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BarkShop — sister company — known for its offering of eclectic and whimsical toys and treats for dogs, has been quietly breaking into a new market: wellness.
BarkShop became the first online retail retailer to sell CBD products to dogs in March. Since then, its CBD products have been flying off of its virtual shelves. Pet trends closely mirror human trends, , which could explain the popularity of BarkShop’s CBD line.
CBD (or cannabidiol) oils and tinctures have become increasingly popular with people to aid in the reduction of pain and anxiety, and now similar CBD products are being crafted for our canine companions.
For those unfamiliar: CBD for these types of products is derived from hemp plants. It’s holistic healing powers boast the ability to remedy aches, pains, nausea, and eradicate anxiety in dogs, according to VETCBD. CBD does not contain THC — the chemical compound in cannabis that gets you stoned. can have some negative effects on dogs depending on how much they ingest, so you definitely shouldn’t give your pups weed, people. They live the best lives, they don’t need to get stoned.
BarkShop started selling dog supplements last year — carrying everything from multivitamins to dental hygiene treats — according to BarkShop GM Melissa Seligmann. In January they made the decision to develop CBD offerings for their customers.
, BarkShop’s parent company, was excited about pushing its wellness market further with the inclusion of CBD products but questioned how the new products would be received. BarkShop’s line of CBD products completely sold out in a day.
“We sold out of all our initial inventory that we bought for a two-month run on day one, and we’ve had a hard time keeping it [CBD supplies] in stock,” Seligmann said.
BarkShop’s CBD extracts have already sold out five times since the launch and as a result, Bark has enlisted new distribution partners to keep up with customer demands.
The reviews for the BarkShop’s treats and oils are varied, but on average these wellness items seem to be having a positive impact on the pooches taking them — or at least their owners are convinced.
A number of reviews on BarkShop have praised the products for calming dogs during thunderstorms and making dogs near the end of their life a little more comfortable. A small pool of reviewers however said that they didn’t see much of an improvement or effect of CBD on their pets.
“I bought this hoping that it will calm my dog down,” wrote reviewer Tina D. about her Small Breed Chicken CBD Biscuits purchase. “He gets really aggressive with our two other dogs everyday. It’s been a week since I started to give him this but nothing seem to change! This stuff is pretty expensive so I was hoping to see at least a little change but nothing yet!!”
Another reviewer wrote that she had purchased the CBD Extract, 100 mg CBD after reading amazing things about CBD, but was “bummed” when it didn’t do anything for her dog’s anxiety.
All of the products have an average rating of four to five stars (on a five star rating system). BarkShop’s CBD Extract, 500 mg, Small Breed Peanut Butter & Banana CBD Biscuits, and Large Breed Blueberry & Cranberry CBD Biscuits are currently top-rated CBD products on the site.
“We’re really seeing our wellness category grow,” Seligmann said. “It’s already grown 100 percent within the four months that we’ve had it live.”
Bark is currently focused on continuing their exploration of the dog wellness space, looking out for “the new frontier and finding new opportunities,” according to Seligmann.
As wellness and pet markets continue to flourish and intertwine, it’s easy to see why companies would want to capitalize on owners increased interest in their pup’s wellness. But, how can we know for sure if CBD is the best way to treat our dog’s ailments?
If you’re looking for a study or to find out whether or not CBD for pets is nothing more than snake oil, you’re out of luck. Research on CBD’s effect on dogs — or pets of any kind — is sorely lacking. Marijuana’s classification as a schedule 1 drug, and CBD’s gray legal standing make it difficult to conduct clinical studies, according to The Cannabist.
Veterinarians have been lobbying since last year to be granted access to marijuana and hemp in order to conduct research that would better elucidate its effect on pets, and have only recently received some funding to do so.
In states like Colorado where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, clinical studies and research are just underway. Colorado State University’s Dr. Stephanie McGrath has begun studying CBD’s effect on dogs, thanks to $356,022 from the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. She recently embarked on a study to research CBD’s effect on dog’s with seizures — early data from the study has been “promising” thus far, according to McGrath.
McGrath told the Cannabist that the absence of qualified or peer-reviewed studies on the effect of CBD products on pets makes her uncomfortable.
“Looking at it from a scientific standpoint and as a doctor, I felt really uncomfortable with the products being offered,” McGrath said.
McGrath’s concerns are definitely valid. Despite the abundance of people singing the praises of CBD, its effects and benefits are still widely unknown. CBD is thought to be harmless for your pets, but its probably best to seek out the advice of vet before passing any CBD products along to your pooch.