described as flicking its paws, trying to get the water off, as if it’s disgusted with and freaked out by the sensation of water. Limb flicks are specific to cats and only seen in response to foreign substances.
Abortive grooming is when a cat assumes the position to groom itself but then stops. It’s like he’s about to bite, lick, or scratch and then stops. Or performs the response in midair instead of to its body.
Limb flicking and abortive grooming often occur in response to psilocybin which is similar in structure and function to LSD. These behaviors are not seen in response to other types of psychoactive drugs like caffeine.
Both limb flicking and abortive grooming are useful in studying the effects of LSD because they’re easily measured.
Pets and Psychedelics: Dogs
Would you give your dog psychedelics? Studies show that there are benefits to giving dogs psychedelics, especially if he’s a hunter. And psychedelics might be okay for dogs to have. However, there are potential dangers to be wary of.
Indigenous Tribes Give Their Dogs Psychedelics
Psychedelics are used as a hunting tool in indigenous tribes. Similar to how psychedelics enhance human cognitive clarity, psychedelics enhance a dog’s smell. So dogs are given psychedelics to make their hunting skills more effective and efficient.
Not only does their heightened sense of smell help tribes find food, but they can sense when a jaguar is near and warn the tribe.
Dogs provide nourishment to these tribes. They’re considered sacred creatures and are incredibly valuable.
Dogs are so valuable that mothers in indigenous tribes sometimes nurse their dogs alongside their babies. This may spark an instinctual feeling of ick and ouch… But we have to remember these tribes have a different relationship with dogs than westerners.
These dogs sustain the survival of their tribe. These dogs are not domesticated in the way dogs are in western cultures. They are friends, a part of the tribe, but wild, free, and spiritual jungle dogs. And their health and well-being are crucial.
Dogs are given plants, gifts from the earth, to enhance their performance as hunters. Similar to how humans take plants or supplements to enhance energy or productivity. (Coffee, anyone?)
Hunting and Hallucinogens
The indigenous tribes were the first people to discover that psychedelics can help a dog’s hunting skills. Western researcher’s collected data from tribes. The data shows that psychedelics alter the perception in hunting dogs by enhancing sensory perception and decreasing extraneous signals. These effects are what’s involved in the finding and seizing of wild game.
Benefits of Training Dogs With Hallucinogens
Since psychedelics can help dogs hunt, researchers believe they may also help police dogs detect explosives, human remains, or other targets. With psychedelics, dogs also have the potential to find invasive species, sniff out types of cancer, and assist people with disabilities.
LSD’s Effects on Dogs
There’s not much research about LSD’s effects on dogs. However, there are circumstances where a dog accidentally took its owner’s LSD. The dog owners observed the dog was extra joyous, eager to go for a walk, and more friendly to strangers than normal. Generally, the dog seemed to be enjoying life! A sign of hallucinations was the dog was biting at his leg hairs. Again, this is not researched, but observations of real-life circumstances.
Dogs and Magic Mushrooms
There’s not much research on dogs and magic mushrooms. Veterinarians don’t have a lot of data because dogs eating magic mushrooms is an event that often goes unreported. Incidents likely go unreported either because the owner:
- Does not believe the dog is in danger
- Fears getting caught with “drugs”
Luckily, Animal Poison Control Center says that toxicosis is not common in dogs who’ve taken magic mushrooms (but more on this below). Treatment for dogs who’ve taken magic mushrooms varies depending on their symptoms. Dogs may experience agitation or a high heart rate, but nothing life-threatening. Dogs do not need monitoring unless tremors or seizures are seen (not common). Effects can look like the dog is just spaced-out and observing what’s around them.
Dog Hallucinations: The Dangers of Being Your Dog’s Trip Sitter
While some dogs might trip and everything goes fine, there could be a real danger for humans around a dog having a bad trip. For example, if the dog is having hallucinations that something unfamiliar is coming close, it could have the instinct to attack. What if your dog is tripping and sees you as a threat?
Depending on the size of the dog, the dosage your dog has taken, and his temperament, you may be in real danger. While dogs are a man’s best friend, the reality is that dogs have attacked people in normal circumstances. Can a bad trip cause a good dog to attack?
This brings up the horrible thought of a muzzle. Imagine feeling like you need to bring your dog to the vet because he has an unusually high heart rate or is seizing (seizing is extremely rare, but it’s happened). Would you feel comfortable driving your dog to the vet with him in this condition? What if he won’t let you come near him to help?
If a K9 German Shepard police dog gets exposed to LSD, it’s suggested to put a muzzle on the dog. A muzzle could make a dog’s trip much worse. But if a dog that’s been trained to attack is tripping, what are you supposed to do in that situation?
Pets and Psychedelics: Cats
There’s less of a risk when it comes to tripping house cats. As mentioned above, there have been some studies done on cats and psychedelics. Both domestic and wild cats have been known to seek out psychedelics and enjoy mind-altering substances.
Cats Like Tripping
Everyone knows cats love drugs…take catnip for example.
Catnip contains nepetalactone. Cats respond to this chemical in a similar way to how they would respond to pheromones, they appear to be sexually aroused.
When a cat stumbles upon a catnip plant, it will rub on the stems, leaves, and eat its flowers. It’s not long before the cat appears to be intoxicated. They’ll roll, sniff, lick, stretch, jump, rub themselves, and then become sleepy. While on catnip, many cats start to hunt even when there’s nothing to hunt. This is an indication that cats may be hallucinating.
Tripping With Cats
Cats seem to have intuition. It’s been reported that cats know when you’re tripping. It’s as though they have a 6th sense.
Cat owners who like to trip have observed their cats being more affectionate towards them while they’re tripping. This could be a result of humans being more receptive and open to their cat’s affection. Or because humans who are tripping are putting out more positive vibes. Either way, how magical is a cuddly cat when you’re tripping!
Keeping Your Pets Safe When Using Psychedelics
If you’re keeping psychedelics in your home with pets, know how to keep your pets safe! Always keep your psychedelics in a place that your pet can not get into. For example, a jar is safer than a baggy. The top of the closet is safer than under the bed. And a locked drawer is safer than an open drawer.
Pets and Mushrooms in Nature
Have a basic understanding of different mushrooms when you’re hiking in the spring and summer. Dogs have been known to eat mushrooms growing wild. Even if you’re familiar with a trail, mushrooms can pop up overnight after a rainstorm. Keep your eyes out for mushrooms and notice if your dog starts to eat them. It might be a good idea to stay close to home or in a place where your dog feels comfortable and safe if you suspect he’s eaten magic mushrooms.
Signs That You Should Call Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)
As mentioned above, Animal Poison Control Center says that toxicosis is not common in dogs who’ve taken magic mushrooms. However, there’s still a risk. If your dog is showing symptoms of toxicity from mushrooms, call your vet immediately. Keep your eye out for these signs:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Abdominal pain
- Increased salivation
Pets Are a Great Psychedelic Trip Sitter
Whether psychedelics are a good fit for your pet or not, they can sure make your trip better. People who have pets have reported their pets helping them come out of a bad trip. Pets can be a best friend and your best trip sitter.
What’s better than that unconditional love from your furry friend. Kitty cuddles on the couch? Or watching your dog run around outside in pure joy? And when you’re tripping, you can feel truly connected to your pet’s soul. After all, you’re both souls experiencing this world together. Psychedelics might bring you closer.
What are your thoughts on pets and psychedelics? Comment below!
RS Contributing Author: Lauren Sasser
Lauren Sasser is a copywriter for the cannabis and plant-medicine industries. She believes plant power gives the soul power. People need the right to choose whichever form of therapy and/or medicine meets their unique needs and will help them grow into the best human they can be. In her spare time, she hangs out with her kids, rips down snowy mountains, dives through ocean waves, and dances to funk music in her kitchen.