When it comes to dog wellness trends, cannabidiol (better known as CBD) leads the pack. Hemp oil for dogs has exploded in popularity. Research shows that the market for hemp-derived pet supplies is estimated to reach $125 million in 2022, making it one of the fastest growing segments of the CBD products market.
Pet owners are giving hemp oil to their dogs to address a range of health and wellness needs from pain to anxiety.
“Hemp oil is a great way for pet owners to get started on a holistic path,” says Dr. Marcie Fallek, a holistic veterinarian at Animal Natural Healing Center in New York.
Hemp Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil
When you start shopping for hemp oil for your dog, you’ll notice there are two different phrases used on the label: hemp oil and hempseed (or hemp seed) oil.
Both oils come from the hemp plant and are made from pressing the oil out of the plant matter, but different parts of the plant are used to create each oil.
Hemp oil, also known as CBD oil (and sometimes called full spectrum hemp oil or broad spectrum hemp oil) is made from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of Cannabis sativa plants. It contains cannabidiol or CBD, which is the compound that has been shown to have health benefits for both pets and humans.
Hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Although the seeds were once believed to not to be a source of CBD, new research shows that, depending on the processing, hemp seed oil can contain up to 30 different cannabinoids. CBD levels are lower in hemp seed oil than in hemp oil.
Both hemp oil and hemp seed oil also contain plant compounds such as terpenes and phenols that offer additional health benefits, according to Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a holistic veterinarian with California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness in Los Angeles.
“If a pet owner had a concern about CBD going into their pets and just wanted some of the benefits from the plant, I’d recommend hemp seed oil over hemp oil,” Mahaney says.
Benefits of Hemp Oil for Dogs
A growing number of studies have examined the potential benefits of hemp oil for dogs. Research has found that hemp oils with CBD helped to:
- Reduce epileptic seizures
- Ease osteoarthritis pain
- Improve mobility and quality of life
- Lower anxiety
To control chronic issues like seizures or osteoarthritis, Mahaney recommends using hemp oil once or twice per day. It can be offered as needed for acute anxiety-triggered by events such as fireworks, thunderstorms or appointments with the vet or groomer. You’ll need to plan ahead to make sure the CBD oil has time to kick in before the anxiety-producing event.
“It generally takes about an hour or so to have a therapeutic effect,” Mahaney adds.
Is Hemp Oil Safe for Dogs?
Hemp oil is considered safe for dogs. Although some hemp oils contain CBD and small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the concentrations are extremely low. These are not psychoactive products and will not cause dogs to feel “high.”
Check the label to ensure that hemp oil contains less than 0.3 percent THC. Mahaney notes that a dose this low is “improbable to show traditional signs of marijuana toxicity” such as whimpering, disorientation, and unsteadiness while standing.
Some pet owners have reported side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and lethargy after ingesting CBD oil. However most dogs do not experience side effects or require veterinary treatment. In studies that examined the effectiveness of hemp oil for osteoarthritis, no side effects were reported.
Fallek has worked with countless pet owners who use hemp oil and adds, “I’ve never seen or heard of any side effects.”
How to Use Hemp Oil for Dogs
Hemp oil is sold as an oil (called a tincture) and added to soft chews or other treats. These hemp oil products are available with and without CBD.
Hemp oil in tincture form comes with a dropper that can be used to give a precise dose to pets. You can use the dropper to put the oil under their tongue or against their cheek, which is considered the gold standard for accurate, effective dosing. If your dog is uncomfortable taking the hemp oil in this manner, it can be drizzled on a treat or your dog’s food.
You can also purchase soft chews or capsules containing hemp oil. The flavoring in the treats help mask the taste of the hemp oil. Hemp oil treats for dogs are also easier to give on-the-go than a dropper full of hemp oil. However, these non-liquid products are not absorbed in the same way as traditional hemp oils.
“[Hemp oil] is better absorbed through the mouth and gums,” Mahaney says. “If you give your pet hemp oil chews or a capsule or put a tincture on their food, it’s going to be primarily absorbed through the small intestines. Those products still work but the absorption might not be as good as we would like and it might take longer to take effect.”
In general, treats also contain lower amounts of active ingredients like CBD than hemp oil tinctures.
Best Hemp Oil for Dogs
With the sheer number of different hemp oils for dogs available at pet stores and online, it can be difficult to choose a product. Here are a few of our favorite picks.
Best Organic Hemp Oil for Dogs
Our pick: The Anxious Pet Organic Hemp Oil
We are big fans of the organic hemp oil for dogs from The Anxious Pet. It contains full-spectrum CBD and fractionated coconut oil for a smooth and safe delivery system. This hemp oil contains less than 0.3 percent THC and is tested by a third-party laboratory to guarantee quality, potency, and purity. Plus, it’s veterinarian formulated, so you know it’s beneficial and healthy for your pup.
- Made from organic hemp extract that contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
- Contains CBD.
- The full-spectrum oil is made from all parts of the plant, boosting the cannabinoids and terpene content for maximum benefit.
- Veterinarian-formulated and lab tested.
- 60-day money-back guarantee.
Best Flavored Hemp Oil for Dogs
Our pick: Huggibles Organic Hemp Seed Oil
Not all dogs love the taste of hemp oil—it’s a bit earthy and may be unappealing for picky pups. But this hemp oil from Huggibles is cookie flavored and dogs go crazy for the taste. This makes giving the oil to dogs directly a breeze. It delivers on the benefits of hemp and helps with increased mobility, stress relief, and skin and coat health.
- Made with organic hemp seed oil.
- Formulated with Omega-3 and Omega-6.
- Cookie flavored.
- Clear dropper for precise dosing.
Best Hemp Seed Oil for Dogs
Our pick: NaturVet Hemp Seed Soil
If you’re looking for a non-CBD hemp oil option for dogs, then this hemp seed oil from NaturVet is a great choice. This product offers all the benefits from the seeds of the hemp plant along with salmon and krill oil for ultimate skin and coat health. Because of the fish oils, most dogs really enjoy the flavor of this product and it won’t be difficult to get them to ingest it. It’s safe for dogs over 12 weeks of age and can even be given to cats too.
- Hemp seed oil plus krill and salmon oils to support skin, joint, and respiratory health.
- THC-and CBD-free.
- Made in the USA.
- Great for multi-pet households.
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