While the humans, are away the pets will play, but if cannabis is in the house, it could be a health risk to your furry friends.

Doctor Ellie Shelburne, one of the co-owners of the Northampton Veterinary Clinic, said that cannabis is one of the top 10 toxins she treats for at the Northampton Veterinary Clinic.

“THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is much more toxic to dogs and cats than it is to people,” Shelburne said.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), cannabis is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Shelburne said that she is concerned that the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts might lead to more pets ingesting it, especially with more edibles at home, which are particularly tempting to dogs.

“My concern is that it’s going to get worse,” Shelburne said in response to legalized recreational marijuana passage.

While death is not likely after a pet ingests cannabis, the THC in cannabis can cause a variety of symptoms, including dilated pupils and sluggishness, vomiting, and potential changes in blood pressure and heart arrhythmias. Shelburne mentioned that if the cannabis was ingested by eating an edible product, like a brownie, it can also be accompanied by chocolate toxicity, causing neurological problems.

In 2013 the Pet Poison Helpline reported a 200 percent increase in the number cases of pets that ingested cannabis over the previous five years. Similarly, the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care published a study based in Colorado that showed a four-fold increase in the number of dogs treated for cannabis ingestion between 2005 and 2010. Colorado legalized medical cannabis in 2000.

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