ROCKVILLE, Md. — The momentous trend of hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) in food and beverage products and dietary supplements has propelled into the pet industry, where a market for the functional ingredient in pet supplements and treats has proliferated. Market research firm Packaged Facts suggests this trend began when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD-based drug for humans in 2018.

The humanization of pets plays into the influx of CBD pet supplements and treats, Packaged Facts says, because it offers owners a way to care for the pet emotionally, as well as physically, by reducing stress and anxiety in their pets. Approximately 85% of dog owners and 38% of cat owners claim their pet occasionally experiences anxiety or stress issues, according to Packaged Facts’ 2018 Pet Owner Survey.

Some CBD-based pet products also advertise the ability to ease digestion, relieve joint pain and even soothe irritated or itchy skin.

"CBD-infused pet products are on pace to quickly go from niche to norm, spurred in part by the humanization trend and pet parents' desire to see their fur babies live calm, comfortable lives," says David Sprinkle, research director and publisher at Packaged Facts. "Already, numerous companies are involved in creating CBD products for pets. With the current trajectory, various industry experts confidently anticipate the number of active participants in the segment to double next year."

Both human food and pet industry companies have capitalized on this trend, despite a lack of approval or regulation from the FDA or Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Most CBD pet treats and supplements currently on the market are manufactured by specialists in the human food industry, according to Packaged Facts’ US Pet Market Outlook, 2019-2020.

Although the market for CBD and hemp-based pet treats and supplements faces regulatory uncertainty, the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) offers a safety net for brands and manufacturers by providing a quality seal audit program. Packaged Facts reports the program is in “close contact” with the FDA.

Keep up with the latest pet food and treat trends on our Trends page.