Pet Owners Turn to CBD to Treat Animals

When Nina Panageotou's dog was diagnosed with cancer, she couldn't imagine life without her.

"It was like she went from healthy to dying in about a week," said Panageotou. "They told me she had three months to live."

Instead of choosing chemotherapy or radiation for her 11-year-old dog, she chose a natural alternative she hadn't heard of before – CBD oil.

It's an extract that comes from hemp or marijuana plants, the portions of the plants that don't make a person or pet high.

She gives her little white dog drops of the CBD oil every day.

"I just started trying and she's just back to herself now," she said.

That was a year ago. Today, her dog, Cali, is acting like her old self.

"I wouldn't give her anything else," she said. " I mean she's eating, playing and she sleeps well."

But CBD is an unregulated industry. There's little oversight into what's going in the products.

The NBC 6 Investigators had three different brands of dog treats, five packs each, tested at Evio Labs in Davie.

When we tested gummies and oils for humans, more than half the samples had less than the amount of CBD advertised on the label. But lab tests on pet products didn't come out the same.

"They were, for the most part, pretty consistent," said Chris Martinez, president and co-founder of Evio Labs.

Results show that all of the pet samples had about the same amount of CBD in the products as was listed on the labels.

But Martinez, whose lab does testing for more than 400 companies, said that's not always the case.

"There's a lot of inconsistencies in the market right now," he said. "What we see most of all is not everybody is operating by the same set of standards."

Two of the samples were "rejected." That's not because they didn't pass CBD inspection, but because chemists detected fungus inside the products.

"It's definitely something to be concerned about from this point forward," said Martinez. "A microbial can be a life-threatening situation for a patient or a dog that's suffering from some type of immune deficiency disease."

Experts recommend buying CBD products from a company that does independent testing and shares those results with the public.

Jeff Riman says he does regular testing on all of his CBD products since starting his own pet company called King Kanine.

"I would like to see more regulation," said Riman.

As a business and dog owner, he wants product testing to be a requirement for every CBD businesss.

Because, as of now, it's up to companies to police themselves and without test results, consumers don't know what they're putting in their pets' bodies.

For humans and animals, there hasn't been a lot of research yet about the benefits and side effects of using CBD.

It's why Martinez says it's even more important to know what's in the products.

"These pets don't speak," he said. "They don't have a voice, so we're the voice for those patients."

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