ASPCA hotline sees rise in calls about dogs ingesting marijuana

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Americans are having a lot of trouble keeping their dogs off the grass these days.

The number of cases of dogs getting high from marijuana products has increased dramatically, as more and more states legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana, according to the ASPCA.

ASPCA’s poison hotline has swelled with calls of doped-up dogs, who are finding greater opportunities to ingest edible cannabis snacks in their owner’s homes as well as on the streets in public, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Between 2017 and 2020, national call volume for cannabis ingestion in dogs rose from 1,436 to 3,923 cases, Tina Wismer, a veterinarian and senior director of the New York-based ASPCA Poison Control Center, told The Los Angeles Times. These numbers are believed to be just a fraction of actual instances.

In California, the number of cases has risen 276 percent from 2016 — when recreational pot was first legalized — to 2020, the paper reported. The cases have risen eleven-fold in Colorado since legalization in 2012.

The ASPCA has seen a surge in cases of dogs ingesting marijuana products.
The ASPCA has seen a surge in cases of dogs ingesting marijuana products.
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“If you ask any of our emergency room veterinarians, they would all say that the number of cannabis-intoxicated dogs has increased by leaps and bounds since legalization of medical and then recreational marijuana for humans,” Karl Jandrey, a professor of veterinary sciences at UC Davis, told The Times.

Dog owners in Marin County have been taking to the app Nextdoor to share their stories of their pups getting high after eating something off of the ground they stumbled upon during a walk, according to the paper.

The cases of dogs consuming marijuana have been particularly high in states that have legalized the drug.
The cases of dogs consuming pot has been particularly high in states that have legalized the drug.
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One woman reportedly wrote on the app her toy poodle has been in the veterinarian hospital four separate times for eating marijuana edibles around different neighborhoods in the county.

Dana Long, a resident of Tiburon, told The Times that he noticed his 12-pound Chihuahua terrier mix Bentley was “in a haze” and acting strange when he declined a french fry — one of his favorite foods.

Long took Bentley to the vet, where he was asked if he had any pot in in his house.

“I said no, because we don’t use pot. It’s not that we morally disapprove,” Long told the paper. “It’s just not our thing.”

Long and the vet determined that Bentley had likely picked up a chocolate edible in the grass at a softball field where Long’s daughter had been playing.

While not typically fatal, there can be serious side effects when a small dog eats several human doses of edibles, according to the ASPCA

According to the ASPCA, dogs may experience side effects from eating marijuana.
According to the ASPCA, dogs may experience side effects from eating marijuana.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Symptoms can include unsteadiness on the feet, depression, dilated eyes, dribbling urine, sensitivity to sound and touch, slow heart rate and low body temperature.

Jandrey said that the occurrence has become so commonplace, he and his staff can typically diagnose what happened immediately after seeing the distressed pet.

“Avoidance is the only prevention,” said Jandrey. “Dogs get into many things outside and inside the house.”



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