The passage of medical marijuana in Colorado in 2000 has led to a 400% increase in veterinary emergency treatment for dogs that have ingested cannabis, according to Dr. Stacy Meola at Colorado’s Wheat Ridge veterinary clinic, reports CBS News Denver.
Unlike marijuana’s effect on humans, marijuana ingestion for dogs can be fatal. Dr. Debbie Van Pelt of the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Englewood says that there are “huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion” by dogs in the states where marijuana laws have been liberalized.
Veterinarians suspect that the dogs are likely getting into the marijuana-infused products that have become a popular medicine for cannabis patients. According to Dr. Meola, most dogs that ingest marijuana will be fine after 24 hours, but she knows of two dogs that “got into baked goods with medical grade marijuana butter in it, which presumably seems to be more toxic to the dogs, so we did have two deaths.”
The usual symptoms of canine cannabis consumption include lethargy, vomiting, and staggering. Some dogs become overly sensitive to light and sound and a few have been known to fall into a coma.
The size of the dog can make a major difference. ONE News in New Zealand reported on a <2kg (5lb) chihuahua that nearly died of hypothermia from eating marijuana “roaches”. Cannabis causes blood vessels to dilate, which causes the tell-tale red eyes in mammals that consume it. However, that blood vessel dilation also means the tiny chihuahua radiated all its internal body heat to the surface of its body, causing the hypothermia.
So add marijuana to avocado, alcohol, onions, garlic, caffeine, raisins, grapes, milk, macadamia nuts, chocolate, peaches, plums, and persimmons on the list of edibles you should keep away from your dog. Should your dog consume your stash and the effects become too severe, it can be treated with extra hydration and absorbent charcoal by a veterinarian.