What Is a COA Certification? Why It Matters When You Buy CBD for Pets

What Is a COA Certification? Why It Matters When You Buy CBD for Pets

What is a COA certification? Here's how to buy CBD for pets safely using this important document.

When it comes to shopping for the best products for your pet, the terminology can get overwhelming. While learning more about CBD oil for pets, you have probably come across the phrase Certificate of Analysis or COA. So what is a COA certification? Why does it matter when it comes to how to buy CBD for pets?

The Basics of the Certificate of Analysis: What You Need to Know

Let’s start with the basics:

  • What is a COA certification?
  • How does a company get one?
  • Why is a COA important when learning how to buy CBD for pets?

What Is a COA Certification?

While it’s common language, it’s actually redundant to say “COA certification.” The acronym – COA – already includes the word “Certificate.” From here on out, we’ll refer to it as a COA.

A Certificate of Analysis is a document specifically associated with cannabis products, including CBD for pets. The document is provided by a third party lab who completes lab testing to confirm the exact content of a CBD product, including the minor cannabinoids and terpene profiles. These testing results allow consumers to confirm the accuracy of cannabis product labels.

How Do Products Get a COA?

It’s important to note that no company is required to get a COA for its products. Reputable, trustworthy companies submit their cannabis products in batches and each test is entirely voluntary. Most companies will readily provide these certificates for each batch number on their website, or provide a QR code on their products so you can access the certificates that way.

If you can’t easily find a COA, you can contact the company to request it. If you learn they’ve chosen not to do this third party lab testing, you should be wary of their products.

Why a COA Is Important When Buying CBD for Pets

Someone giving a dog a dropper full of cbd oil

The reason that a COA is so important when buying CBD oil for pets is because inaccurate labeling is sadly common in the cannabis product industry. You need to know the potency of any CBD product you use for your pet because using the right daily amount is the only way your pet can experience the benefits of CBD.

Furthermore, you need to ensure your pet isn’t consuming any THC, and the only way to do that is to be confident in the product label – COAs can give you that confidence.

What to Look for on a COA and How to Read It

The only way to benefit from a certificate of analysis is if you can understand it. Here’s what to look for on these documents:

  • Laboratory details
  • THC content and cannabinoid potency
  • Heavy metal and pesticide analysis

A COA Will List the Third Party Lab That Did the Testing

First off, double check the details about the third party lab in the header of the COA. The name of the lab should be displayed prominently on the COA so you can easily confirm the testing was not done in-house. Obviously, an independent laboratory has no incentive to provide dishonest results, but an in-house lab might.

The lab details will also be listed in the footer of the certificate, and this is where you’ll find their license number. All labs must have one of these to be legally compliant and legitimize the results found on the COA.

Listing of Cannabinoid and THC Potency

The most crucial part of the COA for pet owners to examine on a CBD product for pets is the potency of various cannabinoid types. For full-spectrum products, or for our Superior Broad Spectrum CBD products, this will list all the cannabinoid compounds that can be detected in the product. Because the hemp plant from which CBD is derived has plentiful compounds, this list might be long. This is also where you’ll find the concentration of THC.

This gives you a holistic picture of what is actually included in the product. You don’t want any CBD for pets to have detectable THC, and you will hopefully see the shorthand “ND” (not detectable) next to the THC on this list.

You also might see the letters LOQ or LDQ, which are short for Limits of Detection and Limits of Quantification. These letters, along with a less-than sign, indicate that the compound couldn’t be detected or was detected below the limits for that particular component. As an example, a “

Heavy Metal and Pesticide Analysis

A COA will also analyze the CBD for the presence of heavy metals and pesticides to ensure the product is safe for consumption. To ensure the product is safe, compare the presence of heavy metals with the amount safe for consumption, usually found under a column labeled “Ingestion.” Do the same for pesticides (which may be present because farmers used pesticides to keep bugs off their hemp plants).

Other Tips for How to Buy CBD for Pets Safely

While reading the Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a part of how to buy CBD for pets that is safe and effective, it’s not the only thing that you should look for. You’ll also want to consider the following when searching for a high-quality CBD product for dogs or cats:

  • THC-free is best
  • Domestically grown hemp is safer
  • Clear use directions indicate a company is responsible

Beyond the COA: THC-Free* CBD Products Are Best for Pets

While the COA will indicate the exact levels of THC within a CBD product, you should seek out CBD for pets that is labeled as “THC-free.” These words have a very specific meaning: that THC is undetectable at the lowest level which can be consistently detected using valid scientific analytical tools.

The THC concentration in your CBD product is very important because you want your pet to experience all the benefits of CBD – calm maintenance, stress management, and physical comfort – without any of the unpleasant psychoactive impacts of THC. Because THC and CBD are both present in cannabis plants (including hemp), you can’t automatically assume that a CBD product has had all the THC removed.

CBD product manufacturers have to be diligent about removing these molecules to ensure your pet’s safety. A “THC-free” label means they’ve done so.

Hemp Grown in the US Is Subject to Stricter Standards

Another thing to look for when trying to find high-quality CBD for pets is where the hemp was grown. Examining the entire lifeline of your CBD oil from seed to shelf helps ensure its quality and reliability. The health of the hemp plant will determine the quality of the CBD – this is part of the reason that COAs include a pesticide analysis.

The industry of farming hemp is a relatively new one in the US, made more feasible by the 2018 Farm Bill. In the US, the farming of these plants is highly regulated, with clear controls about the use of pesticides and the nature of farming practices. Hemp grown in other countries is also not subject to the 0.3 percent THC limitation that essentially defines hemp plants in the US. In order for a cannabis plant to qualify as hemp domestically, that THC limit must stand.

Using a CBD oil product that is made from US-grown hemp plants will ensure your pet is getting the best grown and most regulated CBD.

Reliable CBD Products Will Have Detailed Instructions for Use

Another way to confirm a CBD product’s legitimacy is by examining the instructions they provide for use. Choosing the right potency and serving size for your pet’s daily CBD routine is the key to a successful experience with this wellness tool. A company that provides clear instructions around this is demonstrating their commitment to your pet’s general well-being.

paw cbd feline calming hemp oil 150 mg unflavored bottle next to a paw cbd canine hemp oil 750 mg peanut butter bottle with paw prints around them

The label on a CBD product will include a potency that is usually measured in grams (for example, our calming CBD oil for cats delivers 150 mg per 30 mL bottle, which is about 5 mg of CBD per dropper). A good company will offer their products in a variety of strengths for differently sized animals. Some of our products, such as our CBD oil for dogs, come in five different strengths for tiny, small, medium, large, and giant dogs.

In addition to the potency being listed on a label, CBD products will also offer a recommended serving amount for pets within a certain weight range. For example, the calming CBD oil for cats includes a recommended single daily dropper for cats under 15 pounds and two droppers for cats over that weight range.

While your pet is a unique creature who will require a unique CBD routine, these instructions offer a starting point to keep your pet safe. If a CBD product label doesn’t include these directions, be wary of the company.

Wondering How to Buy CBD for Pets That’s Safe? Check the COA

Now you have an answer to the question, “What is a COA certification?” and you can go about your shopping process for the best CBD oil for pets. The Certificate of Analysis (COA) is an important part of ensuring your pet’s health and safety, so don’t skip reading it. A product is only as safe as its labels, and the only way to know if the labels are telling the truth in the CBD world is with a COA.