North Americans are slowly beginning to understand and welcome the benefits of hemp and cannabis. The shift has seen many companies begin to focus on how hemp and cannabis can medically benefit humans, but others are instead looking at what these products can do for pets.
While that may sound surprising, the pet industry offers huge opportunities for companies to profit. Indeed, the US pet food market alone is worth about $60 billion, and the global market is expected to reach almost $75 billion by 2017.
Hemp in particular is gaining traction in the pet industry. It’s an all-natural, grain-free, gluten-free source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and compared to other oils, hemp oil offers the lowest level of saturated fats. Hemp also contains natural antioxidants, is very high in protein and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
With those statistics in mind, the Investing News Network decided to take a closer look at publicly traded companies developing pet products that use hemp and cannabis. Here’s a look at two of them.
Trueleafpet™ hemp chews
True Leaf Medicine International (CSE:MJ) is carving out a niche in the pet industry through its hemp-based pet chews, which are expected to hit stores across Canada in October. CEO Darcy Bomford has extensive knowledge of the pet nutrition industry, and worked in it for nearly 30 years prior to moving into the cannabis industry.
“From the very beginning I thought there was an opportunity for cannabis as a medicine for pets, so I always wanted to do that,” Bomford explained. “I know the pet industry inside and out, I know people all over the world. We had basically every distributor in North America sell my Darford product line, so I have got a really good base of contacts and knowledge in manufacturing and marketing. It was a pretty good fit.”
As mentioned, the company is about to launch its line of Trueleafpet™ hemp chews for pets and has already secured Canada-wide distribution.
“We will be launching at the end of the month and we will be shipping sometime in October. We signed up two big distributors, one that covers all of Western Canada and another that covers all of Eastern Canada, so that is where we are starting. In the US, we are doing a soft launch in LA this week at an international cannabis show. It’s basically just =a sneak peek of the product line and the packaging, and we will be doing a hard launch in the US in the spring,” he said.
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“We have three products — one is called True Love, which is an antioxidant; True Spirit is a joint support product for dogs that are getting older and are having a tough time moving around; True Calm is a calming product, so it has a blend of calming herbs like passionflower, lemon balm.”
Moving forward, the company hopes to develop a hemp-based CBD supplement pet food that has some pilot trial research behind it for anti-inflammatory purposes.
Taking a different route, Naturally Splendid Enterprises (TSXV:NSP) has developed a pet product line that works as a topical treatment formulated to keep dogs’ noses and paws healthy.
“Happy Snouts™ is our soothing, moisturizing balm for a dog’s nose. It is packed with omega-rich ingredients and essential oils that are renowned for their abilities to treat dry skin issues, while still keeping a neutral odor so as not to overwhelm the dog’s olfactory senses,” explained Naturally Splendid’s brand manager, Andy Birchall. “Happy Paws™ is formulated for the pads on the paws. It moisturizes and nourishes the skin and uses similar nutritious and anti-bacterial ingredients. Strong Paws™ acts as your dog’s shield against the elements and terrain. Smoothed onto the paws before going for a walk, this wax soaks into the skin and offers protection from heat, cold, salt, dust and moisture while still providing nutrition and helping repair damaged skin.”
The three products are currently being sold in pet stores across Western Canada and will be taken into the US following a successful presentation of the product line at the SuperZoo trade show in Las Vegas.
“The SuperZoo show was a great opportunity to present the product line to US distributors and to meet with some of our key US partners. As a result of those discussions we have identified several potential private-label opportunities, and we believe we are close to entering into a very promising distribution relationship in the US. Additionally, we are reviewing opportunities with large retail pet store chains,” Birchall said.
Moving forward, Naturally Splendid is looking at moving into the pet food industry and is currently conducting studies that involve formulating a dog food that uses HempOmega™ as an ingredient.
“The first phase of the study was to confirm HempOmega™ will survive the manufacturing process used for pet food, ” explained Naturally Splendid CEO Craig Goodwin. “Additional studies will track the positive effects resulting from feeding HempOmega™ to dogs in a controlled study. We will continue with the study to collect data and interpret the effect feeding HempOmega™ had on the dogs.”
“All domesticated pets can benefit from omega fatty acid supplementation. As in humans, omega fatty acids promote immunity strength, cardiovascular health, healthy skin and hair, growth and development and joint function for our pets,” he added.
Securities Disclosure: I, Kristen Moran, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Naturally Splendid Enterprises is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.