By Eric Stenson
With people looking for more natural presence in how they eat, treat and groom themselves, it’s no surprise that these inclinations are spreading toward the lifestyle choices they make for their companion animals. Many natural products feature ingredients sourced from land-based elements, mainly vegetation or herbal.
One segment that has grown significantly in popularity is cannabidiol (or CBD) products for pets. With medicinal marijuana becoming increasingly accepted for treatment and control of human pain, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine how it might benefit animals as well.
Dave Merrell is certainly a believer. Merrell, founder of Healthy Hemp Pet Co. of Salt Lake City, Utah, got his company started in 2014 when he was looking for help for his dog.
“I had a dog with hip dysplasia, so I ordered some CBD product and I was unimpressed,” he said. “It had no dosage amounts, no ingredients, it was just capsules in a plain bag, biscuits that were broken up; they wouldn’t tell me how many milligrams were in it. I figured I could do it better and do it more up front.”
Merrell’s company makes CannaNatural, which are supplements in biscuit form that each contain two milligrams of phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR) hemp oil, as well as CannaCrush (a powder form usable as a food topper for cats or smaller dogs); CannaBalm for joints or skin rashes; CannaDrops in coconut and salmon flavor; and CannaSpray, which is designed for animals with mouth or gum issues.
As for his canine companion? Merrell says the results speak for themselves.
“My dog is doing great now,” he said. “[It] goes hiking with me every day.”
Treatibles of Oakland, California, produces a line of grain-free hard chews with phytocannabinoids in four flavors: pumpkin, blueberry, turkey and Tater’s Sweet Potato Tots; dropper-bottle oils featuring PCR oil and medium-chain diglyceride (MCT) coconut oil, and PCR gel caps. Treatibles CEO Julianna Carella notes that all of her company’s products are Compassion Certified, made from human-safe, USA-sourced ingredients, and feature PCR oil extracted from medicinal grade hemp grown in the United States.
“One of the reasons our company continues to grow is that we believe in transparency,” she said. “People have a right to know what their pets are consuming. That’s why not only do we third-party lab test from raw materials to final product, [but we also] share the results right on our website.”
Many land-sourced natural products are designed for nutritional purposes. Down Dog Snacks of Longmont, Colorado, lets canines get their veggie fix with sweet potato, apple berry, peanut butter, banana, and peas and carrot flavors. Peanut butter, coconut oil and garbanzo flour provide the protein.
“When I created my product, I wanted it to be simple, pure and as plant-based as possible,” said Jessie Walker, founder and owner of Down Dog Snacks. “I wanted it to be vegan, but we do use honey.”
Dogs and leafy, green vegetables might not be two things you necessarily put together, but don’t tell that to Paula Savarese, president of Dogs Love Kale of Naples, Florida. Her company, which also produces Dogs Love Snapeas, makes crunchy treats and soft treats containing kale and crispy treats with snap peas. Flavors include apple, peanut, pumpkin, sweet potato, coconut-banana, and meat versions with beef, chicken or turkey.
“My partner (Dawn Ward) and I had made kale chips for ourselves about four years ago. The dogs came sniffing around—they were relentless, then they wouldn’t stop,” she said. “We found out the health benefits. There were no companies we could find that were using kale. For me, one thing led to another, and we thought, ‘How great would it be to make a dog food with kale in it?’”
Beyond Food and Treats
Pura Naturals Pet of Seattle, Washington, makes all-natural shampoos, dental products, flea and tick control, and healing balms, sprays and oils. Beth Sommers, Pura Naturals’ president and chief merchandising officer, said the natural ingredients her company selects are picked to work in concert.
The dental gel includes coconut oil as an antibacterial/antiviral to reduce bad breath and plaque, olive leaf extract to soothe inflamed gums, fennel extract for gingivitis, and thyme leaf oil as a natural antimicrobial to help reduce tooth decay.
“It’s counterintuitive to have toxins and pesticides in healthy products,” Sommers said. “As more people invest in healthier lifestyles for themselves, they understand the need for products that improve the health and wellness of their pets.”