Is hemp oil or cbd oil better for my dog

Hemp Oil for Dogs: Benefits and Uses

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:

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.

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“[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

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 Calming CBD Oil for Dogs

Hoping to calm your nervous pooch? Honest Paws’ premium organic product contains full-spectrum hemp oil with naturally occurring CBD and chamomile. Chamomile has been used for thousands of years to promote calmer, happier moods and promote healthy brain function. Coupled with Honest Paws’ third-party tested full-spectrum CBD hemp oil and 30-day money back guarantee, this formula ranks high on our list.


  • Contains no GMOs, corn, soy, or other contaminants.
  • Third-party tested for purity and potency
  • Available in a variety of formulas depending on your dog’s weight
  • Contains no additives that may be toxic to pets
  • Promotes relaxation in your dog
  • May help relieve occasional aches and discomfort in dogs

Best Flavored Hemp Oil for Dogs

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

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 Vs Hemp Oil For Dogs

Hemp oil and hemp seed oil are often used interchangeably … but there’s a difference. Both products from the hemp plant have many benefits for dogs … but you need to know which is which.

So, if you’re confused about hemp seed oil and hemp oil for dogs, let’s clear that up first …

What’s the Difference between Hemp Oil and Hemp Seed Oil?

First of all, both hempseed oil and hemp oil (better known as CBD oil) are 2 products from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa. But the hemp oil and hempseed oil come from different parts of the plant … and they each have totally different properties.

  • Hemp oil (or CBD oil) is also known as full-spectrum hemp oil or broad-spectrum hemp oil. It’s obtained from the whole hemp plant including stalks, leaves and flowers. Hemp oil for dogs can help manage a number of health conditions, including cancer, pain and seizures.
  • Hemp seed oil is only made from the seeds of the plant. Hemp seed oil’s benefits come from its nutritional content … so it’s even used in cooking.

We’ll get into detail about the benefits of hemp seed oil for your dog. But first, here’s a summary of hemp oil benefits for dogs.

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Hemp Oil For Dogs

Hemp oil contains cannabidiol, one of more than 60 chemicals that make up the hemp plant. Cannabis, a cousin to hemp, is also rich in another compound called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. The THC content of marijuana is usually between 10 and 15%. But hemp oil must have a THC content of 0.3% or less.

So hemp oil, or CBD oil, doesn’t have a psychoactive effect for people or dogs. So you’ll be helping your dog without the intoxicating effects.

Benefits of Hemp Oil For Dogs

Here’s why you’ll want to give your dog hemp oil.

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Helps fight cancer
  • Helps manage seizures and epilepsy
  • Offers pain relief
  • Helps with inflammatory bowel disease
  • Reduces chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease
  • Protects the nervous system
  • Increases appetite and helps with nausea
  • Aids heart health

New research (1) shows skin-related benefits of CBD or hemp oil that include a high level of antioxidants. Hemp or CBD has been shown as a powerful anti-inflammatory (2). So researchers now say that CBD oil also helps with kin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis and rashes.

Is Hemp Oil Safe For Dogs?

With so many studies showing the health benefits of hemp oil, the most encouraging result is that hemp appears to be safe, even when taken in high doses and over extended periods of time. The most common side effect is that it might make your dog sleepy.

However, it’s important to know that hemp oil can decrease the activity of liver enzymes used to metabolize many prescription drugs. So if your dog is on medication, you might want to check with your holistic vet before using hemp oil.

If your dog is on any of the following medications, ask your vet before giving your dog hemp oil:

  • Steroids
  • Allergy meds
  • Liver or kidney meds
  • NSAIDs
  • Heart meds
  • Anxiety meds

If your dog is on any of these meds, it doesn’t mean you can’t give hemp oil … but it’s safest to check with your vet first.

Now let’s look at hemp seed oil and the many health-promoting properties nearly every dog could use!

Hemp Seed Oil For Dogs

Hemp Seed oil comes only from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Technically, it’s cannabis sativa seed oil. Hemp seed oil has been around for centuries.

Seeds are cold-pressed to obtain the clear green oil that’s used in cooking or as a nutritional supplement. Hemp seed oil is rich with vitamins and trace minerals. It’s also got anti-inflammatory (3) and moisturizing properties, and it’s known for not clogging pores when used on the skin. It can be added to a product or just used on its own as an oil.

When a trusted extraction method is used (4), hemp seed oil may only contain trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or none at all.

Is Hemp Seed Oil Good For Dogs?

Yes it is! Hemp seed oil has an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids at 3:1. It contains essential fatty acids that your dog can’t produce and needs to get through diet. Hemp seed oil is an excellent source.

Plus hemp seed oil is also rich in the omega-6 fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). That’s important because there are some really good reasons to boost the GLA in your dog’s diet.

Let’s see what GLA does.

How GLA In Hemp Seed Oil Works

Your dog has hormones in his body called prostaglandins. They circulate around the body to smooth muscle contractions, control inflammation, regulate the body temperature and perform other vital functions.

The GLA that’s in hemp seed is the foundation of prostaglandins. Researchers are looking at GLA supplementation as an important component of proper hormone health and development.

4 Benefits Of Hemp Seed Oil For Dogs

1. Reduces Joint Pain

Researchers in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology (5) note that GLA found in hemp seeds reduced arthritis symptoms by 25% compared to placebo at 4%. This is a result of the perfect balance of fatty acids that helps to reduce inflammation naturally.

2. Promotes Skin And Coat Health

Hemp seed is used in cosmetic products and soaps because the oil can penetrate the inner layers of the skin and promote healthy cellular growth.

Hemp seed oil also moderates oil production. Dryness can cause skin to overproduce oil. Hemp seed oil can prevent dry skin and doesn’t clog pores.

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3. Soothes Inflammation

GLA is a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation and skin irritation and associated pain. The balance of fatty acids also plays an important role in reducing the inflammation associated with common skin issues including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, pruritic skin disease and granulomas.

One randomized, single-blind crossover study (3) found that dietary hemp seed oil reduced the symptoms and appearance of clinical atopic dermatitis after 20 weeks.

4. May Prevent Cancer

Researchers at the American Cancer Society say those with cancer, diabetes and skin allergies don’t make enough GLA … and these issues are very common in dogs too. While GLA is considered a conditionally essential fatty acid (meaning most dogs can make enough of it, most of the time), there are many situations (hard exercise or stress) when dogs can’t make enough GLA. So supplementing can become important.

And again, because the GLA is perfectly balanced with omega-3 fats, hemp seed oil can help reduce inflammation in your dog and strengthen his immune system. There’s also research showing that GLA can help control malignant cancer cells (6)

Before you add hemp seed oil to your dog’s meals, here are a couple of things you should know.

Things You Should Know About Hemp Seed Oil

Hempseed oil is a polyunsaturated fat, which means it’s an unstable oil. If you cook your dog’s food, don’t add hempseed oil until you’ve finished cooking … otherwise it can become rancid and lead to health issues in your dog.

Avoid Feeding Hemp Seed Oil With Chicken

If you serve your dog mainly chicken-based food then you don’t want to add hemp seed oil. Chicken and hemp are both heavy in polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid. So hemp seed oil could cause an imbalance in your dog’s daily fat intake.

So if you’re going to feed hemp seed oil, mix it with beef or other ruminants for the biggest benefits. According to Steve Brown, author of Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, flaxseed oil is a better choice for meals with chicken.

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How To Use Hemp Seed Oil For Dogs

Here are several ways to use hemp seed oil for your dog:

  • You can give your dog 1 tsp hemp seed oil per 1 1/4 lbs of food. That amount depends on your dog’s age, weight and breed. You’ll need to reduce the amount for smaller dogs. Add it to the food your dog already eats. If cooking your dog’s food, add the oil after the cooking process.
  • Put hemp seed oil on a treat, especially if it can absorb the oil.
  • Use hemp seed oil directly on dog skin irritations to soothe them quickly. Apply it topically to any problem areas that are dry, red, scaly or flaky, especially if your dog is scratching.
  • You can also feed your dog hemp seeds. Feed from 1 tsp to a small dog to as much as 1 Tbsp for large dogs. Start with a little bit at a time, mixed into his meal.

Is Hemp Seed Oil Safe For Dogs?

Yes, hemp seed oil is very safe for both humans and dogs. Like any food, there’s a small possibility of an allergic reaction. Or your dog could get diarrhea if he gets too much.

You can test for allergies by testing some on a patch of his skin. Apply some to a small area and cover it for 24 hours, if you can. If there’s any redness, burning, itching, or other irritation don’t use it or feed it to your dog. Wash the irritated area with an organic soap or shampoo.

When adding hemp seed oil to your dog’s food, start with a small amount at a time. If your dog eats hemp seed oil and has an allergic reaction, you may see the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Facial swelling
  • Hives
  • Itchiness
  • Sneezing

Hemp seed oil is readily available at health food stores and some supermarkets, as well as through online retailers. So you can pick up some today so your dog can start reaping the benefits of hemp seed oil.

2. Witkamp R, Meijerink J. The endocannabinoid system: an emerging key player in inflammation. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Mar;17(2):130-8.

5. Zurier, Robert B, et al. Gamma-Linolenic Acid Treatment Of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 1996. Vol. 39, No. 11. Pp 1808-1817.