Citizens have been fighting the flight to legalize recreational cannabis in many states for a long time now. It’s true that there are many benefits to cannabis, but one thing that many proponents failed to consider is how cannabis affects animals. It seems that the legalization of cannabis has become a serious problem among dogs that are being exposed to abnormal amounts of the drug.
According to a veterinarian at Bend Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Portland, Oregon, the legalization of marijuana also marked the increase in marijuana toxicity among animals. Dr. Adam Stone claims that when cannabis became legal in 2016, the increase in amount sick animals due to marijuana toxicity has increased dramatically. Within a 12-hour shift, the center could see anywhere from one to three sick animals with symptoms of toxicity. In addition, Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control service, reported an alarming increase in toxicity cases among animals over the past 6 years—a ridiculous 448% increase in rate.
The victims are usually dogs; it seems that cannabis has a different effect on dogs compared to other animals. The cannabis ingredient that causes an effect on animals is commonly known as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the same ingredient that alters the mental state of humans exposed to marijuana. The highest concentrations of marijuana found in edibles such as brownies and oils seem to be what’s causing the most danger to dogs. However, those aren’t the only ones that are harmful to these animals. For humans, THC has to be inhaled or dissolved in order to have an effect. For dogs, however, direct consumption of the marijuana plant is dangerous. This means that dogs could get intoxicated from raw leaves and stems, and the worst part about it is that it doesn’t take a lot for dogs to feel the effects. Something as little as ash from a joint can cause a severe reaction in some dogs. Imagine when a dog comes into contact with large amounts of cannabis; the effects could be devastating.
For a pet owner who’s not familiar with the symptoms of marijuana toxicity, witnessing it might be completely frightening. The drug could make some dogs uncommonly apathetic while others might end up completely nonresponsive. Other dogs will respond with depression, while others still might resort to abnormal agitation. Intoxicated dogs will definitely act as if they’re drunk. They’ll also noticeably leak urine when they’ve never done so before.
Those are considered to be the mild symptoms of marijuana toxicity. If a dog becomes severely intoxicated, the breathing becomes deeply affected. Breathing will slow down tremendously and will essentially be ineffective, causing a huge problem with respiration. If it becomes problematic enough, a dog can even become comatose because of the situation.
When medical personnel see one or more of these symptoms, the automatic diagnosis is that the dog has gotten into some marijuana. The situation of being intoxicated will not necessarily cause deaths in dogs, but the complications brought on by the symptoms could definitely be fatal.
One situation that can prove to be deathly to dogs is when they develop nausea after being exposed to marijuana. Most dogs will feel this way regardless, and it can become life threatening when the dogs essentially become completely sedated. They could throw up and aspirate after breathing in their vomit. It’s a horrifying situation that unfortunately happens more than it should. Another situation that could prove to be dangerous is when a dog starts seizing because of marijuana. The more THC a dog consumes, the worse the effects will be.
If you’re a pet owner, you have to know what these symptoms are regardless of whether you use marijuana or not. There are many places and events such as festivals, concerts, and fairs where your dog could easily consume marijuana edibles accidentally and unknowingly. It’s important to know the symptoms of toxicity, so you could take immediate action as soon as you notice it in your dog
If your dog ever comes into contact with marijuana and gets intoxicated, the first thing you need to do is get the toxin out of the animal. You can take the dog to the vet to induce vomiting. You could also call the vet to get instructions on how to induce vomiting if the clinic is just too far. Once the toxins are vomited, you can then safely transport your pet to the vet clinic. Your dog is likely to get some fluids to stay hydrated and some anti-nausea medication to prevent any vomiting while the dog is asleep. Pet owners will get further instructions on dog care before their dogs are released back to their care.