New Brunswick

Pot for pooches: Fredericton company to make cannabis-infused dog food

A Fredericton company is making sure furry four-legged friends won’t be left out when recreational cannabis becomes legal in October.

But this addition to their diet won't get dogs high — yet

A lack of THC will ensure your dogs don't get 'all buggered up and silly.' (Adam Carter/CBC)

A Fredericton company is making sure furry four-legged friends won't be left out when recreational cannabis becomes legal in October.

Pet food manufacturer Corey Nutrition plans to launch a line of cannabis-infused dog food.

Emily Corey, the company's vice president of research and development, said the food will be different from human cannabis edibles in one important way: it will not include THC, the psychoactive chemical found in cannabis that produces a high in the user.

"We intend to not use any product that contains THC and have it all be CBD, which is the part that won't get the animal high," said Corey.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and while it won't get your dog high, it does have an effect.

Corey said CBD can help ease anxiety in dogs, and cites her dog as an example of a dog that could benefit from cannabis-infused dog food.

"I've got a dog who is highly anxious in certain situations … things like certain floors he's not OK with, thunder [and] lightning can be a problem for him," said Corey.

"This is one way that we see using a natural remedy for medicinal purposes to help with such things."

Company growth

To maintain quality, Corey Nutrition will have to build a separate plant to produce the cannabis-infused dog food. (CBC)

The new line of products will require a significant investment by the pet food manufacturer.

Corey said the company will have to build a new production plant just to produce and house the cannabis-infused dog food.

"Cannabis is regulated by Health Canada, so we don't want to risk any sort of cross-contamination," she said.

"We have very high quality standards … we take that very seriously, and we don't want to risk any sort of cross-contamination or any issue there."

Corey said the company is still working out how much the expansion will cost but hopes the increased investment in cannabis will ease any financial burden.

"Since cannabis is a priority sector for the province," she said. "There's funding available and lots of partners that are involved in this particular process."

Future markets? Future high?

Emily Corey says that entering the U.S. market and producing dog food with THC, may be in the future, but these ideas are not the company's focus right now. (CBC)

Corey said the company is looking at the United States as a possible future market but noted it will be tricky. 

"We'll start by developing the local market in the Canadian market and once we get to that bridge, we'll cross it."

Corey Nutrition will begin with manufacturing dog treats and will focus on more traditional dog food later.

Corey said there may be a future in using THC in dog food, but that's a while off.

"We plan to stay away from that until there's more further research done on that particular topic," said Corey.

"There is potential that a small amount of THC might be beneficial, but it's the science is not there yet."

Corey Nutrition hopes to have cannabis-infused dog food on the shelves by 2019.

With files from Harry Forestell