You've probably noticed the rising popularity of hemp-based products in recent years. The many benefits of non-psychoactive substances derived from the hemp plant are becoming more obvious, leading to this growing demand. And those benefits aren't just for humans. Hemp products have made their way into the pet care sector, too.
Hemp seed oil is one such product. Like other oils that can be helpful for dogs — fish oil, flaxseed oil, and even olive oil — hemp seed oil for dogs boasts a range of health benefits for your canine companion.
Some pet owners are turned off by the word "hemp,” mistakenly assuming that it has psychoactive effects and wouldn't be safe for their pet. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Hemp seed oil is perfectly safe and can improve your dog's health and wellness in many ways.
But what exactly is hemp seed oil, and how is it different from other oils that are extracted from the hemp plant? Read on to find out more about hemp seed oil and what it can do for your dog.
What Is Hemp Seed Oil?
Multiple oils and substances are derived from hemp plants. As such, it can be confusing when you see the term "hemp oil." There is hemp seed oil and then there is CBD oil, which are related but different.
The crucial thing to note is that these oils contain no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that causes psychoactive effects. Per the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products can only be sold if they contain less than 0.3% THC. In other words, oils derived from hemp plants will not get your dog high.
The hemp-based oils you may find include:
- Hemp seed oil: As the name suggests, hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil has no cannabinoids, which are naturally occurring compounds that help both humans and dogs with a variety of functions related to mobility, appetite, pain, and more. A cold-pressing process extracts the oil from industrial hemp plant seeds. The oil is then processed and packaged for consumers.
- CBD oil: Cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, comes from the stalks, flowers, and buds of the hemp plant. While hemp seed oil has little to no traces of CBD and zero THC, CBD oil (as the name implies) has higher CBD content with low levels of THC. As such, CBD oil for dogs doesn't have psychoactive effects but it does offer medicinal benefits thanks to the cannabinoids.
Since hemp seed oil has no cannabinoids, veterinarians don’t typically recommend hemp seed oil for dogs to help with things like chronic pain or resolving serious behavioral issues like separation anxiety. CBD hemp oil might be better suited for those health issues.
Health Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil for Dogs
When it comes to hemp seed oil, it can be quite beneficial for your dog's diet. Think of it as the dietary supplement of the hemp oil world. Hemp seed oil is jam-packed with essential nutrients, which can bolster your pooch's health in a myriad of ways.
Supports the Immune System
The key to hemp seed oil's beneficial health properties lies in its perfect balance of essential fatty acids. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help both humans and dogs regulate inflammatory response, blood pressure, and much more. Since your dog's body doesn't manufacture these fatty acids naturally, he or she must receive them through a well-balanced diet.
Hemp seeds also contain a crucial omega-6 fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA. GLA is also vital for various functions in your dog's body. Evidence from the American Association for Cancer Research indicates that proper GLA levels in the diet can help fight cancer. As such, it's possible that dogs can benefit from this crucial nutrient in the same way.
Can Reduce Inflammation
Hemp seed oil can act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent because of its balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Inflammation is a natural response by the body, and your dog should have some level of inflammation in response to injuries, infections, allergies, and other ailments.
But inflammation can quickly get out of hand — that's where essential fatty acids come in. Omega-6 encourages inflammation, while omega-3 reduces it. It's this balance that is essential for a proper and healthy inflammatory response, and hemp seed oil can help regulate it. You can help reduce inflammation, relieve stiff joints, and keep your dog active by giving them PetHonesty’s Hemp Mobility Chews.
Improves Skin and Coat Quality
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also beneficial for your dog's skin. Hemp seed oil is an increasingly common ingredient in cosmetics and soaps made for humans. Dog owners might give their pet hemp seed oil to improve their coat quality, or it might be recommended by a veterinarian to help with skin problems like atopic dermatitis or granulomas.
Helps Manage Weight
GLA tends to increase energy levels in dogs, so they're more likely to stay active and avoid obesity. Plus, GLA helps metabolism to stay in high-gear and burn more fat. If your pet has put on a little extra weight, ask your vet whether a hemp product designed for dogs might be a good solution.
Potential Risks of Hemp Seed Oil for Dogs
Hemp seed oil is safe to give to your canine companion and is especially helpful when supplementing your dog's diet. Because it contains no THC, you can rest assured that you're not giving your pet something that can cause psychoactive side effects.
One thing to note is that hemp seed oil is a polyunsaturated fat. Because chicken is already high in polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acid, adding hemp seed oil to a largely chicken-based diet might be overdoing it — you don't want to cause a dietary imbalance. Always consult your vet before giving your dog hemp seed oil, especially if they eat a poultry-based diet. Also, be sure to ask about the proper hemp oil dosage amount.
If you cook your dog’s food, be aware that hemp seed oil (or hemp oil) can become rancid if added to the food while cooking. This could cause your dog to experience an upset stomach or possible vomiting or diarrhea. It's always better to add the hemp seed oil after cooking just to be safe.
Is Hemp Seed Oil Right for My Pet?
Hemp oil for dogs isn't quite as simple as it seems. There is hemp seed oil and CBD oil, not to mention plenty of other hemp products out there marketed for dogs. But when it relates to dietary supplements, hemp seed oil for dogs is a good thing for most of our canine friends.
As with any change to your dog's diet, it's always safest to get it cleared with your veterinarian first. That way, you can be sure it's right for your four-legged friend.
Check out PetHonesty's selection of hemp dog treats and dietary supplements if you would like to see how your dog might benefit from hemp-based products. And don't forget to visit our blog for more great tips to ensure your pet's health and wellness.