COA Series: Pesticides

When shopping for food we’ll often note whether or not something is organically grown knowing that, among other things, this protects us from most pesticides. How many of us do the same when we are selecting items such as lotions, cosmetics, or supplements? When those supplements are for our pets, knowing whether or not they contain pesticides is critical. In this latest entry in our series about the testing that we do and what information you can find on a Certificate of Analysis, we’re discussing pesticides.

As a refresher, we test for the following:

 

Pesticide Testing

At all stages of our process (primary ingredients, pro-ingredients, and final products) we test for residual pesticides via a set panel performed by a certified state laboratory. Pesticides are obvious toxins, classified by their actions and levels of toxicity at various dosages. They can be introduced into hemp products via farming practices and extractor processes; a contaminated water supply is also a concern as it can allow highly toxic chemicals to travel long distances

This map shows estimated concentrations of atrazine in shallow groundwater beneath agricultural land. Atrazine use is one of the most important factors used to predict atrazine and deethylatrazine concentrations in groundwater (right). Within areas of high atrazine use, groundwater residence time, soil permeability, and other factors explain some of the differences in predicted concentrations. From USGS Circular 1360.

 

Often people think that if something is naturally derived, it is safer. This is not always the case. Pyrethrins, common pesticides derived from the chrysanthemum, can be extremely dangerous, even deadly to cats. Similarly, organic is not necessarily pesticide-free, though the opposite can be true. And to make it more complicated, no single laboratory can test for all possible pesticides, and one has to rely on regulatory agencies to ensure nothing toxic at low doses leaches through into the environment or test sample. Allowable levels in our and our pets’ water supply may not be safe when orally absorbed in a solid or oil-based liquid. 

If you combine this with the fact that when compounds like CBD are extracted from hemp, any pesticides used on the plant or within the water supply are then concentrated, it becomes very clear why this testing must be performed. A chemical that is safe for adult humans in tiny amounts, then concentrated and given to a child or pet who are much smaller could be extremely hazardous. Many pesticides can exacerbate existing health problems or even cause new ones. They can be carcinogenic, teratogenic, hepatotoxic, neurotoxic, nephrotoxic, and potentially disrupt hormones, the endocrine system, and the immune system. 

Most of the commonly used pesticides in the cannabis industry fall under Category 3, 4, or 5 WHO classification scheme. This means they “may be harmful,” are “harmful,” or are “toxic if swallowed,” based on dosages which caused harm in 50% of rat test subjects (LD50). Many of the chemicals do not have LD50’s for cats, dogs, or even humans. Others have veterinary-based applications and are commonly applied topically (ex. imidacloprid and pyrethrins/pyrethrins) or given orally (ex. spinosad) for flea control.

Because of the potential risk to cats and dogs of all sizes, we test multiple times to ensure that any residual pesticides are below the level we have determined to be safe, typically “none detected” (ND) or in trace amounts. Trace amounts to us means an estimated amount which is greater than the Lower Limit of Detection (LLOD)  but less than the LLOQ. The LLOD is the lowest amount that the method can detect and the LLOQ the lowest amount that the method can quantify. Our reasoning? Such levels are usually secondary to environmental contamination and is one reason we check local water testing results, cross-referencing them with Washington state cannabis testing parameters and our internal specifications.  

We believe in full transparency at Canna Companion and want you satisfied your pet is receiving the very best. You deserve to know what is, and is not, in our products before you give them to your pet. Contact us today for a copy of our batch-tracked Certificates of Analysis!

COA Series: Mycotoxins

Pets are important members of our families and we always want to ensure we’re giving them the very best. There are reviews, consumer reports, and more that we can look at to help us determine these things, but sometimes it’s just not enough information. Other times, that information is presented in a manner that isn’t readily accessible to the layperson. That is why we here at Canna Companion are breaking down the details of what can be found on a Certificate of Analysis and why those tests are important. 

In part two of our Certificate of Analysis (COA) Series, we detail mycotoxin testing. In our last article, we discussed the importance of Residual Solvent Analyses (RSA) in making sure chemical toxins leftover from cannabis compound extract processes are absent or well-below toxic levels for cats and dogs. One of those solvents, which is quite easy to remove from end products, is ethanol. Most ethanol on the market is made from corn, some of which comes from crops contaminated with mycotoxin producing organisms.

Canna Companion values the health of our patients above all else. Throughout this series, we provide insight into our testing procedures which often exceeds federal testing requirements to better protect the welfare of your pet. As a reminder, tests run on ingredients and final products include:

 

Mycotoxins, like aflatoxin and ochratoxin, are a group of natural, highly toxic byproducts of some Aspergillus and Penicillium fungi. These toxins develop when certain crops are improperly stored at temperature and humidity levels that perpetuate fungal growth. The risk increases with environmental stress to crops such as drought or insect damage, improper field management, and inappropriate handling. Crops known to be affected by fungal contamination include corn, peanuts, rice, soybeans, wheat, and oats. The organisms and their secondary metabolites, mycotoxins, are so ubiquitous that approximately 25% of the world’s food supply is contaminated, causing death in human and non-human animals.

Aflatoxins can be immunosuppressive and carcinogenic, damage the liver, cause anemia, and more, even at extremely low levels. They are fat soluble and easily absorbed from the GI tract of dogs and cats. A little over a decade ago, hundreds of dogs died from liver failure due to eating commercial dry dog food contaminated with aflatoxin.  Ochratoxin is less common, but just as deadly, also causing cancer and usually targeting the kidneys. There is very little which can be done once toxicity occurs, but fortunately a lot which can be done to prevent contamination in the first place. It all starts with testing.  

 

Why is mycotoxin testing vital?

Ethanol, CO2, and butane/propane are currently the most common extraction solvents utilized in the Cannabis industry. Ethanol is often made by fermenting corn. Mycotoxins, if present, survive the fermentation process. When this mycotoxin-contaminated ethanol is used in the processing of any Cannabis products the mycotoxin is transferred to them.

Unfortunately, most poor-quality, damaged, and improperly stored corn is diverted into ethanol production. While mycotoxins do survive fermentation and distillation processes, they should only be measurable in the solid co-products, not the liquid alcohol. Any ethanol product contaminated with mycotoxin is likely the result of improper distillation, filtration, and cleaning techniques. As a general rule, since human and pet food companies place large orders, they get to choose the quality of corn they purchase. They do not wittingly purchase contaminated grain.  Reputable companies make sure the corn they use meets or exceeds FDA action levels. 

Because mycotoxins are not concentrated in ethanol, it is acceptable to test for them only at the corn harvesting stage. Testing of ethanol is not required by any regulatory agency. Restrictions are, however, placed on acceptable quantities of mycotoxins found in the corn used to make grain alcohols. FDA Action Levels are as follows, based on intended use of the corn.

FDA Action Levels for Aflatoxins

Commodity Level (ppb)
Milk 0.5
All feedstuff other than corn 20
All products, except milk, designated for humans 20
Corn for immature animals & dairy cattle 20
Corn for breeding beef cattle, swine & mature poultry 100
Corn for finishing swine 200
Corn for finishing beef cattle 300
Cottonseed meal (as feed ingredient) 300

 

Cats and dogs are especially susceptible to the effects of mycotoxins, and while the lethal dose (>300 pbb) is far greater than what is allowed in non-milk products, severe illness can occur with chronic low dose exposure. That susceptibility is, in part, dependent upon factors such as genetics, age, hormonal and nutritional status, and concurrent disease. As a result, if a company making products for cats or dogs utilizes ethanol extracted or washed products in any ingredient, both that ingredient and the final product should be tested for aflta- and ochratoxins.  

To protect the health of your pet, Canna Companion requires all ingredients, pro-ingredients, and finished products have total mycotoxin levels limited to 0-19 ppb. We are medical professionals and understand the adverse medical implications these fungal-based contaminants pose for our patient population. We strive to provide products which are clean and consistent, relying on rigorous testing practices to help fulfill that objective.  

COA Series: Introduction & RSA

As pet parents, we are naturally concerned with ensuring that any product or supplement we give to our pets is safe for them. Often, however, we have very limited access to information about anything beyond the ingredients of a product. While reviewing ingredients is very important, it only gives us a snapshot of what a company does in order to help ensure our pets’ safety and can sometimes leave us wanting more information. To that end, we would like to offer you an idea of what kinds of tests we run during the manufacturing process at Canna Companion and how these help protect your pet. 

We send samples to local, third-party, state-certified, cannabis testing laboratories during multiple stages throughout our processes. Each sample is tested for a variety of chemicals to make sure no toxins are present and that compounds like CBD and THC are within product specifications. In our Certificate of Analysis (COA) Series, we will detail what those tests mean with regard to your pet, beginning with Residual Solvent Analysis (RSA). Our final article in this series reviews Canna Companion testing procedures on all primary and pro-ingredients as well as the final product.

Tests run on ingredients and final products include:

  • Residual Solvent Analysis 
  • Mycotoxin
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy Metals
  • Microbial
  • Potency & Terpenes 

 

Residual Solvent Analyses detect minute levels of hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon solvents used in the extraction processes of a wide variety of Cannabis products. Residual hydrocarbon solvents are potentially damaging to cardiac muscle in trace amounts. They can impart immunosuppressive and abnormal immunostimulatory effects in extremely small concentrations. Some compounds cause hepatic, renal, and neurotoxicity, and should be avoided in any patient population with these underlying pathologies or susceptibilities. Ethanol and its derivatives appear better tolerated, though can still pose health risks at higher quantities.  

Residual solvents are the byproducts of nearly all extraction processes. Even ‘solventless’ extractions, like CO2, can result in residual chemicals lingering in the final product. This is usually due to post-extraction ethanol washes designed to remove plant waxes. Several techniques can be used to remove solvents from end products; the most effective of these is vacuum extraction, set at temperatures specific to the solvent used. RSA are a critical element of cannabis testing simply to ensure any impurities are absent or well-below toxic levels for the intended species. A small amount of these solvents in a product for a human sized patient is probably not harmful and each state sets limits regarding what is acceptable based on their data and risk assessments.  

In our patient population, however, the concentration of these contaminants is important because of the size of the patient exposed. A small amount of solvent concentrated in a smaller patient can more readily impart adverse effects. Furthermore, many of the breakdown metabolites produced by the metabolism of hydrocarbons are toxic as well, meaning they continue to impart toxic effect and can reside in the system for an extended period. Ethanol can be effectively and completely removed from any material on which it is used, with minimal effort, and is better tolerated in trace amounts when compared to other hydrocarbon solvents.

 

To avoid the potential adverse events from residual hydrocarbons, it is best to only administer pet products which are CO2 and/or ethanol extracted from companies willing to provide batch-associated COA backing their claims.

 

A Brief History of Cannabis for Pets

Given the ongoing conversations around legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, it might seem like cannabis just leapt onto the scene in the last few years. Suddenly, everyone is talking about the benefits of cannabis, for both people and pets. But the cannabis plant has actually been used to address various conditions for thousands of years. At Canna Companion, we’ve been exploring its place in veterinary science for decades. Today, we’re taking a quick look at the history of cannabis for pets. 

What Do We Mean by “Cannabis?” 

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to cannabis. A lot of terms get thrown around—cannabis, marijuana, hemp—and misused or conflated. Here at Canna Companion, we’re interested in the benefits of hemp, the type of cannabis plant which cannot produce a “high.”

 

It’s important to note that the term “cannabis” is also used to refer to marijuana, another type of cannabis plant which can induce euphoria.  We do not recommend giving your pet marijuana products, as they can cause adverse reactions like low blood pressure and confusion. Possession of marijuana is also illegal in much of the country, while hemp is legal in all 50 states. 

Cannabis Use in Pets Over the Years

Before there were hemp-based products created exclusively for pets, people recognized the potential benefits of CBD oil and other supplements containing CBD for both people and animals. Dogs and cats experience similar issues as we do, after all—short-term anxieties, achy older joints, and more. As the reasoning went, if something works for humans, surely it must work for pets. Go back far enough, and you’ll find multiple stories of pet parents securing a medical marijuana license for the sole purpose of purchasing cannabis products for their ailing pets. The issue here was that those largely unregulated products contain varying ratios of CBD to THC, meaning that it’s impossible to predict the effect they might have on a pet. 

 

A number of studies have confirmed the incredible supportive potential of the various compounds found in the cannabis plant, such as phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. In light of the possible physiological, immunological, and neurological benefits, it became clear that a formula made exclusively for pets was needed. 

Canna Companion Breaks Into Cannabis Science

After observing the benefits of a well-supported endocannabinoid system, we decided to create a hemp-based supplement formulated just for pets—something that could leverage the vast potential of the cannabis plant without the adverse effects that marijuana has on animals. Our research led us to create a high-quality supplement made from the mature stalks and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. 

 

We founded Canna Companion in 2014 with the goal of providing quality hemp supplements for pets and educating pet parents and their veterinarians on the supportive benefits of cannabis. We made sure our formulas support the optimal health of pets, in more ways than one. While single-compound products can throw off the synergistic relationship between chemical compounds, our in-depth research into the endocannabinoid system resulted in “whole plant” products, which preserve the entourage effect and provide comprehensive support to the endocannabinoid system.  

Ongoing Uses of Cannabis for Pets

Although state and federal regulations on cannabis are continuing to shift, hemp-based pet supplements are and will remain legal, provided the company adheres to all relevant regulations, such as any laid down by the FDA or NASC. Veterinarians across the country are now recommending reliable hemp supplements, like hemp-based CBD  oils, to pet parents looking for an additional way to promote their cat or dog’s well-being.

 

With carefully controlled ratios of CBD to THC, Canna Companion products support the health and happiness of pets while minimizing the adverse reactions associated with marijuana use. 

 

Here are just a few of the benefits of introducing and regularly administering a hemp supplement for pets:

  • Provides neurological support
  • Promotes a calm demeanor
  • Maintains normal joint health
  • Encourages a healthy GI tract
  • Assists in end of life comfort and care
  • Supports the functioning of the immune system

 

As with any change to your pet’s supplement routine, be sure to check with your veterinarian before introducing a hemp-based pill or oil. Each animal reacts to hemp-based products differently, so you may find that your pet needs a different dosage than the standard. If you have further questions about whether or not your pet would benefit from a hemp supplement, contact a licensed veterinary professional.

Potential Future Uses of Cannabis for Pets

The future looks promising when it comes to the potential applications of hemp-based pet supplements. As more studies are done, and we continue to advance in our understanding of cannabis science, we look forward to discovering even more about this beneficial plant.

 

One of the main challenges facing veterinary use of cannabis is the lack of existing industry regulations. Overdoses, incorrect ratios of CBD to THC, and low-quality products can leave pets lethargic and uncoordinated. Fortunately, these effects only last for a few hours, and there are no known long-term effects of hemp usage in pets. Moving forward, Canna Companion will continue to stand out from industry competitors by sticking to our rigorous standards and offering the high-quality hemp supplements we’re known for producing.

Where to Get Hemp-Based Supplements Today

Ongoing advances in veterinary science and our own in-depth research into the endocannabinoid system has revealed the vast potential of the cannabis plant. We’re just scratching the surface! But for now, we’re proud to provide the tools and resources for pet parents to support their cats and dogs. Whether you have a dog suffering from separation anxiety or a cat in need of end of life care, we can help. Reach out today to learn more about how hemp-based supplements can fit into your pet’s daily lifestyle. 

Tips Every Pet Parent Should Know

Our pets are such an important part of our families. We always want to make sure that we’re doing what is best for them to keep them happy and healthy. There is a lot of conflicting information, including older veterinary approaches, and it can be hard to know what the best options are. Here are some things that our veterinary professionals think important for pet parents to know.

 

Nutrition

People often love the look of a chubby cat or dog, but weight maintenance in animals is critical to their health.   That cute layer of fat causes a slew of problems including increased stress hormones, inflammatory compounds, and pressure on joints.  It can constrict breathing — fat will settle into the areas around the lungs — and create pancreatic problems like diabetes.  

To make it worse, food portion recommendations manufacturers include are rarely accurate, encouraging overfeeding for the average pet.  Even when they are accurate, they can be too general to be of use. What do you do? Educate yourself. Talk to your veterinarian about how many calories your pet should be getting for your pet’s species, age, exercise regimen, and health status.  And remember when you are calculating these to include ALL calories they are consuming. Once you have all this information, it’s time to discuss what diet is preferred for your pet’s ideal weight and overall health.

 

Preventative Care

Preventive care is both the healthiest and most cost effective approach to pet care. Gone for most of us are the days when we wait until our pets become sick or hurt before going to the vet. Annual and semi-annual exams are thankfully becoming more common, allowing you to catch imbalances before they create problems for your dog or cat.  

It’s important to note that while procedures like dental cleanings and performing annual lab work may seem costly, they’re much more cost effective than treating a sick pet. And they’re some of the best ways to catch early signs of problems so you can alter your pet’s health regimen.  In the case of dental health, offering raw chicken necks on a regular basis helps massage the gums and scrape plaque from dental surfaces, helping increase the time between anesthetic cleanings.    

Routine Lab Work 

Often times we would hear people say that they were reluctant to do lab work because they didn’t want to do a test when it might not tell us what was wrong. While the frustration is understandable, it’s also important to remember that lab results always give your veterinarian more information to work with. They may end up ruling something out rather than providing a diagnosis, but that is still additional information they didn’t have before. 

Nothing is certain in medicine, and narrowing down the field of potential causes for an issue, usually narrows down the appropriate treatments, too. All of these things make it easier for your veterinarian to help your pet feel better in less time.

 

Vaccines

Yes, your pet needs them, though how frequently is determined by exposure and law.  Like human children, puppies and kittens need a series of core vaccines, as well as a 1 yr booster, then potentially every 1-3 years for their adult life.  If your cat goes outside or your dog visits off-leash dog parks, regular vaccination is best for them.  Increased exposure means increased likelihood of infection, and while vaccinations often do not prevent contraction of an infection, they do help your pet’s immune system get ahead of the infection before it causes serious problems.  

Indoor only cats and those dogs who prefer the home life and walks around the block, have less exposure and may not need ongoing vaccination.  Some pets have negative reactions to vaccinations; these pets should have limited exposure to direct contact with other four-legged friends, even if those friends are vaccinated. 

Be sure to check the laws for your area to see if there are any vaccine requirements; rabies vaccine requirements may change by county, so start with local ordinances.  Also, talk to your veterinarian about which vaccines are appropriate for your pet’s lifestage and lifestyle. Discuss the pros and cons for your pets’ needs. One more tip: keep in mind  

 

Parasite Control 

Flea control is a year-round necessity in many places, and regular deworming helps their GI tract remain healthy, particularly if your pet is one with increased exposure like outside cats and dogs visiting off-leash parks.  Discuss with your pets’ veterinarian whether natural or prescription dewormers are preferred. Feeding raw food diets and offering healthy grasses to gnaw on may help reduce parasite load naturally.  

In more temperate areas where there are no extended freezes, no “flea season” exists where you time to give meds and a time when you don’t. And it is much more difficult to rid yourself of a flea infestation than it is to prevent it in the first place.  Again, natural therapies like diatomaceous earth are excellent for environmental needs, but talk to your veterinarian before using anything on your pet. Essential oils can be very helpful in preventing flea and tick infestations, but make sure to use them under the direction of a veterinarian.  

You want what is best for your pet and our veterinarians want to help support that as part of their care team. Together, we can make sure you and your pet enjoy each other’s companionship for many years to come.

Should I Give My Pet CBD Oil?

If you’re a pet parent, you’ve probably wondered about the efficacy of CBD oil at one point or another. Maybe your litany of questions stopped you from investigating the matter further. Could it have a beneficial effect on your furry friend? Is it safe? Should you give it to a cat or dog, and are there any negative side effects? 

 

If you want the short answer, here it is: a high-quality CBD oil made for pets offers a whole host of supportive benefits that can help maintain optimal health. But if you want a more thorough explanation and answers to the rest of your questions, read on. We’ll take a look at what CBD oil actually is, what it can do for your pet, and what you should know before you choose a cannabis product. 

The Basics of CBD Oil

CBD oil is a liquid derived from the cannabis plant. CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of over 545 compounds produced by the plant, but it’s quite a significant one. As opposed to the psychotropic compound THC, CBD does not produce the feeling of “highness” commonly associated with marijuana use. 

 

The Cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of other naturally occurring chemical compounds, including phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. A cannabis product with a carefully controlled formula takes advantage of the benefits that these compounds have to offer, in the form of consistent support to the endocannabinoid system

Can Pets Have CBD Oil?

We do not recommend giving medical or recreational marijuana products to your dog or cat. Unfortunately, CBD products made for humans are largely unregulated, and unless you obtain a third-party certificate of analysis, you can never be fully sure of the concentrations and ratios of cannabinoids in the products you’re getting. Too much CBD or THC could result in an overdose, leaving your pet unable to walk or eat properly until the effects fade. For that reason, you should stick to quality products with clear ratios and dosage instructions.

 

If you’re going to give your pet CBD oil, make sure you choose a hemp-based supplement formulated especially for pets. Our Whole Plant Hemp Oil contains a careful ratio of CBD to THC, allowing pets to enjoy the supportive benefits of the cannabis plant without the psychotropic effects of THC. Ultimately, a high-quality CBD oil made just for pets can act as a wonderful addition to your pet’s daily lifestyle. 

Benefits of CBD Oil for Pets

CBD oil is ideal for pets in need of more immediate endocannabinoid system support, as well as for senior pets and animals who don’t take pills well. If you believe that your dog or cat could benefit from end of life care, help staying calm in the face of stressors, or joint and immune system support, CBD oil could fit your needs.

 

Here are just a few of the benefits of regularly administering a high-quality CBD oil: 

  • Provides quick support to the endocannabinoid system
  • Supports digestive processes
  • Eases joint discomfort associated with normal daily activity
  • Provides immune system support
  • Maintains healthy neurological function
  • Assists in end of life comfort and care
  • Encourages a calm demeanor, helping address temporary anxieties and situational stressors

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog or Cat?

Once you’ve chosen a CBD oil for your pet that contains an appropriate ratio of CBD to THC, be sure to consult a veterinarian before introducing any supplements or diet changes to ensure that you’re doing what’s best for your pet. 

 

The proper CBD oil dosage will vary by weight and species, but the CBD oil you choose should come with dosage instructions. For our Whole Plant Hemp Oil, we recommend giving .1mL for every 10 pounds, two to three times daily. You should also make sure to administer the oil during or after your pet has eaten, to minimize the risk of GI distress.

High-Quality CBD Oil and Other Hemp-Based Supplements 

Here at Canna Companion, we believe wholeheartedly in the power and potential of the cannabis plant. We’ve put our decades of veterinary experience and research into the endocannabinoid system to work developing high-quality CBD oil and other hemp-based pet supplements that can provide much-needed support to your furry friends. 

 

While single-compound or exclusively CBD products can unbalance the endocannabinoid system, our full spectrum formulas preserve the synergistic relationship between chemical compounds, allowing your pet to enjoy a range of supportive benefits. If you’re still not sure whether CBD oil is right for your dog or cat, reach out to us today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have or schedule a complimentary consultation with a licensed veterinary professional. We look forward to supporting the well-being of your furry friend!

Hemp Derived CBD: Why It’s Legal

The cannabis plant has had a long, strange, and ultimately arbitrary regulatory history. Until 2018, hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act. This was because the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) did not differentiate between strains of Cannabis sativa L. which have less than 0.3%  of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and those with more than 0.3% THC. Such a distinction is important as the 2018 Farm Bill removed any Cannabis sativa L. plant and its derivatives which contain less than 0.3% THC from the CSA, redefining these plants as hemp.  Any Cannabis plant containing >0.3% THC is referred to as marijuana which currently remains as a Schedule 1 drug, those drugs having, “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse,” according to the DEA.  

Enactment of the 2018 Hemp Farm Bill, resulted in regulation of hemp being relinquished by the DEA, to the FDA, who’s functionality of enforcement is public safety rather than the pursuit of criminal convictions. The explosion of public cannabidiol (CBD) use and pressure from public outcry, resulted in the FDA and US lawmakers being forced into action.  When backed by mounds of anecdotal and scientific evidence, and significant financial and political pressure, regulatory agencies had no choice but to realize hemp and its derivatives are an important crop for American farmers and consumers. 

The 2018 Farm Bill has explicitly preserved the FDA’s authority over hemp products, which is in the best interest of public safety. This part of the regulation is key because, prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, the use and regulation of CBD products and hemp was left up to state legislation. The DEA, however, was still making arrests despite state laws because it was still a federal crime and they had the authority to do so. This left a confusing and contradicting atmosphere within the regulations and hemp farming/manufacturing community.

The FDA has now vowed “…to treat these products just like we do any other.  FDA is committed to advancing hemp products through the Agency’s existing regulatory pathways, and we are further exploring whether it would be appropriate to make additional regulatory pathways available to hemp products such as those containing cannabidiol (CBD). FDA believes taking this approach protects patients and the public health, fosters innovation for safe and appropriate products, and promotes consumer confidence.”  This is a huge and fantastic leap in progress for hemp regulation —  from a schedule 1 narcotic to a FDA regulated consumer product — as it helps ensure a better product for the consumer, which in our case happens to have four legs and lots of fur.

  

Canna Companion is devoted to regulatory compliance and public safety within the new framework of hemp legislation. We believe that transparency and current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) delegated by the FDA are key to the progression of hemp based laws.  Canna Companion works closely with the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) , who maintains open channels with the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) regarding hemp legislation.  This helps ensure we are always up to date with new changes in policy, usually before they reach the general public. 

The NASC continually monitors its members, collecting data from companies who supply hemp products for animals. They released an ingredient risk report for hemp and hemp based compounds from 10 years of data which shows 34 million applications of hemp products to dogs, cats, and horses with only 10 adverse events, and none of them serious enough to prompt a recall. This data is hugely important and is being used as an example of the safety of hemp products when produced under FDA guidelines. Canna Companion is proud to have assisted in their data collection efforts, setting an example of what hemp companies should be doing in order to provide transparent data and a quality product to consumers.     

   

 

First Aid Tips for Cats

We always hope that we won’t face an emergency, but it isn’t something that can ever be guaranteed. In the event that we do, though, a little first aid knowledge can go a long way. It is especially important during times where there is a lot of change, such as the holiday season. There are numerous threats that our feline friends face during this time such as potentially toxic decorative plants, ribbons and other gift wrap, bones from a holiday meal, and burns from candles or Christmas lights.  (Quick tip: keep your cat away from packaging until all ribbons are thrown away in a cat-proof trash bin; bones should go in there too before letting your cat enjoy the festivities.)

The best thing we can do to protect our feline friends in these circumstances is to be prepared

  1. Make sure you always have the number for your regular veterinarian and for the closest emergency vet clinic posted in an easy to find place, as well as affixed to your cat’s carrier.  Consider making this a laminated card or luggage tag, which includes hospital name, regular doctor’s name, hospital phone number and physical & website addresses. On the other side, have your cat’s information: name, age or date of birth, breed, sex, known conditions or special handling needs, and medication/supplement list.   
  2. The Red Cross offers an app which provides first aid information which you can download here. This app provides quick access to first aid information for your cat. 
  3. Have an emergency kit ready to go, and keep it next to your cat’s carrier.  Be sure to include food, water, and other items that they would need in the event that you had to evacuate.  

What to Include in Your Cat’s ER Kit

In addition to medical information, have a minimum of 3 days worth of basic supplies: collapsible food & water dishes, favorite food & treats, unopened bottle of water, security items (soft blanket, toys, catnip), pee pads (accidents happen!) and cat litter box (plus litter).  If your cat eats raw food, always have an unopened package in the freezer which you can quickly grab and place in its own insulated container.  Having a few cans of high quality cat food or favorite freeze dried raw food mix may also be a good idea.

Include a list of what symptoms might indicate ingestion of a commonly found toxic substances like mistletoe, lilies, acetaminophen, and antifreeze.  A cat who has eaten something toxic may exhibit signs such as lethargy, drooling, tremors, vomiting, dilated pupils, and more. Contact your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency hospital immediately in the event that you think they might have ingested a toxin. If you are able, inform them what was consumed, when it was eaten and how much you think they ingested. They may advise you on how to induce vomiting or they may recommend you come straight to the veterinary hospital, depending on how far your pet’s symptoms have advanced.

In a smaller, labeled, container within your kit, include items like medications, supplements, rescue therapies, non-stick bandages, nitrile gloves, and an unopened bottle of artificial tears (great for flushing out eyes and wounds).  Talk with your veterinarian regarding which medications should be on hand for your cat’s specific needs. For older cats, this may include supplies for fluid therapy, preventatives for feline herpes viral flares, and additional support for older joints.  

Multipurpose Supplements 

  • Honey: in the event that your cat experiences a burn, it is important to note what burned them (candle, stove burner, electric cord) and get them veterinary care as soon as possible.  That said, there are a number of steps that one may take on their own first, particularly with thermal burns. It is vital to remember to cool them slowly, as doing so too quickly can cause shock.You can run cool water over the burn or use covered cool compresses.  Never apply cold compresses or ice without wrapping in a towel first. If possible, shave the fur around the burn so it’s easier to treat and monitor progress.  (This may be easier done at the vet’s office after pain medications are administered.) If the wound is not too painful, clean with warm soapy water, pat dry and apply Manuka honey.  Honey has been used for thousands of years in wound care and is safe for cats.  Make sure to cover the burn with a moist cloth when you are transporting your cat to the veterinarian, to keep the area clean and cool.
  • Hemp supplement: the stress of holidays, people coming over or having to travel can be lessened with calming supplements like hemp derived CBD. When supported the endocannabinoid system (ECS) excels at managing temporary stressors.  Your cat’s ECS is in high gear during these times and giving a dose of hemp oil 2-3 times daily should help him feel calmer. If your cat is already taking capsules, you may need to increase the dose or give hemp oil in addition to his maintenance support.  Contact us if you have any questions; we’re happy to help you with your cat’s individual needs. 
  • Essential oil blend or kit: yes, essential oils can be used safely in cats, helping providing another layer of immune system support (for wounds) and calming effect (for anxiety), among other health benefits.  Make sure to choose oil brand which source and extract responsibly. A drop of lavender oil around wounds can assist in microbial control, while blends containing chamomile provide soothing effects.   If you want to learn more, these resources can get you on the right track: First Aid with Veterinary Medical Aromatherapy (great to have in your first aid kit) and Animal Desk Reference II (very detailed).
  • TCVM or other herbal blend supplements: if your cat already takes such supplements, be sure to pack them in the kit.  If not, contact your holistic or integrative veterinarian and ask which first aid herbal blends they recommend. American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s Find a Vet function can help you find a holistic practitioner in your area.  

 

Traveling with Your Cat

Traveling with your feline friend, whether going to the veterinarian or visiting friends or family, can be stressful. It is safest to have them in a kennel or carrier, with soft bedding or a pad to lay on.  Ideally the kennel should be seatbelted in the back seat (like you would a child’s car seat) and many kennels and carriers have a place to secure the seat belt. It is not safe to have your cat roaming freely in your vehicle while you are driving. Your cat could become frightened and dart under the brake pedal or accelerator, possibly causing an accident. In addition, having a free roaming the vehicle is a dangerous distraction. Experienced feline travelers can wear a harness or seat belt harness. It is a good idea to make sure the lead or leash is short enough that if you have to stop, your kitty will remain in the seat.  

Make sure your destination is either cat friendly like these hotels, or that you’ve spoken with your host about your cat’s needs.  In general, keep your cat in the room in which you’ll sleep. Set the room as best as possible to a layout similar to one at home — anything which is familiar will greatly reduce your cat’s stress.  Most of these security items can be included in your ER kit. In addition to providing familiar smells, keeping your cat in one room gives her a place to hide from curious children and pets … and from bolting in an unfamiliar environment.  Just in case, have your cat microchipped prior to travel if this wasn’t done earlier in life.   

Please seek veterinary care as soon as possible following any use of first aid.  They can guide you on next steps and place the whole incident in your cat’s medical records. Take notes regarding what therapies were provided and when they were administered.  This will ensure that your feline friend receives the best care and is able to recover with less risk of additional complications. Emergencies and accidents may be unavoidable, but you can help your cat get through such tough times with a little knowledge and preparedness.

Winter Garden Concerns

Many people don’t think of winter as a time for gardening, but there is plenty of yard work that gets done and plenty of plants that grow well or get planted during those months. A number of these can be hazardous to your pets and it’s important to be sure that you’re checking what they have access to. Additionally, people have a lot of holiday related plants in their homes at this time of year, and there are concerns among those as well.

 

Outdoor Winter Plants

The most common things people grow in a winter vegetable garden are leafy greens and plants in the allium family.  Most greens are safe or will cause, at most, mild GI upset.  Allium family plants, like onions, shallots, garlic, and leeks, are toxic and should be kept out of reach of both dogs and cats. Here are three leafy favorites dogs and cats can both commune with: spinach, lettuce & parsley.  

Flowering plants can also post a problem.  Hellebores are lovely and commonly found in bloom during winter, though pets should not have access to them.  Other winter bloomers to look out for include aconite (monkshood), clematis, and boxwood.  Aconitine is an alkaloid found within monkshood roots, and quite common as Chinese medical ingredient, though is only used after specific processing designed to minimize to toxic principle.  Lastly, the bulbs of showy bloomers are often planted this time of year, and there are a number we need to keep diggers away from:  iris, crocus, daffodils, and snowdrops. These are only toxic when ingested, and can cause a wide variety of ailments from mild (drooling and vomiting) to severe (seizures and death), so consider pet proofing bulb garden beds.  

 

Indoor Winter Plants

If you are growing in a greenhouse, keep in mind some of the most popular tasty treats for humans, like tomatoes , have toxic principles in their leaves and are best kept away from your pets. Instead, grow pet friendly herbs like catnip, basil, cilantro, rosemary (consider avoiding if you have a pet with seizures), and lavender.  Or keep it simple and grow whatever you like, just keep the door locked so curious paws cannot gain entry.  


Decorative and seasonal gift plants typically contain some form of toxic principle.   As previously mentioned, daffodils and amaryllis are toxic, though unlikely to cause serious harm. However, lilies can be found in many houses at Christmas and even a tiny amount can be deadly to a cat. Poinsettia generally causes mild GI upset, but holly and mistletoe are both far more dangerous, so hang the mistletoe with care and leave holly berries outside and away from pets.  

And then, of course, we have the beloved Christmas tree.  Fallen needles pose at best an oral irritant, and at worst a trip to the doctor for emergency surgery as needles can perforate the intestines.  Vacuum regularly or consider a medium sized artificial tree

In addition to the needles, live trees need water which is toxic, so consider this tip if your family owns a tree farm: 

  • Cut a slit into the middle of a plastic lid large enough to cover the opening; 
  • Cut out a circle in the middle of the lid about the size of the tree trunk;
  • Slip this around the tree trunk and lower it so it covers the water container. 
  • You may have to tape it down to keep the pets out.

 


Make sure you are familiar with your closest emergency vet, just in case, and if your cat ingests any part of a lily, please go immediately. If your pet gets into any of the other above plants, bulbs, or vegetables, please call your veterinarian for further advice.  It is generally best to keep all indoor plant decor in areas that pets cannot access, or make sure you grow a pet friendly garden you all can enjoy.

cGMPs: What Are They & Why Do They Matter?

 

cGMPs: What are they?

Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP’s) play a critical role in quality and safety in the manufacturing of consumer products. But what are cGMP’s? They are a set of rules and regulations mandated by the FDA to assure consumers the products they buy are quality products and safe for the intended consumer. The FDA has outlined specific industry standard rules manufacturers must follow in order to sell their products.  Furthermore, FDA officers will audit manufacturing facilities at random to ensure compliance, that facilities are properly following cGMP guidelines.

 

Why do cGMP’s matter in a manufacturing facility? 

cGMP’s are observable practices that establish a baseline for standards within the manufacturing facility.  Basic hygiene is a critical one which requires facilities enforce strict hand washing policies, as well as provide thorough employee training for food handling.  In addition, cGMP’s cover every reasonably foreseeable potential for adulteration within a manufacturing facility from receiving ingredients and packaging to shipping supplements to your home.  Because these regulations encompass all aspects of the manufacturing process, cGMP’s establish rules for manufacturing operations to help ensure a consistent and unadulterated product for consumers is produced.  

One way in which manufacturers are held responsible for cGMP standards is via standard operating procedures (SOP’s).  Employees receive must receive training on SOPs and have access to those documents for reference. Using easy to follow but thorough instructions and checklists provides a quality product and ensures compliance in all cGMP practices.   

 

How does Canna Companion comply with cGMPs?

Canna Companion strives to be a leader in cGMP compliance not only to ensure the quality of our products, but to set an example in the animal health industry. We truly care about our customers and their pets, which means we take these obligations very seriously, and we do so happily. 

The potential for contamination occurrence within a manufacturing facility is easily deterred with the right cGMPs in place.  Canna Companion manufacturing employees work dutifully throughout the day to ensure your product is of the highest quality.  

We utilize many procedures during our daily, weekly, and monthly routines, including cleaning checklists and a specific flow of movement within the facility.  The latter helps limit exposure to sensitive items like ingredients, while providing readily accessible ‘normal’ areas for office needs and employee lockers and breaks. In addition, the facility contains personal protective equipment (PPE) lists and materials at all stations, making it easy for employees to adhere to regulations.   

By testing each ingredient before it comes in, we make sure our ingredients are up to standard before they even enter into the production stream. This includes a barrage of laboratory tests: potency (% of cannabinoids), terpene & microbial analyses, mycotoxin levels, and residual solvent analysis.  We also test for pesticides and heavy metals, all via a third party state-registered facility.  

Before setting foot in Canna Companion’s manufacturing areas, employees and visitors put a protective gown and clean room shoes.  And of course, before work can begin we wash our hands; when employees work with product or equipment, gloves are always worn. 

These are just a few of the cGMPs we have in place here at Canna Companion to help protect your product. We take the time to do these things because we care! We do this enthusiastically in order to reassure our customers that the product they are giving to their furry family member is of the highest quality.