Pet CBD May Not be as Safe as We Thought

As discussed in a previous article, using CBD products to treat pets is growing in popularity. But it may not be as safe as many owners believe. Recent research has shown that CBD products marketed to pets are often labeled inaccurately, and consumers mistake unregulated products for reputably sourced brands.

In early July, the FDA Center for Veterinary medicine sent out its annual tweet warning pet owners to beware of unregulated CBD products. This time of year sees pet sales rise as dog owners attempt to reduce firework-related anxiety, and the FDA’s warning is an attempt to get pet owners to be more aware of what they are giving their pets.

Inaccurate Labelling

Although all cannabis products approved by the FDA are heavily regulated, pet products can sometimes fall through the cracks. Inaccurate labeling is already a huge issue the cannabis industry faces. A recent study done by Leafreport uncovered that 56% of the pet CBD products sampled were wrongly labeled. The study consisted of a sampling of 55 pet CBD products which were tested independently in laboratories. Out of the original samples, 31 were inaccurately labeled, and the amount of CBD actually contained in the product was misrepresented.  Some products contained minute levels of CBD, much lower than indicated on the label, which may raise doubts of the product’s efficacy (especially when administered to heavier pets). 

How to Protect Your Pet

This data is alarming for pet owners looking to provide their pets with relief. So how can pet owners ensure that the product they are giving their pet is both reputably sourced and effective?

The first thing you should do is consult your licensed veterinarian. Once you have decided to provide CBD to your pet, then do your homework. Look for brands that provide certificates of analysis showing precisely what is in their product and how much is in it. Additionally, pet owners should only buy products for their pets sold in reputable stores such as state-regulated dispensaries or CBD stores that investigate their vendors and prioritize their consumer’s safety.

The Danger to Pets

When choosing products for your pets, use the same caution you would when getting products for yourself. Researching the company’s history and reputation is only the first step. The second step is educating yourself on the effects of cannabis products’ compounds on your pets.

Different animals may be affected differently by CBD, and pets react differently to humans. For example, the contaminants found in unregulated products such as microbial products, toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides often affect animals more severely than humans. Additionally, research has shown that dogs are susceptible to THC and so extra caution should be exercised when ensuring that any products you give your dog are THC-free.

Testing is the Only Guarantee

With a scourge of inaccurate labels and the risk of analysis certificates being forged or inaccurate, consumers are reluctant to place blind trust in labels or retailers.  Therefore, companies producing and marketing CBD products for pets should adopt comprehensive in-house testing protocols, such as those enabled by GemmaCert, to ensure accurate labels on products which are safe and effective. 

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