Bodhi, a 5-year-old, 90-pound Weimaraner, managed to get his paws on a marijuana edible at a park in Denver after going for a walk with his owner, Catherine Edwards, on Sept. 15.
At first, Edwards didn’t notice that Bodhi had consumed marijuana. "I didn't think anything of it," she told KUSA. "He's always chewing on sticks and other things."
Hours later, Bodhi began acting strangely.
"His behavior was really scary," said Edwards. "He was twitching. He lost function in his legs. He lost all control of his bowels. I thought he was going to die.”
Edwards rushed Bodhi to Denver Animal Hospital, where veterinarian Dr. Dan Berman quickly realized what the problem was. "The biggest sign: bizarre behavior. It's like if one of your friends was stoned, you might notice their bizarre-like behavior," said Berman. "Another sign is loss of bladder function.”
Bodhi spent eight hours recovering at the clinic and was given an IV before he was allowed to return home.
"He is still not 100%, but he is getting better," said Edwards.
Berman said he’s seen a spike in cases like this since marijuana was legalized in Colorado. Dogs are drawn in by the taste and smell of edible marijuana.
"Dogs love the taste of chocolate, candy, butter, and if there is enough pot inside those edibles, dogs can die from it," said Berman. "I have not seen it happen, but I know it can happen. It's a very dose-dependent reaction, as far as we know.”
Dr. Robert Proietto, a veterinarian in New York City, told The Dodo there isn’t much that can be done for high pets, but that they need to be evaluated. "Marijuana toxicity is no laughing matter and if people note their dogs have gotten into it they should seek veterinary care immediately," Proietto said.
"It is also important to tell the veterinarian the truth," he added. "No veterinarian is going to judge their client for being honest and we will never contact the police. We just want to know what is going on so we can treat the pet to the best of our ability.”