PSA Americans: Please Keep Your Pets Off Pot

by Nicole Gibbs

As marijuana legalization spreads across the country, veterinarians are seeing a scary increase in cases of pets on pot. According to The Washington Post, over the past five years there's been a 330 percent rise in calls to pet poison helplines regarding animals ingesting cannabis. While these incidents typically aren’t fatal, it’s a trend pet owners need to address. So please, everyone: Stash your stash.

Marijuana Now Comes In More Pet-Appealing Packages

“Dogs used to kind of chew on the stash growing in the basement. Now they’re finding a big bag of gummy bears,” Heidi Houchen, a veterinarian at VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Oregon told The Washington Post. 

Not only is marijuana coming in more appetizing packages, it is becoming more potent. The higher-grade product can cause complications for smaller dogs. For instance, according to the Denver Post, a three-pound chihuahua ate most of a pot brownie and couldn’t walk for 12 hours. It took 4 days for the effects to completely wear off. 

Marijuana intoxication can cause low blood sugar and low body temperature. The smaller the animal, the more severe the effects. Cats tend to have more intense reactions than dogs. 

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What Do You Do if Your Pet Gets into Your Stash? 

Marijuana should be treated like any other household poison and kept out of your pet’s reach. Just like caffeine, nicotine, cleaners, pesticides, and medications, marijuana needs to be stored in a safe place, where children and pets can’t get ahold of it. 

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If your pet does get into your stash, the first thing you should do is call your vet. Veterinarians are not required to report drug intoxication to law enforcement officials, and they want people to feel safe when getting their animals the treatment they need. 

Often, pets can be treated at home with rest and fluids, but some animals, especially young ones, may need to be hospitalized to monitor their condition. Depending on how much, and how long it has been, your vet may want to induce vomiting or use activated charcoal to help absorb the toxins. 

It is important that you are completely honest about your pet’s condition. How much they ingested, when it happened, and the symptoms are all important details for your vet.

Also on Z Living: Why Adopting an Adult Dog Might Be Right for You

Don't Treat Intoxicated Pets As a Joke 

While there are plenty of YouTube videos  about pets reacting to pot that are meant to be humorous, the bottom line is that ingesting cannabis is dangerous and likely a scary experience for your unknowing pet. So, stash your stash. And If you have friends that smoke around pets, pass the word along. 

WATCH on Z Living: Finding Fido, where photographer and animal behaviorist Seth Casteel plays matchmaker each week between a person and a pooch. Finding Fido will premiere on Z Living in January 2017.

Tell us in the comments: How will you protect your pet?

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