Paw's Corner: Pets and pot don't mix

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Paw's Corner: Pets and pot don't mix Paw's Corner: Pets and pot don't mix

Q: I read a report this week that said more and more pets are being treated for "marijuana poisoning" from accidentally ingesting their owners' medically prescribed marijuana. Is this true? Why haven't we heard more about it?

-- Concerned in California

A: As the number of states that allow medical marijuana to be prescribed increases, it's likely you will hear more stories about pets being affected by ingesting this drug. A recent NBC News report estimated that calls to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center reporting pet poisonings increased 30 percent between 2009 and 2013.

However, Time magazine disputes that report, noting that the actual number of calls increased from 213 in 2009 to about 320 last year -- a very small percentage of the 18,000 total calls the APCC gets each year from owners.

My take on the issue is this: Marijuana is a drug, so owners need to use common sense. You wouldn't leave other prescriptions lying around for the dog or cat to eat. So don't leave your stash lying around.

Furthermore, many patients use baked goods to ingest marijuana rather than smoking it. Pot brownies, for example, contain chocolate, which is definitely dangerous to dogs and can cause severe symptoms when eaten. The APCC gets far more calls about poisoning from chocolate ingestion than from any other substance, Time noted.

That said, pet owners who see or suspect their dog or cat has ingested marijuana should contact their veterinarian for advice. They also should watch their pet for unusual symptoms, such as lethargy, excessive drooling, diarrhea or incontinence, and take them to the vet immediately if they begin experiencing these or any other problems.

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