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article imageEmergency calls for pets eating cannabis have increased 765%

By Karen Graham     Feb 5, 2019 in Health
Just as parents should keep marijuana-dosed candies out of reach from unsuspecting children, pet owners should take every precaution to keep edibles away from treat-seeking dogs.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control Center is a 24-hour hotline that fields calls for any animal poison-related emergency.
In 2008, the center received 208 marijuana-related calls. In 2016, the number of calls jumped to 979, and 1,486 calls in 2017. In 2018, the center received 1,800 marijuana-related calls. That is a 765 percent increase over the 10-year period, reports Mashable.
Usually, the ASPCA Poison Control Center fields calls about dogs eating chocolate candy or cats chewing on plants - but since medical marijuana has become legal in so many states, the emergency calls are increasingly about stoned pets. While CBD products have become popular for humans, people need to remember that cannabinoids affect animals differently, says Dr. Tina Wismer, the ASPCA call center's medical director.
In the US  cats and dogs are considered domestic pets and are protected under Animal Cruelty laws.
In the US, cats and dogs are considered domestic pets and are protected under Animal Cruelty laws.
Nguyen Hoangnam (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Dr. Wismer puts a lot of the blame on marijuana edibles. Legal edibles smell like normal baked goods, and we all know our human food-loving dogs can't resist something that smells good. (Cat parents, take note: Dr. Wismer says that felines still tend to go for straight bud).
Seth Mersing knows first-hand what could happen when a pet gets hold of a marijuana-laced edible. He had just returned from a walk in a local park in Eastern Texas with his chihuahua, Rita. The dog could barely stand and Mersing says she was clearly disoriented.
“She was crying when I went to pick her up,” said Mersing, “and she didn’t recognize who I was. I was terrified. I thought she might die.” Lucky for little three-and-a-half pound Rita, she survived the incident. On the walk in the park, she had come across some pot edibles.
The next time you see a YouTube video of a stoned dog doing what may seem to be hilarious things, remember it really isn't funny. Dogs have far higher sensitivity to THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, than humans or other animals, according to The Guardian.
The levels of THC in some edibles can cause great discomfort and panic in our canine friends. Incontinence, ataxia, and overreaction to sound and other stimulus is also common - as is lowered heart rate and this could prove to be fatal.
More about Cannabis, Aspca, Poisoning, Thc, canines
 
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