Dogs Are Still Getting Stoned On Marijuana, and It's No Laughing Matter. No, Seriously, Stop Laughing.
Although dogs getting high on marijuana seems pretty funny in the abstract, when it comes down to it, pet poisoning of any kind is no laughing matter — it's a serious health risk. We reported on the trend before, but apparently education and attention haven't curbed the unfortunate rise in pet marijuana poisonings. From a Washington vet just a few days ago:
"A busy week, I've seen 10-12 cases," said Dr. Nathanial Stewart of Pacific Avenue Animal Hospital. "I saw a Beagle once that ate an entire zip-lock baggie full of marijuana buds." Last week, 14-week old "Monkus" arrived at Affordable Animal Emergency Clinic in Auburn. "Lying in her own vomit, shaking," her owner Aleah Helmbrecht explained. "Her eyes were bright red...She was wobbly and couldn't stand up right." Like any puppy, Monkus loves to eat anything she finds, but Helmbrecht never figured the Daschund-terrier mix found her aunt's cannabis. "[You could] also smell from her breath that it smelled like marijuana," Dr. Ruby Donnaway. "There are weeks where we're pretty much seeing it every single night."
The phenomenon isn't limited to Washington state, where clinics saying they're seeing as many as 30 cases of canine THC overdose per month. It's also been observed in Colorado and Oregon. It's seemingly as a result of medical marijuana's legalization there — vets speculate that the increase may be related to a rise in the popularity of marijuana edibles (e.g. pot brownies), which pets may be more tempted to eat than plain marijuana plants. But remember, that dog of yours will eat almost anything — one of mine routinely attempts to consume trash and rocks — and now reports suggest that pets are even getting into bong water. Ew.
However, I looked into it with the insurance company where I purchase my own dogs' health plans: it turns out that veterinary treatments related to marijuana poisoning are still relatively uncommon. "Miscellaneous" poison claims constitute only 18 percent of Petplan's reported poisonings, and illegal drugs are only a part of that 18 percent, and marijuana claims are only a fraction of that.
It makes sense that dog marijuana poisonings really have increased, and if you find yourself in possession of marijuana (legal or illegal) you should keep it well out of reach of your furry friends. But the fact remains that most pet poisonings are from much more mundane substances — chocolate, raisins and grapes, xylitol (an artificial sweetener, often found in gum), onions, coffee, macadamia nuts, and garlic — as well as perfectly ordinary and legal over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Some common plants are poisonous, too.
So basically whether you use marijuana or not, it's a good idea to refresh yourself on the complete list of pet poisons. Marijuana and other poisons don't harm dogs, neglectful owners harm dogs. Better safe than sorry!