The CBD industry for both humans and pets is widely unregulated. A study published in Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports in April 2020 reported that only 10 out of 27 CBD pet products contained the CBD concentration (within 10 percent) printed on their label. Even more shocking, of all the products studied, four of them also contained heavy metals (1). When your pet is exposed to heavy metals over time, even at small amounts, it can become incredibly toxic!
The FDA is still catching up and figuring out how they want to regulate and oversee CBD products. So, in the meantime, it is up to manufacturers and brands to self-regulate. And it’s essential for pet parents to be educated and know what to look for if they are considering CBD products for their dogs and cats.
Defining CBD Product Quality: What to Look For
The potential quality differences in CBD products for pets can be astounding. Sourcing, manufacturing, and testing vary from company to company due to minimal federal regulations and standards. But finding a safe, high-quality product is possible—if you do some research.
Here are some tips to consider when on the hunt for a high-quality CBD product for your four-legged family member.
Openness About Manufacturing Processes
Look for a company that is open, honest, and upfront about their manufacturing practices. Manufacturing processes can impact the quality of the final product, so knowing this information is critical in identifying a safe, reliable pet product.
A company that doesn’t provide this information isn’t being transparent with their customers. Even worse, if this information isn’t readily available, it may signal a blatant attempt to hide where and how its CBD products are manufactured.
High-quality CBD products for pets need to consist of top-tier ingredients—and those ingredients should be clearly outlined on the packaging. If you have questions about ingredients, the company should be able to provide you with more information about ingredient sourcing or reasons behind why they chose specific ingredients.
Product Label Clarity
Product labels should tell the entire story of the product inside. They should clearly showcase ingredients, define dosage information, and reveal expiration dates. Product labels shouldn’t be confusing or misleading. Any company that makes claims about their products being the ultimate healing solution to all ailments should be a red flag for pet parents.
A Positive Reputation With Veterinarians and Consumers
The reputation of people and companies behind brands is important. Look for pet CBD companies that produce veterinary-formulated products or are endorsed by veterinary professionals. Look for positive customer reviews on the brand’s website or peek at the company’s social media profiles to see what customers are saying about the brand and the products. Dig into the company’s founders and history to gain insight about the brand’s value and mission.
A Best in Class Website and Responsive Customer Service
A business’s online presence and customer service matters. Evaluate a company’s website and customer service practices closely. Determine whether the website offers a secure payment option and only provide your credit or debit card information on secure websites. Is the website organized and easy-to-navigate? You should be able to quickly find necessary information about returns or shipping policies and check out smoothly.
Is the company’s customer service readily available and responsive if you have questions or concerns? Customer service should be able to get back to you quickly, be friendly, and answer any questions you may have about the brand’s products and services.
CBD Products for Pets: Safety Checklist
As previously mentioned, the marketplace is filled with many different CBD pet products, but when choosing a product, there’s one thing that matters above all else—safety.
Pet parents should review a company’s safety measures to give themselves peace of mind and keep their dogs and cats healthy. Be on the lookout for the following best practices.
The Company Has a Certificate of Analysis
A product label is not always enough. Having a third-party accredited laboratory verify the content of a product is important.
That’s where a Certificate of Analysis (COA) comes into play. COAs are issued by an accredited laboratory and contain a full, detailed explanation of everything within the product, including a complete list of ALL components. This is extremely important, as you need to know exactly how many milligrams (mg) of each compound your pet is receiving. Information on the presence of pesticides, heavy metals or other contaminants will also be listed on a COA.
A thorough review of a product’s COA allows you to evaluate the product for safety, potency, and appropriate pricing. A COA should be displayed on the company’s website and readily available for you to read and use for research. Check the date too. COAs should be dated within 6-9 months.
If you need help reading or interpreting a COA, a company should be able to guide you or help you through the process.
The Products Undergo Extensive Testing
Third-party testing is often a good sign that the company is confident in their product and that the product is exactly what it claims to be. Transparency in testing processes and access to the full results is important because it gives customers a detailed look at the product’s safety and confirm the compounds and components in it.
Sometimes companies will run their own clinical trials or tests in-house. This is a step in the right direction, but in-house testing isn’t always unbiased. Third-party testing is the standard for impartial reviews of a product’s ingredients, formulation, and function.
The Formulations Are Designed for Pets
A cannabis product designed for humans is not safe for pets. Only explore products that have been specifically formulated for dogs or cats.
Human cannabis products oftentimes have higher levels of THC that can be dangerous to your pet. It’s not uncommon to find additional ingredients in human products that are toxic to pets. Common ones include xylitol, chocolate, and raisins.
Some CBD tinctures are also alcohol-based. Avoid them. Look for a product with an animal-safe carrier oil.