With a growing interest from pet owners at pet stores across the country, the demand for pet CBD products is skyrocketing.
People are turning to CBD to help manage pain, arthritis, seizures and other health problems in their pets. As a result, CBD products for pets has burst onto the market to meet the consumer demand.
In a survey conducted this year by the Veterinary Information Network, an online community of veterinarians, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said they were asked about CBD by their patients at least once a month.
“Anxiety is the number one reason people come in for it,” said Heather Levesque, manager at popular Bridges Pets in Snohomish.
Levesque says she only purchases inventory from manufacturers who pay for independent quality tests and share the test results.
“You want to make sure that the CBD products are third-party tested,” stressed Levesque. “Because the person that’s third-party testing doesn’t have a stake in the company. So getting that third-party verification is showing it really does have what they’re stating it has.”
CBD Effects on Pets
CBD is widely used as an alternative to prescription medication for pain, anxiety and other human conditions.
CBD interacts with the human and mammalian endocannabinoid system. The precise effects of CBD on our bodies are a matter of extensive ongoing research, but advocates of marijuana as a medicine have long held that CBD can treat epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety and other maladies.
At Colorado State University, the veterinary school is currently running a long-term study of the effects of CBD on pets, including any therapeutic benefits. So far, the results are encouraging.
Here’s what veterinarians and consumers have to say about using CBD for their pets…
Have Realistic Expectations
While some pet owners swear by CBD, keep in mind that researchers are just starting to learn how to use it for pets and at which dosages, says Stephanie McGrath, D.V.M., a veterinarian and assistant professor of neurology at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
After her initial research, McGrath began two clinical trials, one on dogs with epilepsy and another on dogs with osteoarthritis. Early results are encouraging with an 89% reduction in epileptic seizures for dogs treated with CBD.
A separate study from Cornell found that 2 mg per kilogram of CBD twice daily “can help increase comfort and activity” in dogs with osteoarthritis.
McGrath got involved in researching effects of CBD on dogs because there’s almost no data available. There is one 1988 study, and a 2011 scientific review of CBD studies for animals, but it didn’t include dogs.
Talk With Your Vet
While CBD experts say veterinarians cannot legally prescribe CBD for animals, at least make sure your vet knows you’re considering it for your dog or cat.
If you live in a state that has legalized CBD, there’s nothing to stop you from giving it to your pet on your own. But experts say it’s a good idea to talk with your vet first. And while veterinarians can’t bring it up themselves, they can certainly answer questions you have in an effort to reduce any potential harm to your pet.
If your vet doesn’t know much about CBD, consider going to veterinarycannabis.org for help. The company offers consultations, courses and education to pet parents and veterinarians. They can work with you and your vet by providing guidance about CBD products, dosing and potential interactions.
Choose Products Carefully
It can be difficult to know which CBD products have been formulated responsibly, are free from contaminants and contain the ingredients that the product labels list. So it’s wise to be cautious and do your homework before purchasing CBD.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found 58 of the 84 online CBD products tested had inaccurate ingredient labels. 18 contained high levels of undisclosed THC; the marijuana chemical that makes you high.
Furthermore, in this 4 minute clip from The Doctors, senior investigative producer Leslie Marcus reveals why many CBD products are not what they claim to be.
So when shopping whether online, in a retail store or a dispensary—look for products that claim to follow Good Manufacturing Practices.
Whether it’s a CBD product for you or your pet, your best bet is to find a company that has done independent third-party testing and can provide a Certificate of Analysis, or COA.
The lab results should show how much CBD (and THC) the product contains, as well as how the product did in tests checking for contaminants such as heavy metals and fungicides. If you can’t find a COA on the company’s website or the company refuses to share it, that’s a red flag.
CBD for pets is a huge trend and the right product might help your pet deal with pain or anxiety. Do your homework, verify the source and make sure you know what you’re giving your four-legged friend.