With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois come some real problems for pets that belong to users. Quincy veterinarian Dr. Robert Reich has some real concerns.
Marijuana and pets should not mix. “That seems like common sense, but based on reports we are seeing in professional journals, that is not always the case,” says Dr. Reich of the Animal Medical Clinics of Quincy. “Prevention is the best cure when it comes to exposure to toxic substances,” he adds.

Dr. Reich explains that, according to the Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, in the first week that recreational use of the drug became legal in Illinois, the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital saw two cases of likely marijuana intoxication in pets.

Just like any medication or intoxicant in your home, users of marijuana are asked to keep edible or smoked form of marijuana out of reach of your pets. “Pets may be intrigued by the aroma and so storage in tightly aroma-proof containers is critical” adds Dr. Reich. “Pets should not ever be allowed in a room where there is smoke of any kind.”

Signs of marijuana intoxication in dogs include dribbling urine, swaying or general unsteadiness, and general being less alert; signs of marijuana intoxication in cats mimic those of neurological disease such as appearing to react to visual stimuli that are not actually present and dilated pupils.

For a known ingestion of marijuana, the pet should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Pets have been known to go into a coma within a few hours of ingestion. For that reason alone, having your pet evaluated by your veterinarian as soon as possible after ingestion is extremely important.