Reviewed By Joana Garrido DVM
Hemp oil for dogs is gaining popularity for its health benefits, including soothing inflammation and aiding weight loss. But are there any risks? Explore this dietary supplement’s benefits and potential side effects for your dog.
Many veterinarians successfully use cannabis products such as hemp oil to help manage pain, epilepsy, skin issues, mood disorders, and other conditions in dogs and cats.
What Is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil for dogs is created by cold-pressing hemp seeds. Thus, it is also called hemp seed oil. It can be processed into 2 types: refined and unrefined.
Unrefined hemp oil is green in color and has a nutty flavor. It is often formulated with nutritious contents and comes with raw, virgin, or pure labels.
On the other hand, refined hemp seed oil is colorless and has no flavor. It is commonly used in manufacturing various hemp products, from lubricants and body care to plastics and fuel.
Is Hemp Oil Safe for Dogs?
Will hemp oil get my dog “high”? Dog owners who are not familiar with hemp oil may wonder about this question a lot. The simple answer is no.
Hemp oil is safe for dogs since it will not give them psychoactive or “high” feelings.
To understand why we need to distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana. Both plants are subspecies of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa). However, their psychoactive properties are not the same.
Marijuana contains high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the compound that primarily causes intoxicating effects.
On the other hand, Hemp contains low amounts of THC and high levels of cannabidiol, which doesn’t have psychoactive effects on dogs.
Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil for Dogs?
No, hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil for dogs.
Hemp seed oil is extracted from the plant’s seeds, so it only contains traces of chemical agents called cannabinoids, which have different effects on a canine’s body.
Cannabinoids are found in the hemp plant but are more concentrated in its flowers and stems. CBD oil for dogs is extracted from these specific parts, making it rich in cannabinoids.
Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil for Dogs
CBD and hemp oils for dogs come from the same plant but produce distinct good effects on canine health.
Hemp oil for dogs mostly provides nutritional benefits.
Hemp oil is rich in omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids. High levels of proteins and amino acids can also be found in hemp oil. All of these nutrients help improve your dog’s health.
One of CBD oil’s effects on dogs is regulating the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for sending signals throughout the body.
Combining CBD oil with MCT oil increases its absorption into the endocannabinoid system. CBD oil for dogs is also particularly used to address specific health issues.
For example, separation anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, inflammation, chronic joint pain, and seizures can be alleviated by CBD oil.
Some dog owners ask: “Will hemp oil calm my dog?” Yes, but CBD oil is more likely to calm down your dog. Several studies suggest that it reduces anxiety or distress in canines.
What Are the Health Benefits of Hemp Oil for Dogs?
Is hemp oil good for dogs? Yes, hemp oil is good for dogs. We have mentioned that hemp oil for dogs contains a good amount of healthy omega fatty acids. These provide a broad range of health benefits for dogs:
- Promotes Healthy Coat and Skin
The omega fatty acids in hemp oil are renowned for their ability to rejuvenate the skin and coat of dogs and cats, just like coconut oil. They moisturize and hydrate the skin’s surface and help stimulate hair growth.
Because of this, hemp oil for dogs is commonly used to address various canine dermatological issues such as hair loss, flaky skin, and dandruff.
Generally, hemp oil produces good results on a dog’s skin and coat within a month of use.
- Prevents Cancer
According to studies, dogs suffering from cancer do not produce enough gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA).
GLA is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that is essential in strengthening a dog’s immune system and fighting off inflammation.
Thus, dogs with cancer need to have GLA-rich diets, as it is observed to prevent cancer tumor growth. Hemp oil for dogs can be used as a GLA supplement since it contains high levels of this omega-6 fatty acid.
- Controls Inflammatory Response
GLA in hemp oil for dogs has anti-inflammatory properties that alleviate swelling caused by certain health conditions.
This can help improve the mobility of senior dogs and pooches with joint problems.
- Reduction of anxiety
Hemp oil aids in reducing anxiety in dogs. It works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the brain, which helps regulate mood and anxiety. This calming effect can be beneficial for dogs with separation anxiety, noise phobias, and other anxiety-related issues.
- Relief of pain
Hemp oil can relieve various pain in dogs, including neuropathic, osteoarthritis, and cancer pain. It works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate pain perception; the oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can also contribute to pain relief, and it has been observed to improve mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis., It works by reducing inflammation in the joints and promoting joint health.
- Reduction in tumor size
Hemp oil can help reduce tumor size in dogs with cancer. The oil contains high levels of cannabinoids that have been observed to inhibit tumor growth and promote cancer cell death. While further research is needed, hemp oil shows promise as a natural treatment.
- Improvement of appetite (in patients with chronic diseases)
Hemp oil has been found to improve appetite in dogs with chronic diseases, such as cancer, kidney disease, and liver disease. The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce nausea can help dogs feel more comfortable and increase their desire to eat.
- Control of some inflammatory conditions and digestive issues
Hemp oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in the dog’s gut and promote healthy digestion. This makes it a useful supplement for dogs with inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, and other digestive issues.
- Control of idiopathic epilepsy refractory to conventional treatments
Hemp oil has been observed to control idiopathic epilepsy in dogs that do not respond to traditional treatments. The oil works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate seizures and reduce their frequency.
- Good for Weight Management
The omega fatty acids of hemp oil for dogs aid in improving a dog’s metabolism. These encourage the production of prostaglandin, which hastens the fat-burning process.
The hemp oil’s GLA also releases serotonin, making dogs feel full quickly. It reduces their food consumption and prevents weight gain and obesity.
Hemp oil for dogs promotes muscle development too. Its 9 essential amino acids play an important role in muscle growth.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of Hemp Oil for Dogs?
Hemp oil for dogs is considered safe and has little to no side effects.
Despite this reassuring statement, it is still important to know the problems that may occur. This prepares dog owners in advance on how to handle the situation.
Here are some of the side effects of hemp oil in dogs:
Although uncommon, hemp allergy can happen in some pooches. That is why it is best to start with a small amount of hemp oil for dogs. Wait and see if your furry friend shows any of these allergic reactions:
Do not give him any more hemp oil if he exhibits these symptoms. Make sure to bring your dog to the vet immediately so that he gets proper treatment.
May Counteract with Certain Drugs
Hemp oil for dogs can affect the activity of liver enzymes, which are used to metabolize prescription drugs. Consult a holistic vet before using hemp oil on your dog if he is under any medication.
The most common side effect of hemp oil for dogs is tummy troubles. This usually occurs when large amounts of it are given to dogs.
Other symptoms that signal excessive ingestion of hemp oil for dogs are:
- Increased potty incidents
- Lack of energy
- Loss of body coordination
Fortunately, these symptoms will cease within a few hours. However, in severe cases, it could lead to liver damage (hepatotoxicity) as a result of an accidental overdose. Therefore, it’s important to always administer the correct amount of hemp oil for dogs to avoid any adverse issues.
Other Potential Negative Side Effects
According to a study, hemp oil for dogs may affect their saliva production, causing it to decrease. This could lead some canines to experience dry mouth.
Low blood pressure is another adverse effect of hemp oil for dogs if it is administered in high doses. Affected dogs may experience a feeling of lightheadedness.
3 Things to Remember Before Using Hemp Oil on Dogs
- Do not use hemp oil as cooking oil because it can make your dog’s food quickly go rancid.
- Mixing hemp oil with chicken-based food is not recommended. Both of them are rich in polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid. Eating them together causes excessive fat intake.
- Hemp oils sold in the market are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Thus, there is no definitive proper dosing for these products.
Always follow the general dosage guideline to avoid overdosing your dog with hemp oil.
- To ensure your pet has access to fresh water at all times because coconut oil has a high fat content, which can cause dehydration if not properly hydrated.
What Is the Safe Amount of Hemp Oil for Dogs?
The recommended dosage of hemp oil for dogs is 1 milligram for every pound of body weight. Initially, give small amounts to your canine companion.
Stick to this minimal dose for about 1 to 2 weeks. If he does not show any changes within this duration, slowly increase the amount of hemp oil until you reach the ideal dosage.
How to Use Hemp Oil for Dogs
Hemp oil is more effectively absorbed through the mouth of dogs. So use a dropper to place a few drops of the oil under his tongue.
If you have trouble administering it, you can mix hemp oil in your dog’s food and dog treats instead. Note that this method decreases the oil’s potency since it will be absorbed in the digestive tract.
Hemp oil for dogs can also be used topically to alleviate skin problems. Do this by simply applying it to the affected area.
How to Choose the Best Hemp Oil for Dogs
The production of hemp oil for dogs continues to be unregulated. Thus, many companies can get away with manufacturing low-grade products.
Here are a few tips to help you find a high-quality hemp oil for your pooch:
1. Opt for hemp oil produced through carbon dioxide and cold press extraction.
Using solvents such as butane or petroleum products is the cheapest way to extract hemp oil. However, this compromises its safety for dogs since these can be toxic.
Some manufacturers prefer to use natural solvents such as ethanol or olive oil. While this is a safer method, it renders the hemp oil for dogs ineffective since the process destroys the waxes of the hemp plant.
The best and safest way to extract hemp oil for dogs is through the CO2 extraction process. This simply involves placing pressure on the hemp seeds to squeeze out the oil. Thus, the product is free from any toxic substance.
2. Check if the hemp oil for dogs has a certificate of analysis.
When purchasing hemp oil for dogs, it’s important to check if the product has a certificate of analysis. This document provides information on the product’s cannabinoid content and confirms 3rd-party testing for safety. It’s also important to check if the product is made from organic hemp to reduce the risk of contamination from pesticides and fungicides.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the FDA-CVM and AAFCO do not currently approve hemp as an ingredient for animal feed. Always check the company’s website for a certificate of analysis before purchasing hemp oil for your dog.
3. Hemp oil for dogs should contain low amounts of THC.
Hemp oil for dogs that contains significant concentrations of THC can cause a bad reaction. Thus, make sure to choose a product that only contains .03% THC, such as the broad-spectrum hemp oil variety.
Note that there are hemp oil and CBD products with zero THC, which are called isolated varieties. These are not recommended since they lack important cannabinoids and terpenes.
Choose full-spectrum CBD or full-spectrum hemp oil for dogs instead. These are of the highest quality in terms of cannabinoids. They are more loaded with essential cannabinoid varieties such as CBGA, CBDA, and CBC.
FAQs About Hemp Oil for Dogs
1. Can Dogs Overdose on Hemp Oil?
Yes, dogs can overdose on hemp oil. Although the side effects are mild, they can be distressing to your canine companion. In severe cases, an overdose could cause hepatotoxicity. Hence, make sure to follow the dosage recommendations.
2. Can I Give My Dog Hemp Oil Every Day?
Yes, you can give your dog hemp oil every day. However, avoid giving him too much to prevent unwanted adverse effects.
If you are uncertain about the dosing instructions, ask a holistic vet for guidance.
3. How Quickly Does Hemp Oil Work for Dogs?
On average, hemp oil can take around 20 to 60 minutes to work on dogs. However, this is not definitive. The time can vary depending on your dog’s weight and condition.
For instance, it may take around 15 to 30 minutes for hemp oil to reduce arthritic pains. On the other hand, it produces good results on a dog’s skin and coat within a month of use.
To acquire the best results, administer hemp oil to your dog daily for 2 to 4 weeks.
4. Do Vets Recommend Hemp Oil for Dogs?
In the U.S., vets cannot recommend hemp oil for dogs due to certain law restrictions.
According to the current federal and state regulations, they are prohibited from prescribing, recommending, administering, and dispensing cannabis or products containing this plant to animals.
Hemp oil for dogs offers therapeutic benefits for skin, coat, weight, and inflammation. Choose carefully, as some products may be low quality or toxic.
There are other popular supplements that many pawrents swear by. One of them is CBD oil for dogs. Read our article about it to know the extensive list of health benefits it offers to your furry pal.