Jun 9, 2021 - News

Pet CBD sales soar as owners return to work

A person kneels next to a dog to give them a CBD tincture

A daily CBD tincture is given to Dixie. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The demand for CBD among pet owners in Denver and across the country was already on the rise — but in the post-pandemic world, sales are soaring even higher, industry experts tell Axios.

Driving the news: Last year's pandemic puppy boom is resulting in a sea of animal owners searching for ways to help their fur babies adjust to normal life, as they prepare to return to the office for the first time in over a year.

  • "We've been having a lot more sales with people coming in asking for anything that will help with separation anxiety specifically," said Maggie Shelley, sales associate for Denver-based pet supply shop Dog Savvy.

State of play: The Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research company, found that the number of consumers discussing CBD brands with their veterinarians more than doubled from 2020 to 2021.

  • The group estimates pet CBD sales will jump by 48% this year from the estimated $426 million spent on products in 2020.
  • Pet Releaf, a Denver-based company that sells pet CBD products, has seen a 486% growth rate over the past three years, a spokesperson told Axios.

Of note: The industry has drawn high-profile names, including Martha Stewart, who launched her pet CBD line in January.

How it works: CBD, or cannabidiol, comes from hemp but lacks tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound in cannabis that gets you high.

Yes, but: Peer-reviewed studies on CBD's effects on animals are still lacking, while those that exist tend to pull from limited sample sizes.

  • Complicating matters is the Food and Drug Administration's lack of sign-off on the product, leaving veterinarians unable to suggest CBD for treatment.
  • Six Denver-area vets Axios contacted wouldn't comment for this story, citing the lack of information about CBD for pets.

What they're saying: "It's not that we don't see potential in these products, because we do," Gail Golab, chief veterinary officer for scientific affairs and public policy at the American Veterinary Medical Association, told the Washington Post.

  • "It's that we want their potential to be demonstrated through FDA approval and we want to make sure that owners can be confident that what they're giving their animal is something that's actually going to help them."

The bottom line: Despite CBD products being shown to anecdotally aid animals with issues like anxiety, pain and seizures, the science is still out — so be sure to talk it out with your vet when determining the right path for your pup.


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