BY JENNIFER BONCY
Although still new to the pet market, cannabidiol (CBD)-oil- based supplements and treats for cats and dogs are gaining traction with consumers who are looking for safe, natural
products to soothe and heal their pets, industry experts reported.
According to manufacturers in the CBD oil arena, sales are on
the rise as pet owners increasingly find that these products successfully address a wide range of common
pet health conditions. Steve Smith, president and
co-founder of Denver-based Pet Releaf, for example, said that the company’s products work for
a number of pet ailments.
“It has been so gratifying to witness in our
research and development, and now in the
public arena, because CBD, when produced the
right way, has zero negative side effects,” Smith
said. “Our No. 1 area of success is with pain man-
agement— 85 to 90 percent success, whether it be
from hip and joint issues, arthritis, cancer-induced
pain, post surgery or other pain issues.”
Bill Chilian, marketing vice president of Barkworthies,
based in Richmond, Va., and manufactures cannabidiol treats,
cited mood disorders as one of the chief conditions that might be al-
leviated with the use of CBD.
“This extract is highly therapeutic and can help relieve many common symptoms, like in;ammation, lack of appetite and anxiety,;
Clare Christensen, key accounts sales manager for Rush Direct
in Wood Dale, Ill., which offers a CBD-oil based supplements for
“CBD oil is highly recognized as a natural way to heal the body
with pain and in;ammation, as well as support the nervous system,
digestive system and many other tissues in the body,” Christensen said.
As consumer awareness about the benefits these products may
offer rises, so does consumer demand, and retailers are taking notice,
said Brad Solomon, founder/partner of Prana Pets, based in Delray
“The pet product market is very excited about CBD products,” Sol-
omon said. “Many retailers want to carry these products, but they are
concerned about the legality of CBD. Everybody we speak to agrees
about all the amazing benefits associated with this category. Our cli-
ent testimonials are enough for us. Every client who has tried our CBD
products is experiencing positive results.”
Customers at Noah’s Natural Pet Market in
San Diego are certainly on board.
“These are the educated customers who are
looking for an alternative treatment for pain relief,
Demand for these products is clearly correlated to pet owners’ desire to find problem-solving products that are safe and effective, and
that allow them to avoid medications that they feel come with too many
risks, said Denise Strong, owner of Pawz on Main in Cottonwood, Ariz.
“People are desperately seeking a natural way to treat their pets’
ailments due to the toxicity and side effects of veterinarian-prescribed
pharmaceuticals,” Strong said. “Promoting this product comes naturally to me due to my passion for the product, the use of it for my own
pets, and the fact that both my husband and I use it personally as well.”
Still, the future of the category remains a bit unclear, pointed out
Larry Wright, president of The Green Pet Shop, headquartered in
“The industry has blown up over the past year, and the consumer
is becoming more educated as to the benefits of CB;,; Wright report-
ed. “That said, the DEA and FDA are always attempting to over-reg-
ulate, if not eliminate, the entire category.”
However, industry participants are hopeful that, regulatory con-
cerns aside, the category will bloom under the right conditions.
“Once there are no longer any legality questions, this category will
blow up,” Solomon said. “Every major pet product manufacturer will
be in this space. Vets will be recommending these products every day.”
Good for What Ails ’Em
Consumers seeking natural but effective solutions that could
improve the quality of their pets’ lives are increasingly turning
to cannabidiol-based products as a viable option.
A POSITIVE VIEW
Effective merchandising and marketing are key to driving
sales of cannabidiol (CBD)-based products, as pet specialty retailers and manufacturers seek to raise pet owners’
awareness of this growing category.
Because these products come in various forms—
either as a supplement only or as a functional treat—
retailers have options as to how they choose to merchandise
them. Larry Wright, president of Deerfield, Ill.-based
The Green Pet Shop, which makes a transdermal gel
CBD product, said that to avoid theft, retailers typically
merchandise the company’s offering behind the check-out
counter due to its relatively small size.
“[These retailers] keep information in front of the
counter, and also have the ability to talk to the consumer
about the product at the time of purchase,” he added.
Brad Solomon, founder/partner of Prana Pets, based in
Delray Beach, Fla., recommended that the company’s CBD
oil be merchandised along with other supplements, but he
stressed the importance of education.
“Salespeople need to be trained on the benefits of the
product so it can be recommended when customers have
questions,” he said.
Clare Christensen, key accounts sales manager for
Wood Dale, Ill.-based Rush Direct, which manufactures
Canibits hemp biscuits for dogs and cats, agreed that it is
best to stock these items with supplements rather than in
the treats section.
“The consumer needs to be aware that this is a very
unique product that needs to be administered the correct
way,” she said. “Canibits are designed to promote the
overall health of your dog or cat. With such a wide range
of benefits, it can be marketed to healthy pets as well as
those that need a little extra help.”
Manufacturers can also lend a helpful assist by provid-
ing point-of-sales and display materials that enlighten and
attract new customers. Denver-based Pet Releaf provides
its new vendor partners with a starter kit that includes shelf
talkers, a poster, stacks of brochures, T-shirts, samples and
other promotional items, said president Steve Smith.
These are tools Denise Strong, owner of Pawz on Main
in Cottonwood, Ariz., has relied upon.
“I have a freestanding glass display case housing all
of my Pet Releaf products, and it is prominently located
next to the check-out area,” she said. “Also available to
customers are brochures along with full-color fliers that I
have personally prepared providing information on all the
benefits of CBD.”