Denver, CO

Keep cannabis away from Colorado canines

David Heitz

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Even in Denver, Scoobies and doobies don’t mix.

Denver is known as the Mile-High City for reasons other than just its altitude. Many consider Denver the marijuana capitol of the United States. Colorado became the first state to legalize the plant for recreational use.

Denver also is known as a happy place for dogs. Denverites adore their pooches and the city has landed on numerous “Best” lists for canines.

But know that even in Denver, Scoobies and doobies don’t mix. Although some may believe it’s OK to blow marijuana smoke in your dog’s face, it’s not. Not only is it cruel because the smoke hurts their eyes, but dogs have terrible marijuana trips, according to multiple vets online. Poisoning an animal is illegal in Denver, and that’s what giving your dog marijuana amounts to.

“Never give your canine pal marijuana deliberately,” according to Aspen Commons Animal Hospital in Aurora. “Here in Colorado, this is actually considered cruelty to animals, which is illegal and can actually carry a felony charge.”

Denver dogs fall sick after pot legalization

When Denver first legalized pot, reports of animals getting sick from the plant, mostly by ingesting edibles, skyrocketed. While there are CBD doggie treats nowadays derived from the hemp plant, marijuana weed should be kept away from canines.

“Imagine your concern if you came home to find your dog unable to walk, unresponsive, or in a coma,” according to Northfield Veterinary Hospital. “This is becoming more common as marijuana begins to lose its illicit status, at least in some areas of the world. As the decriminalization and even legalization of marijuana has occurred, cases of toxicity in animals have unfortunately increased.”

Dozens of news stories began to appear about dogs getting sick from marijuana after Colorado legalization occurred. According to Northfield, dogs must be hospitalized after ingesting marijuana. “Treatment may include inducing vomiting if the ingestion occurred very recently (within 30 to 60 minutes), the patient is awake, and it is safe to do so,” the veterinary hospital reports on its website. “Activated charcoal is also administered, often every eight hours for the first 24 hours as this helps to bind the THC, so it is not absorbed into the body.”

If you don’t know for sure whether your dog ingested marijuana, a veterinarian can test the animal’s urine for THC.

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Intoxicated animals given fluids; vitals monitored

The animal is given Intravenous fluids to help flush out the toxin and maintain blood pressure, Northfield reports. Veterinarians monitor the pet’s temperature, blood glucose, and blood pressure. Symptoms such as seizures or vomiting are treated.

Many dogs will eat anything. A THC chocolate bar left on a coffee table could make Fido miserable. Always put marijuana out of your dog’s reach.

You may have heard about CBD doggie treats. The CBD for the treats is derived from the Hemp plant, which does not induce psychoactive effects like marijuana.

Most dogs survive marijuana experience

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According to VCA Animal Hospitals, dogs don’t usually die from getting into pot. “Luckily, cannabis intoxication is seldom fatal,” VCA reports on its website. “The minimum lethal oral dose of THC in pets is fairly high; however, deaths have been noted after ingestion of foods containing highly concentrated cannabis, such as medical-grade THC. In fact, fatalities were very rare until the development of medical-grade products.”

Dogs have more THC receptors in their brains than humans do. This means they get intoxicated quickly.

“A small amount may affect one pet more than another, so there is no official safe level of exposure,” VCA animal hospital reports. “Differences in age, health status, and body size are some of the factors that can lead to toxicity differences.”

If you want your dog to enjoy a euphoric activity, drive him around and let him hang his head out the car window. Dogs seem to get high off this, after all. And it’s much safer than sparking up a joint in the presence of your pooch.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

Denver, CO
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