More Pets Are Eating Marijuana, And It's Not A Happy High : Shots - Health News The rise of legal marijuana seems to be fueling a spike in the number of pets that become unhappily high off of pilfered treats. The dose is rarely fatal, but it can be a buzzkill.
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When Pets Do Pot: A High That's Not So Mighty

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When Pets Do Pot: A High That's Not So Mighty

When Pets Do Pot: A High That's Not So Mighty

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And with almost half the states legalizing marijuana in some form, people seem to be getting more relaxed about leaving pot lying around the house, which can lead to pets finding it, too, and to clips, like this one on YouTube.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: My dogs are stoned, ate a whole damn brownie to itself.

MONTAGNE: Reporter Angus Chen found that pet poison centers are treating more dogs high on pot, and those pets are finding the experience a real downer.

ANGUS CHEN, BYLINE: Pets eating pot is becoming increasingly common. Dr. Ahna Brutlag, a veterinary toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline, says that calls concerning marijuana poisonings have nearly quadrupled in the past three years.

AHNA BRUTLAG: So just between this year and last year alone, we've actually seen double the number that we did last year.

CHEN: That might be because people feel more comfortable reporting the incident now that more states have decriminalized cannabis possession. But it also means more marijuana products in more houses, especially edible ones that are just too hard for a puppy to resist.

BRUTLAG: Pets are not discriminate eaters. And if something smells like food, it looks like food, they're going to eat it regardless of whether or not it has marijuana in it or not.

CHEN: Edibles like hash brownies are especially dangerous to pets because cats and dogs are gluttonous and will consume an extreme amount if given the chance. On top of that, chocolate is also toxic to dogs. Dr. Heidi Houchen, a veterinarian at Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Clackamas, Ore., says not only has she seen the number of stoned animals at her clinic go up, some of those animals are far sicker than usual.

HEIDI HOUCHEN: So they're getting into more and more of more and more concentrated product. And because of that, they're going from the classic state that used to be to now we're seeing them where they're tremoring or seizuring or comatose. Sometimes their heart rates, instead of going down, goes way up and they have cardiac problems. So, yeah, we're seeing a lot more severely affected cases.

CHEN: There have been a couple cases where dogs have even died. That's pretty rare, but Houchen says it shouldn't even happen at all.

HOUCHEN: When we have something that comes into us that can be prevented, we're like, if we only could have told them just put it up and away.

CHEN: And maybe you can avoid a situation like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You need to be more careful with stuff. That is not normal.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: I don't know what to do. I - we just came back and the cookie - Dee (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The cookies were gone.

CHEN: For NPR News, I'm Angus Chen.

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