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Pot and pets don’t mix

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Illustration by: Azalie Yanguas | Staff Illustrator

Smoking harmful substances around pets is an abhorrent hobby. From cigarette smoke to marijuana, what may not necessarily be bad for humans can be extremely harmful to pets.

Blowing smoke in a pet’s face to see their reaction may seem cute, but exposing an animal to a known toxin just for fun is simply irresponsible. Many people will take videos and pictures of themselves smoking with or even “hotboxing” their pets and share these photos on social media for a laugh.

A quick YouTube search reveals videos showing pets being exposed to pot, falling over and seeming intoxicated. These behaviors show symptoms of major health problems. The comments reveal many people poking fun and claiming to participate in the illustrated behavior, but there is nothing funny about purposefully endangering an animal’s well-being.

It’s trendy to take marijuana and mix it into baked goods. However, this method is the most common way dogs ingest marijuana. People can be very irresponsible, especially when high, leaving food laced with pot out on counters or tables for animals to easily access.

A common misconception asserts that marijuana is fine to share with animals because it does not necessarily harm humans. This logic is flawed.

Grapes are not harmful to humans, but cause massive liver failure in dogs. Avocados are very healthy for human consumption, yet lethally poisonous to birds. Just because a human enjoys a certain thing does not mean it is beneficial to share with a pet.

Following the recent legalization of marijuana in some states, the Pet Poison Helpline has received a 200-percent increase in cases involving marijuana intoxication in pets. The Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care reported a four-fold increase in the number of dogs treated for marijuana intoxication.

In dogs and cats, marijuana causes severe anxiety, vomiting, diarrhea, extreme lethargy and even seizures. Birds are vulnerable to secondhand marijuana smoke, which causes severe depression, regurgitation or even long-lasting respiratory issues.

Similarly, cigarette smoke has terrible effects on both human and animal bodies. Secondhand smoke can cause depression and even cancer for pets. Pet birds are especially at risk when around smoke because of their delicate respiratory systems. Smoke could mean lung damage and bacterial infections for these animals.

When confronted about endangering their animals, these irresponsible owners use baseless excuses like, “My pet likes it and asks for it,” as if that makes their deplorable actions justifiable. My dog would happily eat an entire bar of chocolate and ask for more—that does not mean I should feed him chocolate. Just because a pet becomes addicted to a harmful substance does not mean it should be freely given.

The fact that some pet owners value their own selfish hobbies over the well-being of their animal companions is appalling. Owners are responsible for their pets’ lives. If an owner willingly harms their pet, they do not deserve the endless love and affection animals give.

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