Experts warn about marijuana exposure to pets

local

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Veterinarians at the U of I are warning people to watch how they handle the use of marijuana around pets.

They have had at least two cases of what was likely marijuana intoxication in pets since the start of the year. That’s why they’re reminding people to be careful.

They say it hasn’t been legal long enough here for them to really know if those two cases are a sign of a possible increase, but in other states where it was legalized, they have noticed an increase in cases.

If you have marijuana in your house, it could be easy to leave it out on the table and not think about it. But experts recommend thinking of marijuana the same way we think about medication. Just like you keep your pills in a medicine cabinet, do the same with your pot.

“You know that dogs like to take desserts off the table, and they’re not. They don’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how it tastes, they’re gonna eat if it seems interesting to them. So you really have to be careful. You can’t assume that they don’t like pot brownies or whatever you’ve got,” said Champaign County Humane Society Executive Director Mary Tiefenbrunn.

The risks for animals if they do ingest marijuana are significant. Some will act lethargic. It also could lower their heart rate. In some cases, they’ll go into comas or, in extreme cases, die.

The increase in calls for possible marijuana intoxication in other areas could also be linked to people feeling more comfortable reporting it. If you think your animal has been exposed to marijuana, the best thing to do it take your animal to a vet if you think they’re in danger. You can also call your vet if it’s during normal business hours or call the ASPCA’s poison control hotline (888) 426-4435 and they’ll help you figure out if your pet needs medical care.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.