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Keep Marijuana Away From Dogs, Vets Say

Feb 03, 2017 11:13 AM EST
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Dogs on weed sound like a premise for a cartoon or even a funny YouTube video, but pet owners should be more careful with their stash of pot just in case their four-legged companions come sniffing around. Numbers of veterinary calls pertaining to pets consuming marijuana are rising and its effect on dogs aren't quite as desirable as their effect on humans.

"We probably see close to one a day at one of our four hospitals," David Wohlstadter, senior emergency clinician for the city locations of the veterinary chain Blue Pearl, said in a report from New York Times. "And we've definitely seen an increase in the past couple of years."

To be more specific, the A.S.P.C.A.'s animal poison control center recorded a 144 percent increase in pet marijuana overdose calls from 2010 to 2015. California logged in the most calls than any other state in the country, followed by New York.

Effects of weed include lethargy, unsteady gait, dribbling urine and saliva, and oversensitivity to sound, light and movement. These are often not life-threatening, but treatment can take a few days through hydration and keeping the dog in a quiet and comfortable place. If it's recently ingested, induced vomiting may also be a good idea.

"We always used to joke about treating marijuana with fluids and Doritos and Pink Floyd," Tina Wismer, director of the animal poison control center, said. "But we have had some serious intoxication - animals that become comatose, with extremely low blood pressure."

Although there has been no evidence yet of a dog's lower tolerance to THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, just their smaller body weight can account for their harsher reaction. After all, a dose of marijuana that can get a 150-pound human stoned will be 10 times more potent in a 15-pound dog.

It's even more of a problem if the dog's owner is stoned too. There have been times that the human cannot grasp the seriousness of their dog's situation because of the effects on marijuana on themselves.

Last month, former city Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum found her five-month-old puppy sick. She told New York Daily News, "He wouldn't eat, he wouldn't get up, and his head was bobbing."

A trip to the vet revealed that the puppy tested positive for marijuana. Although neither Gotbaum nor her husband smoke pot, they suspect their dog might have picked it up during a walk in Central Park.

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