Hemp is a durable, eco-friendly fiber that has woven its way into a range of natural and sustainable products for dogs.
One of the most versatile materials on the planet, hemp is valued for its hypoallergenic and earth-friendly qualities. Hemp is made from the fibers of the cannabis sativa plant. It’s used to make everything from paper to building materials – and more recently, natural pet products. In fact, hemp is finding its way into a variety of items for dogs, including collars, leashes, toys, apparel, bedding and more.
Collars, harnesses and leashes
Dog accessories such as collars and leashes need to be durable and made from good quality materials. You want something that will keep your dog secure, and that will stand up to the elements and to the test of time. Studies have shown that under normal conditions, hemp outlasts materials such as cotton, denim or polyester by many years.
Earthdog is one company that offers a line of collars, leashes and harnesses, as well as other products such as beds and toys, all made from hemp canvas, webbing and rope. Aside from being one of the strongest fibers on the planet, hemp is also comfortable for the dog.
“Hemp feels great against the skin and won’t irritate the way many synthetic materials can,” says Dave Colella, co-founder of Earthdog. “Many dogs who have had chronic hair loss and skin irritation find relief with a hemp collar or harness.” Although hemp can sometimes feel rougher than other materials, it softens with age and washing – and without weakening.
“Hemp is also breathable and washable,” adds Dave. “It doesn’t get stinky and hold moisture, and it won’t break down with exposure.”
Beds and blankets
Speaking of breathable and washable, it’s probably safe to say that no pet accessory needs more laundering than bedding and blankets. Hemp is an increasingly popular choice for bedding products because it’s machine washable, while its porous nature allows it to dry quickly and thoroughly.
Hemp is also odor-resistant and naturally fights bacteria and microbes, and its durability means your dog won’t chew through it easily. It’s hypoallergenic as well, so it’s comfy for dogs with sensitive skin. Last but not least, hemp is known for its ability to wick away moisture, so it doesn’t matter if your dog goes to bed with wet feet or damp hair.
Hemp’s resiliency to damage and moisture means it can withstand chewing and drooling, and that makes it the perfect material for dog toys.
“When comparing durability between hemp and cotton, hemp is the winner by far,” says Mary Wolff of Honest Pet Products, a company that offers natural dog toys made with heavy hemp canvas. “Hemp is three times stronger than cotton of the same weight and weave, making it the most durable choice for dogs that like to destroy their toys.”
As many pet parents know, dog toys often have to be thrown away after a few weeks of use. Not only does this waste money, but the toys usually end up in landfill, and if they’re made of plastic or other synthetic materials, they don’t break down and go back to the earth. Hemp is a sustainable choice for dog toys. Its toughness translates to endless hours of play for your pooch, and when it’s finally time to replace the toy, you can feel easy about the fact that hemp is biodegradable.
Warmth, weather-resistance, fashion…whatever the reasons you want a coat or sweater for your dog, good quality always matters. Aside from durability, dog apparel made from hemp boasts coveted characteristics such as insulation, breathability, washability, and resistance to moisture, dirt and UV rays. Hemp clothing won’t irritate the skin of dogs prone to allergies, and the hollow nature of hemp fibers means the garments provide warmth in the winter and relief from heat in the summer, so they’re practical for any season or climate.
While pet clothing made from hemp is extremely functional, it doesn’t mean sacrificing aesthetics. Hemp coats, sweaters, jackets and shirts come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, so your pooch can be comfortable and stylish!
Hemp for health and nutrition
Given hemp’s versatility as a fabric, it’s really no surprise that it also has nutritional benefits. Adding hemp seeds or oil to your dog’s food gives him a boost of essential fatty acids to help moisturize his skin and coat. Food products for animals (and humans) that contain hemp as a primary ingredient may also improve circulation and mental health, strengthen the immune system, and support a healthy weight and good energy levels. The seeds also pack a lot of protein.
Hemp seeds and oil can be purchased at many health food stores, while hemp treats for dogs are available from companies such as CBD Unlimited and Healthy Hemp Pet Company.
And the health-promoting properties don’t end with prevention. Nowadays, many people are turning to hemp as an alternative treatment for various pet (and human) health issues. Observation has shown that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in hemp, can help relieve pain, reduce vomiting and nausea, aid with sleep, improve skin conditions, inhibit cell growth in cancer cells, lessen noise phobia, and increase appetite, among other positive effects.
“Clinical research into hemp for pet or human health has been quite limited,” says Polly Patterson of the Healthy Hemp Pet Company. “But our own testing, pet owners and retail partners tell us that pets experience several benefits from hemp products. For example, they support joint function, flexibility and mobility, and may reduce the negative effects of stress and help animals cope with situational stress such as ﬁreworks, crowds, separation, travel, motion sickness and tension.”
Earth-friendly and sustainable
Hemp is known as an environmental super fiber because of its eco-friendly nature. A high-yield crop that produces more fiber per acre than cotton or flax, while requiring less water, it is a renewable resource that can be cultivated in as little as three-and-a-half months.
It naturally repels weeds, which means it doesn’t need the pesticides that contribute to pollution and soil contamination. Hemp also doesn’t need irrigation or synthetic fertilizers, and it doesn’t deplete the soil of its natural nutrients.
As you can see, hemp is a multi-purpose fiber that’s making a lot of waves. As far as pet products go, its benefits are far-ranging and undeniable. So the next time you’re looking for a hypoallergenic collar or blanket, a durable toy or waterproof dog coat, give hemp a try – your dog will thank you, and so will Mother Earth!
CBD Unlimited, cbdunlimited.com
Healthy Hemp Pet Company, healthyhemppet.com
Honest Pet Products, honestpetproducts.com
Animal Wellness is North America's top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.