For many years now, hemp oil has been used across the world to address a variety of problems, such as skin irritations, aches, pains, anxiety and depression. Its use does not stop there, however. When it comes to pets, they too can also reap the many benefits this oil has to offer.
Dainius Darguzas, founder of the Royal Pets House, explains that hemp oil is made out of hemp seeds and a full plant extract called CBD, which means stems, leaves and flowers. The oil is CO2 extracted to preserve all natural vitamins and remove the THC – the psychoactive element associated with cannabis smoking – within, and the amount of full plant extract (CBD) is then measured by MG per 30ml bottle.
He adds that hemp oil is primarily about “reducing” the amount of pain animals are in – whether that be physical pains or mental ones.
Over the past two and a half years, Royal Pet House has received positive feedback about the impact of the oil, which offers joint pain relief and is “particularly effective” for senior dogs. It can also help with mobility pain, travel anxiety, skin problems such as itching, amongst others, and can even improve the fur coat on dogs.
When talking about the effectiveness of such products Darguzas reveals an anecdotal story of a previous client who ended up reducing the level of traditional medicines he was giving his pet, in favour of increased use of hemp oil products.
Additionally, he claims a 500mg bottle can be used on an “abundance” of animals, such as small dogs, cats and even small birds. The oil, which comes in three different strengths, is designed for small, medium, large and extra large dogs. The only main difference is the level of dosage that each animal can have, which is primarily based on weight, age and breed.
It’s important to note that the oil is a classed as a supplement not a medicine, as Darguzas reiterates: “We are not the vet, we cannot provide you hemp oil as a medicine, it’s just a supplement to help with pains, it will help reduce the pain or help with sleep and calm pets when home alone.”
He suggests that while prescribed medicine can help a pet within a day or two hemp oil will produce a “long-term result for an overall healthier dog”.
Although the oil has grown in popularity within the pet industry, he explains how his products were previously banned from Amazon after numerous complaints by veterinarians who took issue with the fact it could be sold without a medical licence.
Daniella Dos Santos, senior VP at the British Veterinary Association (BVA), says: “The veterinary medicines regulator has stated that any products containing CBD must be regulated as a medicine, supported by scientific evidence, and rigorously tested. At present no CBD-based products have been granted veterinary marketing authorisation in the UK.
“We’d strongly advise pet owners against using any human medications or treatments for their animals without first seeking veterinary advice. While research is ongoing to look into the efficacy and risks of CBD, there is currently a lack of sufficient robust evidence to demonstrate its health benefits and safety in pets.”However roughly 400 Royal Pet House customers in the UK have claimed their pets have benefitted from the oil, with reviews stating “it’s amazing to see the difference” in dogs and their coats.
The idea for the company came about eight years ago when Darguzas was working in a pet shop, during which he remembered seeing “different problems with pets, good things and bad things”.
He said that customers would come into the shop wanting to try the oil but were unable to find it, thus the idea came to find a supplier of the oil and begin selling it. At first the business started with selling toys, then came back to hemp oil which was tested amongst both himself and his dog until they were happy with it.
Some of Darguzas’s insight on the future of the industry focuses on the increased popularity of the product “especially as more people now know about it”. Darguzas explains that he has recently heard from customer reviews that some vets, who traditionally have been opposed to the product, have started to recommend hemp oil to owners with senior dogs that are struggling with traditional medicines.
However he still suggests that there are currently “probably about 60%” of vets who don’t recommend the use of hemp oil products as a treatment, compared to 40% that “understand the benefits” of the product.
At the time of writing, The Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) suggests that whilst there is a “wide range of opinion”, all based on “exaggerated claims” of efficacy and no adverse effects, there is a need for “large scale clinical trials” to establish efficacy and dose requirements before they can openly recommend the use of such products.
Commenting, Mike Jessop, president-elect at the VPHA, said: “Most products currently available are herbal – i.e. the quality assurance of consistent levels of active ingredients is still a concern. Knowing what are the true active ingredients is still undergoing trials.
“Should a veterinary surgeon advise the use in a pet, it would fall under the Cascade rules as regulated by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and laid out in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. A vet would need to ensure that the selection of the cannabinoid has been considered under cascade and dispense or prescribe the product, with signed, informed consent of the pet owner.”
Despite the disputed status of the treatment in veterinary circles, Darguzas is optimistic. “I see the company growing,” he says. “We are looking at hemp treats that could be on the market in spring or summer time, but we need to gather more resources to see how the treats could work and if this would be something of interest.”