Society

Dog Owner a 'True Believer' in Pot For Sick Pets

| by Allison Geller

Miles the black Lab was dying of cancer. His owner hated seeing him in pain, and the pain medication tramadol had unpleasant side effects. So “Denise” tried something else: medical marijuana.

Within an hour of giving Miles a glycerin tincture of marijuana, bought at a medical marijuana dispensary in California, the dog stopped vomiting, regained his appetite, and started running around, Live Science reported.

“It couldn’t have been a coincidence,” Denise said.

According to Denise, the tramadol the vet prescribed made the dog lethargic.

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“Every time we gave it to him, he would just sleep; he wouldn’t even move,” Denise told the American Veterinary Medical Association journal. “He’d just lay there like he was dead.”

Denise called herself a “true believer” and recommends the cure to other pet owners. Since her dog was already dying, and humans can’t overdose on marijuana, she reasoned that pot would be relatively safe.

“I wasn’t that worried,” Denise said. “I was actually pretty excited, because it has been used with human cancer patients for pain and nausea.”

“People need to understand that this isn’t about getting my dog high,” she said. “It’s about improving his quality of life.” 

Veterinarian and Colorado State University associate professor Timothy Hackett told the Coloradoan that the main danger of dogs and pot is when the marijuana is contained in foods that are already bad for dogs, like brownies and cookies.

“If you give a dog a stick of butter or a bowl of cooking oil — marijuana or not — it’s going to get sick,” Hackett said. “If you called me up and said your dog ate a whole tray of regular brownies, I’d be concerned enough to tell you to bring him in and induce vomiting. It’s nothing against marijuana. The way people buy medical marijuana is what’s really toxic because those items are already pretty toxic to a dog.”

Hackett said there is a small risk of marijuana toxicity in dogs, with symptoms including vomiting, tremors and urinary incontinence. But when the baked goods are kept off the counter and the dosage is low, Hackett says most pets can indulge in the herb without danger.

“I’ve seen many stoned dogs and most of them do just fine,” Hackett said.

Sources: Live Science, AVMA, Coloradoan