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Just as we were recovering from the yearly barrage of bad-faith warnings about cannabis edibles being slipped into trick-or-treaters plastic pumpkins, we came across this: A widely syndicated, hardly verified LA Times article about dogs being drugged on their neighborhood walks.
This is the stuff of which canine parents’ nightmares are made.
On the Nextdoor app, "one woman, who resides in Stinson Beach, wrote that her toy poodle has been to the emergency room four times as a result of eating cannabis while being walked around the neighborhood,” the LA Times offered as evidence of the supposedly wide-sweeping problem.
“It’s happening so frequently, some of those posting wondered if somebody wasn’t intentionally leaving edibles out to hurt dogs,” the LA Times continued.
Now, it is completely probable that cannabis legalization has made edibles more widely available, and that doggos would encounter them at correspondingly higher rates. Indeed, the article in question cites soaring numbers reported by the New York-based ASPCA Poison Control Center and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
But at issue with the LA Times article — just as with the omnipresent trick-or-treat cannabis poison stories — is the supposition that people are willfully leaving cannabis out for unwitting children, furry or not, to consume. Your toy poodle having been poisoned with cannabis four times suggests that it’s not coming across the edibles by chance (or that your neighbors have a serious forgetfulness problem that’s manifesting in the loss of their weed food.)
The fact-checking website Snopes fielded similar concerns, that children may be poisoned by cannabis edibles while trick-or-treating on Halloween. Although the site found evidence of wanton weed poisoning going back to 1958, “We were unable to find a single instance of a stranger intentionally attempting to drug a child by handing out marijuana edibles on Halloween.”
Many cannabis poisonings could be prevented by guardians of non-consenting animals and small humans being less than meticulous about storing their drugs in safe places.
Another highly misleading aspect of this kind of coverage, both geared towards human and animal parents, is the overstatement of risk. “The narcotic effect [of cannabis on dogs] can be serious,” wrote the LA Times. But a trip to PetMD.com reveals that while your pet will likely be disoriented — and at worst, could suffer temporarily lowered blood pressure, cardiovascular distress, or vomiting — eating weed is unlikely to kill your furry beast:
“Although the symptoms and treatment can be scary, most dogs recover from marijuana toxicity.”
That article recommends seeking medical attention even if the dog owner feels embarrassed (surely ER vets have nothing better to do!) and keeping the affected pup in a quiet room “to reduce sensory stimulation” — honestly, good advice for humans suffering from too much weed, as well.
Far more dangerous to dogs are the non-cannabis components of an edible — chocolate, which can be fatal to Fido — and even the packaging itself. Of course, those would be risk factors involved with leaving a Krispy Kreme doughnut out... and we don’t see widely-syndicated news coverage of deadly doughnuts coming out right and left?
So, let’s take deep breaths, keep the edibles out of reach of anyone who isn’t a responsible adult human, and maybe don’t let your dog eat garbage on walks?
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