As a (hopefully) responsible pet parent, you’re always on the lookout for the best products for your doggo. Here at, we’ve been deep diving into the composition of the CBD products we review and the potential for heavy metals in CBD extracts has been brought to our attention in a major way! This can definitely pose health risks for your dog, so read on to learn more.

The Unfortunate Findings: Heavy Metals in CBD

A study published in the Science of the Total Environment journal revealed concerning findings about CBD products. Researchers found that only 42% of tested CBD products were accurately labeled in terms of CBD content. More alarmingly, many products contained heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium.

Graph showing percentage of heavy metals in CBD oil

  • Lead: Detected in 42% of tested products. Lead is a known neurotoxin, and while the amounts found were generally low, some products exceeded safe limits in just two servings.
  • Mercury: Found in 37% of products.
  • Arsenic: Present in 28% of samples.
  • Cadmium: Another neurotoxin, detected in 8% of products. (Unrelated note, this is what happens when you just throw your batteries in the trash. Recycle!)

These heavy metals are absorbed by the cannabis plant from the soil and can end up in CBD products. It’s crucial to recognize that the safe level of exposure to these contaminants is very low, especially for sensitive individuals like dogs.

Understanding COAs: Your Safety Net

With no mandatory government regulation for independent lab testing of hemp-derived CBD products in the U.S., it’s up to you to be vigilant. Thankfully, there’s plenty of great CBD companies that DO thoroughly test their products. Always look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) which is issued by accredited labs after testing. COAs should include:

  • Cannabinoid Potency
  • Terpenes
  • Heavy Metals
  • Residual Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Microbiological Contaminants
  • Mycotoxins

Be wary of forged COAs and always verify results directly with the testing lab if in doubt. There’s often a QR code on the reports that links directly to the lab who did the testing. Use it.

The Labeling Loophole

The lack of regulation has led to significant discrepancies in CBD labeling. In one study, CBD content varied between -100% and 339% of what was claimed on the label. -100% of the CBD content? For those of us who’s eyes glaze over at numbers, that just means ZERO CBD in their product. LOL

This variability is not just a quality issue but raises concerns about the presence of unwanted substances like heavy metals. If they’re not even measuring out their CBD properly, they can’t be expected to be deep diving into the analysis.

The Reason There’s Heavy Metals in CBD

Heavy metals in CBD oil are primarily due to the cannabis plant’s ability to absorb toxins from its environment. This bioaccumulation means that if the plant is grown in contaminated soil, these toxins can be concentrated in the plant tissue and eventually in the CBD oil. That’s why organic farming practices and thorough soil and water testing are essential to ensure product safety.

Fun Fact: Cannabis is one of the best plants for healing damaged industrial land. We just have to make sure the cannabis we’re consuming isn’t part of some reclamation project.

So what can you do to keep your dog safe when they’re consuming CBD?

  1. Check for COAs: Always look for products with a clear COA indicating tests for heavy metals and other contaminants.
  2. Understand the Results: Look for ‘ND’ (Not Detected) in heavy metal analysis. Be cautious if a category wasn’t tested (‘NT’ or Not Tested).
  3. Verify the Batch Number: Ensure that the COA matches the batch number of the product you’re purchasing.
  4. Organic Sourcing: Prefer products sourced from organically grown hemp to reduce the risk of heavy metal contamination.
  5. Consult with Your Vet: Before introducing any CBD product to your dog, consult with a veterinarian.

As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of our furry companions. When considering CBD products for your dog, always be vigilant about potential heavy metal contaminants. By understanding the risks, knowing what to look for in lab reports, and choosing products wisely, you can help protect your dog from these harmful substances. Thankfully, we do the research for you here, so head over to any of our CBD brand reviews and you can see the most recent COAs. Remember, your dog relies on you for their health and safety – choose wisely!