March 19, 2021

Petcare CBD: Regulations and Research 

3min read

Following the publication of IMPACT: Disrupting Petcare, Prohibition Partners has highlighted the development of the research and regulations which has shaped the industry so far, and how it is set to define the future of the sector in the coming years.

Alex Khourdaji
19th March


The pet CBD market is currently going through a boom with a large array of CBD companies alongside traditional petcare companies looking to position themselves in the market.

Although the CBD petcare market is becoming one of the fastest-growing CBD segments, with global pet CBD sales predicted to reach US$424.38 million by 2024, the regulations and legality surrounding pet CBD products remains fairly grey and unregulated.

Currently, the legality surrounding CBD petcare products is going through a phase of evolution. The US, although it being the most mature market still lacks Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

The FDA works closely with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a non-profit and non-governmental agency which acts as an advisory board for pet food labelling and regulation. According to AAFCO, hemp and hemp products may not be used in animal feed or pet food in the US.

Although AAFCO has no regulatory authority, some states adhere to their guidelines. Colorado, one of the first states to legalise hemp in human food products, is a prime example as they adhere to AAFCO’s pet feed regulation.

Although some states adhere to AAFCO guidelines other states like Oregon have authorised the manufacture, distribution, and sale of hemp-CBD pet foods, which are limited to “dog and cat” foods containing no more than 0.3% total THC. These products, sold in Oregon, must also meet testing requirements imposed by the Oregon Health Authority which includes tests for microbiological contaminants. Other states have not taken a position on the matter thus rendering the sale of pet CBD products illegal or unregulated leaving an open grey market in the US.

In other emerging markets such as in Europe, regulations for CBD products has been contentious with the EU commission’s debate on the labelling of CBD and member states adopting different regulations.

These regulations and debates were focused on CBD for human consumption leaving pet CBD products in the dark. Although there aren’t specific CBD regulations for pets in the majority of UK countries, pet CBD products are still widely available. In Latin America the CBD petcare regulations have adapted with its time, as Columbia Colombia and Uruguay allow for cannabis products for petcare, signalling a growing industry, with an important addressable market potential

However, in the UK under the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), CBD pet products are considered to be veterinary medicines and should be regulated as such. Therefore, CBD products for animal consumption require a marketing authorisation before they can be sold or supplied in the UK.

There are currently no CBD based products that have been granted a UK veterinary marketing authorisation. Even though the law forbids the over-the-counter sale of pet CBD products there are still several companies in the market that specifically advertise their products for use by pets.

petcare cbd

The absence of regulation in the pet CBD market is mainly due to a lack of coherent research in the field and the level of mistrust in the market. In 2020, the FDA did a random product analysis of pet CBD products and found that out of 22 products only 12 of the inspected products contained the CBD amount labelled on the packaging. What is alarming is that 9 of the tested petcare products contained THC levels that were above the approved legal limits. As THC can be fatal for pets this causes a considerable level of public distrust in CBD petcare products.

To date, little scientific research on the effect of CBD’s medical properties on pets has been conducted, but there have been a few demonstrating positive results. In 2019, Colorado State University (CSU) conducted a small study to assess the short-term effect of CBD on dog seizure rates. The 2019 clinical trial found that 89% of dogs who received CBD saw a reduction in seizures.

A 2018 study at Cornell University concluded that CBD at 2mg per kilogram administered twice daily, over a month, had positive outcomes on dogs with pain and activity linked with osteoarthritis. Although there is little research on this matter, a large array of testimonials by veterinary doctors, animal experts and pet owners exist, claiming that CBD products have strong medicinal properties for animals with various medical conditions.



Prohibition Partners IMPACT SERIES: Disrupting Petcare takes a deep dive into the current state of the CBD pet care market and consumer trends. The report includes:

  • Legislation and Regulation
  • Market Size and Forecasts
  • Market Trends
  • Consumer Data
  • Companies and Brand Activity
  • The Future of the Industry


Petcare CBD: Regulations and Research 

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