This rant is about marijuana, pets and public relations. You see, a local news station asked to interview a “pet health expert” about a study that found marijuana poisoning in pets is on the rise. I was picked for the job.
My city legalized the sale of marijuana so I thought the interview would be an interesting experience. To prepare, I reviewed the study, loaded up on all sorts of marijuana facts, agonized over my TV wardrobe and drove 40 minutes to the downtown studio. I was pumped and ready for the interview.
Two questions later – one that the reporter actually answered herself – I found myself driving back home.
I chalked up the very short interview as my introduction to TV news. And I consoled my hurt feeling in knowing I had helped a local PR company fulfill a promise to their client. That’s how I got the gig. But with so much information about marijuana, that I didn’t get to share, floating in my brain, I decided to post all of the facts here.
Marijuana facts you might not know
- More than half the states plus Washington D.C. that have implemented some form of legalized marijuana for people.
- Pets Best Pet Insurance conducted a survey of U.S. veterinarians. They found that marijuana poisoning is now the third most common toxin treated at veterinary hospitals. The most common toxin is prescription drugs and the second is insecticides.
- The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association says that in the time medical marijuana has become legal in their state, the number of dogs and cats ingesting the drug have quadrupled.
- Dogs and cats are particularly susceptible to THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana. THC is used in concentrated amounts in marijuana laden baked goods. Pets are fond of these baked goods and eating them is the cause of the majority of poisonings.
- Pets typically show the first signs of the toxin after one or two hours of ingesting it. Early symptoms look like they are intoxicated with wobbly walking, lethargy and confusion. Some pets have mild symptoms while others go into a coma or develop hypothermia. Most pets are frightened by the way they feel.
- Dogs and cats that have eaten marijuana need to be seen by a veterinarian who can provide supportive care. Their body temperature must be regulated and IV fluids can get the drug out of their system quicker. Sometimes vomiting is induced.
- Many baked goods with THC or marijuana are laden with chocolate. That adds another layer of risk because chocolate is another toxin to dogs.
- The vast majority of pets recover from marijuana poisoning, but in recent months there have been two confirmed deaths of dogs that ate THC baked goods. These baked goods did not contain chocolate.
- Prevention is the best way to keep pets safe. Be sure all marijuana products are stored in canisters that can’t be opened by a dog or cat and keep them out of reach.
CBD products for dogs
Since my interview, CBD products for dogs and cats have shown an increase in popularity. CBD comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant (marijuana), but it doesn’t contain the “psychoactive properties” found in marijuana. That means it won’t get your dog high. Veterinarians are increasingly prescribing CBD products to treat inflammation, pain, anxiety and more.
Products come in:
- Edibles that are baked into treats
- Oils and creams
- Capsules that can be sprinkled over food
The CBD Awareness Project has a free downloadable guide for pets. It gives the latest facts so pet families can make good choices.