Pets accidentally ingesting marijuana on rise as states legalize medical, recreational use, veterinarians say

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By: CBSPhilly
February 19, 2019

Pets getting marijuana is extremely dangerous and veterinarians say it’s happening more often because pot is legalized in a growing number of states.

Pets getting high is not a good thing. Veterinarians say marijuana products can be dangerous for animals and the medicinal value of potentially helping with things like pain or seizure hasn’t been researched enough to know.

Calls to the Veterinary Poison Helpline regarding pets accidentally ingesting marijuana have surged 448 percent over the past six years, according to the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

“We don’t have anything to use to counteract it,” said Dr. Kathleen Neuhoff.

So, it’s a matter of trying to dilute the symptoms and control the dog with medications to keep them from hurting themselves or having a seizure.

Vets say pets, mainly dogs, accidentally getting into their owners' pot is increasing as more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana. Dogs come in unconscious, depressed or falling from marijuana toxicity poisoning.

“Some that will get a really high toxic dose could be so depressed neurological that they can progress to a coma and potentially death,” said Dr. Lindsey Candey.

While marijuana can be helpful for humans, it’s not known if it could help or hurt animals.

“Because it has been an illegal compound until recently, there is almost no research on what are the toxic levels for dogs, what are the safety levels, what are the efficacy levels,” said Dr. Neuhoff.

Veterinarians warn owners not to give any kind of marijuana product to an animal.

“We spend hours and hours taking things out of dogs’ stomachs that shouldn’t be in there,” said Dr. Neuhoff. “So, this is no different. They will eat it especially if they perceive it as a human treat.”

That’s why vets say pot and all medications should be kept out of the animal's reach.

“It should be somewhere that is safe and very difficult for your pet to get into it,” said Dr. Candey.

Vets say cats are less likely to ingest marijuana products but it could be even more toxic for them.

There are CBD products made from hemp for animals, but how well they work hasn’t been carefully studied.

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