2018 Pet Food Trend: Cannabis-infused dog chews to help improve canine quality of life

By December 1, 2017Pet & feed

Turns out, this bud isn’t just for you.

True Leaf Medicine International Ltd., a small Canadian company operating in the country’s fast-emerging marijuana industry, plans to sell dog chews containing cannabis extracts.

True Leaf already makes hemp-seed infused products for dogs to ease joint pain, anxiety and inflammation. It intends to raise $10 million (US$7.8 million) through an equity crowdfunding in the U.S. to build a marijuana production facility in British Columbia, eventually allowing it to extract cannabidiol — a cannabis compound without psychoactive properties — to treat medical conditions in both humans and animals.

“People are spending more money to look after their pets, specifically as they get older,” Chief Executive Officer Darcy Bomford said in a telephone interview from Vernon, British Columbia. “A lot of the drugs that are available in the veterinary market are effective and they work but they also have a lot of side effects. There’s a big market there for natural products.”

True Leaf introduced its hemp-based pet products in 2015 and now sells chews and oils in 1,600 North American stores and more than 300 locations across Europe. Natural supplements for pets are becoming more popular and the global market may be as large as US$1.6 billion, Bomford estimates.

The hope is that cannabidiol, also known as CBD, may eventually be used to help older dogs, whether they’re having trouble jumping in the car or are struggling with long walks, Bomford said.

“We’re really focused on making their quality of life as good as possible,” Bomford said. “We’re trying to return the love we get from our pets.”

True Leaf’s shares rose 2.4 per cent to 85 cents at 11:06 a.m. in New York. They have quadrupled this year, giving the company a market capitalization of $59.9 million (US$46.5 million).