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CBD Regulations for Pets: All You Need to Know

CBD Regulations for Pets: All You Need to Know

CBD is a popular topic not only for people but also for pet care. Is this the product your pet needs for optimal health? 

While some studies claim that CBD products can affect animals such as dogs and cats, most research in this area proves that CBD cannot cause a high. Moreover, many pet owners claim its benefits. This encourages CBD manufacturers to serve people’s needs by offering delicious products such as treats, pills, oils, and even lotions. 

However, before pet owners can add CBD to their diet, they need to consider the CBD regulations in their states. 

How Is CBD Categorized for Regulation in the US?

CBD products are made from hemp, which, although a type of cannabis, contains very low levels of THC, a psychoactive compound.

Historically, CBD products were grouped with all other cannabis products. Back in 1970, this group of products was classified as a Schedule 1 drug and was illegal in the US. Even today, federal law deems marijuana as illegal, even though certain state laws have altered to make marijuana use legal in some states of America.

Some legislative changes took place in 2014 thanks to the Farm Bill. Under this ruling, hemp and cannabis products with less than 0.3% THC levels are no longer considered controlled substances by federal law. Thus, at the federal level, hemp products, including CBD, became legal. Along with changes in federal law, some state laws like New Jersey, New York, and Maryland CBD laws also legalized cannabidiol which allows buying CBD as a supplement. 

However, this law doesn’t authorize companies manufacturing pet food to use CBD in pet treats. As recently as 2019, AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) said hemp isn’t an acceptable ingredient for pet food. The FDA also takes particular note of the medical claims CBD manufacturers make in their advertising.

Further challenges present themselves. First, state law can mark hemp as an illegal substance even if the federal law has changed. And while some state laws legalize the use of CBD for human consumption, they do not necessarily allow its use in pets. This is because the US has different regulations for people and pets.

Gray areas and the ongoing controversy between state and federal laws discourage many pet owners from purchasing CBD. Let’s go over some details to help you make an informed decision for your pet.

States Where CBD Is Legal for Pets

Thanks to aligning state laws with federal guidelines, you can legally acquire CBD products in these states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

You can keep track of whether other states have legalized the use of CBD for pets. There are useful online platforms such as the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) website. If you want to try CBD for your pet, it’s worth keeping track of initiatives to make it legal in other parts of the country.

States Where CBD Has Individual Regulations

Even in some states where CBD isn’t legal under state law, there may be specific rules for its use. For example, it may only be acceptable for medical purposes, or you may only use CBD, which is 100% THC free. If your state is on the list below, research the details before buying CBD for your pet:

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

States Where the Legality of CBD Is Unclear

While CBD use is a gray area in much of the US, it’s especially confusing in South Dakota, Idaho and Nebraska. For example, FDA-approved CBD products are legal in Nebraska. But this does not apply to pet products. South Dakota has conflicting laws about what is allowed for human and pet use. 

Discussing CBD with Your Veterinarian

Responsible use of CBD requires synergy between pet owners and veterinarians. Together, you can ensure traditional medicines and supplements like CBD work towards a common goal.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as calling your veterinarian, discussing the CBD-based treatment over the phone, and asking them where to find pet-friendly CBD products. Due to some state laws, veterinarians may not be legally allowed to give you advice or even discuss the use of CBD with you. So don’t be surprised if your veterinarian tries to avoid this topic altogether.


Frustrating? Yes! But rules like the Maryland cannabis law bring hope that one day all states will have clear legislation on the topic of CBD consumption. It can be to the benefit of both humans and pets. So, let’s hope.

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