Dogs Accidentally Ingesting Drugs Is More Common Than You Think

When a pet owner takes their dog on a walk the last thing they are worried about is their dog accidentally ingesting drugs. The NBC4 I-Team has learned that it is actually more common than we think.

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When you take your dog for a walk, the last thing you’re probably worried about is your dog ingesting drugs. But it happened to one dog owner, and the I-Team learned it’s more common than you might think. 

To escape the summer heat, Lori Burns recently took her dog Chance for a walk along the coast in Santa Monica.

“It’s a pretty spot, you overlook the water, there’s lots of grass,” she said. 

But not long into the walk, Chance suddenly collapsed. Burns took him to a local veterinarian ER where they found oxycodone in his system. 

“I was in shock. I thought they called the wrong person, truthfully,” said Burns.

The vet said Chance likely ingested something while on the walk, minutes before he collapsed. 

Dr. Steven Centola with Laaser, a veterinarian emergency and rehabilitation hospital in LA, didn’t treat Chance, but says stories like Burns’ happen a lot more often than we might realize.

“We’ll have a combination of opioids, or potentially cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and usually they’ll test positive for multiple toxicities at once,” said Centola. 

In fact, according to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, last year more than 7,000 pets were potentially exposed to drugs - a 60% increase from the year before. Marijuana toxicity takes the top spot. 

Dr. Centola says signs that your dog may have ingested something: vomiting, wobbliness, struggling to breath, seizures or collapsing. 

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, Dr. Centola says to take them to the veterinarian or ER right away for treatment. 

“Most of the time with these types of toxicities, with aggressive supportive care treatment, most of the time these pets have a good prognosis and are ready to go home within one to three days,” he said.

This was the case for Chance. He recovered, although he did lose his eyesight.  Burns says she now keeps Chance on a short leash. 

“I just want people to know they should know their surroundings,” she said. 

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