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As a pet parent, it’s important to recognize what items are dangerous for your furry friend. Dogs especially should be kept away from chocolate, alcohol or anything they may be able to choke on (such as grapes, apricot pits or peach pits). Now, with the rise in states legalizing marijuana, there's another item pet parents need to keep away from pets. 

According to Tina Wismer, medical director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center, dogs are more attracted to marijuana in edible form, as it closely resembles regular baked goods, while cats are more interested in marijuana in its bud form. 

Wismer shared with the Los Angeles Times that “between 2017 and 2020, national call volume for cannabis ingestion rose from 1,436 cases to 3,923 cases.”

And these are just the cases that have been reported. Some owners also found that their dogs were exposed to abandoned edibles that were left in the street or in public parks. This is even more concerning, as owners don’t know what pets might have gotten into, and what else it might be laced with. 

Another factor playing a role in this increase is that pets were more exposed to marijuana during the pandemic. The Pet Poison Helpline found that there was an 102 percent increase in marijuana poisonings just since the pandemic began. 

Thankfully, according to the ASPCA, most cases aren’t that serious. However, it’s crucial for owners to recognize the signs and symptoms of marijuana exposure, such as dilated eyes, unsteadiness, sensitivity to touch and sound, etc. While home monitoring is acceptable in some cases, if dogs start to exhibit concerning symptoms, they’ll need to see a veterinarian immediately.  

Just as owners have to watch where they leave chocolate around dogs, they have to watch where they leave any marijuana to prevent dogs or cats from getting into it. As marijuana legalization continues to take hold, it’s more important for everyone to consider disposal, so we can prevent edibles from falling into the wrong hands (or paws).