British Columbia

Stoned dog triggers SPCA raid on Yaletown apartment

A Vancouver pooch's drug habit was so bad it prompted SPCA officers to pay a visit to its owner's Yaletown apartment.

Vet says it's common for canines to arrive at pet hospital stoned on pot

Pomeranians are a fashionable breed of dog in Vancouver's Yaletown. One of them has had several experiences with recreational and prescription drugs in recent months. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

It's tough to talk to any walk-in clinic patient about drug abuse, but even more difficult when the "patient" is a dog.

But one Vancouver pup's drug habits were so bad it prompted SPCA officers to pay a visit to its owner's Yaletown apartment.

The pup's name was Carter, a Pomeranian who arrived at the Yaletown Pet Hospital on Aug. 1, stumbling and exhibiting strange behaviour.

According to an SPCA search warrant, the pooch had previously been admitted to the Yaletown facility twice to be checked out after it "got into weed."

The curious pooch with the dilated eyes was already on a prescription for Valium to help it deal with its resulting anxiety issues.

Thus when Carter turned up once again later in August at the pet hospital, the vet contacted another emergency clinic for the dog's veterinary records.

It turned out Carter was a bit of a canine Keith Richards who loved more than snacking on marijuana.

The records documented seven other visits linked to the Pomeranian's habit of cleaning up stashes, including benders on cocaine, methamphetamine, Zanax, ecstasy and even oxycodone.

"Dog seen for dilated pupils. Owner admitted to giving Valium at home. Toxicity shows positive for Benzo (Valium) and possibility of cocaine, methamphetamine," said one record.

Symptoms of drug ingestion included stumbling, stuporous appearance, panting, slow heart rate, dilated pupils, hyper sensitivity to stimuli and dribbling urine.

Party time ends with knock on the door

The SPCA put an end to the Pomeranian's party in August, when they showed up with a warrant at the door of the Yaletown apartment.

That doesn't surprise Maple Ridge veterinarian Adrian Walton, who says drugged dogs are not uncommon

"Dogs love the taste of marijuana."

Walton says stoned mutts are a regular at Lower Mainland clinics, but fortunately for them, pot's physical effects don't last long for dogs.

"The worst they tend to get is the munchies," he says.

But his biggest concern is not with the dogs — it is with their owners, who often try to hide the reasons their pets are sick.

"I just wish that owners would be honest with us, because it would save us a lot of time in testing," he says.

As for Carter, he's on the path to recovery, according to the SPCA.

The records indicate he was initially seized from his owner but later returned and no charges were laid. The SPCA says the dog's owner is turning her life around and the pooch is in good hands.

With files from Jason Proctor