While some hemp and CBD product makers have moved into the pet space from human supplements, existing pet companies have launched their own cannabis-derived supplements. In both cases, the hemp and CBD pet products tend to resemble their human counterparts in marketing, health claims and packaging.

For example, PurePaws Hemp came into the pet sector from the human CBD and hemp products market. The company had created human CBD supplements for more than three years before launching a line of pet products.

“We did what worked with the human products, that might be why you see a lot of similarities in marketing,” Shawn Bennett of PurePaws Hemp, said. “We know that we sold human products with our displays and packaging, so we used what worked.”

PurePaws Hemp makes hemp-infused dog biscuits, as well as oils for cats and dogs and grooming products.

CBD Living followed a similar path before debuting their line of dog and cat products at SuperZoo 2019. CBD Living spent six years in the human market before venturing into pet. Their pet line now includes tinctures, capsules and grooming products.

“We wanted to design a product that would be safe enough for humans, but formulated for a pet,” Nancy Pineda, senior manager of science and technology for CBD Pet, said. “You don’t want to slap a label on a human product and say it’s for pets.”

Along with cannabis-derived ingredients, CBD Living’s pet products contain functional ingredients, such as vitamins, DHEA and omega-3 fatty acids from algae.

CBD Living pet supplements come in formulations for dogs or cats. The main difference in formulating for the different species is the quantity of CBD used, Pineda said. While the cat recipes range from 2.5 milligrams (mg) to 5 mg, the dog supplements range as high as 1,000 mg. The cat products also contain more ingredients intended to control urinary tract infections and hairballs.

Incorporating hemp into dog treats

While those two companies adapted their experience in the human supplement market to pets, many pet food and treat manufacturers are following the opposite path and incorporating CBD into their products as another functional ingredient.

“It’s been a natural progression,” Melissa Olson, marketing director for Vital Essentials, said. “Adding hemp into our products made a lot of sense to us because many of our products already address health concerns with allergies, itchy skin, excessive licking. We target specific conditions with our hemp formulations.”

To make those hemp products, Vital Essentials uses different mixtures of natural chemicals, called terpenes, extracted from hemp to achieve the desired result from the formulation. Those compounds induce different effects in dogs, depending on the blend, she said. There are three options available: Revive to add energy, Relief for pain, joint inflammation and overall soreness, and Relax to help calm anxious pets. Maker of hemp-derived products for humans formulate and market their products similarly.

Pet owners’ desire to give health and wellness benefits to their pets using natural ingredients may lie at the heart of the hemp and CBD pet supplement and treat trend.

 “When it comes down to it, hemp is an all-natural product,” Bennett said. “People want to give their pets things that are natural, same as humans…That, and it’s cool.”