“What’s worrying to us is the severity of cases now,” says Dr. Heidi Houchen, a veterinarian at Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Clackamas, Ore. “We still see the classic case: red eyes, wobbly, urinating on themselves, a little twitchy … but they can progress through the sedate, leaning, urine-dribbling stage to becoming completely comatose or absolutely rigid. They’ve come in and had seizures. They can come in a panic, really sensitive to noise and touch. They can pass away.”
Part of the problem is that pets are sneaking away edible cannabis products. “If a brownie is sitting on the coffee table, that dog is going to eat it whether it has marijuana or not. I think the enticement and the opportunity for a pet is greater [with edibles],” Brutlag says.
That poses a special danger for gluttonous pets. “It’s not just going to eat one brownie; it’ll eat the whole pan,” Brutlag says. “The dose of what a dog would ingest relative to a human would be much greater.”
Dogs and cats might also be more susceptible to marijuana intoxication than humans. “Every species metabolizes drugs differently,” says Dr. Stacy Meola, an emergency veterinarian at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Wheat Ridge, Colo.