A growing upsurge in cannabis-related dog poisonings across Canada has veterinarians calling for increased awareness of the dangers of pets ingesting pot.
More Canadian pets, specifically dogs, are coming in contact with CBD and cannabis than last year, according to recent statistics retrieved by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association from the Pet Poison Helpline, which services Canada and the U.S.
In fact, 54 of the 179 non-deadly incidents of pet exposure to CBD and cannabis reported to the hotline between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2019, were from 2019.
While these numbers are significant, they don’t account for the cannabis-related veterinary office visits that take place across Canada in veterinary offices, which are not recorded, Dr. Ian Sandler, member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), told the Calgary Eyeopener Wednesday morning.
“From a formal perspective, we know the numbers are increasing and we know anecdotally that across Canada veterinarians are seeing this on a day to day occurrence,” he said.
Why your dog is high
A dog may have sniffed out cannabis on a walk, ingested dried cannabis edibles or oils at home, or even been offered it in some form by their owner, said Sandler.
“There is no legal pathway for pet owners to access cannabis for medical purposes for their pets. They would want to access that for the same reason that people are for things like anxiety, pain, possibly neurological issues.”
On your dog, this can look like wobbly legs and sensitivity to light and sound, he said.
Your pet can indeed get high, but beyond that are very sensitive to THC, which can be toxic for them if ingested with other ingredients like chocolate, said Sandler.
Better labelling a must
Better labelling on cannabis products which clearly spells out its risks for more than humans is needed to avoid these scenarios, said Sandler.
“I think the biggest issue right now is awareness. In many cases people may be careful when it comes to putting these products in the right place if you will in terms of keeping away from children but they’re not thinking about their four-legged friends.”
The CVMA is pushing to have better safety labels on cannabis products, and be involved in the safe dispensation of potentially helpful cannabis treatments in the future.