Most dog owners know it is an occupational hazard to have a dog. 

Their pets are always eating what they shouldn’t and it is a common occurrence to chase them round the house, telling them to drop whatever tasty morsel they have stolen. 

While most owners know to keep the chocolate and raisins out of paws’ reach, cannabis should now unsurprisingly be added to the list. 

It was not a normal August bank holiday morning for the Maguire family. 

Rufus, their 11-year-old German wirehaired pointer, does not have the same spring in his step as three-year-old Bonnie, of the same breed. 

So when owner John Maguire took Rufus out for a small walk first at 8am on Monday (August 28) at Polecat Copse, just off Lion Lane, he let the pointer off the lead for five minutes so he could stretch his legs. It was only five minutes but that was all it took.

When John was out for his second walk that morning with Bonnie, he received a frantic call from his wife Gail. 

Eleven-year-old Rufus, a German wirehaired pointer, was out for his morning walk when his owner John Maguire let him off the leash so he could stretch his legs. 

Rufus was off the lead for only five minutes – but that was all it took. 

Rufus was shaking, incontinent, glassy-eyed and Gail was convinced he was having a stroke, having no idea Rufus had eaten a Class B drug. As it was a bank holiday their usual vets, Crofts, was closed so they took him to an emergency vets in Farnham. 

“The minute the vet saw him, she knew straight away it was a toxin,” said John. 

“She was 99 per cent sure it was cannabis.”

It was very traumatic for John and Gail, who had lost their dog Ebony to a stroke last November. Rufus spent the whole day at the vets attached to a  drip and being fed charcoal to flush out the toxic substance. The vet bill came to an eye-watering £1,000. 

John said: “I just keep thinking about families on lower incomes. We are lucky that our insurance will cover about 75 per cent of the bill, but other families might not be that lucky!”

The emergency vet told the Maguires this sort of incident is becoming more and more common. 

She said she had several families taking in their dogs with similar symptoms, and that their children’s weed-use had been ‘outed’. John suspects the weed Rufus ate had been hidden in the copse. 

Rufus is now at home and recovering well but left untreated, cannabis poisoning can be fatal in dogs. 

To find out more about symptoms and risks click here.