The Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour pet poison control center. Calls about pets overdosing on marijuana have quadrupled over the past three years. Most of the increase has taken place in the last 12 months.
Dr. Ahna Brutlag, senior veterinary toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline, said about pets overdosing, “Over the past year alone, we’ve had double the marijuana exposures.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has experienced a similar increase in pets overdosing. In 2014, the ASPCA’s poison control centers received approximately 539 calls about animals who had accidentally consumed cannabis. This is up from 320 in 2013.
Dr. Heidi Houchen, of Clackamas, Ore, a veterinarian at Northwest Veterinary Specialists said,
“What’s worrying to us is the severity of cases now. We still see the classic case: red eyes, wobbly, urinating on themselves, a little twitchy … but they can progress through the sedate, leaning, urine-dribbling stage to becoming completely comatose or absolutely rigid. They’ve come in and had seizures. They can come in a panic, really sensitive to noise and touch. They can pass away.”
Dr. Brutlag said,
“Part of the problem is that pets are sneaking away edible cannabis products. If a brownie is sitting on the coffee table, that dog is going to eat it whether it has marijuana or not. I think the enticement and the opportunity for a pet is greater [with edibles].”
And there is a special danger for pets with an insatiable appetite. Dr. Brutlag added,
“It’s not just going to eat one brownie. It’ll eat the whole pan. The dose of what a dog would ingest relative to a human would be much greater.”
While it is true both recreational and medical marijuana for pets are being targeted by the marijuana industry, the assumption it is perfectly safe for a pet could have some unhappy consequences. Chances are slim your pet’s overdose will kill it, but there could be complications, and your best bud isn’t going to feel well for a day or two. It’s probably worth the safety and happiness of your buddy to put the brownies in the frig or cupboard. Besides, the chocolate is definitely not good for them.