CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Now that marijuana will soon be legal in Illinois, veterinarians across the state are warning pet owners about how toxic it can be to animals.
Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s what gets you high, but it’s potentially deadly for dogs.
This is becoming more of a problem nation wide. The American Veterinary Medical Association says marijuana poisonings have been on the rise in dogs. In 2019 the ASPCA’s animal poison control center reported a 765% increase in calls about marijuana ingestion by animals over the same period last year.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures. Gwen Seaman’s 13 week old puppy, Daisy May, puts her pays on everything nearby. She says, “She finds little nooks and crannies, door that have been opened like cabinets, and she just goes right in and explores.”
Now that recreational marijuana will be legalized at the start of the new year, dog owners have to be extra cautious. THC is highly toxic for them.
Veterinarian Dr. Todd Lykins has seen several sick dogs brought into his clinic because of it. He says, “They’re staggering, uncoordinated, drooling, leaking urine, that’s a common marker there.”
It can cause seizures and even death in some cases. Veterinarians are warning people to keep it stashed and out of your pet’s reach so they don’t eat it.
Dr. Lykins says, “Just remember they’re like kids and they’re going to get into everything. Be safe with it and put products away where dogs can’t get at it and that will stop a lot of problems.”
There’s something else to consider. “Now with it probably being more available in food form you could have a double whammy with a chocolate toxicity combined with this” says Lykins. “Not only do you have one toxicity, but two issues to deal with.”
While pot isn’t a concern in Gwen Seaman’s house, she’s learned to always take precautions with her dogs. She says, “I usually have candy dishes on the end tables. I can’t have candy dishes because of chocolate, so anything they’re not supposed to be eating like people food, particularly at her age that she shouldn’t be eating. We have to keep those up.”
Veterinarians also say toxic exposure is possible through smoking around pets and suggest to do that in a separate area.