Beware of Cannabis

Photo: Nina Skyum-Nielsen

When Nina Skyum-Nielsen, one day in November 2021, came home from work she noticed at once that something was very wrong. Her normally lively dog was paralysed. He couldn't walk and just looked at her with empty eyes. "I couldn't see whether he realised that I called him. At the same time, he didn't show any signs of pain. It was all so strange, I just couldn't understand what was going on", says Nina Skyum-Nielsen.

She brought Melvin to the vet who quickly established that her dog had eaten drugs, both cannabis and amphetamine. The treatment was active coal blended with food. Physically, Melvin recovered within 24 hours, but mentally he was not himself for about a week. He was anxious and wanted to be petted.

As it turned out, it wasn't to be the only time Melvin would come into contact with euphoriants. Seven months later it happened again - but this time it was only a cannabis intoxication.

According to the Danish Veterinary Association, Melvin is part of a major narrative of dogs having eaten cannabis when being exercised. It happens relatively often says Christine Fossing, the chairman of the Association's panel for pets. Cannabis intoxication is not unusual. But there are geographic differences, and this should be considered. Christine Fossing points out that the risk for your dog swallowing euphoriants is most likely in bigger cities.

But there are areas in the entire country where drug addicts or dealers gather. In those places you should pay particular attention to whatever your four-legged friend sticks his nose in. Smaller dogs especially can become seriously ill when they eat the remains of cannabis or other euphoriants.

"It is, however, relatively rare that dogs come into contact with strong drugs such as amphetamine the way Melvin did", says Christine Fossing. Nina Skyum-Nielsen's dog - a Cardigan Welsh Corgi - was intoxicated both times when he was walked in or around Grøndalsparken between Vanløse and Frederiksberg (Copenhagen, Denmark).