Pot and Pets: Should Dogs Get High?

Puppy see, puppy do

The study's authors report that Colorado -- which recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana -- had experienced a fourfold increase in the number of pets seen in vet clinics for pot ingestion between 2005 and 2010, commensurate with an increasing number of licenses for medical marijuana during that period.

The problem is compounded when a pet eats marijuana contained in a food, such as chocolate brownies or raisin cookies, that is also unhealthy for pets.

"If you give a dog a stick of butter or a bowl of cooking oil -- marijuana or not -- it's going to get sick," Colorado State University veterinarian and associate professor Timothy Hackett told Coloradoan.com.

BLOG: Dogs Sniff Out Disease

"If you called me up and said your dog ate a whole tray of regular brownies, I'd be concerned enough to tell you to bring him in and induce vomiting," Hackett said. "If the dog ate one cookie or something like that, I'm not worried. I'm worried about you turning your back and a shoebox full of pot brownies being gone."

Is my dog stoned?

Marijuana doesn't affect dogs, cats and other animals exactly the same way it affects humans, according to experts. They may stumble around, look or act confused, appear sleepy or just dopey, Hackett said.

But in severe cases, dogs have reportedly shown symptoms like vomiting, tremors and incontinence, and rarely, some can die from marijuana toxicosis.

However, in the vast majority of cases involving marijuana ingestion, the animals simply get over it in a matter of hours. "I've seen many stoned dogs and most of them do just fine," Hackett said.

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