These days, pot is no longer the taboo substance it once was. Marijuana is helping many people with diseases ranging from epilepsy, to cancer to chronic pain. But as legalization sweeps the nation, an unfortunate side effect is being seen too. The number of marijuana poisonings of pets in states that have legalized marijuana has risen noticeably.

Animals do not metabolize marijuana the same as people, and they are much more sensitive to the side effects. Our furry family members are usually exposed through accidental ingestion, but inhalation poses a risk for them as well.

The most common side effects of marijuana poisoning in pets are behavioral. Animals may become depressed, weak and may walk like they are drunk. Some animals may also vomit or lose their appetite. In severe cases animals have been known to seizure, go into comas, and even die so it is important that if you know or suspect your pet has ingested marijuana, you take them to your vet to be treated. Rest assured that your vet does not need to report it to any authorities unless foul play is suspected.

If your pet is exposed your vet may recommend inducing vomiting to administering charcoal to absorb the marijuana from the stomach and intestines. If your pet is too sedate or is already vomiting , this step may need to be skipped. Supportive care with fluids to maintain your pet’s blood pressure and flush the marijuana out of the system may also be needed. Symptoms of poisoning can last a few hours or a few days, but with proper, early treatment, a full recovery should be expected.

Remember, marijuana, like any other medication can provide great benefits when used properly, but it must be used responsibly. Keep it somewhere secure, away from pets and children. Remember, pot it not for pets!

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