If this hasn’t happened to you, it’s probably because you don’t own a dog. You leave your freshly baked (or acquired) edibles saran wrapped on the counter, awaiting Sunday’s premiere of the latest True Detective. You go to work and upon your return notice Lassie isn’t quite as happy to see you as usual.
“What is it girl… Is Timmy stuck in the well?!” you ask. She stands still, gazing at you with rolling eyes and a lolling tongue.
As marijuana continues to mainstream and is legalized in more and more states, there is an increasing number of reports of dogs getting into their owner’s stash. Veterinarians in Washington State have reported as much as one dog per day admitted for THC ingestion, and incidents of high canines have as much as quadrupled in Colorado over the past few years. YouTube videos of stoned dogs have also gone viral of late, because they’re kind of funny and also kind of sad. (“She doesn’t know what’s happening to her, poor thing… But look how calm she is!”)
While effects of weed exposure in dogs usually just include lethargy, in large quantities it can be fatal. A good rule of thumb is that 3 grams of pot per kilogram of a dog’s weight is a lethal dose. To put this in perspective, your average Chihuahua would have to eat about 8 grams, while your average Labrador would have to ingest 99 grams for the dose to be lethal — but if you’ve got that much weed lying around, you probably need a bigger dog.
“Most of the pets do very well with treatment,” Dr. Robert Proietto, a vet in New York City, told The Dodo. “We encourage people to keep it in a safe place away from their pets for their wallets and for the sake of their furry four-legged kids.”
While I don’t usually listen anyone who refers to pets as “furry four-legged kids,” the man’s got a point. While chances are your dog won’t be able to eat enough cannabis to kill it, you’ll still be out a hefty vet bill — not to mention all your weed.
The most important thing to do is to error on the side of safety. If you’re not sure how much your dog ate, or if (as is most common) the weed was in edible form and you don’t know the dose, it can’t hurt to head to the vet.
“Marijuana toxicity is no laughing matter, and if people note their dogs have gotten into it they should seek veterinarian care immediately,” Dr. Proietto said. “It is also important to tell the veterinarian the truth. No vet is going to judge their client for being honest, and we will never contact the police. We just want to know what is going on so we can treat the pet to the best of our ability.”
I knew all vets were softies.
So lock up your pot, pet owners! Also, parents. Also, people with shady roommates. Just lock up your pot.