Greater numbers of central Alberta pet owners are turning to cannabis oil for their dogs, or in some cases, cats.
Jennifer Poor, an employee at Fetch Haus, said the Red Deer pet store started carrying CBD oil in November, after customers began asking about it.
“We would get at least two or three requests a week,” said Poor.
“Ever since it became more popular, which is over the last year, we have received requests.”
Dr. Jocelyn Forseille, assistant registrar at the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, said preliminary research for CBD oil is favourable, but she said more research is needed to determine the safety of the products.
“Dogs can be overdosed easily, much different than humans, so that’s our concern,” Forseille said.
“The reason pet owners are interested is because there is anecdotal evidence in osteoarthritis, epilepsy, and it’s just that it’s at the buyer-beware point, because of the safety factor.”
The demand for Fetch Haus’s non-intoxicating cannabis oil products has grown, and Poor expects the trend will continue.
Depending on the type of problem pet owners are experiencing, store staff direct patrons to cannabis or hemp seed oil, since the outlet carries both.
Poor believes the demand is driven by benefits that are becoming well known. She said pet owners are drawn to the compound because the oils don’t have any side effects.
“Often, they will come in, and their dog is on pain management from their vet and they’re really thirsty, or losing bladder control. But they’re not as worried about side effects from CBD,” she said.
Some customers are reporting their pooches are not only experiencing pain relief with CBD, but also getting their mobility back.
“We’ll have people come in and say their dog wasn’t really doing the stairs, but on the CBD, they’re more easily getting up to higher levels in their house, or even front steps to get into their door.”
Right now, there’s no legal pathway for veterinarians to prescribe or dispense CBD oil.
Forseille said hemp seed oil “is likely” safe, because of the very low THC content. But due to the lack of regulation, the amount of THC varies from product to product, in both hemp seed and CBD oil.
“That’s why we’re seeing these products in stores right now… because they’re being marketed as health product, so they don’t have the same type of oversight,” the Edmonton doctor said.
Pet owners who are giving CBD or hemp seed oil to their pets should have an honest conversation with their veterinarians, do their research and be aware of the signs of toxicity, Forseille advises.
Right now, “we’re in the wait-for-the-regulation” stage for these products. Forseille doesn’t expect testing and regulation to come into effect for a couple of years.
Some customers at Fetch Haus ask about the differences between CBD and hemp seed oils, said Poor, but most patrons walk in after doing their homework.
The demand for CBD oil is higher.
“Some companies will claim that hemp seed oil provides the same benefits, but we just don’t see it with the omegas. They’re good for skin and coat, they’re good for the joints, but as far as alleviating chronic arthritis, we recommend CBD over hemp seed oil,” the Fetch Haus employee said.
Some cat owners are also turning to CBD oil for pets, but not as many as dog owners. The store recommends doing your own research and lowering the dosage.
“CBD oil is for cats as well …we have a couple of clients who buy it for older cats,” Poor said.