It’s safe to say that cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) are becoming easier buzzwords to say, especially as they become more prominent in the pet industry. But even with all the information out there surrounding these cannabinoids, more questions come to the forefront. It’s up to brands in the industry to take these questions in stride to provide consumers with the answers necessary for their pets’ well-being. And to do that, many brands are breaking through the noise to educate retailers and consumers on the benefits of hemp-based pet products.
With a root in organic, hemp-based pet health remedies, HEMPVET dives into the science behind the benefits of CBD and CBG. According to Dr. Gary Pusillo, board certified animal nutritionist and chief science officer of HEMPVET PET REMEDIES, CBD and CBG are two of more than 113 cannabinoids found in a variety of plants, of which hemp is the most important source because it is the richest.
“Cannabinoids found in plants are called phytocannabinoids. They are important because they support the body’s Endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a network of receptors and signaling molecules found throughout the body of all mammals. It helps maintain health and wellness by supporting neurological, cardiovascular, immune and other systems,” Dr. Pusillo explained.
Dr. Pusillo knows that there is a lot of noise surrounding the validity and safety of CBD and CBG. That’s why he advises retailers to follow the facts and not a collection of assumed benefits that were voted in by a popular vote.
“In order for the CBD/CBG to have any benefits, the basics of pet care—proper nutrition, professional health monitoring, safe water and an ideal environment—must be met first. Retailers need comprehensive handouts or websites that can provide excellent information and not just marketing hype,” Dr. Pusillo said.
To help retailers and consumers, HEMPVET breaks down some of the key aspects to know about these types of products. Dr. Pusillo mentions that pet parents must start with a comprehensive understanding of the uniqueness of their pet and influencing environmental factors. So, a pet’s genetics, age, activity, health status, microbiome, food, water and environmental stressors all influence how CBD, CBG, cannabinoids, etc., manifest a response. As for retailers, how much CBD or CBG that is in a product is more important than knowing how to use it correctly.
“Retailers and consumers must look to the science behind the various hemp products on the market. The company should be able to supply proper packaging that preserves the activity of the CBD and CBG. It’s also very important in the quest for the best phytocannabinoid-containing product if it is regulatory compliant with the FDA and NASC regulations,” Dr. Pusillo emphasized.
Dr. Bob and Susan Goldstein of Earth Animal are also big supporters of following regulations, and it’s also no surprise they are gentle activists for happier, healthier lives of pets and finding “Another Way.” That’s why their Nature’s Comfort line not only provides the best full-spectrum hemp with naturally occurring CBD but also comes in various forms so it is easier for consumers to administer it to their pets based on their needs.
Green Coast Pet is known for its array of supplements, treats and CBD products geared toward a healthy lifestyle for pets. And according to Mike Bateman, chief operating officer and co-founder of Green Coast Pet, CBD is an amazing ingredient despite a lot of misunderstanding of the category.
“CBD can certainly help with many aspects of a pet’s life. We know that CBD is a great product to help support a normal inflammatory response, a calm and relaxed demeanor, good neurological function and a normal immune system,” Bateman said.
Bateman explains that Green Coast Pet is dedicated to offering educational resources to its customers. The company has a litany of online tools available for anyone on its Retailers section on its website. Green Coast Pet also offers Zoom trainings for any store.
“Every store also has the direct cellphone numbers of myself and Nick, the two owners of the company. We are always available and willing to do whatever is necessary to get accurate and proper education to anyone,” Bateman added.
Bateman believes the most important thing for people to realize about CBD products is that they are not a cure-all. If pets don’t need them, then there is no reason to use them. Also of massive importance is that the cost of CBD has come down, and many pet brands continue to charge very high prices for a product that is no longer that expensive. Bateman states that it’s important for consumers to know this so they do not overpay for the product and lose trust in the category.
“Go through the NASC Audit and become an audited member. We began this trend to build trust, and it has been a great selling point for us. People know the power of the NASC Quality Seal, and it would also put us all on the same page and speaking the same language,” Bateman explained.
Healthy Hemp offers an assortment of CBD brands to supply retailers and consumers with the best in endocannabinoid health. Dave Merrell, CEO and founder of Healthy Hemp Pet Company, explains that it’s critical to make sure pets are being properly dosed. That’s why the company partnered with Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine on a clinical trial that studied hemp use in pets.
“Through this clinical trial, we were able to accurately dose pets with our hemp products. The benefits of hemp in pets are numerous,” Merrell said.
To help retailers educate consumers, Healthy Hemp Pet has an online retailer resource center that contains industry whitepapers it has written and product training information for retailers and their staff. The company also conducts in-store training seminars to help retailers understand why CBD/CBG products are so powerful in holistic healing.
“Not all hemp products are created equal. There are a wide range of products on the market, so it’s critical to understand the quality of the hemp used in making each product and the carrier oils used. Know how the hemp is extracted to know how clean it is,” Merrell said.
Healthy Hemp Pet wants to see more brands working toward better quality products, and cleaner hemp oil and cleaner ingredients is a great start, according to Merrell.
“It’s detrimental to the industry and pets when a consumer tries a hemp product that is poor quality. They don’t see the results they could and, in the end, the pet suffers,” Merrell explained.
Grizzly Pet also aims to provide consumers with high-quality hemp products by adding krill oil to its products.
“A lot of the cannabinoids are not being absorbed. The krill oil is able to emulsify and get into the pet’s body faster and easier. This makes it cheaper and more effective,” said Madeleine Rush, inside sales representative of Grizzly Pet.
According to Chad Tillman, national sales manager for Grizzly Pet, “Grizzly is in a unique position in that we have a proprietary sales force dedicated to specifically supporting brick-and-mortar pet specialty retailers. It is rare for supplement companies, and even more so with CBD companies, to be able to provide this level of support. We are also proud participants in the Astro Program, meaning that you can provide your customers with one of the most trusted CBD products with a buy six, and get the seventh free, in-store-only program.”
Tillman also mentions that Grizzly offers training sessions, PowerPoints, flyers, leave-behinds and a plethora of assorted POP and POS materials, and runs various social media giveaways and programs to help educate retailers and consumers.
Kat Donatello, founder and CEO of Austin and Kat, started the brand after finding success with all-natural approaches for her dogs. As stated on the company website, Austin and Kat’s “hemp extracts and botanical blends are specifically formulated for healthier, calmer and happier pets.”
Having personally seen the benefits, Donatello echoes Dr. Pusillo on the use of CBD and CBG products.
“CBD has shown enormous promise in helping to maintain a consistent and healthy baseline of wellness. CBG is relatively new—we’re still just discovering the benefits it has to offer. [But] we do know at this point that much like CBD, it binds to the active site of cannabinoid receptors and shows good promise in helping things like inflammation, anxiety and sleep. The future is bright in this space!” Donatello said.
Austin and Kat wants its retailers to be confident in what’s displayed on their shelves, and to know the ins and outs of the products. That’s why it strives to keep the lines of communication open with its retail-focused customer service department and fully believes that brands that care will invite you to ask them tough questions and also provide training materials. Donatello says that Austin and Kat offers monthly, live “Coffee with Kat” educational sessions for retailers and their staff.
Because of the sheer number of players that come into this space, it can mean that people are being sold products of unknown quality. Donatello says consumers and retailers should demand clarity surrounding the products they’re purchasing, and remain adamant in seeing test results. Donatello also says it’s important for brands to invest in information as well.
“Bringing on our chief science officer, Matthew Heck, in 2019 allowed us to really explore the ingredients we use and understand a bit better how to create formulas that really, really work. Not only do our new products harness the advantageous benefits of our CBD, but also work synergistically alongside botanicals and other holistic plant ingredients to create the absolute best product—with the best results—for our pets,” Donatello explained.
Donatello knows that consumers are wising up to the products on the market and the only way to stand out is transparency.
“Start with transparency of ingredients and offering up the results,” Donatello concluded. “There’s also transparency of responsible shipping and packing practices, which follows products from warehouse to store and ensures retailers know exactly what they’re talking about when they offer up the product on their shelves. The potential difference you can make in pets and their owners is boundless.”