Two Edmonton dogowners are speaking out after their beloved dogs recently consumed marijuana on walks and had to be rushed to the veterinarian.
For Mickey Wilson, senior corgis Ringo and George are family members.
“They are my life. It was scary.”
The trio had just returned from a walk in northwest Edmonton when Ringo threw up. Then the dog couldn’t make it up the stairs.
“His back legs got wobbly and they weren’t supporting him. He became less and less responsive. Then he started having spasms,” Wilson said.
“He was just super tired and he lost a bit of control of his bladder.”
Thinking Ringo was having a problem with his spine, he headed to the veterinarian.
“One of the first things they asked me was, ‘Could he have gotten into marijuana?’ and I said, ‘No,’ because I didn’t think so.”
The vet took some blood samples and then Ringo got sick again. It turns out Wilson was wrong. In the vomit, the vet found the remains of a joint.
“He had gotten a roach. It’s very concentrated resin. He was having neurological issues as well as he was high as a kite,” Wilson said.
Ringo’s body temperature dropped and he slept for hours, but eventually he perked up.
“He was a pretty sick puppy for about 24 hours.”
Over in St. Albert, Anne Hayes had a similar experience with her three-month-old golden retriever, Dougie.
Dougie also got sick after a walk. He took a nap and when he woke up, he couldn’t stand upright. Instead he was swaying and falling over.
“We rushed him to the hospital. Quite honestly, he was barely breathing.”
Hayes thought he’d been poisoned. The vet, though, believed the 25-pound puppy ingested marijuana.
“The vet asked me twice if I thought the dog had eaten weeds,” she said. “That’s what I heard, and I couldn’t understand why my dog would be eating weeds. My boyfriend later clarified she had asked about weed — so I felt a bit silly. So it had never even crossed my mind.
“You’re worried. It’s a little three-month-old puppy that you’ve become really attached to, and you’re helpless to do anything.”
Dougie was pumped with fluids to flush out the toxins. He spent a full day at the vet, costing Hayes $500, but he too made a full recovery.
Though some people give their pets marijuana for medical reasons, the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association says no safe dose for pets has been established.
“We are concerned about the upcoming legalization,” Dr. Jocelyn Forseille said.
“In the U.S., where there have been some states where there has been legalized cannabis for a while, they have definitely seen an increase in the number of toxicities in dogs.”
Forseille said dogs tend to be more attracted to cannabis than cats.
She also said some types of marijuana are more potent than others and can even be lethal under certain circumstances.
If your pet is behaving unusually, she recommends taking them to a vet to get diagnosed.
Hayes and Wilson chose to share their experiences on social media in the hopes that marijuana users will keep their products far from animals.
“People need to know that this is harmful to animals. It’s not just domestic animals or pets. There’s squirrels in the park and there’s wild animals and if they pick up this stuff, it’s harmful,” Wilson said.
“With legalization coming, people need to be responsible about their product.”
That means finding a garbage that’s out of reach.
“You just really have to be aware of where you’re tossing your litter. Especially in an area where dogs are going to be — which is pretty much anywhere,” Hayes said.