Steamboat Springs resident Winnie DelliQuadri pets her dog Hailey, who is suspected of having ingested marijuana while being walked in a downtown park. Hailey had a bad reaction to the drug, and DelliQuadri is hoping her pet recovers.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs resident Winnie DelliQuadri pets her dog Hailey, who is suspected of having ingested marijuana while being walked in a downtown park. Hailey had a bad reaction to the drug, and DelliQuadri is hoping her pet recovers.

Steamboat dog recovering after 'bad trip' from eating pot


— It has been more than a week since Hailey ingested suspected marijuana, and she still has not returned to being her old self.

Before Nov. 25, the black border collie mix would greet her owner at the door and sleep next to her in bed. Hailey loved to go on walks and was full of energy. On Wednesday, she lacked any interest in her Milk-Bone, she was skittish and she would not come on command and preferred to be in the garage.


David DelliQuadri was walking his daughter's dog Hailey, right, in Stehley Park on Nov. 25 when it ate something a vet thinks was laced with marijuana.

“It’s like all the world is a threat to her now,” said David DelliQuadri, who was walking Hailey through Stehley Park in downtown Steamboat Springs when the dog ate something that a veterinarian later determined most likely was laced with marijuana.

The extended side effects Hailey is experiencing after getting really stoned are not typical, but dogs ingesting marijuana and succumbing to marijuana toxicosis is not unusual in Steamboat Springs and throughout Colorado.

“We see at least three each month,” Pet Kare Clinic veterinarian Dr. Paige Lorimer said. “It’s more common now that it’s legal.”

There is research to back that up. A Colorado study published in 2012 in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care found a strong correlation between medical marijuana legalization and the number of cases of dogs being treated for marijuana ingestion.

“I’ve seen it kind of mushroom,” said Dr. Tim Hackett, one of the study’s authors.

The rise in the numbers has Hackett and other vets concerned. They said getting high is not an enjoyable experience for dogs, and it can be quite traumatic.

“It’s a really bad trip for dogs,” Lorimer said.

Dogs also can get really sick, and at least two dogs in Colorado died after eating food containing marijuana.

It did not take long for Hailey to start showing signs of marijuana toxicosis. Hailey belongs to Winnie DelliQuadri, and her dad, David DelliQuadri, takes her on walks daily. During the Monday walk, Hailey ate something — but it is not known what — near the bridge in the park.

“She started not moving the right way and looking at him like he had hurt her,” Winnie DelliQuadri said. “She ran into the bushes and wouldn’t come out.”

Hailey stopped eating, drinking and going to the bathroom and sat in the garage staring at the wall.

“Basically acting like something was very, very wrong,” DelliQuadri said.

Hailey was taken to Pet Kare Clinic the next day.

Lorimer said Hailey exhibited many of the signs they see in dogs who ate something and got high. A test revealed a “vague positive” for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. That is marijuana’s mood-altering ingredient, but the test among veterinarians is not thought to be completely reliable in dogs. Other ailments were ruled out.

Aside from treating dogs who have ingested marijuana, Lorimer said her own dog Beets ingested pot three years ago while camping in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

“I thought he was dying,” Lorimer said. “They don’t like to feel weird. The feeling is scary to them. They have no idea where that came from.”

Lorimer said she would not have believed how her dog got sick unless she had witnessed it herself. Lorimer said Beets tested positive for THC and had gotten high by eating human feces. She said humans do not fully metabolize THC.

Lorimer has seen other strange cases. In one, it is thought a dog got high by licking its owner’s hands after the owner had handled pot.

“It really didn’t take much for the dog to show those clinical signs,” Lorimer said.

Lorimer said for a dog to get sick, it needs to ingest pot. She said they have not treated dogs who were exposed to pot by secondhand smoke. It is not enough to deliver a toxic dose, she said.

The fact is that dogs like pot, Lorimer said — not at all for its side effects but because of the taste in the raw form and the delicious sugary edibles that are made with it.

“Dog’s like it,” Lorimer said.

The problem is pets do not have the discipline to eat just one brownie or one dose, said Hackett, who, aside from co-authoring the study, is interim hospital director of Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

The edibles, made with butters, oils and other ingredients infused with marijuana, can be poisonous to dogs and their gastrointestinal tract, even without the pot.

"A dog eats a batch of brownies, there can be other issues that can be very serious,” Hackett said.

In the study that looked at 125 cases between January 2005 and October 2010, two dogs died after ingesting marijuana butter. Both dogs had been found passed out. One had eaten six chocolate chip cookies and died 40 hours later. The other consumed an 8-inch-square pan of brownies and died 14 hours later.

Hackett and Lorimer both said dog owners should seek immediate medical attention if their pet is sick. Hackett said dogs that have consumed antifreeze have similar symptoms to dogs that consume marijuana. Unlike pot, antifreeze can be very fatal.

“If you’re in doubt and the dog is stumbling around drunk, it’s important you don’t assume it’s something benign like pot,” Hackett said.

Concerns for the future

With retail shops expected to begin selling pot for recreational use Jan. 1, Hackett and Lorimer think the cases of dogs accidentally consuming pot only will continue to increase.

“I absolutely expect it to increase,” Hackett said.

The study Hackett worked on found the incidents of marijuana toxicosis increased fourfold at two Colorado veterinary hospitals during the course of the five-year study. The researchers found a strong correlation between the increase in medical marijuana licensed users and the number of illnesses. The study states that in 2005, there were 730 registered medical marijuana cardholders in Colorado. By September 2010, there were 106,653 cardholders.

While exposing children to marijuana is an often-publicized concern, the vets who have treated dogs after ingesting marijuana encourage dog owners to be careful.

“Keep the stuff high up and out of the way,” Hackett said.

DelliQuadri thinks it is ridiculous that her dog got sick by eating something at a park.

“Keep it in your house,” she said. “Don’t be dropping it in a park.”

DelliQuadri’s dog continues to recover.

“I’m hoping that she fully recovers and gets back to being herself, but it’s been a while,” DelliQuadri said.

While dogs are supposed to fully recover after eating large amounts of pot, Lorimer is not surprised Hailey still is experiencing problems. Border collies are known for being smart, Lorimer said, and Hailey still might be perplexed by what happened and trying to figure it out.

“Imagine not knowing you were going to get high and then having that feeling and not knowing where it came from.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 4 months ago

I was told that pot much like Obamacare had no downside.


rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Any dog eats my weed, he's in for a quick dissection.


mark hartless 3 years, 4 months ago

Can't make this stuff up.

"Dogs ingesting marijuana is not unusual in Steamboat Springs..."

Even the dogs in Steamboat are stoned??!!


Scott Ford 3 years, 4 months ago

This article has been picked up by the Denver Post. What is the next stop for this story, a reference during Jay Leno's opening monologue? Stranger things have happened.

You are right Mark - you can't make this stuff up.


michelle stillman 3 years, 4 months ago

Very sad, indeed. Not confident that Colorado thought this through thoroughly and completely, voting for the legalization of marijuana. Sounds benign to those in favor of this law, yet I witnessed first hand the danger our children are facing, when I went to the movies with my family this summer. A row of teenage boys struggled to sit through the movie, restless, giggling, unable to sit still, talking, roaming the aisles, not able to control their physical or emotional beings, after returning to the theater having just smoked weed. Disruptive at best they were. Even more sorrowful if their parents thought they were safely being entertained. Benign, I hardly think so. Living life alongside a cousin who started with marijuana I know, without a doubt, the dangers the young brain will encounter when introduced so early to marijuana, and now to see the threat it poses to our pets is all the more disturbing. How much confirmation does one need to realize that a mistake was made, and it would be in our best interest to protect our children and pets by repealing this vote. Maturity can often be measured by how easily one puts his own desires behind the desires of another, in an effort to better and strengthen the other.


rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Anybody up for some doggie skewers? It's a delicacy in Korea. Marinated. Mmm, especially yummy after some purple kush.


rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

We offer a tantalyzing array of sauces: A hot Szechuan, traditional honey BBQ, spicy Indian curry, and a new honey Dijon which promises to be a hit.

This week we offer a terrier off-breed, damn thing was sniffing around the stash and drooling, no good could come of that. Next week a border collie looks likely; my friend has been losing bud inexplicably, probably those strays he knocks on the floor in his stupor, Spike gobbles them down, and Jim (not his real name) doesn't realize until he comes down the next morning, too late for dissection, they're already digested. Spike feels GOOD. Can't hardly wake him up, but he looks like he's smiling. Border collies are especially tasty, if a little chewy, probably all that running.


Terry Noble 3 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately there some who abuse everything including the first amendment and humor. They get the attention while they shoot themselves in the foot. Sad but true!


Ben Tiffany 3 years, 4 months ago

Hey Rhys, Remember the "labradorian" from Up In Smoke? Guess this isn't a new problem.


Joey Bowman 3 years, 4 months ago

This is a good reminder that we need to dig a poop pit in the woods.


rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Never could make it past 18-7, myself -- gotta sleep some time. Had a roommate who drank 24/7 once -- he'd get up at 3 AM to refill his quart of vodka -- now he sleeps with the daisies, never made it to 40.

Funny how all the reactionaries are predicting doom and gloom, now that pot's legal -- and it's been here all along, in every bit the quantity, with NO adverse consequences -- yet alcohol kills every day, its evidence of abuse fills our Daily Record -- but the pundits and columnists stay strangely mum on that one, what's a drink or two, just good All-American fun (and all-everywhere).

I'm not trying to change the subject. I'm just saying, people who throw rocks, often live in glass houses. Judge not lest... and don't look too hard in the mirror.

To those of pure virtue who may read these words, I extend my humblest apologies. Please forgive me, if you can, and credit me for trying to limit the damages.


JJ Southard 3 years, 4 months ago

Only in Steamboat would this be front page news.....


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