Since the state of Colorado legalized marijuana in January 2014, veterinarians have been treating high numbers of dogs ingesting the drug.
While many Colorado residents are happy about the legalization of marijuana, its increased presence poses a threat to pet owners. In one Jefferson County emergency animal hospital, staff say they see at least five cases a day of dogs who have ingested marijuana.
This is a huge jump in the number of cases, as before legalization they saw only one or two a year.
When a dog consumes marijuana they quickly become unresponsive, showing symptoms such as dilated eyes and a stumbling, unbalanced walk that gives them the appearance of being drunk.
When a dog is brought in to the vet for marijuana poisoning, they are treated with IVs and rest until the marijuana is out of their system. However, if they are brought in within four hours of ingesting the drug vomiting can be induced to reduce the side effects.
Fortunately, very few dogs die from marijuana poisoning, but that doesn't mean it's not serious. As you can imagine, the experience is very stressful for the dog and can potentially result in seizures.
For pet owners in states where marijuana is legalized, it's important to be aware of what your dog is getting into. Even if you don't use marijuana yourself, there is still a chance they could find some while in a park or out on a trail.
Stay safe, pups!