It’s April 20, or 4/20, and veterinarians at Washington State University are urging people to be extra mindful around their pets during their cannabis celebrations.
While avoiding smoke exposure is crucial, edible products are also an issue. WSU veterinarians say they have seen a dramatic increase in cannabis-related veterinary visits in recent years and that pet owners should be sure to make sure their edibles and other marijuana products are in a secure location.
“We really recommend keeping all your products in sealed containers with a latch or something that your pet can’t chew through and just having them not accessible to your pet at all,” said Dr. Laura Vega, a resident in emergency and critical care at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Vega also cautioned pet owners to be more vigilant in urban environments around Apr. 20 because animals sometimes eat pot-infused treats people have dropped on the ground or thrown out.
Whether your pet is a dog or cat, signs of cannabis intoxication are the same: dilated pupils, incoordination, difficulty walking, and hypersensitivity to sound, motion and touch.
“They definitely can’t walk in a straight line. If it’s severe, they may not be able to walk at all. They usually seem disoriented and don’t respond to their owner’s commands as they usually do,” said WSU veterinarian Dr. Linda Martin.
While marijuana is rarely fatal to cats or dogs, in extreme cases, it can be, Martin said.