According to a new study, a word of caution for everybody who owns a dog: apparently, some canines are getting intoxicated off weed by eating the feces of people who’ve consumed cannabis.
Dogs are natural scavengers, so the instinct to eat poop—while gross—is just a fact of life.
According to the Australian Veterinary Journal study, several dogs in Melbourne have gotten stoned after developing a taste for human poop.
As anybody who has a dog knows, your average canine is less “four-legged friend” and more “combination dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, and competitive eater.” Even the goodest of boys can have a hard time stopping themselves from scarfing down pretty much anything they see – whether that’s a tasty snack you foolishly took your eye off for a second, or, you know … 43.5 socks and $1.29 in change.
In fact, dogs are such gluttons that thousands end up in the animal hospital each year with suspected poisonings (pro tip: keep your medications locked away and check your garden.) And for a handful of those poorly pooches, the culprit is rather scandalous: they’re stoned.
Now, generally, when we hear about pets getting high on their owner’s supply, we think of edibles – like Rusty, the 1.4-kilogram (3-pound) chihuahua who managed to eat a whole pot brownie. And it’s true that as cannabis becomes more and more widely legalized, some veterinarians have reported an uptick in stoned pet cases.
“Dogs used to kind of chew on the stash growing in the basement. Now they’re finding a big bag of gummy bears,” veterinarian Heidi Houchen told the Washington Post back in 2016. “Dogs are Hoovers. Dogs are the rock eaters.”
But compared to what’s been getting the dogs down under stoned, gummy bears would be a step up. Heck, rocks would be a step up.
“This retrospective case series describes a novel and unexpected source for marijuana toxicosis in dogs; suspected ingestion of human feces containing … [THC],” says the case report. “Medical records from four, 24-hour veterinary emergency hospitals in Melbourne, Australia, were reviewed and 15 dogs met the criteria for inclusion in this case series.”
If you’re worried your dog is doing drugs, the case report helpfully describes what symptoms to look for: ataxia, mydriasis, hyperesthesia, urinary incontinence, and stupor. In non-medical terms, those are going to sound fairly familiar to those more stoner-adjacent of our readers – they are, in order: being unsteady on your feet, dilated pupils, increased sensitivity, peeing more, and falling asleep.
While the idea of a pup getting stoned from eating poop might seem amusing – and rest assured, the dogs in the case report all survived their ordeal – it can be quite traumatic for the lil guys, at least for a couple of hours.
The dogs in the report all ingested the spiked feces while out in places like the park or walking trails, and the case report highlights the need for dog owners to be vigilant over their pets’ eating habits, even if they don’t use cannabis themselves.
“Ingestion of human feces containing THC may lead to marijuana toxicosis in dogs,” the report cautions. “Veterinary staff and owners should be attentive regarding using appropriate hygiene measures when managing these dogs.”