Scottsdale, Ariz. (CBS LAS VEGAS) — Veterinarians are warning pet owners to keep their pets out of their pot, with several animal clinics reporting a large increase in the number of dogs being brought in for consumption of marijuana.
Several Emergency Animal Clinics in Arizona are reporting that cases of canines being brought in due to exposure to marijuana has “doubled” since the legalized medical product became available in Arizona dispensaries in December 2012, KPHO-TV reports. And though the veterinarians say the legal medical marijuana is not toxic to animals, it can cause minor side effects such as an upset stomach or excessive “lounging.”
Dr. Billy Griswold of Emergency Animal Clinic in North Scottsdale says that nearly twice as many animals are receiving treatment for marijuana ingestion from just a year ago, with an average of about two dozen cases each month among the five clinic locations. Vets have noted an increase in pets consuming pot in several states that have recently legalized medical or recreational pot, including several vets across Colorado.
“The case counts seem to be roughly doubling on a year to year basis,” Billy Griswold, director of medical management for Emergency Animal Clinic, told KPHO. “Usually [pets] will become sedate, they’ll act stuporous.”
Glassy eyes, difficulty walking, and pupil dilation make up some of the more common side effects seen in pets who have consumed marijuana, and effects last up to about 48 hours. More severe, rarer symptoms include loss of consciousness, low heart rates or even a seizure. Baking marijuana into snacks such as cookies or brownies can present the same hazards as direct consumption or pot smoke exposure.
But Griswold says it is a stash of synthetic marijuana that should have pet owners protecting their pot from becoming pet food.
“We have seen a couple fatalities with [synthetic marijuana],” Griswold said. “There are more serious side effects and longer treatments associated with that.”
“We have seen it over the years, you know, the case of ‘the dog ate my stash in the baggie,'” Griswold told KTAR. “We do see it as well with the synthetic marijuanas that are sold as potpourri or whatnot at smoke shops.”
Griswold noted that the animal’s health and treatment is the number one priority versus enforcement of marijuana laws, and that pet owners should be honest with veterinarians about the potential pot exposure.
“To be perfectly honest, we really don’t care what they do on their free time,” Griswold told KTAR. “We just try and impress upon folks that in the long run it’s better for the pet and usually for your wallet to just own up to it so we can figure out what it is and react in the most specific way possible.”