Have you started looking for CBD dog treats or supplements, only to be overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices?
With hundreds of brands of pet CBD products available and more launching all the time, it can be challenging to distinguish between high-quality products and those that are a waste of money.
How do you know if a pet CBD treat is any good? This article reveals what to look for.
The Current State of CBD
Because CBD products have only recently become available on the market and supplements are only lightly regulated by the FDA, there’s a distinct lack of standardization in manufacturing and labeling.
The pet parent must be extra vigilant in quality control to ensure they’re giving their pets safe and effective products.
It’s always a good idea to seek the advice of a veterinarian, but some states still do not allow vets to prescribe or recommend CBD products, making the pet parent’s journey into CBD especially hairy.
To help you make a choice that’s right for your pet, we’ve created a list of five things you should look for before buying a CBD pet product.
5-Step CBD Checklist
1. Check for a Third-party Certificate of Analysis
Any reputable CBD supplier will include a certificate of analysis from a third-party lab so that you can be sure what’s exactly in the product.
Not only is this important to ensure that the treat or supplement actually has CBD, but this data will also confirm whether there is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), heavy metals, and other toxins.
Knowing exactly what’s in a product is important to confirm that your fur baby isn’t ingesting anything toxic.
If you’re buying CBD dog treats online, the product description page should have a link to the certificate of analysis. If it’s not on the product page, it might be on another area of the website, so you might have to look around.
Also, check to be sure that the certificate of analysis comes from a third-party lab and it doesn’t by the company selling the product. The report will most likely include:
- The potency (how many mg per ml, chew, etc.)
- Analysis of the existence of heavy metals
- Microbial contamination
- Solvent residues
These should be posted on the website or available upon request. Some brands, including NurtureChews, will have a QR code on the label as well that will link to a page that has the report.
It is a giant red flag if a company does not provide or willingly offer this information, and we recommend steering clear of a product if you cannot access this data easily.
2. Review the Ingredient List
What you put in your pet’s body matters, so check the list of other ingredients to ensure that your pet won’t be ingesting junk, fillers, or anything they’re allergic to.
We recommend avoiding products that contain the following:
- Food dyes
- Titanium dioxide (a preservative common in low-quality treats)
If you’re attempted to share your human CBD treats with your dog, don’t. Avoid giving your pet human edibles, which can potentially include xylitol, chocolate, grape extract, or raisin extract. All of these ingredients are highly toxic to dogs.
3. Look for Broad-Spectrum Products
You might see a distinction on the label that says either full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate. The ideal solution for pets (and even many humans is broad-spectrum).
So, what’s the difference? We’ll sum it up with this short list:
Full-spectrum CBD: Includes most or all of the compounds and cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including up to 0.3% THC. While there is some evidence pointing to the “entourage effect” of trace amounts of THC, even small amounts can be toxic to your pet, and in our opinion, it’s not worth the risk.
Broad-spectrum CBD: This means that all of the compounds you find in full-spectrum CBD are present, minus the THC. You get the benefit of the entourage effect without the dangerous THC.
CBD isolate: As the name suggests, a CBD isolate contains only CBD. There are no other cannabinoids present, and other compounds, like terpenes and flavinoids, are also absent. While CBD isolate can be effective, it may not work quite as well, and will often require stronger doses, making it more expensive.1
Look for broad-spectrum products, which include other cannabinoids and terpenes (whole rather than isolated). To reiterate, broad-spectrum CBD has everything that full-spectrum CBD has, minus the THC. Since THC can be toxic for pets (and can have unexpected psychoactive effects), it’s recommended to obtain pet treats that are free from THC.
4. Be Careful (or Completely Avoid) CBD with THC
One of the questions people often ask is if giving their pet CBD is the same as giving their pet marijuana. There’s a lot of confusion here, so we’ll break it down real quick.
Both hemp and marijuana are the same plant (Cannabis sativa), with one significant difference. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC.
Pretty simple, right?
Because cannabis is used for a variety of industries, not just recreational drugs, the United States government wanted to ensure there was a way to distinguish between plants that contained high levels of THC that induced a psychedelic effect and those that contain limited or no THC. Hence the distinctive terms of hemp and marijuana.
Understandably, the terminology can become quite confusing, especially because the terms only take one property of cannabis into consideration. It artificially separates cannabis into two varieties, when there are, in fact, over 700 strains, all containing different concentrations of CBD and other substances.2,3
With us so far? So basically, hemp is “no THC” and marijuana is “yes THC.”
One more thing before we wrap up this point…
There are also multiple types of hemp! Hemp can be divided into two categories:
- Medicinal hemp
- Industrial hemp
Medicinal strains of hemp have been bred to contain higher concentrations of CBD in the flowering portion of the plant. These strains are used for making products like lotions, tinctures, gummies, treats, etc.
Industrial hemp, on the other hand, typically has extremely low levels of CBD. The plants are larger, and they’re harvested for their seeds and stalks. Industrial hemp is used in everything from textiles to cooking oil.
So, if you see a product on the supermarket shelf that says “hemp seed oil,” and it’s reasonably priced at $10, don’t confuse it with medicinal CBD. It still has great nutritional benefits, but it isn’t the same as medicinal CBD.
And what exactly does this have to do with your pet??
Basically, the bulk of CBD products for pets is sourced from hemp, and that’s a good thing. Again, because THC can be toxic for your pet, you want to ensure that the CBD products you purchase for your pet have high concentrations of CBD and no THC.
5. Get Your Money’s Worth
Have you noticed that there’s a ton of price variation among CBD products? Some of the range is due to the concentration of CBD in a package, and some of it stems from the quality of the other ingredients and other sourcing variables. Another factor that affects the price is often arbitrary price points that a company thinks they can charge and get away with.
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth is to figure out how much CBD you’re getting per dose or serving. Once you figure out how much total CBD (usually measured in milligrams) is present in the total container, you can begin to compare prices.
There are a few ways to do this:
Check the front of the label, and see if it says how much hemp extract is present. Often, the company will advertise the number of milligrams directly on the label, so if you see something that says “250MG” on the front, that means there are 250mg of CBD or hemp extract in the whole container, not per serving.
Check the ingredient list. The back of the label might also list the number of total milligrams in the container. For example, a package of NurtureChews CBD Pet Treats has a total of 600mg and 75 treats, which works out to be 8mg per treat.
- If all else fails, use this (simple) math formula. Don’t worry! You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to figure this out. All you have to do is check the number of servings on the package and see how many mg of CBD or hemp extract is contained in each. Then multiply the two numbers together to get a final CBD concentration. For example, if each treat has 5mg of CBD and there are 100 treats, the container has 500 mg of CBD (5x100 = 500)
Once you can compare apples to apples, you can figure out which company is giving you the most bang for your buck.
For example, another leading CBD treats maker is offering 25 treats at 8mg of CBD per treat for $39.95. That’s a total of 200 mg of CBD for just under 40 bucks. NurtureChews is currently priced at $39.99 for 600 mg of CBD. With NurtureChews, you get three times as much CBD for the same price!
Ready to give NurtureChews a try? Check us out here, and let us know what your pet thinks.