Increasingly, furry friends are chilling out, sleeping better and recovering well after vigorous exercise—at least that’s the goal, with the plethora of CBD products for pets that has recently flooded the market.
In 2020, as consumers cuddled at home with their animals, they spent $426 million on pet CBD. By the end of this year, despite a return to more normal out-of-home activity, that figure is expected to reach $629 million, according to Brightfield Group, a research firm for emerging markets for CBD, cannabis and wellness, based in Chicago.
These pet products come in many different forms, from treats to tinctures to topicals, and they’re coming largely from niche companies, but not exclusively.
CBD companies are increasingly getting into the pet wellness game. Charlotte’s Web sells chews, extracts and gummies for dogs, and Martha Stewart CBD for Pet is a new line launched by Canopy Growth Corp. This range features soft-baked chews in Wellness, Calm and Mobility—designed to “support pet mental and physical well-being, reduce effects of everyday stress and maintain joint health and mobility.”
Millennials Drive Pet CBD
Most (73%) consumers who buy CBD products for their pets also use it themselves, Brightfield Group reports. And of all CBD consumers, 28% who have pets report giving it to them. But one group of consumers is much more likely to buy CBD for their animals than others: Millennials. Brightfield’s research shows that of pet CBD buyers, 53% are from this demographic, while 22% are Gen X, 14% Baby Boomers and 11% Gen Z.
And we’re much more likely to give it to our dogs than cats: This year, 77% of pet CBD buyers gave it to their dog, while just 21% offered it to their feline companions.
However, as with human CBD products, CBD goodies for pets are still not regulated by the FDA, and therefore, typically not endorsed by veterinarians. Despite this, Brightfield reports than when pet owners brought up the topic with their vet—which 70% did—85% of vets were enthusiastic about CBD for their animals. And the number of consumers who talked to their vet about CBD doubled from 2020 to 2021, showing opportunity for brands and retailers.
Market research firm Mintel is also bullish about the market for pet CBD products, but stresses that in the absence of regulation, brands must provide education, quality products and consistency. All brands with CBD for pets products should stay engaged with research and up-to-date on the most current findings.
Quality and Trust
It’s important to maintain quality, says Mintel in its CBD and Pets report that came out this year. Pet parents are willing to pay for quality and something they can trust, especially when dosing for pets needs to be more precise, given their small size.
“Trust will be established through a general quality of the product. Claims like organic or grain-free can further indicate that ingredients are high quality and can boost confidence in CBD for pet products,” says the report’s author, Senior Analyst Michele Scott.
And there’s a particular opportunity presenting itself too, says the company in the report: As we humans transition back to work, pets may suffer some anxiety after almost two years of close contact, and CBD may help ease those troubles.
Overall, reports Mintel, 52% of U.S. pet owners say they have used CBD products to manage their pet’s anxiety and would use it again.
“Within the next few years, we’ll have a great deal more information on the true effects that CBD has and where it will find its place within veterinary medicine,” says Dr. Jonathan Roberts, BVSC, a remote veterinarian with ExcitedCats.com.
“CBD is known to have pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects and is useful in treating those animals suffering from pain caused by osteoarthritis and various forms of cancer,” he says. “CBD also has mild anti-anxiety effects and may help animals struggling with various forms of stress or destructive anxiety. CBD is a great, natural adjunct therapy for animals suffering from pain or psychological issues.”