Veterinarians warn of marijuana poisoning in dogs now that it's legal in Arizona

A Mesa woman was stunned after her dog was diagnosed with marijuana poisoning when he apparently ate some while on a walk. She wants to get the word out about it now that marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in the state.

The good news is that most dogs recover from marijuana poisoning. However, it can still be serious.

Officials with a Valley emergency vet hospital says it's gotten several cases of it each week.

"Everyone loves Copper. They know Copper's name and not mine," says his owner, Gayle Schambach.

The loving and inquisitive 90-pound Labordoodle had a rough time after a walk. "About an hour and a half later he started looking like he was playing tug of war only he wasn’t he was backing up and shaking and his eyes were all glossed over," Schambach said.

The emergency vet said it was marijuana poisoning.

Dr. Marcella Granfone at emergency hospital Arizona Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Center (AVECCC) said they have several cases of this a week.

"We have seen more severe effects from edible products where pets can come in looking comatose and actually will need a machine to breathe for them for a period of time," she explained.

Granfone said with marijuana now being legalized for recreational use, it’s important people keep an eye on their dogs.

"We’re very concerned that if there’s more access to them than you know, dogs can get into a lot of things. So definitely warning owners to be more cautious of the edible products. They’re just a lot stronger," she said.

Schambach says she doesn’t know how Copper got ahold of marijuana on the walk, but wanted to get the word out about its danger to dogs.

"The vet told us now that marijuana is legal, they’re seeing more of it," Schambach said. She says thankfully he back to his normal, tail-wagging self.

This also isn’t just a dog thing.

Banner Health Poison and Drug said it saw a 34% increase in 2020 for marijuana exposure calls and already this year have had 22 calls involving kids under 16.