TEL AVIV, Israel — Although research on cannabidiol (CBD) use in dogs and cats is in its infancy, many pet owners appear convinced of its efficacy. What’s more, many veterinarians support the use of CBD for inflammation, pain, seizures, allergies and anxiety in pet populations, emphasizing its low side-effect profile, according to Leafreport, which recently conducted a survey to gain insight into those who administer CBD to their pets.
Steve Sakala, co-founder of Mana Artisan Botanics, said one reason CBD works well in pet populations is the unique biochemistry of their brains.
“Dogs actually have a higher concentration of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans,” Sakala said. “This makes dogs more receptive to the benefits of CBD.”
Some of the most common reasons people administer CBD to their pets include anxiety, joint inflammation and general health and vitality, he said.
“In general, older pets, just like older humans, seem to have a bit more of a noticeable outcome from using CBD. The higher energy levels in older pets when administering CBD is quite pronounced," Sakala said.
What follows are key findings of the survey on this growing corner of the CBD market from Tel Aviv, Israel-based Leafreport, an online resource dedicated to CBD.
Of the 1,448 pet owners surveyed:
- 50% had tried CBD for their pet
- 38% had given their pet CBD because their vet recommended it
- 53% favored pet edibles, the most popular delivery format
- 67% reported CBD had resulted in moderate to great improvement in their pets
- 74% were likely or very likely to recommend CBD to other pet owners
Reasons for use:
- 44%: To help ease anxiety or stress
- 21%: For pain
- 15%: For general health
- 13%: As an anti-inflammatory
- 5%: For a disease
- 2%: For “other” (undisclosed)
Why did you decide to give your pet CBD?
- 38%: Because my vet recommended it
- 24%: Because I searched for a solution to my pet’s medical issue health problem
- 20%: I used CBD myself
- 17%: I heard about it from other pet owners
- 1%: Other (undisclosed) reason
What type of CBD product do you give your pet?
- 53%: Edibles
- 15%: Tinctures
- 13%: Topical treatments
- 11%: Combined tinctures and edibles
- 7%: Indifferent to delivery format
- 1%: Other (undisclosed) method
How often do you give your pet CBD?
- 34%: Weekly
- 30%: Daily
- 28%: On a need-only basis
- 7%: Monthly
- 1%: Other (undisclosed) dosing regimen
How many milligrams of CBD do you like to give your pet in one dose?
- 44%: 0-5 mg
- 43%: 5-10 mg
- 11%: 11-20%
- 2%: More than 2 mg
How long have you been giving your pet CBD?
- 38%: 0-6 months
- 26%: Sporadically
- 24%: 6 months to one year
- 9%: 1-2 years
- 3%: More than 2 years
What effect has CBD had on your cat or dog?
- 42%: Moderate improvement
- 25%: Great improvement
- 24%: Minimal improvement
- 8%: No change
- 1%: Reported a deterioration in their pet’s condition
Would you recommend giving pets CBD?
- 39%: Likely to encourage
- 35%: Very likely
- 21%: Neither likely nor unlikely
- 3%: Unlikely
- 2%: Very unlikely to recommend its use
The likelihood of people giving pets CBD generally mirrored their perceptions about the efficacy of the cannabinoid.
Where do you buy CBD products for your pet?
- 38%: Online
- 38%: Physical store
- 24%: Both online and from a store
How did you choose a CBD brand?
- 46%: Recommendation
- 37%: Online research
- 9%: What was available at the store
- 8%: An ad
The main reason for picking a brand:
- 25%: Reputation
- 18%: Price
- 18%: Online reviews
- 18%: Recommendation
- 9%: Claims about what the product can do
- 8%: Product potency
- 4%: The brand is not important to me
Did you check the product’s third-party lab results before purchasing?
- 41%: Always
- 33%: Never
- 26%: Didn’t know what third-party lab test reports were.
Third-party lab testing reinforces a brand’s transparency and communicates whether the product contains what it promises. However, it would appear most pet CBD consumers are unfamiliar with third-party testing or don’t place a great deal of importance on it.
Gathering Insights is Key
It’s vital to capture insights into the state of niche markets as CBD products branch out in different directions, Leafreport said, adding that its survey revealed CBD is on the radar of many pet owners—and vets, many of whom appear to support its use in cat and dog populations.
While the findings of this survey are subjective and prone to bias, a significant majority, 67%, noted a moderate to major improvement in their pet’s condition, with many pet owners reporting using CBD regularly over long periods of time, Leafreport said. However, the survey indicates a lack of awareness on the part of pet owners regarding the importance of third-party testing. In a market as loosely regulated as pet CBD products, ensuring the product contains the potency it promises is essential.
Leafreport launched the survey on SurveyMonkey, with the questions targeting a U.S.-based cohort of pet owners. Leafreport set restrictions on the survey so only participants in the United States could respond. Respondents were 18 to 65 in age and were pet owners who owned a dog or cat. 51% were female and 49% were male. Those who answered no to the qualifying question, “Do you give your pet products with CBD?” were automatically disqualified from the survey, leaving 727 participants from an initial pool of 1,448 to complete the survey.
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