Dogs might get hurt by discarded joints 2023


After a walk, 8-month-old toy poodle Bondi stumbled. Colleen Briggs took him to the vet when his head wobbled and he could scarcely stand.

Bondi was stoned.

Bondi sniffed and ate a discarded joint on his walk.

“He was just doing his usual — exploring everything, sniffing everything,” said Briggs, who noticed the pot stores popping up around New York City, the numerous whiffs of marijuana while around her Manhattan neighborhood, and the unfinished joints littering sidewalks.

The first legal recreational pot dispensary opened last year in New York City, where consumers can smoke it outside.

As a result, more dogs are finding and eating discarded joints and edibles, alarming veterinarians and pet owners who blame the sharp surge in poisonings on smokers unaware of the harm they cause by littering.

Dr. Amy Attas, a New York City veterinarian, says pets seldom died from marijuana poisoning until medical dispensaries opened. Pets raiding owners’ stashes caused numerous till recently.

“People are using marijuana on the street and discarding the unwanted ends of their joints,” Attas remarked. “Dogs eat those.”

She saw six cases in the first three months of the year, approximately the same number she’s treated in 30 years. She said multiplying it by the number of NYC vets shows the growing problem.

The ASPCA reported an increase in cases nationally. The 6,200 cases reported in 2021 increased 11% last year, and over the past five years, they have increased 300%.

“It’s unbelievable how common this is,”

Twenty-one states have legalized recreational cannabis, and in cities like New York, you can smell it everywhere.

Before demonstrating signs of toxicity, owners often don’t realize their dogs ate a discarded joint. Pet owners may not know what’s wrong.

When Circe, her 9-month-old fawn pug, fainted after a stroll, Sue Scott panicked. Circe drooled, shook her head, and splayed her paws.

Scott, 68, thought about a million things. Marijuana poisoning wasn’t. “Never,” she said.

Scott called Dr. Attas, who said Circe was high. Circe is now on a shorter leash.

“I don’t know if you know pugs—they’re constantly on the lookout for their next morsel,” said Scott, who has owned four other pugs, none of whom ever returned home stoned. Since they’re fast, they’re hard to control. They’ll dart.”

Marijuana poisoning can be expensive and require a trip to the animal emergency room, a stomach pump, and intravenous fluids, but dogs seldom die.

Patient and owner stress is also high.

Briggs, Bondi’s owner, says he was poisoned three times, starting last fall.

Briggs admitted that when Bondi got sick again, she must have been distracted. She let Bondi enjoy his high that time.

Walking him… it’s intense. “So I’m always looking on the ground, and it’s just everywhere now,” she said of the used joints she and Bondi find on walks.

Briggs stated, “One time, I caught him and grabbed it out of his mouth.”