Surveys suggest veterinarians not meeting pet nutraceutical needs

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags pet cbd Cbd pet health

While veterinarians may be able to diagnose diseases and perform difficult surgeries, many have received little education on animal nutrition.

A recent survey revealed this could lead to missed opportunities for vets. Among pet owners who purchase nutraceuticals, the report found that a gap exists between the percentage of clients who want a vet’s recommendation and those who actually receive it. For example, the reports noted that 63% of pet owners who bought skin and coat supplements want their veterinarian to recommend products, but only 39% of veterinarians did so. 

This sentiment extends to CBD too...

Many pet owners credit CBD with helping to alleviate joint discomfort, reduce the frequency of seizures, reduce anxiety and even ease tension among ‘pandemic dogs’ — the unsocialized dogs who were adopted during the pandemic. 

A report by surveyed over 1,000 consumers who give their pets CBD. The survey aimed to gauge the attitudes of pet owners, their veterinarians, and what factors influenced their decisions.

According to the survey results, 35% of participants said their vets advised them to use CBD on their pets and 11% said that their vets overly advertised CBD for pets. Just 10% of respondents said their vets doubted the efficacy of CBD for pets, while 24% remained neutral. 

Following a positive experience with CBD, 9 out of 10 participants said they would recommend CBD for pets to others. But many of these pet owners also said they got their information from friends and family — not their veterinarian. 

However, veterinarians may have a valid reason for avoiding the topic. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Under current federal and state law, veterinarians may not administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis or its products for animals.” 

Even though the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of Schedule I controlled substances, in many states, vets are restricted from recommending or prescribing CBD for pets. In some cases, they can’t even talk about it at all. 


Todays Veterinary Business

According to the 2020 Pet Industry Green Paper by Nielsen and Headset, hemp-based CBD pet products are expected to represent 3-5% of all hemp CBD sales in the US by 2025. Their  joint projections also indicate that the pet sector may yield one of the highest conversion rates within the CPG industry — an impressive 37%. 

As CBD pet products continue to energize the pet industry, veterinarians are seeing a jump in interest among clients in using these products for their pets. Despite the regulatory uncertainty, it’s important for veterinarians to be knowledgeable. 

With the increasing consumer awareness of CBD and the current spotlight on its medical and therapeutic benefits, cautions vets: “Saying nothing may no longer be viable.” 

CBD paves the way 

While CBD has made a name for itself, it has also helped call attention to the supplement category. Pet owners who are shopping for CBD are also stumbling upon a wide selection of supplements, opening their eyes to options they may not have considered before. Similar to trends we see in humans, pet owners are seeking non-prescription and preventable healthcare options. 

A recent survey by found that pet owners are most likely to buy nutraceuticals formulated to support oral health. In fact, of the 1,002 pet owners surveyed, one-fourth buy oral health products. 

Oral health was followed by joint health, skin and coat health, as well as hairball relief, with CBD coming in 8th. 

With so many pet supplements available, experts suggest pet owners should educate themselves on proper supplementation and learn how to properly read labels, and perhaps most importantly, work closely with a veterinarian.

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