The last couple of years have shed light on a new trend in pet supplies: CBD oils and treats to help relieve anxiety, inflammation and joint pain. To decipher if this growing trend was a fad, or truly held merit, my team and I went on a fact-finding mission.
Knowing that the pet industry is big business, and seeing how quickly the products were coming out on the market, we were rightfully cautious. I’ve seen many new trends attract companies that may not be thinking about your pets’ best interest, and it was our goal to find out two things:
1) What is CBD and what impact does it have on our pets?
2) What are the best products out on the market? If we are going to carry any of these products, how do we vet out the companies?
My store manager Shandell Hodges became the project leader. She was familiar with the oils, as she worked at a store in another state that carried them. Over the last couple of years, we’ve had so many companies producing and selling CBD products for pets that it simply was overwhelming. What set these companies apart? Why one company over another?
In the meantime, the customer requests for these oils elevated to the point where we were special ordering them all the time. Pet owners were hearing from their friends and veterinarians that they were helping anxious dogs and cats and they were seeing the oils help relieve joint pain, digestion issues, seizures and more.
Anecdotally, the positive stories were amazing. We would hear things like “my dog with severe joint pain is now running like a puppy again” and anxious dogs and cats that were scared of going to the vet were able to do so without stress. These stories continued to be told and we were sure we’d be bringing in something, as soon as our research was complete.
What did we learn? CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant: hemp part of the plant, which contains less than .3% of the mind-altering THC, and contains 20% of CBD oil. This is markedly different from the marijuana part of the plant, which contains more than 20% THC and 10% of the CBD oils.
The CBD oils from the hemp plant are just a part of the oils in that plant. In fact, there are 70 phytocannabinoid oils in the plant and CBD oils are one part of that. Phytocannabinoid, or PCR, is non-psychoactive.
What we learned is that some companies extract these oils chemically, such as with ethanol, and others extract the oils more safely with a carbon dioxide method. Being a company that only carries natural products, we then focused our energy on companies extracting the phytocannabinoid oils without chemicals. We also looked at how the plants were grown and where they were grown. We learned that historically, most of the hemp was being grown in China. Knowing these were going to be ingested, we refocused our research to USA and organically grown.
We also learned that these phytocannabinoid oils really work best when they are together, which is called full spectrum. Isolating just the CBD oil from the rest of the oils won’t give the best results for generalized anxiety and pain issues.
After six months, Shandell was happy to report that two companies, Holistic Hound and Pet Releaf, stood out amongst the hundreds out on the market. That’s not to say that there weren’t others that we might have missed, but the ones we found we were very happy to add to our stores.
It’s been just a couple of months since carrying these products and we are happy with the results we are seeing in our own pets as well as our customer’s pets. It was a long process, but we are glad that we took the time to do the research that was necessary to feel completely confident in the products we introduced to our store and to you.