For many of us, our pets are beloved members of our family, worthy of the highest level of devoted care and attention. Like humans, pets get anxious–firecrackers or a thunderstorm can trigger severe anxiety, as can being left alone for hours. Fur babies also experience joint pain and muscle stiffness, and can experience inflammation after chasing a ball too much. Enter CBD. CBD has sparked a craze among humans who wax lyrical about its diverse benefits–and it would seem, many pet owners believe it yields similar benefits for animals.
Although the research on the use of CBD in dogs and cats is still very nascent, many pet owners appear to be convinced of its efficacy. What’s more, many vets support the use of CBD for inflammation, pain, seizures, allergies and anxiety in pet populations too, emphasizing its low side-effect profile.
To follow up our recent report on transparency within the pet CBD industry, Leafreport decided to conduct a survey to gain greater insight into those who administer CBD to their pets. Our survey yielded some fascinating findings. Of the 1448 respondents, 727 had a dog or a cat that they had given CBD, with participants sharing information about the reasons they use CBD for their pet, how they dose and administer the cannabinoid, their views on its efficacy, and their insights into the brands they favor and why.
According to CBD expert Steve Sakala, co-founder of Mana Artisan Botanics, one of the reasons that CBD works so well in pet populations is due to the unique biochemistry of their brains. “Dogs actually have a higher concentration of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans,” says Sakala. “This makes dogs more receptive to the benefits of CBD.”
Sakala notes that some of the most common reasons that people administer CBD to their pets include anxiety, joint inflammation and general health and vitality. ”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,” remarks Sakala.
With respect to delivery formats, Sakala says that CBD oil drops tend to be a favorite among pet owners. “Mainly because you can just add it to their normal food which increases the chances of regular uptake. Second would likely be CBD pet treats, such as CBD infused bones.”
Our survey revealed some fascinating insights about this niche–but quickly growing–corner of the CBD market. Of the 1448 pet owners we surveyed:
While these key findings offer a succinct breakdown of some of the most striking findings, our results analysis below offer more profound, in-depth insights into dosage, frequency of use, and the processes people favoured when it came to selecting a pet CBD brand.
Leafreport launched the survey on SurveyMonkey, with the questions targeting a US-based cohort of pet owners. To ensure that this criteria was met, we set restrictions on the survey so only participants located in the United States could respond.
We also set a qualifying question at the beginning of the survey. In this case, the qualifying question was “Do you give your pet products with CBD?” Those who answered “no” were automatically disqualified, leaving a total of 727 participants from an initial pool of 1448 to complete the survey.
Of the (total number of) respondents:
*Because this survey relied on self-reporting, it’s important to acknowledge potential limitations. Responses are subjective, so issues such as exaggeration can influence participant responses. The results of this survey are intended to offer a gauge of how pet owners feel about using CBD, but do not reflect Leafreport opinions.
We asked pet owners a total of 14 questions to formulate a comprehensive understanding of motivations for using CBD. Here is the breakdown of the data for each question:
Of a total 1448 responses, 727 pet owners reported giving their pet CBD. Of these,
24% gave their pet CBD on a regular basis, 14% gave it to their pet for specific healing purposes, and 12% had tried it in the past. 50% had never given their pet CBD.
77% of respondents had a dog, while 22% had a cat. 1% identified as having another (undisclosed) kind of pet.
The majority of respondents–38%–reported giving their pet CBD because their vet recommended it. 24% decided to give it to their pet after conducting research and searching for a solution to a health problem; 20% had tried CBD themselves; 17% had heard about CBD for pets from other people, and 1% had another (undisclosed) reason for administering CBD to their pet.
Easing anxiety and stress was the dominant reason that people administered CBD to their pet, with 44% of respondents reporting using CBD for this purpose. 21% of respondents administered CBD to relieve pain; 15% used it for general health; 14% as an anti-inflammatory; 5% for the treatment of a disease, and 2% for other (undisclosed) reasons.
Pet edibles overwhelmingly came out as the favored delivery format with 53% of respondents opting to give their pet CBD-infused treats. 15% of respondents chose instead to use pet CBD tinctures, and 13% chose to administer topical treatments. 11% combined both tinctures and edibles. 7% reported that they were indifferent to delivery format, and 1% used another (undisclosed) administration method.
Relatively regular use of CBD appeared to be the norm. 30% of pet owners chose to give their pet CBD daily, and 34% opted to give their pet CBD on a weekly basis. 7% of participants gave CBD to their pet monthly. A further 28% of pet owners gave CBD on a needs-only basis, while 1% followed another (undisclosed) dosing regimen.
Pet owners generally favored lower doses of CBD over higher doses. 44% of pet owners reported giving their pet 0-5 milligrams of CBD in one dose. 43% of pet owners opted to double that, giving their pet 5-10 milligrams of CBD. 11% gave their pet a dose of 11-20%, while only 2% gave more than 2 milligrams per dose.
The results regarding the duration that pet owners had been administering CBD to their pets revealed some telling insights–suggesting many have incorporated CBD into their pet’s long-term wellness regime. 38% had been giving their pet CBD for 0-6 months. 24% reported that they had been giving their pet CBD for 6 months to one year. 9% had been giving CBD to their pet for 1-2 years, and 3% had been giving it to their pet for more than 2 years. 26% had tried it sporadically but were not giving it to their furry friends regularly.
In general, the majority of pet owners reported seeing at least some improvement in their pet following the use of CBD. 24% reported noticing a minimal improvement in their cat or dog after incorporating CBD into their regime. 42% noticed moderate improvement, and 25% reported seeing a great improvement. 8% saw no change, and 1% actually reported a deterioration in their pet’s condition.
The likelihood of people giving pets CBD generally mirrored their perceptions about the efficacy of the cannabinoid. 39% were likely to encourage others to use CBD, while 35% were very likely to recommend the cannabinoid to other pet owners. 21% indicated that they were neither likely or unlikely to recommend giving pets CBD. 3% reported that they were unlikely to encourage others to use CBD for their pets, while 2% said they were very unlikely to recommend its use.
Purchasing online and buying from physical storefronts were equally popular. 38% reported opting to buy CBD for their pet online; 38% instead chose purchasing from a physical store, and 24% purchased CBD products both online and from a storefront.
Here is our list of best CBD products for pets.
Recommendations from friends figured as the predominant reason why people elected one CBD brand over another, with 46% of respondents in this group. Online research came in next at 37%. Pragmatism–choosing what was available–came in third, with 9% of respondents identifying this as influencing their brand choice. Finally, 8% of respondents admitted to choosing a particular CBD brand based on an advertisement that they had seen.
Unraveling reasons for why a certain CBD brand was chosen over another offered compelling insights. The main motivation for choosing a particular CBD brand was the product’s reputation, with 25% of people agreeing that this was what drove them towards a certain brand. Pricepoint, online reviews, and a recommendation from another person tied for second place, with each garnering 18%. Claims about a product’s efficacy ranked as the next reason for choosing a CBD brand, with 9% of people choosing a product for this reason. Product potency came in next, with 8% of respondents sharing that this as their motivation. 4% indicated that they found the brand unimportant.
Third party lab testing reinforces a brand’s transparency and communicates whether the product contains what it promises. However, it would appear the majority of pet CBD consumers are unfamiliar with third party testing, or don’t place a great deal of importance on it. While 41% reported that they always checked the brand’s third party test reports before purchasing products for their pet, 33% said that they never checked them. A further 26% shared that they didn’t know what third party lab test reports were. You can find here more information about how to read a certificate of analysis.
As CBD products branch out in diverse directions, it’s vital to capture insights into the state of niche markets. Our survey revealed that CBD is very much on the radar of many pet owners–and also 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.
However, the survey still 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 that the product contains the potency it promises is essential.