Pot may be legal, but it can kill your pet. Here’s what you need to know.

With more states legalizing recreational marijuana, including New York and New Jersey, more animal hospitals are seeing cases of marijuana toxicity in pets.

In New York City that includes the Animal Medical Center on Manhattan’s east side, where E-R Dr. Carly Fox spoke to Susan Richard about how to prevent this from happening.

According to Dr. Fox, pets can end up poisoned by marijuana in a variety of ways: inhaling second-hand smoke, ingesting the marijuana directly, or eating “edibles” — baked goods or candy containing marijuana. Edibles not only have a higher concentration of THC, they also often contain chocolate or xylitol, making them a double toxicity, that can be fatal. “Those things are super concentrated, and that’s where we see animals that become so sick that they require mechanical ventilation, they vomit or aspirate, or they become so neurologically inappropriate that they die”, Dr. Fox said.

Listen to the interview here:

Pet parents should also be honest with your veterinarian. “I can’t tell you how many people come in, where I know their animal ingested pot and they just don’t want to admit it to me,” says Dr. Fox. “If you know that your animal ingested pot, or you thinks it’s a possibility, let us know because it saves us a lot of time and your animal, perhaps, a lot of unnecessary diagnostic tests.”

To keep your pet safe, practice the following guidelines:

  • Don’t leave marijuana products lying around. Think of it like medication and store it in a locked cabinet or drawer.
  • If marijuana is being smoked, keep pets in a separated well-ventilated room until the smoke clears.
  • If your pet is exposed to marijuana, contact your veterinarian, or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.
  • If your pet shows signs of wobbliness, is dribbling urine, hyper-reactive to sounds, has seizures, or is showing signs of hyperthermia such as excessive panting, take your pet to the nearest animal emergency hospital.

The Animal Medical Center is open 24/7 and can be reached at (212)838-8100. Learn more at AMCNY.org.