The gemarah (Bava Metziah 32b, based on Shemot 32:5) explains that a person is not allowed to give an animal undo pain, this is know as צער בעל חי. I would like to know if a person is allowed to give an animal drugs for recreational purposes? For example catnip or pot brownies for a dog. On the one hand I am not aware of any halacha this would violate (see this summary of the halachot of caring for pets) and there is evidence that animals do things to intentionally get high on their own. On the other hand it is possible that the animal will injure itself after taking the drugs (I am unsure if grama would be applicable in this type of case) thereby causing (indirectly) pain to the animal, it is also possible that the drugs cause the animal pain and we are not aware of it. Furthermore, it is possible that the drugs could have an adverse long term effect on the animals brain, especially if the animal gets high multiple times.

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    From the title, I thought this was going to be a discussion of performing hagbahah on an elephant, as per Kiddushin 25b...
    – Joel K
    Jan 2, 2018 at 21:10
  • Practical question - Dogs and cats (esp. cats) behave strangely, pretty much on their own. How would you know if they're "high"? I'm no vet, but, I gather that what may be safe for humans is dangerous for pets. Additionally, even in states that have allowed recreational use for humans may still make its use illegal for pets.
    – DanF
    Jan 2, 2018 at 21:32
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    @DanF as a pet owner it is pretty clear when an animal is behaving 'normally' and when they are behaving differently due to a consumed substance. regarding legalities, that lies outside the bounds of my question which is only inquiring about halachic permissability as it relates to the question of tzaar baalei chayim Jan 2, 2018 at 21:47
  • I think taking a chance on an uncertainty may already be a violation of צער בעל חי . Even if it's a minute chance of causing a problem. I'm inferring that these drugs MAY cause problems and pain, and it is not necessary for you to give these drugs in the first place. I've seen cats get "high" on catnip, but AFAIK, it's not causing them harm. You're owning a pet can verify this. If it doesn't cause harm, even temporarily, then, I can't see a problem.
    – DanF
    Jan 2, 2018 at 23:28
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    Giving a dog chocolate brownies is a separate problem. If you want to consider dog edibles, try something else.
    – rosends
    Jan 2, 2018 at 23:57


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