— Dogs get into things, whether it be chewing up a
shoe, digging through the trash or grabbing food off the
table. Now some owners need to add marijuana edibles to
the list of items to keep away from man’s best friend.
medical marijuana legal in more than 20 states,
emergency rooms for pets are seeing more and more dogs
that have eaten marijuana in brownies, cookies, oils and
come in and their dogs are lethargic, with their eyes
rolling in the back of their heads, or they’re
unconscious," said Dr. Billy Griswold with
Emergency Animal Clinic, which has five Phoenix-area
said that over the past few years he has treated at
least 24 dogs each month that have eaten marijuana. That
coincides with Arizonans voting in 2010 to legalize
medical marijuana, leading to more than 50,000 licensed
their owners, dogs that get into marijuana edibles don’t
know they should consume an amount appropriate for their
weight. That leads to unpredictable reactions ranging
from depression, staggering and dilated pupils to
vomiting, seizures, coma and, in rare cases, death.
is considered to be toxic, a poison to these dogs,"
Griswold said. "Owners have to be more careful and
use common sense. Don’t let your dogs eat those
Tim Hackett, director of Colorado State University’s
James Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said such cases
are more common in places where marijuana is legal for
medical use — 21 states and the District of Columbia
— and in Colorado and Washington state, which have
legalized recreational use. But it also occurs in states
where any use of marijuana is illegal, he said.
a significant correlation between the number of people
using marijuana freely now and dogs being treated for a
high," he said.
said that when dogs have access to a plate of marijuana
brownies or other edibles, they eat all they can.
gorge themselves," he said. "Consequentially
they have more traumatic symptoms."
those cases, veterinarians usually treat dogs by feeding
them activated charcoals that absorb toxins, making them
vomit and administering IV fluids to keep them hydrated.
Barry Kellogg, senior veterinary adviser for the Humane
Society Veterinary Medical Association, said research is
lacking on how marijuana affects animals versus humans.
He said his organization is among those pressing the
federal government to remove what he calls regulatory
hurdles hampering clinical research on such effects.
that will we have a knowledge base so that all animals
can be safe and even might benefit from its use,"
then, veterinarians must deal with uncertainties,
including those that arise when owners are reluctant to
say what’s really ailing Fido.
Brian Serbin with Ingleside Animal Hospital in Phoenix
said owners should never withhold from veterinarians
that dogs have eaten marijuana.
veterinary community is not here to tattle on you,"
Serbin said. "Be honest with your doctor so we can
fix your dog."
is toxic to dogs, cats and horses, leading to a
condition referred to as marijuana toxicosis.
include staggering, weakness, dilated pupils, show heart
rate, vomiting, trouble urinating, depression, seizures,
hyperthermia and, in rare cases, death.
appear within 30-60 minutes after consumption and can
last up to three days.