Otsego County Warns Pet Owners Following THC-Induced Dog Attack

October 14th, 2023 Safety & Education
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In light of a recent harrowing incident, Otsego County Animal Control is emphasizing the importance of securing hazardous substances to ensure pet safety. Last week, a family dog unexpectedly attacked its owner following the ingestion of a THC-infused edible. This incident has sparked a dialogue concerning the potential dangers posed by THC to household pets.

Melissa FitzGerald, the Director of Otsego County Animal Control, recounted the distressing episode where a woman was severely attacked by her family dog after it consumed a THC gummy. The dog, which had been a non-aggressive family member for four years, exhibited uncharacteristic aggressive behavior following the ingestion of THC.

The incident underscores a critical yet often overlooked aspect of pet care—protecting pets from harmful substances. While it's common knowledge among pet owners that certain foods like chocolate can be harmful to dogs, the dangers of THC, a compound found in marijuana and cannabis products, remain relatively unknown to many.

Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine elucidates that THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" in humans, is actually toxic to animals including dogs, cats, and horses. Unlike CBD, which is deemed safe for dogs, THC can trigger a spectrum of adverse reactions ranging from lethargy and incoordination to restlessness and, as witnessed in Otsego County, aggression.

The incident in Otsego County serves as a stark reminder for pet owners to keep their cannabis products well out of reach from their furry companions. FitzGerald stressed the importance of awareness among pet owners regarding the potential impact of THC on pets, indicating that the effects can vary significantly depending on the individual animal.

"It's crucial to understand the possible reactions and to know what signs to look for," FitzGerald explained. She emphasized the responsibility of pet owners to ensure that harmful substances, especially marijuana and THC products, are securely stored away from pets.

In a proactive measure to prevent similar incidents, FitzGerald revealed that she's collaborating with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the state veterinarian to advocate for warning labels on THC products, highlighting the risks they pose to pets.

For pet owners who suspect their animal might have ingested THC, immediate contact with a veterinarian is strongly advised. This incident serves as an impetus for both pet owners and the cannabis industry to work together in ensuring the safety of our beloved animals while enjoying the benefits of cannabis responsibly.

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