(DOGS/PET HEALTH) WASHINGTON — Given the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado, veterinarians are witnessing an increase in the number of pooch patients requiring treatment for THC exposure.

Over the last year, Washington clinics like the Pacific Avenue Animal Hospital in Tacoma have begun to see as many as 30 dogs per month who arrive dangerously high.

“A busy week, I’ve seen 10-12 cases,” Veterinarian Nathanial Stewart tells news station KHOU. “I saw a Beagle once that ate an entire zip-lock baggie full of marijuana buds.”

Some veterinarians believe cannabis can help canines. Photo Credit: The Tizona Group
Some veterinarians believe cannabis can help canines. Photo Credit: The Tizona Group

“[You could] smell from her breath that it smelled like marijuana,” Dr. Ruby Donnaway at the Affordable Animal Emergency Clinic in Auburn told KHOU of a recent case. “There are weeks where we’re pretty much seeing it every single night.”

In Colorado, a five-year study shows the number of dogs to become ill from marijuana quadrupled in Colorado since medical marijuana was legalized in 2000.

Photo Credit: CBS4
An increasing number of dogs in Washington and Colorado are accidentally getting stoned by ingesting marijuana-laced food products that are left out in the open. Photo Credit: CBS4

Vets say dogs typically consume marijuana-laced food products that are left in the open. Because they look and smell like normal treats, it’s important to keep edibles and other marijuana products out of reach from pets.

“Nobody wants to be chewing on weeds,” Delta 9 owner Stephanie Viskovich told KHOU. ”Any infused product should be treated as a medicine, not as a baked good to be hanging around.”

There are many stories of animals including dogs, cats, and even horses who have had their health restored by medical marijuana. However, vets recommend dogs suspected of ingesting pot be taken to a clinic immediately.

Fortunately, most dogs survive and are back to their normal state within 24 hours; but this is not always the case.

Photo Credit: CBS4
The number of dogs treated for cannabis ingestion is on the rise in states like Colorado and Washington where recreational marijuana is now legal. Photo Credit: CBS4

Most of the time, stoned dogs will show symptoms such as staggering, lethargy, vomiting, and over-sensitivity to sound and light.

Experts say the lethal dose is three grams per kilogram of a dog’s weight, while smaller amounts can trigger seizures or even a coma.

If you notice that your pet has red eyes, poor motor function, an irregular heart beat, and/or poor temperature regulation, he or she might have accidentally ingested marijuana and requires immediate veterinary medical attention.

— Alisa Manzelli, exclusive to Global Animal