Don’t Give Your Dog Your Pot

In all of the hubbub over medical marijuana rulings last month, it seems one question was grossly overlooked: What about dogs? Thanks to an article in today’s Los Angeles Times, we finally have the answer for which an anxious nation has been waiting: It is not okay to give your dog pot.

The article opens with the heart-wrenching tale of Tank, a male pit bull mix who fell victim to an attack of the munchies and, well, being a dog, promptly ingested an entire box of baking soda. Obviously Tank’s owner forgot rule number one of the Pets and Pot Owner’s Manual: If you have marijuana around in reach of your dog, make sure there are safe snacks — hey, how about dog biscuits! — nearby for later.

As Tank sat trembling in the vet’s office with a “coma-like” heartbeat and dilated eyes, the vet probed Tank’s owner for answers: “Joseph Humble, the attending veterinarian, suspected poisoning. But from what? The dog’s owner pleaded ignorance. Tank, distracted, wasn’t saying.”

Ah, good thing the owner had rule number two down cold: Train your dog to keep quiet even when interrogated. (Also good thing author Andrew Strickler knew to cover this one with a fairly tongue-in-cheek tone. It would have been unbearable if written in sincerity.)

Soon the owner fessed up: “‘Doc, I know what happened … the dog ate some pot — kind of a lot of pot.’”

According to Dr. Humble, this is not an uncommon problem in the greater Los Angeles area.

And thanks to the Times’s serious number crunching, we can see why: “Although no statistics are kept on marijuana poisonings, the nation’s canine-to-pot ratio reveals potential for a problem.” Ah, the classic canine-to-pot ratio. Just as a reminder, that ratio is determined as follows: “The American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn. estimates that 43 million U.S. households include a dog, while more than 25 million Americans ‘fessed up on a 2003 government survey to having used marijuana at least once in the previous year.”

So the ratio is a staggering 43 million to 25 million. That’s a lot of people with pot, and a lot of people with dogs! Now if only there were a statistic for how many people are dumb enough to give that pot to their dogs, we could really get somewhere.

We don’t mean to make light of the pain endured by pups suffering from marijuana poisoning — what kind of heartless person could poke fun at a defenseless doped-up doggie? And we understand the editorial philosophy of “Give ‘em bread and circuses.”

But we have no problem mocking an article with the headline “When it’s pot versus pet, there’s a bad trip in store.” Surely there must be more important things for a newspaper to shed light on than the fact that a creature that’s the size of a toddler and can’t even stomach chocolate is going to a have a tough time digesting mass quantities of weed.

Samantha Henig

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Samantha Henig was a CJR Daily intern.