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Nanaimo SPCA warns of dogs consuming discarded blunts

If you’re heading to provincial parks, keep an eye on your dog and what they’re chewing on.

The Nanaimo SPCA is cautioning dog owners about the dangers of their pet consuming discarded marijuana blunts.

“[What] we’re finding more and more of now is an increasing concern that pets are ingesting marijuana butts that have been left on sidewalks, in dog parks, and community parks,” said Senior Manager for the Nanaimo SPCA, Wendy Kotorynski. “The effects of those can be really serious all the way up to the death of your pet. So you wanna really keep an eye on your pets and what they’re eating.”

She says this has been an actual issue she’s heard about for a while.

“It’s been more and more of an issue in the last, I’d say, a couple of years,” says Kotorynski. “It’s definitely an increasing issue so it’s important [for] people who are using marijuana that we tell them; ‘please take your butts with you and don’t drop them where dogs and can get into it.’” 

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She says symptoms of eating a discarded blunt can be seen 5-12 hours after exposure, and smaller dogs are at greater risk. If your dog begins showing symptoms of lethargy, dilated pupils, glassy eyes, loss of balance, breathing problems, excessive drooling, agitated behavior, whining more, or anything unusual, you’re asked to call your vet.

It can cause abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, and potentially even a coma, or even potentially fatal if a large amount is consumed. 

“It’s pretty serious and it’s really horrifying for [owners]. Depending on the amount your dog ingests and the size of your dog, it can be pretty scary for the owners having to watch their dog go through it and until they kind of come out the other side.”

Kotorynski says some areas she recommends keeping an extra eye out for are provincial parks, or nicer areas where people like to sit down and relax.

“Basically all of our kind of nice parks, which we have so many of those around Vancouver Island— and Nanaimo in particular has a lot. Often around benches, you wanna watch where people may have been sitting. I’s been showing up in some dog parks. So pretty much everywhere you go, you really wanna try to keep an eye on what your dog’s sniffing and picking up as you go on your walks— or let them loose in particular.”

As opposed to cigarette butts, the part that makes marijuana toxic to dogs is the thC.

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