One of the first booths I came across at SuperZoo was one promoting cannabis use for pets. With the legalization of marijuana in Washington State, I've started to wonder about the benefits for my dogs. Can it help with Zoey's anxiety, Rodrigo's digestive issues, and Sydney's joint pain?
Before I bought a gram of weed for my dogs – ahem, and me; I used to get migraines – I did a little homework.
Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp
With my limited knowledge, the difference between marijuana is simple: you smoke one, you wear the other. Of course, it's a little more complicated, but I will keep it simple, because what I read made my head hurt.
Marijuana and hemp are different versions of the same plant – although they're related, they are scientifically different and grown differently. The THC content is higher in marijuana than in hemp; hemp contains little of the psychoactive chemical that gets you high. Also, hemp has a higher level of CBD than marijuana, which acts to reduce the effects of the psychoactive chemical.
Basically, marijuana is not the same as hemp.
Benefits of Hemp for Dogs
In my research, I read up on hemp seed oil (I'm so buying this for the dogs and me) and hemp meal; these are both ingredients that we're going to start seeing in dog food and treats, because the benefits are astounding.
Organic, cold-pressed hemp seed oil is a source of Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9, and steridonic acid – basically, it's a super oil for dogs, that…
- strengthens the immune system
- boosts skin and coat health while reducing flaking and shedding
- boosts energy and supports a healthy weight
- supports healthy organ and heart health
- supports healthy brain functions
- acts as an anti-inflammatory
Do Hemp Treats Work?
This is a great question, and my lame answer is “I don't know.” When it comes to any treats or supplements that promote benefits, I believe that they have to be part of your dog's diet for at least 90 days to be able to definitively state THIS SHIZNIT WORKS!
The dogs recently tried three dog treat recipes by True Leaf Pet, a Canadian company founded in 2013 to provide medical marijuana products for humans and has now delved into the pet industry (smart move).
TrueCalm™ Calming Support
I wanted the calming support for Zoey, who tends to be anxious. She's such a sweet dog, but struggles with anxiety and reactivity. I've been adding Serenity Zen, a supplement by Natura Petz, and working on her confidence through training and “mommy and me” walks, and this has helped. A treat made with natural ingredients would be a great addition to her care.
TrueSpirit™ Hip & Joint Support
Rodrigo and Sydney developed joint issues around two years of age (Rodrigo a little earlier, Sydney a little later). This may have been due to genetics or their food (I wasn't always a dog nutrition blogger). Today, I add green lipped mussel, turmeric, and In Clover Connectin' to a veggie supplement that I add to their meals. They also enjoy Canine System Saver and Bonnie & Clyde fish oil 5 days a week.
TrueLove™ Antioxidant Support
And, finally, all dogs can use anti-oxidant support, because this is one extra weapon against cancer and other health issues. Anything that helps boost our dogs' immune system naturally is welcome in our home, especially if the dogs love it.
Pros of True Leaf Hemp Dog Treats
The dogs love chewy treats. The True treats were a great size (about the sizes of the first segment of my thumb) and the dogs went nuts when I grabbed a bag. It didn't expect that it would take long to go through the treats, but they lasted longer than I expected. And since they were soft I could break them in half to give them to Sydney and Zoey (who are on a diet).
The ingredients aren't terrible, but they're not perfect either. Keep reading to understand what I mean.
Cons of True Leaf Hemp Dog Treats
I wasn't a fan of the ingredients at first. So why do I give them to my dogs? Because the treats aren't made from poison, jeez. When you read the inactive ingredients, two red flags rise:
- Why did they use three types of flour?
- What does “natural flavoring” mean?
I contacted True Leaf to gain a better understanding. The flours that are used help to make the chews chewy and to provide enough starch to hold the treats together. The natural flavoring in the dog treats is actually natural; concentrated essences of fish reduced down to a powder.
Red flags resolved.
Personally, I prefer unprocessed treats, because of Rodrigo's digestive system. He didn't have trouble with True Leaf dog treats.
This isn't a CBD Product
Another “con” to this True Leaf hemp treats is the lack of CBD oil in the products. It's the CBD (cannabinoids) that attracts me to hemp products. This is the ingredient that helps with pain and calming. I'm not saying that the treats don't do what they say, however, if you have a dog with severe joint issues or anxiety, I don't believe this product will have a significant impact.
I recommend a CBD oil formulated by pets by Irie.
Did I See a Difference in My Dogs?
Nope, but I'm not surprised. I have never experienced a dog treat/supplement that worked after a week of using the treats. Keep in mind that four dogs shared these treats.
What I did see was that our dogs loved the treats so I loved them too. And after learning all the benefits of hemp; I would definitely buy these for my dogs