The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control reported seeing a more than 300% surge in marijuana-related cases over the last five years.
In South Florida, Barky Pines Animal Rescue workers say they are getting more calls about pets getting sick after getting into drugs.
“What we’ve been seeing is a spike in animals going to ER clinics that are overdosing,” said Elizabeth Accomando with Barky Pines.
Some of the calls have been related to animals getting into opioids.
A nonprofit group in South Florida is going as far as to train people how to give the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, or Narcan, to animals.
But the head veterinarian at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control says they haven’t seen a spike in opioid-related calls in pets. The risk has increased more so in working dogs like law enforcement K9s.
“The important part that we stress to them is that once you give the dose, you then need to take the dog directly to the veterinarian because typically, they are going to need more than one dose,” said Dr. Tina Wismer in reference to giving Narcan to animals.
But, it’s marijuana, particularly edibles, that has led to huge increases in calls to poison control.
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, there has been an increase in marijuana-related cases:
2017: 1,436 cases
2018: 1,767 cases
2019: 2,812 case
2020: 3,923 cases
2021: 6,259 cases
Animals getting into over-the-counter medications and chocolate make up the bulk of calls into poison control.
Timing makes a big difference in both in terms of preventing them from getting severely ill, as over-the-counter medications are absorbed pretty quickly.
“The timeframe to induce vomiting is pretty small, 10-15 minutes. Chocolate can hang out in the stomach for up to 12 hours in dogs. So, we can make these guys vomit many hours later if they’re not already vomiting on their own,” said Dr. Wismer.
Animal experts can walk pet owners through how to use regular 3% hydrogen peroxide to help a pet get whatever they eat out of their system.
If you find yourself in an emergency, the number for Animal Poison Control is 1-888-426-4435.