Dogs Are Getting High Off Human Poop Laced With Marijuana

With cannabis legalization spreading across the U.S., veterinarians have reported seeing more dogs with marijuana toxicity. While many cases are due to pets getting into their owner's stash, some dogs are getting high from a strange source: Human feces.

Dogs who have been on hiking trails or forests in Colorado are being brought in to see vets with a variety of symptoms. Experts believe the dogs are ingesting poop left by campers and hikers who have ingested enough marijuana to give the dogs a contact high.

"Seventy to 80 percent of people say they have no idea where their dogs got [marijuana], but they say they were out on a trail or camping. I can't believe that the owners are lying," Dr. Scott Dolginow told the Aspen Times. Dolginow owns Valley Emergency Pet Care in Basalt, Colorado, and sees between three and 10 dogs a week with marijuana toxicity.

For better or worse dogs have a penchant for eating poop and Dolginow says most would be happy to eat human poop if given the chance. He pus the blame for marijuana toxicity on feces laced with THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

"It's unlikely that many people toss an edible or a roach on the side of the trail. It also makes sense from the level of toxicity we see," Dolginow said.

Marijuana Toxicity is a broad clinical term referring to the appearance of symptoms like a slowed heart rate, dilated pupils, disorientation, nauseousness and, in some cases, incontinence.

sleepy dog marijuana
Vets say often the best course of action is to let the dog sleep off an unpleasant marijuana high. Tverkhovinets/Getty

The condition is generally treated by letting the dog ride out the high. In some particularly bad cases, the dogs are sedated and given fluids.

Marijuana toxicity in dogs is on the rise, according to the Pet Poison Helpline, which reports a 448 percent increase over the last six years. And the problem isn't only in Colorado. In San Francisco, where's a public pooping problem, dogs have also eaten THC-laced feces.

"There's nothing about that actual drug itself that will kill them. It doesn't cause any organ failure. It doesn't cause liver failure [or] renal failure," Dr. Dorrie Black, a San Francisco vet, told NPR. However, it's not completely safe; Black says a dog can be so sedated by marijuana that it can inhale its own vomit and choke to death.

While marijuana toxicity is relatively harmless, it can look scary: Liz Robert's Australian shepherd Zuheros, was a victim of a poop high last year.

"I thought stroke, aneurysm, [a] brain tumor. [I] had no idea that marijuana toxicity could even be a possibility," Robert told WPTZ. After discovering Zuheros ate human feces laced with THC, Robert posted fliers warning dog owners along the trail where her dog found the waste.