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Pot dogs: B.C. vet says pets who ingest marijuana put at risk by sheepish owners

Click to play video: 'Pets get sick eating marijuana' Pets get sick eating marijuana
WATCH: A Maple Ridge vet is warning pet owners to come clean about their drug use if their pets are getting sick – Jan 7, 2018

Adrian Walton says about once or twice a month he and his colleagues at Dewdney Animal Hospital in Maple Ridge treat a sick dog that has ingested marijuana.

The veterinarian says the conversation with the owner of the sick dog often starts the same way.

READ MORE: 2 dogs sickened from eating PCP at Kits Beach, and now owners are being warned

Walton says when he thinks he’s dealing with a so-called “pot dog,” he asks the owner if the canine may have come into contact with marijuana.

WATCH: Dog ingests PCP at Kits beach

Click to play video: 'Dog ingests PCP at Kits beach' Dog ingests PCP at Kits beach
Dog ingests PCP at Kits beach – Nov 25, 2017

Oftentimes, owners insist there is no pot in their house.

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“So we go back and induce vomiting, the dog vomits up pot and we go back to the owner and say, ‘OK, now would you like to tell us what this is?'”

Walton says dog owners are often not totally upfront with vets when it comes to pot ingestion, which can delay treatment.

“Quite frankly, we don’t care where the drugs came from. We just want to know what the drugs are so we know how to treat them.”

Some veterinarians say they’re seeing an increasing number of dogs sickened after ingesting marijuana, and are warning pet owners to take care as Canada prepares for cannabis legalization this year.

WATCH: Toronto vet clinic sounds alarm over increase in treatments of dogs who’ve ingested marijuana

Click to play video: 'Toronto vet clinic sounds alarm over increase in treatments of dogs who’ve ingested marijuana' Toronto vet clinic sounds alarm over increase in treatments of dogs who’ve ingested marijuana
Toronto vet clinic sounds alarm over increase in treatments of dogs who’ve ingested marijuana – Nov 7, 2016

Walton said he’s not sure that the planned legalization of marijuana could lead to more pets coming into his hospital.

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But, he added, legalization could make his job easier since pet owners may be more likely to come clean, which will save vets from having to conduct expensive and time-consuming tests.

He says if they see a sick dog within three hours of eating cannabis, dogs generally will suffer minimal side effects. After three hours, treatments become more serious and costly.

It can cost as little as $50 to induce vomiting, while more aggressive treatments could cost upwards of $2,000.

READ MORE: What happens to drug-sniffing dogs when marijuana is legalized in Canada?

Walton hopes that the legalization of pot will remove some of the stigma around cannabis, making it easier to treat dogs who are drawn to the green stuff.

“I call it the dog version of catnip,” he said. “They love the taste of it, they love the smell of it. If you have pot anywhere in your house, if it’s not secured, they’re going to find it.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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