Warning as dogs become 'unresponsive' in growing trend: 'Terrifying'

Pet owners are being warned about how toxic the drugs can be for dogs.

Animal owners are being warned to keep an eye on their dogs after a number of pets fell ill after supposedly ingesting marijuana at a Sunshine Coast beach this week.

Cannabis is far more harmful to pets than humans, emergency veterinarian Whitney Hansen told the ABC, with reports it's left some "unresponsive" — but it's happening more and more often, she claims.

Queensland woman, Chris Paulsen, warned other pet owners on Facebook after a trip to the vet on Monday. She said it's likely her pup ingested the drug while on their morning walk and said the ordeal was "terrifying".

Two staffie dogs who were reportedly poisoned by marijuana.
Two dogs were reported to have had marijuana poisoning which is extremely toxic to animals. Source: Facebook

"Our dog was at the Bokarina beach this morning and within 15 minutes vomited and was very wobbly. We took him to Emergency Vet and his blood showed weed in his system," she wrote.

The Staffy was treated with charcoal to have the drug removed from his system. "Teddy is looking better after charcoal. Apparently, it’s a common thing the vets see," she said, adding her bill was $500.

Commenting on the post, another local Bec Hann said the same thing happened to her pet about four weeks ago at the same dog beach, just north of Caloundra. She spent the night at the vet. Ms Hann told the ABC her pet was "completely unresponsive and couldn't lift her head off the ground". "She was really uncoordinated," she said, admitting "it was really scary".

Bokarina beach on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
At least two people said their dog ingested marijuana at Bokarina beach on Queensland's Sunshine Coast recently. Source: Google

Signs of marijuana poisoning in dogs

Not all pets are so lucky. According to the Animal Poison's Helpline, many pets have died from the severity of the poisoning. Common signs of marijuana poisoning include wobbliness, dilated pupils and sensitivity to sound, light and touch. Disorientation and urinary incontinence are also common, so too is reduced alertness. According to the hotline, early detection is key.

Dr Hansen, who works at the Emergency Animal Services clinic in Tanawha, said there were three cases at her clinic on Anzac Day — one being Ms Poulsen. She said it's occurring more often after weekends and holiday periods.

"It can be really harmful. They can actually slip into a coma and, in severe cases, they can suffer organ dysfunction and their body can shut down," she warned.

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