CBD for Pets: What You Need to Know - A Buyer’s Guide

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Read time: 4:38 mins

Just as more and more people are realizing the potential wellness benefits of CBD, pet owners are sharing the secrets of CBD with their pets. In fact, the demand for CBD pet products grew to over 10 times its 2018 size in 2019

While their humans are using CBD for anxiety, pain, nausea, and to help with relaxation and sleep, pets may get similar benefits from CBD. When pets hear sudden noises, suffer travel or separation anxiety, as well as skin, joint, and appetite issues, and other conditions CBD may be a big help for coping and healing.

“Pets respond really well to cannabis medicine,” says Three Wells Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Deborah Malka. “There’s an immediate direct response.” So if you’re interested in sharing the potential wellness benefits of CBD for your furry companion, here are 5 things you should consider before you purchase CBD for your pet:

1. Does the Pet CBD Product Have a Certificate of Analysis (COA)?

“A COA is a key component to knowing that the CBD product you’re purchasing is accurately labeled and free of contaminants, says Dr. Tim Shu, a licensed veterinarian and founder and chief executive officer of VETCBD. “A full COA will include tests for cannabinoid profiles, pesticides, solvents, bacteria, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and visual inspection of foreign material.” 

Like we mentioned above, the hemp CBD pet market is growing rapidly which means there are a lot of new products hitting retail and virtual shelves, and not all of them contain what they say they do, Dr. Shu says.

“In the legal cannabis industry, companies are required by state authorities to submit products for batch testing prior to purchase by customers. However, when it comes to the hemp industry, hemp products are not required to undergo any testing prior to being sold to a customer. This can result in products being mislabeled or containing harmful contaminants. A 2017 study by the University of Pennsylvania found 70% of CBD products tested were mislabeled (meaning the actual amount of CBD was outside a 10% variation window of what the label claimed).”

After speaking with Dr. Shu we asked for VETCBD’s COA and he gave it to us immediately. This is the proof of the quality and safety of their products that we need to have Dr. Shu’s products on Three Wells.  

2. What is the CBD for Pets Cannabinoid Profile?

The CBD for pets cannabinoid profile is included in its COA and will tell you if your CBD pet treat is full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD or isolate CBD. Knowing the CBD pet treat’s cannabinoid profile is important because it tells you exactly what is in the product.

  • Full Spectrum CBD – a full spectrum CBD product, also known as the whole plant, includes all the naturally occurring compounds such as trichomes, phytocannabinoids, and terpenes and varying amounts of THC. These and other cannabinoids interact with each other to achieve a more balanced approach for wide-ranging health and wellness benefits. 
  • Broad Spectrum CBD – a broad spectrum CBD product has had the THC removed. Often, the removal of the THC removes some of the other CBD, CBD and CBG components.
  • Isolate CBD – an Isolate CBD product contains only CBD. An “isolate” CBD product is the opposite of a full-spectrum approach, as the plant’s other ingredients are excluded from the final formulation.

“Full spectrum CBD has been shown to provide greater therapeutic benefit through the synergistic action of multiple cannabinoids working together. This is commonly referred to as the “entourage effect,” Dr. Shu said. “That’s not to say the other types of CBD don’t have a good therapeutic benefit, it’s just that full spectrum products have just been shown to be more effective.” 

VETCBD’s products are full spectrum.

3. How Do You Plan to Give the CBD to Your Pet? 

There are hundreds of CBD-infused pet products on the market today that come in a variety of the most popular flavors, including steak, chicken, peanut butter, bacon, and cheese, etc. and come in varying forms such as soft chews and biscuits.

But if your pet is finicky, or maybe accustomed to only eating one type of treat, then a pet CBD tincture could be a wise choice. It’s the most common way for pets to ingest CBD, Dr. Malka says. “You can put a few drops right in their mouth.”

If putting a dropper or oral syringe into your pet’s mouth isn’t something you (or your pet) want, you could instead add the desired amount onto your pet’s current treat/food of choice or right on his or her food and still achieve the desired effect. 

One of the things we like about VETCBD’s tinuctures is that they include a plastic dropper. Some products have a glass dropper which we worry about because we never know when our pet will bite the dropper. VETCBD’s plastic dropper takes that worry away for us.

4. Dosing – How Much CBD is the Right Amount?

When it comes to dosing, Dr. Shu recently told a Three Wells-hosted webinar audience, to remember the acronym “GLASS” which stands for Go Low And Start Slow. 

“In general terms of dosing when it comes to cannabinoid therapeutics, we start low and go slow,” Dr. Shu said. “We have a dosing guideline that goes by body weight. And that is the recommended dose that most patients will take when they’re in that body weight. But what we’ve seen in both humans and animals is that every patient can use and utilize a different dose. Some patients may need a higher amount. Some may be able to use a lower amount.”  

5. Cost

While a low-cost product may be intriguing, if a CBD pet product is significantly cheaper than another, that may be a red flag.

“A lot of times, you get what you pay for,” Dr. Shu says. “Quality doesn’t come cheap. You want to ask yourself what is the product made of? Are they using premium ingredients? Is it human grade? Is it full spectrum, broad spectrum or isolate? And do they do lab testing?

Before beginning a CBD pet product, Dr. Shu says it’s best to speak to your pet’s veterinarian to determine whether your pet can safely add CBD to his or her current health regimen.