Residents of Colorado and Washington state aren’t the only ones getting high on legal marijuana: So are their four-legged friends.
The states’ decision to legalize recreational pot is driving an increase in the number of dogs scarfing down marijuana-infused cookies, brownies and butters. Unlike humans who can metabolize marijuana in a few hours, dogs feel the effects far longer. The sight of a glassy-eyed dog sprawled on the floor or stumbling around frightens pet owners, veterinarians say.
“We see dogs stoned out of their minds for days. They’re a mess,” said Tim Hackett, director of the Colorado State University veterinary teaching hospital. “The pot goes in cookies and butters. Dogs love that stuff, and they won’t eat just one.”
Three years ago, Hackett collaborated on a study tracking the rise of marijuana “intoxication” in dogs and found there was a strong correlation between pot availability and animal overdoses in Colorado after the state legalized medical marijuana in 2000. He and Animal Planet’s Emergency Vets Kevin Fitzgerald both say the state’s decision to legalize recreational sales on Jan. 1, 2014, likely will drive a further increase.
Marijuana “edibles” such as cookies or candies are a popular alternative to smoking pot, in part because they’re discreet and seen as healthier. But while pets generally won’t eat marijuana plants, they’re all-too-happy to eat baked goods if they aren’t put away properly.
“We’re seeing it a lot more since edibles came out — they don’t eat bags of pot. It’s the suckers, the brownies, the cookies,” said Chynel Dobbs, 26, a veterinary technician with Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services in suburban Denver.
The marijuana itself isn’t particularly harmful to dogs, Hackett said, but any dog that eats a pound of butter will get sick and could die. A stoned dog also can’t vomit or breathe well, he said. His study found two dogs that died from eating large amounts of marijuana-infused butter.
SOURCE: Trevor Hughes