Study predicts marijuana toxicity will overtake chocolate toxicity by 2023


Marijuana toxicity cases remain constant as more states move toward legalization and/or decriminalization.

victoria /

victoria /

BluePearl recently released its 2021 Pet Health Trends Report, analyzing data from 1.29 million pet visits from 850,000 pets at its network of hospitals. One key takeaway from the study is that marijuana toxicity cases have quickly risen to be the second leading cause of animal toxicity, behind chocolate.

While chocolate toxicity diagnoses have steadily declined since 2015, marijuana diagnoses have been slowly on the rise. Due to the confluence of these 2 trends, BluePearl predicts in the study that marijuana toxicity will claim the top spot by the end of 2022.1

As more states moved toward legalization, decriminalization, and medical marijuana policies, THC-containing products have spread to more households with pets. In addition, the report shows that pet ownership is continuing to rise, specifically among cats and dogs less than 2 years old. BluePearl says its specialty and emergency pet hospitals across the country “are already seeing the effects of more widespread use of the substance,”1 underscoring the need for more client education in this area.

“As one of the largest providers of specialty and emergency veterinary care in the U.S., we have a responsibility to utilize our medical data for the betterment of pets and pet owners,” said Dr. Nicholas Nelson, President of BluePearl. “We believe pet owner education that focuses on prevention and raising awareness can make an enormous difference in how owners care for their pets…and this is what we hope to achieve through this annual pet health trends report. While our mission is to provide remarkable care to pets, BluePearl is committed to upholding the well-being of all animals through prevention and encourages owners to take action to ensure pets live happy and healthy lives.”

In addition to toxicity data, other key findings from the report include1:

  • The mix of names for both dogs and cats did not differ significantly from 2020, but a new name made the list of dog names: Coco.
  • Vomiting was the most common ER diagnosis for pets, followed by diarrhea and dog bite wounds.
  • The number of overweight dogs treated at BluePearl over the last 8 years has increased by 24%. In 2021, 52% of dogs and 42% of cats treated at BluePearl were overweight.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, BluePearl has seen a 22% decline in pet blood donations.

“BluePearl’s 2021 Pet Health Trends Report provides valuable pet health insights that can be leveraged by both pet owners and veterinary professionals,” said Dr. James Barr, chief medical officer at BluePearl. “Issues like pet obesity and insufficient blood bank donations go far beyond a singular pet or hospital team; they have reverberations into the entire ecosystem of pet care. We hope that this report not only educates people on the issues facing our pets today but inspires action that results in happier and healthier pets now and in the future. Because when life is better for pets, it is better for people, too.”


2021 Pet Health Trends Report. BluePearl. Accessed February 24, 2022.

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