(KPIX 5) — On November 8th, Californians will decide whether to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But with the latest Field poll showing Proposition 64 ahead by a two-to-one margin, there’s a growing concern about an unintended consequence – more cases of dogs digesting cannabis products.

“Dogs can die from this. It is uncommon but it’s possible,” said Dr. Karl Jandrey, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgical & Radiological Sciences at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “We see probably see one a week but some of my colleagues in private practice in the Bay Area may see more like one or two a day.”

The Pet Poison Helpline found that in the past five years, there has been an alarming jump in the number of dogs accidentally poisoned or intoxicated by marijuana – a 330% increase in cases across the nation.

“It was horrifying,” exclaimed Irene Ogus, the owner of Jasper, an 8-and-1/2 year old poodle who accidentally ate some marijuana.  “He looked like he was having a stroke. He couldn’t stand up, he couldn’t hold his head up, He couldn’t get up at all. His tongue was drooling out of his head and he looked terrible. It was terrifying.”

“We called up the vet and he said we should bring her in immediately,” explained Nathan Brahms, owner of four-month-old Tule, a German Shorthaired Pointer. “I thought she hit her head maybe. She acted like she was concussed or something.

Both Tule and Jasper were accidentally intoxicated after finding and gobbling up marijuana while out on walks.

“She either ate a marijuana edible, or the end of a joint,” said Brahms.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the number one source in dog intoxications are edibles intended for human consumption that are rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana.

One very potent source of THC used in making baked goods is cannabutter. It’s made by steeping marijuana and butter for hours, straining the plant matter from the butter, and then re-solidifying the THC-infused butter. At least two dogs in the U.S. have died in the past year after eating cannabutter, according to the helpline.

In addition, some THC-rich cannabis edibles are also made with chocolate, raisins or xylitol, all ingredients that compound the toxicity in dogs.

The second main source of pot in these intoxications is the plant itself. The cannabis grown today is engineered to contain as much THC as possible, up to 20%.

“Just keep it away from pets like you would keep it away from children,” said Julianna Carella, founder of Auntie Dolores, a San Francisco-based maker of medical marijuana products.

Carella says her firm puts warning labels on all of her THC-rich edible products. “We took the ‘keep out of reach of children’ and added ‘keep out of reach of children and pets’ on our packaging,” she said.

With intoxications, some dogs get so sick, they’re put on respirators and are in the hospitals for day. As for Jasper and Tule, they were flushed with fluids in the emergency room and treated.

And, while they recovered, the bills sent their owners into shock. “They handed us a bill for $700,” said Ogus.

Dr. Jandrey is getting ready to ramp up triage – and not just for dogs. “I really think that if we do pass proposition 64 we will see more dogs and cats intoxicated,” he said.


Comments (20)
  1. Really? What a joke. “Think of the kitties and doggies!” They’d be a helluva lot better off than if they got ahold of an oxycodone or a Ritalin. Cannabis sure as heck won’t hurt them. Fluids? $700? Someone got ripped off. My dogs BEG for hits. I drop a roach? There is competition for who gets, it between “the hounds” and myself. I have used it for my dogs medicinally, and in aiming for an effective dose have inadvertently “overdosed” them several times. Know what they needed? Some sleepy time. My one dog was greatly comforted by cannabis for the last few years of her life. It was an absolute godsend for her. So get the heck out of here with your scare tactics. You prohibitionist types are just beyond desperation, aren’t you?

  2. No…REPORTS have jumped. Obviously when there is less stigma to reporting something, more people will report it!

  3. Just more silly Reefer Madness nonsense. Cannabis causes gums to melt, Cannabis causes people to become booze hounds! Cannabis causes high blood sugar. Cannabis causes low blood sugar! Cannabis causes brain to swell. Cannabis causes brain to shrink. Cannabis growers cause drought! Cannabis causes ingrown toenails! Cannabis causes dogs and cats to sleep together (it’s TRUE, I’ve seen it!)

    Cannabis is still much safer than alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical drugs which according to data from the Center for Disease Control’s kill over 650,000 US citizens annually, plus another 21,000 traffic fatalities directly attributed to alcohol and pharmaceutical drug intoxication.

    Legalize, regulate and TAX!

  4. Other problem: the pot heads will abandon their pets to feed their addictions, spend the pet food money on drugs instead. Expect to see more pets at the shelter.

    1. donglord says:

      Don’t feed this ignorant troll please.

    2. servitor99 says:

      hey man. Get back on the short bus and put your helmet on.

  5. James Ray says:

    Looks to me like CBS is on the dole … This is a clear propaganda piece. I’m glad all your journalism majors can sleep at night knowing you sold your soul for profit.

  6. Charles Lesner says:

    Wow, really reaching with that nonsense aren’t you? Are you really this much of an idiot, or do you just like being paid to pretend to be one?

  7. Nick Miller says:

    Wow. Way to cement your credibility as a news source. Did a terminated D.A.R.E. officer provide you this information?

  8. Does anyone edit for this “news” website? This horribly written nonsense is filled with grammatical errors. Should anyone be surprised though? When trying to pass off third rate propaganda, written by the pharmaceutical industry, can we really hold the people responsible to any reasonable standards? You should be ashamed to call yourself a news outlet. You have devolved into useful idiots for your advertising clients.

  9. Theo Therone says:

    Wow, the prohibitionists are really grasping at straws.

  10. OkinSama says:

    The pharmaceuticals people frequently drop on their floor, are WAY worse for your pets, than some weed.

  11. leif says:

    Our company offers a solution to over ingestion. Our product is targeted for people however it work on pets. We are planning to have a Pet line in the near future, but for the time being people can place CannaRelief on the pets food or in a syringe and have the pet ingest the CannaRelief Orally.

  12. brybell10 says:

    What a joke of an article.

    1. Nah, the real jokes in the room, are the losers using pot. Lower IQ, short-term memory loss are just the tip of the iceberg. The pot used today is 4-5 times stronger than what your baby-boomer parents used.

  13. gordy1969 says:

    You know, I just don’t understand how this concern all of a sudden jumped into the public eye; I mean, you can lump it in with concerns about cannabis-impaired drivers (40plus years of driving high and no stats) and all the other nonsensical ideas that have sprung up now that weed appears to become fully accepted. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and have had many as friends over the decades, but I’ve never noticed them eating weed – they’re not that interested in it. Yet, combine it into edibles, like cookies or brownies, and ‘Ol Snarfy gobbles it right up. Do you hear me? Keep the edibles away from your beloved canine because this is NOT A PROBLEM!!! Then sit back and watch the drug warriors invent new b.s. about cannabis …