Vets Say They’re Seeing More Dogs Being Poisoned By Marijuana

Oh, doggo!

Vets Say They're Seeing More Dogs Being Poisoned By Marijuana
Photo by Monty Rakusen/Getty Images

More and more dogs are getting hauled into the emergency room because of marijuana. Vets say cases of weed poisoning are skyrocketing among man’s best friend.

The issue is so far out of control that calls to the Veterinary Services Poison Helpline for marijuana ingestion by pets has jumped 448 percent over the past six years, according to a statement provided by the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

If you’re a dog owner and you didn’t already realize, dogs will eat just about anything. They’re curious creatures who have no discerning taste when it comes to edibles, whether they come in the form of poop or cannabis.

Laura Stern, a veterinarian with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, told NBC News: “We have seen a significant increase in the number of calls we have received about pets and marijuana.”

While cats can also be victims of marijuana overdose, about 90 percent of the marijuana-related calls to the Animal Poison Control are about dogs, Stern told NBC News.

Peter Bowie, a veterinarian at Pet Emergency & Special Center of Marin, California, tells NBC News he treats about five dogs a week who’ve ingested marijuana, saying:  “Treatment is supportive. If signs are moderately good, we do home nursing care. For more serious cases, we give IV fluids and do a respiratory watch.”

Dogs are actually more susceptible to the effects of cannabis than people, according to Gary Richter, a veterinarian at Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California, who tells NBC News that dog have larger concentrations of cannabinoid receptors — which are involved in memory, appetite and the sensation of pain — than humans.

He says if you think your dog has eaten some marijuana, get on the phone immediately and call your vet, because the situation is no joke. It’s not uncommon for dogs to have seizures or slip into a coma.

“The best way to compare it is to the idea of a really bad trip,” Bowie tells NBC News. “They are disoriented, hyper-reactive and they can also be somnolent. They stumble around and they pee on themselves.”

And THC can definitely have a major impact on our four-legged friends. Says Stern:

The more THC a pet ingests, the more severe the signs generally are, so it takes a smaller amount of concentrated material — like edibles — to cause an issue than it would with plant material.

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