In search of ponies: Marijuana or pills, be careful with medication

It's funny enough, all right.

Staggering and woozy, a dog's legs may each go in different directions, or, afraid to challenge the suddenly accelerated rotation of the planet, it may become a pooch puddle, trying to melt into the floor and hoping it will stop.

Others turn in clumsy circles or imitate living bobble heads.

There are apparently so many dogs doing it and people enjoy the strange behavior of wacky weed influenced dogs so much, the videos flood the Internet.

But while dogs seem to love the stuff and their people get a real kick out of watching them love it, experts are quick to kill the buzz.

Perhaps it's entertaining and dogs in particular (even the non-trained sniffer types) seem to gravitate towards it.

But apparently, as much as their owners may want to believe they share the same medicinal interests as their pets, not only do they have no idea what they're getting into, dogs systems just can't handle it.

On the heels of legalization of marijuana in Colorado, veterinarian Dr. Stacy Meola started studying the impact on pets and found the number of dogs rushed to emergency facilities was increasing dramatically — to the tune of four times more — and many vets reporting daily incidents of accidental ingestion patients.

And it's not isolated to Colorado, with incidents on the rise throughout the country.

According to ASPCA data, the number of marijuana ingestion calls to its poison control hotline for pets has tripled over the last decade.

While some dogs find their owner's hidden stashes, vets are finding that laced brownies, cookies and other baked goods are most often the culprits.

An unanticipated side effect of medical marijuana use, the situation is taking animal care providers by surprise and has concern growing.

The reality of marijuana toxicity in dogs is not pretty and often results in vomiting, incontinence, stupor, lack of coordination, agitation and potentially death.

And vets say that while humans like to project their own perspective onto them, what dogs experience while high on marijuana — which attacks and poisons their neurological systems — is anything but fun for them.

In other words, really and truly, all they wanted was the brownies.

Luckily, death is rare, but the effects are likely to stay with a pooch for up to 24 hours and can require treatment by a vet.

Fluids via IV, charcoal, induced vomiting and sleep are among measures often taken to help bring dogs around.

The key thing stressed by those in the know is that — though many see marijuana as benign — it needs to be stored responsibly just as any other medication should, particularly when added to food items that will attract curious noses.

Besides — whether it's tape on the paws, peanut butter on the nose, fake doorbells and more — there's no shortage of safe and surely much, much cheaper ways to have fun at a pet's expense than sharing "medicine" with them.

Sharna Johnson is a writer who is always searching for ponies. You can reach her at: insearchofponies@gmail.com or on the web at: www.insearchofponies.blogspot.com

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