Experts say medical marijuana can be a danger to your pets
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) - As marijuana legalization continues to grow throughout the country, some people are warning about the dangers it brings to pets.
"They'll eat any type of edible or gummy. In some cases where there's chocolate associated with them, that can pretty be a problem as far as toxic problems with dogs," said Sarah Bagemann, owner and vet at Okoboji Veterinary Hospital.
Local experts warn that though it's not likely marijuana will kill your pet, it could cause complications.
"Most things you end up seeing are dogs that are super agitated and very spazzy. It could go all the way up to seizures, to some pets to the point they'll end up actually being comatose. Those are the ones that are more potentially serious because it can end up with things like aspiration pneumonia or other side effects show up, like vomiting or diarrhea," said Bagemann.
According to petpoisonhelpline.com, over the past six years, it's experienced a 448% increase in marijuana cases.
Bagemann said if your pet ingests marijuana or edibles, don't hesitate to call your vet.
"If it happens, just tell us. We really don't care," said Bagemann."The biggest thing is we just want to make sure your pet is safe."
Officials said part of keeping your four-footed friend safe is making sure they don't get into what they shouldn't be in.
"The No. 1 rule we give to parents who buy edibles is keep it away from all of your other food items in your house. It can easily be mistaken by a child for being a treat they can enjoy," said Corbin Wyatt, CEO of Peak Dispensary.
Wyatt urges those who have medical marijuana or edibles to keep it in a safe place.
"We also recommend keeping them in a lockbox or other item that a child cannot easily access," said Wyatt. "Make sure you're leaving marijuana off easy-to-reach counters and tables and that you're making sure they’re also in your sight when using them in a household that has pets or children. It's always important to make sure that even looking away for a second, they’re not gone whenever you look back."
Wyatt said you should treat the drug as a prescription.
"I also tell parents to leave it away from some of the other household medicines that you’re using. Don’t make it an equivalent to an Aleve or Tylenol to your children. Don’t get them used to the idea of that," said Wyatt.
If your animal does ingest the drug, Bagemann said you should take it to the vet within the first two hours.
"If you can get them to a doctor within about two hours of ingestion, we can usually make them vomit to help get product out of their system. A lot of times, there’s other products, too, that can help adhere to any toxins," said Bagemann.