Canine cannabis: Dogs with anxiety, arthritis and more benefiting from products derived from hemp plant

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MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (WITI) -- Pet owners across the country are going crazy over a hemp product they claim helps improve the health of their dogs and cats. Veterinarians are now jumping on board and recommending it to clients instead of animal pharmaceuticals.

You could call it "canine cannabis."

"This is the best I'd ever seen her," Cody Bandley said.

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Eska is a happy Husky on hemp -- but she isn't always calm and relaxed.

"She'll (pace and pant) for hours, especially late at night," Bandley said.

Bandley once tried traditional medication from a veterinarian.

"She had an allergic reaction," Bandley said.

So he started using Healthy Hemp Pet Biscuits instead.

The owners of Desert Raw Holistic Pet hear similar stories from other pet owners.

"Joint pain. We've seen it for arthritis and anxiety, "Aspen Anderson, co-owner of Desert Raw Holistic Pet said.

They carry all the "Healthy Hemp" concoctions -- biscuits, oil, spray, salve and feline mix.

"Our number one seller, every single day," Luke Shaw, co-owner of Desert Raw Holistic Pet said.

The products contain a big-name ingredient in the cannabis world -- cannabidiol, or CBD.

"It comes from a hemp plant. There's no psychotropics in it. There's no THC in it," Dave Merrell, founder of Healthy Hemp Pet Company said.

In other words, CBD won't get your dog, or even you, high -- but it may have therapeutic effects. The quest to come up with these all-natural, non-GMO dog and cat treats started with one of Merrell's own family members -- Mya, who suffers from hip dysplasia.

So what do veterinarians think of his home-spun remedies?

"Right off the bat I was very impressed," Dr. Kimberly Henneman said. "We had several people get back to us pretty quickly and say, 'wow -- we saw a really big difference.'"

Dr. Henneman now recommends them as a first choice to other drugs for some ailments.

"Primarily, we're recommending it for lameness and soreness where we have a diagnosis," Dr. Henneman said.

"Jack suffers from too many birthdays, really. He's got a little arthritis," Lynn Ware Peak said.

Lynn Ware Peak tested the treats, giving them to her 12-year-old Newfoundland/Border Collie for a week.

"I was hoping it would magically erase that little limp he has," Lynn Ware Peak said.

Seven days later, it didn't, but there were other, subtle differences in Jack.

"Into the car a lot more, and so that's something that shows promise for me. In his old age, I think it's definitely worth it, so I'm going to keep doing it," Lynn Ware Peak said.

Merrell says the company plans to start clinical trials for the supplement to gather more information on how CBD impacts animals.

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