Drug Dealer Dog

What to do When Your Dog is Your Dealer

When you think of a drug dealer dog, you may find yourself picturing a big mean looking dog, like a rottweiler or doberman, who will chase people away from their owners’ property and out of their privacy.

Of course, this is a largely stigmatized image. But when discussing dogs and drug dealing, the reality of this situation is that many people struggling with addiction are looking for fast ways to get their next pill, hit, or fix; and having a dog (or any other pet) is becoming an increasingly popular way of doing this. When your dog is your drug dealer, it causes harm to both you and your animal companion.

Keep reading to learn more regarding this questionable practice, and how to get help for yourself if your dog is becoming a victim of the need to get high.

Frequent Flyers at the Veterinary Clinic

Frequent Flyers at the Veterinary Clinic

In the United States of America, people love having a dog as their pet. We take selfies with them, take them for walks, take funny pictures and videos of them and cuddle with them in bed. But who knew some people dealing with drug addiction are using them as a means to an addictive pharmaceutical end?

Dog lovers and owners have likely spent some time with “Fluffy” inside of a veterinarian’s office. This attachment becomes toxic when ‘your dog is your drug dealer,’ in essence, through prescribing painkillers by your local vet.

I’ll speak for myself when I say that this experience is usually a nightmare for my Labrador Retriever/Golden Retriever mix Molly and me. But some dog owners, as well as owners of other types of pets, are becoming more and more fond of the veterinary experience.

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Dogs as Involuntary Drug Dealers: Injuring Your Animal to Get Opioid Painkillers

One might assume that it’s silly to even bring something like this up with all of the human physicians out there who are over-prescribing opioids. Most people laugh or scoff when I bring this issue to their attention.

Make no mistake, this is no laughing matter. The opioid addiction epidemic and drug addiction crisis currently plaguing the US has made some people so desperate for narcotics that they are willing to maim their own dog to get drugs.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, people are purposely injuring their own dogs to get opioid painkillers. I can hardly imagine such a thing, although I can recall hurting myself to gain access to painkillers so perhaps it’s not such a stretch. Imagine being an innocent dog, with complete and total loyalty to your owner, and being repeatedly injured, just for your owner’s plan to obtain narcotics.

In 2018, Kentucky found itself faced with a case in which police officers arrested a woman for using disposable razor blades to inflict injury on her dog in an attempt to get opioid painkillers. As shocking and unbelievable as this may sound, cases like this one are only continuing to pop up throughout the country.

Doggy-Doctor Shopping

Doggy-Doctor Shopping

These may seem like extreme cases but they happen more often than you would think. Veterinarians now congregate in person and in online chat rooms and forums to discuss this drug addiction issue they have aptly nicknamed “doggy-doctor shopping.”

Addicts have discovered that although physicians may have become more aware and suspicious of requests for narcotics, veterinarians are still unaware and off guard. Unfortunately, many animal doctors have consented to fuel their client’s addiction while none the wiser. If this is a problem for you and involves your pet, you may want to consider a pet friendly rehab setting that can help support your recovery and mend your relationship with your animal companion.

In many cases, pet owners will visit multiple veterinarians’ offices and have received hundreds of narcotics such as Tramadol before anyone got close to becoming suspicious or reporting their activities to the proper authorities.

Sometime within the last several years, addicts have figured out that a drug called Tramadol produces a “high” very similar to that of Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, or a low dose of Heroin.

Furthermore, the drug Tramadol isn’t subject to the same scrutiny or regulatory requirements that opioid prescriptions like Oxycodone or Hydrocodone are, so this makes seeking out these drugs much easier.

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Lack of Oversight Equals Drug Addiction

Tramadol, marketed under the brand name Ultram, was developed in Germany as a painkiller for people. It is now used for dogs after research established that it can be used on them effectively without any need for changes to the formula.

The FDA didn’t classify Tramadol as a drug of abuse when adverts for this medication first hit the market in 1995, despite its long history of abuse and misuse in various third-world countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.

In August 2014, the DEA designated Tramadol as a schedule IV substance, acknowledging that Tramadol addiction is an increasing problem. Under this designation, states are allowed to adopt their own rules regarding the tracking of sales and some states are far stricter than others. For example in the state of New Jersey, veterinarians aren’t required to report dispensing a controlled substance.

One would think in a state flush with opioid addicts that they’d check on and take prescription drug oversight more seriously. Other states like New York require veterinarians to provide content and create an online report within 24 hours of dispensing any Tramadol, by far the most stringent guidelines in the nation.

Since the DEA has its hands full, they rarely get involved with veterinary prescription oversight unless they receive a specific complaint or they catch wind of an extremely large order of Tramadol.

Veterinarians do what they can but, even with an understanding of how these drugs are being abused, it is very difficult for them to know if a dog’s owner has been to multiple other veterinary offices seeking narcotics. While this information doesn’t seem like something vets should just sidebar, privacy rules do offer their clients certain protections.

At present, Tramadol is considered to be at risk of becoming the new opioid of choice for abusers. This is due to the fact that Tramadol is approximately twenty times cheaper than Oxycodone, has less strict regulatory oversight and much less attention is paid to the drug in general.

A New Drug of Choice: Tramadol


For one couple in Ashland, Ohio, Tramadol already had become their drug of choice. Prior to the couple taking their bulldog to the Claremont Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Kristine LaFever was warned that this couple had been going through the “doggy-doctor shopping” process in surrounding veterinary clinics.

Dr. LaFever later learned that this couple’s bulldog had been taken to four different animal hospitals that day in search of Tramadol. The couple walked into the clinic with their injured bulldog and asked for Tramadol by name, which raised a huge red flag.

“They didn’t want to take the drugs I wanted to give the dog, which irritated me more than anything,” the vet said. Dr. LaFever refused the couple and they walked away empty-handed. For the first time, she realized she had thwarted an attempt to procure narcotics for abuse when the couple became enraged over not being given the Tramadol that they asked for.

In some countries, Tramadol is worse or as bad as heroin and oxycodone are here. In Northern Ireland, more people die from Tramadol overdoses than morphine or heroin. Here in America, DEA agents will raid houses with dogs living in conditions so squalid that there are dead rats swimming in their water.

Clearly, anyone willing to injure an innocent animal in an effort to obtain narcotics to feed their addiction deserves to be punished. But more importantly, they also need help. Before an immediate arrest is made, helping these individuals get the treatment they need may be a better preventative measure.

When your dog is your drug dealer, you are in need of assistance on multiple levels. This depraved situation leaves us with a stunning and sad realization; the opioid epidemic in the United States is so bad that our pets aren’t even safe anymore.

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Freedom From Addiction Can Be Found

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism or addiction, understand that you are not alone in your struggles! If you are ready to change your life and finally be free of your addiction, then Find Addiction Rehabs can help. We can give you the jump-start you need in order to experience the recovery you have always wanted.

The programs that we refer to nationwide don’t simply treat the addiction, but rather they treat the whole person, so if you are interested in finding out more information, please do not hesitate to give us a call today!

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