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‘He was pretty paranoid’: Dog owner issues warning after pet gets high on walk

Stephanie Lisk's dog Chester started feeling sick after he apparently ingested some cannabis while out for a walk on Monday. Dan Couch / Global News

After a Kelowna woman took her one-year-old Golden Retriever out for a walk Monday evening, she started to get concerned when he started acting strangely.

Stephanie Lisk said about an hour after the family got home from Powerline Park, Chester started throwing up.

The vomit had a strong odour of marijuana, she said.

“It was very potent.”

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Lisk said the family realized right away that Chester must have gotten into something while they were out walking.

“He was pretty paranoid,” Lisk said, adding that her dog was suddenly startled easily.

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“He was very shaky. He wouldn’t get up off the ground, even when I cleaned up around him, and he was not moving. He was very, very docile.”

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Lisk said she had seen Chester ingesting marijuana another time a few months ago, but this time, she didn’t catch it.

“When we called the vet, really the only thing that they would do is induce vomiting, but it had already occurred,” Lisk said. “So the vet said to just keep an eye on him.”

Lisk said she sometimes spots cigarette butts and marijuana joints just off the pathway on her walk, and even though her dog is always leashed, he still sniffs around.

“They’re interested in whatever’s on the ground,” she said.

Lisk is hoping that her pet’s story will help educate others about the risks cigarette butts or marijuana joints can have for dogs when they’re just tossed on the ground.

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“We just hope that something good can come out of what was a pretty terrifying situation for us,” Lisk said.

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“If you (smoke), please dispose of your garbage as properly as you can because unknowingly you could be harming an animal that didn’t ask for that to happen.”

Steve Wilson, a veterinarian at the Lakeshore Animal Clinic, said he’s noticed more cases of pets ingesting cannabis since legalization.

“It can be quite serious depending on the amount they ingest,” he said. “They can have disorientation, they can be wobbly, they can have tremors, and in really severe cases, they can actually seizure.

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“That’s where you definitely need veterinary help.”

If you suspect your pet has ingested cannabis, it’s a good idea to contact your vet for more information, he added.

Dogs are 10 times more sensitive to THC than humans, Wilson said.

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“Just the ingestion of a little butt of a marijuana cigarette or a tiny portion of an edible, if it’s got THC, that’s where you’re going to see problems,” Wilson said.

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“Some dogs can be affected for a day or two, so it can take a while to completely metabolize out of the body.”

Lisk said it took at least 24 hours for Chester’s side effects to wear off.

“Even this morning I still found that he was pretty quiet and mellow,” she said.

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