Pot For Pets: Could Medical Marijuana Help Your Dog?

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Pot for pets: Could medical marijuana help your dog? By Rebecca Seales

Alison Ettel, MBA, has never got high for fun, but she’d like to feed your dog cannabis.

Why? Alison is the CEO of TreatWell Health, a Californian firm making medical marijuana products for people – and their canines.

Her rivals include Treatibles, which sells a hemp oil “for animals of all kinds”, and Pet Releaf, whose hemp dog treats look like fancy vegan snack-food.

It may sound mad, but as more US states legalise recreational cannabis use, pot for pets is booming.

Veterinary groups are cautious at best; but a mounting number of dog owners say the drug is easing their animals’ anxiety and chronic pain.

Firstly, the obvious question: No, they’re not smoking it. Or eating it whole.

Cannabis at human strengths can be toxic for dogs, so firms are making dog chews, oils and topical creams using cannabis extract.

Some use marijuana, but more often it’s hemp, which belongs to the same plant species. Both contain the compound Cannabidiol (CBD), which studies suggest can reduce inflammation, and combat seizures and anxiety.

Melinda Hayes, who runs a medical cannabis delivery service in Los Angeles, gives TreatWell’s cannabis tincture to Diva, her arthritic 12-year-old rescue dog.

“She is in great health for a dog her age,” she says, “and I attribute that to good genes, good food and the cannabis.”

The only side-effects she’s heard of are sleepiness and increased thirst – “so you do have to make sure they have access to do their business regularly”.

She’s far from the only convert.

Cinnamon, a portly Beagle cross from Kansas City, Missouri, takes PetReleaf’s hemp oil daily for her bad hips.

Her owner Joyce Lattimer claims that after one dose, “she hopped right down from her chair when I called her to go outside – usually I have to call several times and start pushing her off”.

The next day, she says, “she came over just to say hi and lick me on the leg. I almost cried; it’s been so long since she’s done that”.

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