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What Pet Parents Need to Know About CBD

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By Barbara Jarvie Castiglia

Stroll down a drugstore aisle these days, and you’ll see any number of products featuring CBD boasting cure-all claims to soothe any number of ailments. So, it should come as no surprise that CBD products have also begun to invade the pet store aisles. 

What can pet parents do to better understand CBD and its potential use for pet health and wellness?

Of course, internet searching will provide owners with a glut of information on the topic, so it’s really best to gather your questions and simply ask your veterinarian. The two of you can determine if adding CBD to your pet’s routine makes sense. This niche is rapidly evolving, with research being conducted on efficacy in addition to the questions regarding legality of some CBD products in certain areas. That’s why veterinary intervention is crucial.

What is CBD?

To put it simply, cannabidiol, commonly called CBD, is a chemical found in cannabis. CBD, which is often sold in oil form or infused in products, is non-psychoactive. CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient in marijuana that produces the high effect. 

According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, there has been a growing global demand for CBD pet products. The market is expected to experience a 12 percent annual growth rate between 2022 and 2027. In 2018, pet care accounted for nearly three percent of the overall revenue of the legal cannabis industry in the United States. The overall market was estimated at approximately $426 million in 2020, and it is forecasted to exceed $1 billion by 2024, according to Brightfield Group.

Demand has been growing over the last few years, but sales spiked during the pandemic. The company reports that this surge is fueled by consumer awareness of the health benefits of cannabis, by awareness about the legality of marijuana, and by pet owners’ willingness to seek out premium pet care products. Government regulations on CBD pet products vary country to country, so military pet parents who travel will need to be cognizant of any restrictions regarding their use outside of the states.

Nearly 39 percent of dog owners and 34 percent of cat owners are likely to prefer CBD-based products for their pets owing to the legalization of cannabis, according to a 2019 survey conducted by The American Pet Products Association. They also found that nearly 11 percent of dog owners and eight percent of cat owners were using CBD products at the time, meaning there was potential for the category to grow. 

What can CBD do for your pets?

Currently, CBD products are a niche market and mostly promoted to dog and cat owners, but products for other animals are expected soon, according to the report. CBD is most used in treats and supplements and as a food additive. The chemical is said to have a therapeutic effect and helps with issues such as separation anxiety, stress, allergies, fearfulness, aging, mobility, and joint pain/inflammation. 

A report from CBD industry watchdog, Leafreport.com, revealed that 50 percent of those surveyed had tried CBD for their pet, with 38 percent doing so because of the recommendation of a veterinarian. Also, 74 percent of owners said they were likely to recommend CBD products to other owners, which, again, may indicate an upward trend. 

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