What Is A COA – What Is A Certificate Of Analysis For CBD?

Medical review by K9 Healthcare Council of America (K9HCA). Intended for educational purposes only. Always seek medical advice from your veterinarian.

Today pet parents worldwide are embracing the use of CBD oil as a natural alternative to improve their dog’s health & ease age-related joint pain and inflammatory conditions that negatively impact their dog’s daily health & physical mobility.

But the rapid growth of this new hemp CBD industry has resulted in a ‘Wild West-style’ expansion that has brought with it many consumer caveats due to untested, sub-par, or even fraudulent products.

One study published in JAMA found that 26% of tested CBD products contained LESS CBD than advertised and over 21% of products contained detectable levels of THC.

In response, reputable CBD product manufacturers began offering a CBD certificate of analysis (COA) to help instill consumer confidence in their pet care products.

However, if you’re not familiar with the layout and type of information found on that document, it can seem pretty daunting. So here is everything you need to know about understanding a Certificate of Analysis for your pet’s CBD product.

What Is a Certificate of Analysis (COA)?

First and foremost, any company selling pet CBD products should be able to provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from an Independent 3rd Party lab for each product offered.

A COA is a document that establishes that a product was analytically tested and meets specifications of safety, quality and accuracy.

A certificate of analysis is a report from an accredited laboratory that details the exact chemical analysis of a substance, in this case, a CBD product. Typically, every batch of CBD product is tested individually, and a COA is generated for each run.

what to look for in a hemp coa
There are many accredited laboratories that offer CBD testing services, making it easy for manufacturers to offer consumers an unbiased CBD analysis.

Nearly all CBD certificates of analysis are done using an outside third-party lab. Not surprisingly, many consumers view a COA completed by the manufacturer themselves as equivalent to the ‘fox watching the hen house’.

The highest-quality manufacturers send a sample from each batch they produce to an accredited, third-party lab for analysis. Having an independent entity vouch for your CBD product is a lot more convincing than asking consumers to trust the results from an in-house lab.

Why COA’s Are Important

While the early ‘unregulated’ era of CBD allowed for a lot of creativity, it also meant that a lot of products were made that didn’t adhere to strict health regulations.

Some early CBD products were mislabeled, and some CBD products intended for companion animals had way MORE CBD than advertised, while others didn’t possess the actual amount of CBD that they claimed; sadly, some had NO CBD at all!

Either way, consumers weren’t getting what they thought they were buying.

As a trustworthy, reliable CBD manufacturer, K9 Medibles considers COA’s part of our Standard Operation Practice (SOP,) so all of our pet owners know exactly what is–and isn’t–inside all of our finished pet CBD products.

K9 Medibles has an independent, 3rd party lab test every single batch to pass this transparency on to our dog owners so you can have a peace of mind and see that our products are not only safe but you’re also getting what you pay for.

What To Look for In a Hemp COA Report

The purpose of a COA is to scientifically verify what’s actually inside a product, and to make sure it matches the advertising claims. It’s also how manufacturers can prove their product has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight. Legally, CBD products CANNOT exceed that amount.

Independent 3rd Party Testing

A COA includes an analysis of total cannabinoid profile, including potency and concentration amount of each cannabinoid present (e.g. CBD, CBDA, CBV, CBG, THC levels).

A full lab analysis will also include validated screenings for any residual contaminants (solvent residue), as well as a profile of the presence (or absence) of terpenes naturally found in hemp.

The complete elemental analysis should also include determination of heavy metals, such as lead in the product. Also, a bacterial, microbe, and mycotoxin test indicates whether the product has any bacteria or pathogens that could unintentionally sicken your dog.

what is a coa
The Detailed Report section of a COA should clearly delineate the breakdown of all cannabinoids present (recall the ‘Entourage Effect’) as well as any heavy metals or mold contaminants present in the original sample.

Sections Of A CBD Certificate of Analysis

Knowing what the data in each section of the COA means is important. Although there may be some slight differences in how the lab results are reported, these lab reports all follow a similar format. Here are the basics on how to read the most critical information from a CBD certificate of analysis.

Cannabinoid Profile Types

This is one of the most important parts of the report to familiarize yourself with–

The cannabinoid profile tells you the amount and concentration of each cannabinoid present (CBD/THC/CBDa, etc.). Since there are a variety of cannabinoid compounds in the hemp plant a certificate of analysis should list all the detectable cannabinoids, including CBD, CBDV, and CBG, etc.

For Full-Spectrum and Broad-Spectrum products, you can expect to see a variety of cannabinoids present. The most important ones to pay attention to are CBD and delta-9-THC. The psychoactive component of hemp, delta-9-THC, must legally be lower than 0.3% by weight. If you see that your CBD product has higher levels than that, steer clear.

If you’re expecting a full-spectrum product and don’t see other cannabinoids like CBDa, CBN, and CBC listed at detectable levels, that’s not a good sign.

what is a coa?
To be safe, look for pet CBD products with accurate label claims. Note K9 Medibles Core Function CBD Essential Wellness Formula COA 585 mg’s CBD matches the bottle label concentration. Honesty and accuracy in CBD product labeling sets CBD manufacturers apart from the crowd of sub-standard pet care products.
core function cbd essential wellness formula
For accurate ingredient labeling, look for CBD products that have matching CBD concentrations on the COA & product label.


The right-side column reports the concentration of each cannabinoid as part of the whole product. The concentration is measured in milligrams per gram (mg/g). Especially for CBD oils, the concentration column makes it fairly easy to double-check that you’re getting what you’ve paid for.

As you’re scrolling down the list of compounds, you may notice the initials ND next to some of the compounds. That’s short for ‘non-Detect’, a lab-reference for “there was too little of this compound present” for the equipment couldn’t pick it up.

Heavy Metal Analysis

The elemental analysis is vital for determining the presence of heavy metals, such as lead, in the product. Ingesting heavy metals in amounts that exceed safe levels can make your dog sick.

As a general rule, you don’t want heavy metals in anything you’re putting in your dog’s body. Hemp is a ‘Bio-accumulator’ and can absorb any heavy metals that may be present in the soil it’s grown in. So, it’s important for companies to ensure that none of those metals have made it into the final hemp product.

Bottom line? You want to see ND (non-detectable) next to items like Arsenic, Lead, and Mercury.

Pesticide / Microbe & Mycotoxin Analysis

Bacterial, microbe, and mycotoxin testing indicates whether the product has any bacteria, toxic chemicals or pathogens that could sicken your dog.

You aren’t the only one interested in hemp-based products — insects are big fans, too.

That’s why CBD certificates of analysis often contain test results for commonly used pesticides. Results in this section look similar to the results for heavy metals. Running across each row is the name of the pesticide tested, the level at which it was detected, the acceptable level limits, and whether the results indicate a PASS. This is another section where you only want to see results with ND.

When requesting a COA from the manufacturer, ask whether third-party testing was completed at multiple stages of production and if that COA was for the ‘raw extract’ or the actual finished product you’re giving your dog.

Also beware of companies placing multiple hemp plant products in their line under the same lab test profile. All CBD products should be tested individually in small batches and assigned their own lab identification number for verification and historical tracking.

Holistic Dog Care by K9 Medibles
To ensure your pet is getting the best CBD oil with the most accurate, verifiable milligram concentration of CBD is to look for a COA from the final product that matches the product label.

Evidence Based Testing Gives Consumers Confidence

In the CBD industry, not every manufacturer is a quality producer. Companies selling CBD products have come to rely on CBD Certificates of Analysis as an important way to demonstrate the quality of the products that you’re buying for your pup.

Consumers are more likely to buy products when they know that a non-biased, commercial laboratory has independently verified the quality and claims made by the manufacturer.

That’s a win for you and your furry best friend!

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