If you found this website, you’re probably already learning just how many amazing products exist that are made from hemp. Less widely-known though, is that there are also tons of different hemp items for your furry (or feathered, or scaly) friends.
Why has this plant become so popular for pet products? For many of the same reasons that humans are so excited about it. Hemp is more environmentally sustainable than many other materials because it’s biodegradable, grows quickly, and uses less water or pesticides. Not only that, but it has many qualities that make it a desirable material for pet products. Among other things, hemp is strong, hypoallergenic, absorbent, fast-drying, and resistant to mold and odors. Finally, hemp is believed to be very nutritious, and to even have healing properties. Keep reading to learn how these qualities contribute to some great pet products.
One common hemp-based item for pets is toys. While the FDA has regulations regarding the food and drugs that can be given to animals, there is no regulation on something else that can spend a lot of time in your pet’s mouth; its toys. Unfortunately, a number of studies have revealed that pet toys can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals that could be harmful to your pet. Hemp-based toys are a natural alternative. You can find hemp toys for a variety of different animals including dogs, cats, and birds.
Hemp’s antibacterial qualities and its resistance to mold and odors are also huge plusses when it comes to toys, since a toy often spends much of its life in your pet’s mouth and can get stinky fast. Finally, hemp is biodegradable, which means that when your pet finally destroys its hemp toy, rather than being added to a landfill, that toy can be composted and used to replenish the soil.
Apparel, Leashes, and Collars
Hemp can also be a good choice for pet apparel, collars, leashes, and harnesses. There is evidence that people have been using hemp for hundreds of years to make rope and cloth. One reason for its enduring popularity is that hemp is one of the strongest natural fibers out there. This makes it a great choice for items like leashes and apparel, which need to be strong to stand up to the rigors of your pet’s daily activity. Items made from hemp fibers are also breathable and good at pulling moisture away from the body, so they are more likely to be comfortable for your pet. In fact, hemp is hypoallergenic as well.
Another place you’ll find hemp at the pet store is in the bedding section. Many small pets need bedding material for nesting, and to absorb wastes, and if you own a rabbit, hamster, or other small creature, you already know that the smell of their bedding can get overpowering pretty quickly. To control the odor, and to keep your pet healthy, you’ll probably find yourself replacing their bedding every few days. Larger animals like horses and chickens also need bedding, and they use even more of it. All this changing of bedding means a lot of waste is generated. Hemp-based bedding is a more environmentally-friendly choice than other common materials like paper or wood. Pet owners who use hemp also say that it’s extremely absorbent, great at reducing odors, and lasts longer than conventional types of bedding.
Other animals like dogs and cats also like to sleep on something soft. If you have this type of pet, you can buy hemp-based bedding for them too. Many pet owners love their hemp-based pet beds and bed covers because the hemp is great at reducing pet smells and moisture, and is tougher and harder to chew through than many other fabrics. When this bedding does get smelly though, it’s also a good choice because hemp is machine-washable, and you can just throw the bedding in your washer.
Hemp Pet Food
Hemp is not just good for making things out of. You can eat it too. You’ve probably already heard that hemp has a reputation as a superfood for people, but you might not know that some people are giving it their pets too. The plant has lots of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to have numerous health benefits. Proponents of hemp believe it can reduce joint pain, calm skin irritations or allergies, and improve skin and coat. Some stores sell pet food that contains hemp. You can also add hemp seed or hemp oil directly to your pet’s food. If you do plan to feed an animal hemp, it’s a good idea to do some research first though to make sure you understand their particular dietary needs. For instance, it’s not recommended to add hemp to a dog’s diet if it is eating poultry-based food because that can cause an imbalance of fatty acids.
Also, be aware that you can’t buy pet food with hemp in it everywhere. For instance, in 2017, Utah’s state Department of Agriculture and Food ordered a number of businesses to stop selling dog foods with hemp in them, stating that this ingredient has not been approved for animal consumption.
Giving pets CBD is also becoming popular. CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it’s part of a group of chemical compounds called cannabinoids that are found exclusively in the cannabis plant. This substance is believed to have a long list of health benefits for people. Now some people are turning to CBD to treat issues like arthritis, anxiety, digestive problems, allergies, and behavioral problems in their pets too. There has been little scientific research on these uses, however, there are a wealth of anecdotal stories. Fans of CBD say that not only is it effective, but it doesn’t have the harsh and undesirable side effects that many medications have.
If you decide to try CBD for your pet, there are a few different ways to administer it. You can use a dropper to put it directly in the mouth or onto food, or you can buy chews, treats, or topical ointments that contain CBD. As with adding hemp seed to your pet’s diet though, you should proceed with caution if you want to try CBD. Experts advise starting slow and observing the effects over a few weeks. Also, if you decide to give your pet any type of cannabis product, always make sure you know exactly what’s in it. You don’t want to give your pet anything with a high level of THC because many pets are extremely sensitive to this chemical. It can cause lethargy, vomiting, seizures, and even death.
Whether you decide to try CBD oil or something more basic like a hemp chew toy, there are lots of different options out there. As hemp becomes more popular, expect to see it popping up in an even greater variety of pet products.
Written By: Andrea C. Nakaya