GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Marijuana is legal in Michigan now, but it's important to keep your pets safe from accidentally eating the plant or other items that contain THC. 

Dr.Jill from BluePearl came in to share some important tips and what to look for when your pet has eating marijuana or THC-containing items.

What we see: Since marijuana’s legalization, it has become an increasingly common household item — and home is, of course, where our pets are. So, it makes sense why BluePearl has seen an increase in marijuana cases over the last year. Animals can potentially ingest marijuana through getting into the owner’s supply or by second hand smoke. What we typically see at BluePearl are pets ingesting marijuana in solid form.

What we care about: Large ingestions of marijuana can be very dangerous and may call for emergency veterinary care. We understand that when bringing a pet into an emergency clinic, owners often worry about legal repercussions. However, it’s extremely important that we get an accurate and complete medical history, so that the pet can be properly diagnosed and treated. The clinic is only interested in providing appropriate medical care for their pet.

What to look out for: Symptoms of marijuana ingestion vary and severity depends on the amount ingested and size of the pet. Common symptoms include lethargy, dilated pupils or glassed over eyes and difficulty walking. Other more severe symptoms can include vomiting, either a low or high heart rate, vocalization such as whining or crying, agitation, body temperature fluctuations, tremors, seizures and even coma. Symptoms can show anywhere from 5 minutes to 12 hours after the animal ingested the marijuana, but they can potentially last 30 minutes to several days depending on the dose ingested.

How we can help:

  • We can regulate the temperature of the animal to ensure they aren’t too hot or cold and give fluids to help prevent dehydration.
  • We can give anti-vomiting medication to help stop fluid loss and closely monitor the animal’s heart rate to ensure that it is stable.
  • If the animal having trouble walking, the clinic staff can help keep the pet comfortable and confined, so they won’t potentially hurt themselves.

What owners can do:

  • Keep marijuana out of reach (high cabinets or in a locked drawer when not in use).
  • If marijuana is being smoked, the pet should be kept in a separate area with good ventilation until the smoke has cleared.

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