CBD for dogs: who’s a good buy?

April 07, 2020

With dogs prone to the same diseases as humans and also affected by anxiety, arthritis, diabetes, inflammation and general pain, it’s not surprising that many owners have been looking at CBD oil as a potential solution for canine companions too. Is it worth the pawsitive hype though?

What a Releaf

Prior to the global impact of Covid-19, US market-leader and family-owned company Pet Retleaf reported significant growth in 2019 due to increased interest in CBD pet products and were optimistic 2020 would be even more successful.

Steve Smith, Co-founder and President of Pet Releaf, said: “This has been a breakout year for the CBD pet industry as a whole and specifically for our company as we continue on our mission to change what healthy means for pets. We have a moral obligation to educate as many pet parents as possible on the benefits of CBD. This year, we expect to see mass adoption of CBD pet products and anticipate a 30% increase in revenue in the first quarter of 2020.”

In addition to working with more than 6,000 independent retailers in the US, a 50% increase over the previous year, as well as outlets in Asia, Africa and Europe, Pet Releaf also works with more than 30 animal shelters and nonprofit organisations. Its mission is to change what “healthy means for pets” by producing the highest quality hemp products for dogs, cats, and many other mammals.

It’s not alone in seeing CBD’s potential benefits for furry friends. North American Cannabis Holdings announced the launch of NaturVet, Sun Valley and NuLeaf supplements for cat and dog health in February. Paw CBD, a pet division of cbdMD, also launched its own website the same month with an extensive product line of veterinarian-formulated tinctures, chews and topicals in varying strengths and formulas. According to Paul DiBrito, President of Paw CBD, a report by consumer insights firm Brightfield Group showed that Americans spent an estimated $321 million on CBD pet products in 2019, a jump of more than 950% from the estimated $31 million spent in 2018. So, the demand is clearly there.

Does the UK market offer the same opportunity?

While Real Cannabis Club’s founder Phil Patterson is interested in the developing market, he feels more testing needs to be done to keep man’s best friend safe.

He told leafie: “A 2017 World Health Organization report indicated that CBD, in its pure state, appears to be safe and well-tolerated by animals. This is a good base to work from, but more information is needed to fully understand the effect of CBD on animals and, moreover, there are other concerns to be aware of.

“Not all CBD products are pure CBD. For example, the artificial sweetener Xylitol™ is extremely toxic to dogs, even in very small doses. Many human-grade CBD products (although not Real Cannabis Club’s CBD products) contain this artificial sweetener. It is therefore critical to avoid giving such products to your pet.

“Other flavourings frequently used in human-grade CBD products can also give rise to certain issues, e.g. certain essential oils used to flavour CBD products such as wintergreen or citrus oils can be a problem for cats.”

He added: “There are some companies who offer CBD products for animals, and whilst Real Cannabis Club is keeping an eye on the developments in this area, we feel it is too early to get involved. We want to see more research on the interactions between CBD and animals before we look at any ‘C(anine)BD oil’, so that we can continue to ensure that our products are safe and effective for all our customers (regardless of how many paws they have).”

We’ll be watching this space as closely as Real Cannabis Club. For now, the official stance from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate is that any veterinary products containing cannabidiol are veterinary medicines and should be regulated as such. There are currently no CBD-based products that have been granted a UK veterinary marketing authorisation that allows them to be officially sold or supplied in the UK.

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