In August 2023, the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) published their position on cannabis in veterinary chemical products due to concerns raised by stakeholders as to the safety of cannabis products for animals and therapeutic claims made.
Unfortunately, the APVMA decided to lump hemp seed oil and hemp seed into the same category as medicinal cannabis, meaning it is not legal to sell to pets.
Vets still have the authority to prescribe hemp products, but only if they are manufactured outside of Australia. A ridiculous ruling linking back to the Office of Drug Control that has incorrectly been applied to hemp products.
This has all come as a shock to all Australian hemp businesses selling pet care products.
No doubt it also comes as a shock to consumers who currently use hemp seed oil for their furry friends.
Hemp truly is a massively over regulated industry, which seems to be getting more and more bogged down in regulations.
As you will all remember, in 2017 Food Standards Australian New Zealand (FSANZ) finally legalised hemp seed for human consumption.
Logic has it that something that was deemed safe for infants was also safe for dogs.
The funny thing is, anyone could go to their local shops, purchase some hemp seed oil, and give it to their dog, so we really don’t understand how the APVMA will police this new ruling.
Fortunately, hemp seed can be utilised in livestock diets if state policy allows and no therapeutic claims are made.
Is hemp seed oil safe for pets?
Hemp seed oil is generally safe for both humans and pets, including dogs. In fact, it can have numerous health benefits!
However, as with any dietary supplement, there's a slight chance of an allergic reaction, and excessive amounts could lead to digestive upset like diarrhea.
To check for allergic reactions, you can apply a small amount of hemp seed oil to a patch of your dog's skin and cover it for 24 hours, if possible.
Watch for any signs of irritation such as redness, itching, or discomfort, and if these occur, do not use the oil and cleanse the area with a gentle, organic soap or shampoo.
When introducing hemp seed oil into your dog's diet, it's best to start with a minimal amount and gradually increase it. Signs of an allergic reaction in dogs may include:
Is CBD oil legal for pets in Australia?
On the other hand, CBD oil for pets in Australia is subject to strict regulations and must be prescribed by a veterinarian.
Always consult with a licensed veterinarian for the most current advice and treatment options for your pets, considering the legal framework in your area.
Remember, CBD and hemp seed oil are very different products and are governed by different regulations. Unfortunately, the APVMA does not seem to recognise this.
Warning letters have already been sent out from the APVMA to businesses manufacturing pet foods with hemp in it.
Hemp industry action
The crackdown is yet another blow for the hemp industry which has spent years trying to disassociate itself from the stigma surrounding cannabis.
Sector leaders believe it is another example of government bodies failing to communicate with each other, lumping everything into the same cannabis basket and not grasping the inherent differences between hemp and THC.
The issue has been taken up by the Australian Hemp Council (AHC) which is working towards a solution to help protect the future of companies and jobs.
For those after more information, please read this letter sent to the Federal Minister of Agriculture in January 2024.
Can I still purchase DogCalm and DogSoothe?
Unfortunately, based on the above regulations, these products are no longer on the market.
The good new is we are working on a solution and hope to have these products available again in the coming months.
We still sell hemp seed oil for humans. Use it as you will 🙂
For those who currently use DogSoothe and DogCalm, please contact us directly for alternatives.