Pooches on pot? It’s a growing problem, experts say


Marijuana-infused cookies called “Medibles” are displayed at the Cannabis Crown 2010 expo April 18, 2010 in Aspen, Colorado. With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, pets now have easier access to their owners’ marijuana-laced cookies, brownies, candies and butters – and are reportedly getting high. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Dogs may not munch on pot plants but they have no qualms about invading their owner’s stash and ingesting marijuana-laced edibles like cookies, brownies and candies.

As a result, Colorado and Washington, which have given residents the right to have pot, now reportedly face a problem with their dogs eating it as well. It makes sense, since dogs will often eat anything left around the house.

Although weed-eating dogs have been the subject of light humor for some years — with YouTube videos cropping up that show supposedly stoned dogs — there’s nothing funny about it.

“We see dogs stoned out of their minds for days. They’re a mess,” said Tim Hackett, director of the Colorado State University veterinary teaching hospital, USA Today reported.

Hackett has studied the rise in canine intoxication.

“The pot goes in cookies and butters. Dogs love that stuff, and they won’t eat just one,” he said.

And the concentration of marijuana is often too much for them. The amounts meant for human consumption are more than small animals like puppies can efficiently metabolize.

Kevin Fitzgerald, a veterinarian at the VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver, told CBS Denver that marijuana causes symptoms ranging from disorientation to seizures to temporary comas.

A dog that is stoned, Hackett said, can’t vomit or breathe well. His study found two dogs that died from overindulgence.

Fitzgerald told USA Today the problem is that “dogs are gorgers.”

“A person would eat one brownie. A dog will eat the entire tray. And therein lies the danger,” he said.

Companion Cannabis, a Marijuana medicinal tincture for dogs and cats is seen at La Brea Compassionate Caregivers, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles Thursday, May 30, 2013. Stories abound about changes in sick and dying pets after they've been given marijuana. There is a growing movement, led by Los Angeles veterinarian Doug Kramer, to make it more widely available. Others, however, urge caution until there's better science behind it. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)
Companion Cannabis, a Marijuana medicinal tincture for dogs and cats is seen at La Brea Compassionate Caregivers, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles Thursday, May 30, 2013. Stories abound about changes in sick and dying pets after they’ve been given marijuana. There is a growing movement, led by Los Angeles veterinarian Doug Kramer, to make it more widely available. Others, however, urge caution until there’s better science behind it. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

For years, Cannabis has been a controversial herbal remedy used to treat dogs for conditions ranging from separation anxiety to cancer, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association News. But recreational weed in uncontrolled amounts is a whole different matter. A case study conducted by Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital and the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital found that marijuana toxicity cases quadrupled between 2005 and 2010. Researchers say the increase correlated with the increase in the number of registered medical-marijuana users during that time.

Hackett and Fitzgerald told USA Today that legalization will likely drive numbers up more.

Lindsey Bever covers national news for Morning Mix, The Post's overnight news blog.
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Lindsey Bever | March 25