Brendan Weber

Veterinarian, Pet Owner Warn About Pot Poisoning Dogs

Don't forget about the dogs.

That's the word coming from a veterinarian and dog owner in the East Bay as the sale of recreational marijuana officially becomes legal New Year's Day.

Barbara Leivent, the proud owner of an Englist Golden Retriever named Tess, said her pooch recently became ill and started showing signs that Leivent likened to a stroke.

"There was a pool of urine on the floor, which is atypical for her, and she seemed wobbly," Leivent said.

Leivent immediately hopped on the phone and called her dog trainer who said it sounded as though Tess may be suffering from pot poisoning and needed to pay a visit to the veterinarian.

After pumping Tess' stomach, a veterinarian told Leivent that her dog's stomach did in fact contain marijuana. The vet added that he treats two to three cases of pot poisoning in dogs every week.

Leivent isn't exactly sure where the marijuana found in Tess' stomach came from, but she said her neighbor grows weed in his backyard and thinks that Tess could have taken a bite out of some of his plants.

Lynne Morris at Sage Centers for Veterinarian Specialty and Emergency Care in Dublin says they’re having discussions on new marijuana rules and pets.

"Marijuana is toxic to dogs most of the time," Morris said. "It's not fatal toxicity, except in the instance of pot butter, if they get into a large amount."

If a dog ingests marijuana, common symptoms include urinary incontinence. Morris says it’s not uncommon to treat dogs symptoms, including urinary incontinence, being lethargic or sensitivity to loud noises.

"It really is based on the amount of active ingredient, which would be the THC, which is going to affect the animals. Now, many times, we don’t know the exact amount of THC in a product."

While people are urged not to give dogs pot, there are some therapeutic products on the market for dogs that contain cannabis but not THC.

"There are holistic veterinarians who are using it, but it's not really legal for us to prescribe or recommend at this time," Morris said.

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