Marijuana and pets

It used to be we would see canine marijuana ingestion cases – (cats are too smart!) once or twice a year. Owners were shy to admit the reason for the emergency visit, but usually came around. But in today’s community, post medical marijuana legalization, we are seeing a four-fold increase in pets not only getting sick from the ingestion, but also dying! Marijuana exposure in pets causes neurologic toxicity, which is not the same as the "high" that people experience. Typical treatment entails helping the poor pups through what can only be a terrifying experience for a dog with limited intoxication experiences who can’t understand what’s going on. In the past, fluids, sedatives, and a quiet space would have been enough, but now with the fancy new high-dose concoctions that have been developed to meet the medical marijuana palates, new treats like marijuana chocolate or butter infused with marijuana have turned pet marijuana intoxications often dangerously fatal. While many owners think it is funny to get their dog stoned (don’t believe me? Take a look at YouTube), we consider the experience to be abusive to the pet. Symptoms include vomiting, staggering, lethargy, agitation, and hypersensitivity to light and sound; and unlike for humans, these symptoms do not appear enjoyable to pets. A full on coma is often the presenting sign of toxicity.

Personally, I think medical marijuana is a necessity and blessing for those who need it. But just like you wouldn’t leave your painkiller pills or chemotherapy agents lying around, don’t leave marijuana out to be sampled by pets or children. The relief marijuana provides for humans is not shared by the whole animal kingdom, even for dogs with cancer. Keep this one for yourself.