How do I give hemp products to my pet? How much should I give my pet?
We get asked these two questions a lot. And the answer may surprise you…
Getting your pet to consume any medicine or supplement can be tricky, especially if it has strong flavors. There are scientists that work for pet product companies that do nothing but work to find ways to mask flavors, and increase “acceptance” of supplements, through the use of flavorings and additives.
Although every animal is different, we don't find acceptance to be an issue with hemp products, provided they are made with simple, high quality ingredients. If your pet is rejecting them, in our experience it indicates one of these things:
- You are using a product made with low quality, low purity, extracts, which tend to have very strong flavors.
- You are using a product that has emulsifiers, preservatives, or artificial flavors.
- The delivery method is wrong.
- You are starting out at too high of a dosage.
Hemp products are formulated from extracts that range in appearance from jet black tar, to golden honey, to crystalline... and everything in between. The difference in these extracts comes down to quality of the plant material, extraction process, and level of refinement.
- Both low quality hemp and poor extraction process results in a low purity extract that contains a large percentage of waxes, tars, chlorophyll, sugars, and terpenes. Low purity extract makes products taste awful.
- Refinement of extracts through filtration, chromatography, chemical purification, and distillation remove these impurities, and reduces flavor… but comes at a cost. Refining a low quality extract often involves the use of harsh chemical processes, and results in the loss of many cannabinoids and terpenes. High quality extracts from high quality material, need minimal refinement.
- Over refined extracts result in products that lose the benefit of a rich, natural cannabinoid profile. They may require very high dosages to be effective… or just aren't effective.
Before you give a hemp product to your pet, smell and taste it. If it makes your eyes water or the flavor is overwhelming… it probably is made with a low potency extract. On the other hand, if it has almost no smell or flavor… it's likely made with isolate.
A high quality hemp product, made from high quality full spectrum extract, without masking agents or flavorings should have a pleasant, rich, earthy taste.
Whether it is an artificial emulsifier, flavoring, masking agent, or preservative you pay the manufacturer for every ingredient they add... and they just aren't necessary, and in our experience can cause rejection from animals.
Just because a bacon and peanut butter flavored tincture sounds like a good idea to you… it doesn't mean every dog agrees everyday. And it certainly doesn't mean they can't smell the cheap extract it's hiding. Many animals have a sense of smell and taste that are so acute that you really can't hide things from them.
Keep it simple, keep it natural.
You can find hemp extracts in a wide variety of pet products… capsules, tablets, chews, tinctures… which one is right for your pet? Maybe all of them… maybe none. If you are having trouble with acceptance, try a different delivery method.
We believe a simple oil based tincture is the most flexible, and least likely to be refused delivery method. It gives you a lot of flexibility.
Some people squirt it directly into their pet's mouth. Many pets will lick it right from the dropper.
Deciding what dosage of hemp extract is appropriate for your pet is a question that should involve your vet.
With that said, here are a couple things to think about.
- Always start low and work up. Every animal is different. Every product is different. Every delivery method is different. Breed, health, activity level, and individual body chemistry are among the many things that affect how your pet will respond.
- Go slow. Try a dosage for a couple days before you increase it. The best results are achieved through consistent, daily usage.
- The more you give your animal, the stronger the flavor. Many animals are averse to novel tastes.
The goal should ALWAYS be to find the lowest effective amount.
Some pets just have to be difficult. We all know the finicky eaters. The cat that somehow eats around the little tiny pill in their bowl of wet food. The dog that catches the pill pocket, and spits out the pill… it happens.
For those truly picky pets, here are a few ideas.
- Stick to oil based tinctures. They can be added to almost anything.
- Use a higher potency product. Getting a few drops of oil into your pet is much easier than a few droppers full.
Let us know what works for you!