Dog Nutrition

CBD for dogs – trend or here to stay?

Trend or here to stay? CBD products have exploded in the US in recent years, appearing in everything from human gummie chews, to fizzy drinks and soon enough, pet products.

In 2017, the US market for hemp-derived dog products was about $13m. Just a year later and it rose to $20m as pet parents around America were curious to see whether the cannabis products would help their dogs anxieties or chronic pains.

Sparkling CBD water (for trendy humans)

What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) isn’t widely understood in Australia as it’s not available here.

No, it won’t get your dog high.
Will it cure anxiety and decrease your dogs pain? The jury is still out.

The cannibis plant comes in two forms:

  1. Marijuana – mostly used for ‘recreational’ purposes
  2. Hemp – used in lots of ways, including as food and medicine

When we’re talking CBD oil for dogs or really any CBD dog product, we’re talking about ingredients derived from the hemp plant.

Both marijuana and hemp have many compounds that can be extracted in many different ways. THC is one, and CBD another.

THC is the psychoactive component that you’ll feel if you smoke a joint, and CBD is the medicinal component that dog owners (and many sufferers of chronic pain or anxiety) are seeking in these CBD oils and various supplements.

Hemp has 20%+ CBD, and less than 0.3% THC, compared to marijuana’s 20% THC and 10%+ CBD.

Most CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana, and the idea is that a good CBD product uses a combination of cannabinoids, with little to no THC at all.

What are dog CBD oil and supplements used for?

The science behind CBD says that cannabinoids interact with the receptors in the body and modulate things like pain, anxiety, and nausea.

Human users of it claim that it helps anxiety and small aches and pains reasonably well, but those serious pains and ailments are still going to be just as present.

The hope is that CBD oil can help to calm overly anxious dogs

Don’t laugh, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has reported a more than 700 percent increase in calls related to marijuana to its poison center this year as pups got into dads’ stashes around the country.

What sort of CBD dog products are there?

In the US, CBD is only legal to use as a supplement and not an everyday ingredient in things like kibble.

In late 2017, hemp products were legalised in Australia, but THC and CBD aren’t available without a prescription from your doc and approval from the Therapeutic Goods Association. As soon as they do become more broadly available, they’ll likely be available for dogs and cats as the pet industry is famously unregulated.

So far across the US, much of the CBD and hemp product market has been marketing-driven and largely opportunistic. That’s not to say that intentions aren’t good, but not much time has gone into pet-specific development, and even in human usage, benefits are far from universally conclusive.

Australian companies tend to treat product creation a little more seriously than the US, but the high cost and limited availability of pet medical research in Australia means that we’re unlikely to see properly researched and tested CBD dog products anytime soon.

The main types of CBD dog products:

  1. Oils
  2. Chews
  3. Treats
  4. Sprays
  5. Spreadable peanut butters

Concentrated oils are undoubtably where the buzz is at and where the majority of sales have been made, but even then, there has been no conclusive studies on the benefits of CBD for dogs.

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Written by Mike Halligan
Mike is a huuuuuuge dog lover and the Co-Founder of Scratch. He's spent his life surrounded by Collies and Cocker Spaniels. You can find him sipping coffee in Melbourne and pointing out Bernese Mountain Dogs to his girlfriend, in hope that she'll finally let them get one.