A mountain-biker said his dog is recovering after being poisoned by cannabis-tainted feces on a hiking trail in the Chilliwack River Valley.
The vet bill was almost $1,000, and Ben Koslowsky wants his experience to become a cautionary tale for others.
The worse part, he said, is that he could have lost his dog, Sophie, a year-old border collie/heeler cross.
“It’s a bit of a crazy story,” Koslowsky said, recounting what happened Sept. 7 while he and his pup were exploring an unnamed trail.
Somehow Sophie found and ate human feces, which tests confirmed contained THC — the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
“The smell is like perfume to dogs,” he said.
It was only their third mountain bike ride together, as he’d been waiting for the puppy to be physically ready to accompay him on the trails.
“Within an hour and a half of getting home, she was laying in a pool of drool,” Koslowsky said. “Her eyes were huge. She was shaking and she had peed herself.”
Making it to the animal hospital within 15 minutes, he said the vet induced vomiting quickly, put the dog on IV fluids and prescribed a course of antibiotics. The vet said if he had not have arrived so quickly, it might have been game over.
The bill came to $937.
“Yep, it was a thousand-dollar dookie,” Koslowsky said. “So I just thought people should be aware — and warned about what’s out there so they can extra careful.”
It’s actually a thing with human waste poisoning dogs. It’s been happening in the past few years in the wake of legalization of cannabis in several jurisdictions. Of course, sometimes the animal gets into someone’s stash of cannabis directly. It could be edibles or leftovers of a joint.
But after a quick internet search, Koslowsky found dozens of media reports where dogs were sickened by cannabis-laced poop, likely after the person consumed edibles. There were reports from cities like Vancouver, Squamish, Vermont, Colorado, and more.
“I have discovered it’s becoming an issue. I just wish everyone would clean up after themselves better.”
Some vets say they are seeing up to three or four cases of cannabis toxicity in dogs per week.
They’ve seen it happen on hiking trails, but also in city parks, and on streets in communities with large homeless populations.
The mountain biker said he moved to this part of B.C. about 15 years ago from Manitoba, mainly for the outdoor lifestyle, with nearby mountains and the local trail system.
“We know lots of people with dogs who are always out on the trails. Most don’t think about something like this happening.”
Koslowsky has always had dogs and he said his Sophie is the “sweetest” dog he’s ever had the pleasure of caring for. They call her ‘Nature Girl’ because of how much she loves being outdoors.
“Dog are gross but we love them anyway,” he concluded. “Of course, I had to brush her teeth.”