Attention stoners: keep your weed away from your dogs. While the "dogs high on weed" genre of uploaded YouTube videos is wildly popular, Colorado veterinarians are warning pet owners that, although most dogs survive, ingesting marijuana can be life-threatening to a dog, or at the very least, a "bad trip" for them.
CBS4 reports that Colorado veterinarians are seeing a spike in dogs being treated for being high marijuana. Whether they dig up your stash, find an old roach, eat some marijuana edibles or inhale second-hand marijuana smoke, dogs are getting high on marijuana in Colorado and with an increased frequency, according to a new report.
Dr. Stacy Meola, a veterinarian in Wheat Ridge, helped put together the study that shows the number of dogs that fall ill to marijuana has quadrupled in Colorado since medical marijuana became legalized.
“I just want dogs, kids to be safe. It needs to be treated like any other drug. If you came home with a prescription of vicodin from your doctor you wouldn’t just leave it sitting there,” Dr. Meola told CBS4.
But dogs getting high in Colorado is nothing new. In 2011, the Durango Herald spoke with Jennifer Schoedler, a veterinarian at Alpine Animal Hospital, who has seen dogs getting sick from marijuana since the 90s. "Dogs love the stuff," Schoedler told the Herald. "I've seen them eat the buds, plants, joints and marijuana in food."
Schoedler added that just as dark chocolate is safe for humans to ingest but potentially poisonous to dogs, so goes marijuana for dogs.
Luckily, marijuana ingestion is very rarely fatal to a dog and most are back to normal within 24 hours.
Dogs can't even really get "high" like their human owners can, according to Jennifer Bolser of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. When asked if pets can get high as a person would understand the sensation, she said to The Daily Camera in April :
No. Marijuana exposure in pets causes neurologic toxicity, which is not the same as the "high" that people experience. The symptoms (staggering, agitation, stupor, etc.) that develop in pets do not appear enjoyable for them.
In other words, marijuana is a toxin to pets and a pet owner should seek medical attention from a veterinarian if their pet accidentally ingests marijuana.
It turns out that marijuana intoxication in pets is so common that San Francisco veterinarian Eric Barchas has an entire page on his website about pets accidentally getting high. Barchas writes on his website that pets exposed to marijuana are often disoriented, display anxiety, and lack coordination, but states that "serious long-term health consequences and fatality from marijuana intoxication are essentially unheard of."
If your pet has red eyes, poor motor function, an irregular heart beat and/or poor temperature regulation, he or she might have ingested some marijuana and needs to see a vet for treatment. ONE News reports that cannabis poisoning in a pet can be treated with a highly absorbent charcoal solution taken orally every four to six hours as well as with plenty of hydration.