Digestible Dog News Tidbits - July 2019
POT POISONS DOGS
AVMA cites dog deaths caused by ingesting candy bars or baked goods containing THC which is concentrated in butter, lists symptoms of marijuana toxicity.
“With legalization on the rise, veterinarians warn against pets getting into pot.”
Marijuana might be pleasurable for people but it can be dangerous for dogs. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance in marijuana that produces a high for humans, is toxic to dogs, and can cause vomiting, in-coordination, depression, sleepiness or excitation, low blood pressure, low body temperature and seizures. Death is rare but there have been a few cases reported.
Marijuana poisonings have been on the rise in dogs.
In 2019 the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center reported a 765% increase in calls about marijuana ingestion by animals over the same period last year. The Pet Poison Helpline has reported an over 400% increase in marijuana-related calls over the past six years. And anecdotally, the AVMA has heard from member veterinarians reporting an increased number of pets coming into their clinics with signs of marijuana intoxication.
Legalization of medical and recreational marijuana may increase the chances of dogs ingesting harmful amounts of the drug. For example, a 2012 study showed that cases of marijuana toxicosis at two Colorado veterinary hospitals quadrupled over a five-year period during which the number of state medical marijuana registrations increased by more than 100 percent. Two dogs died after eating baked goods containing tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in cannabis, the study stated.
Due to its lipophilic (“fat-loving”) nature, THC is highly concentrated in the butter used for such edible products compared to plant material. Therefore these products can cause pets to become particularly ill. These products could pose an increased risk due to additional toxic ingredients, such as chocolate, raisins or sugar-free sweeteners such as xylitol, which could compound their toxicity.
There may also be risks of smoking around your pets, as toxic exposures are possible. If you smoke marijuana, the AVMA recommends that you do so away from your pets. As with any drug, you should make sure to keep it secure and inaccessible to your pets.
Even if you don’t bring marijuana into your house, legalization could increase the chances of your dog coming upon a discarded joint outdoors. Keep your dog on a leash and prevent him from “grazing” while out on walks.
If your pets show any signs of marijuana toxicity--if they appear off-balance, rigid or nervous, if they’re drooling or dribbling urine, vocalizing or having seizures get them to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Whether pot is legal in your state or not, tell the vet that the dog could have been exposed to marijuana.
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