This guide does not constitute medical advice. As with any changes in your pet’s diet, it’s best to consult your veterinarian first, especially if your pet is on medications.
Products with hemp are booming on the pet (and human) supplement market. It can be confusing. What’s the difference between hemp seeds and hemp oil? What’s a hemp heart? And, what about hemp seed oil?
Hemp oil is not to be confused with hemp seed oil. Hemp oil is a catchall term for CBD, or cannabidiol, which is extracted from the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil is made from hemp seeds, which are a nutritious food source, and don’t contain any CBD.
Hemp seeds and hemp hearts are almost the same thing. Hemp seeds have an outer protective layer called a hull, which is hard, like a sunflower seed. Hemp hearts are hulled hemp seeds. Most products that say hemp seeds are hemp hearts or hemp seeds without the hull.
Hemp seeds, or hearts, are good for you and your dog. They pack a lot of important nutrients, and a wide variety at that, into a tiny, crunchy package. According to WebMD, two tablespoons of hemp seeds give you, or your dog:
Two grams of fiber
Five grams of protein
300mg of potassium
15% of your daily requirement of vitamin A
25% of your daily requirement of iron
There aren’t many foods out there that are that nutritionally dense. And we haven’t even talked about the essential fatty acids these little seeds contain!
Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
One delightfully unique aspect of hemp is that it not only contains omega-3 essential fatty acids but also omega-6 essential fatty acids. These fatty acids may fight inflammation, which could protect the heart and support the immune system. They also may support the nervous system and your dog’s skin and coat. Hemp is also high in fiber which may be good for digestion and supporting healthy blood sugar levels.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dogs and Hemp Seeds
1. Is hemp toxic to dogs?
The short answer is no, hemp is not toxic to dogs. The longer answer is more involved. First, what part of the hemp plant are we talking about? The hemp seeds, or hearts, are a good food source for dogs because they are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, complete proteins, and fiber. Hemp seeds are considered to be food.
CBD, which is made from the whole hemp plant (full-spectrum) or extracted from parts of the hemp plant, may be beneficial for dogs’ health when given appropriately. The hemp plant contains virtually (.03%) no THC, which is the active component of the marijuana plant that gives people the euphoric high that has become ubiquitously associated with the hemp plant. THC is toxic to dogs. Quality CBD products contain little to no THC.
However, CBD products are not created equally. Risks with dogs and hemp CBD come, not from hemp itself, but from unwanted or unknown additions to hemp products. Products that are contaminated with higher THC levels, that are mislabeled, or contain toxic pesticides and other contaminants can be dangerous to dogs. This is why it is important to choose a quality CBD pet supplement from a reputable source.
2. How can I give my dog hemp seeds?
Different dogs have different temperaments when it comes to food. Some dogs are picky eaters, others are more like vacuum cleaners with mouths. You know your dog best and likely have a few tricks up your sleeve for giving them medications. The easiest way to give your dog hemp seeds is to simply sprinkle a tablespoon of the seeds over their food. (For puppies go down to half a tablespoon) Or, you can use hemp seed oil and drip 1 teaspoon over your dog’s food. This may be a better option for picky eaters. Another way to give your dog hemp seeds is to mix them up with their favorite nut butter where they’ll add a delightful crunch. If you’re feeding your dog wet food, or have some laying around, mixing the hemp hearts with wet food might work if simply sprinkling the seeds over dry food does not go over well.
3. Does Hemp Seed Oil Calm Dogs?
Hemp seeds might help calm your dog, and new research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids may help ease stress in dogs. With their high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, hemp seeds are a nutritional powerhouse of a food. These vital fats support the brain and nervous system, which are partly made up of fats. While omega-3 and omega-6’s benefit many of the body’s other systems, they hold a special affinity for the nervous system. Hemp seeds also contain high levels of magnesium. Magnesium plays a key role in many bodily functions that impact mood. Magnesium also helps muscles relax, which may be very soothing for a pup with tense shoulders. Supporting your dog’s nervous system nutritionally may be an effective way to help them remain calm and content.
4. Can hemp seeds make dogs high?
No, absolutely not. Hemp seeds do not naturally contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is one of the active components of the marijuana plant responsible for giving people the euphoric “high” feeling. Hemp seeds come from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, which is a cousin to the marijuana plant. Hemp seeds are a food source and contain many beneficial nutritional components.
5. Is CBD or hemp seeds better for dogs?
Hemp seeds and CBD may both have beneficial effects on dogs. Whether one or the other is better depends on what your goals for your dog are and their specific needs. CBD works with your dog’s body’s nervous system. Part of the central nervous system, called the endocannabinoid system, receives the cannabinoids in CBD, which helps the body create and maintain homeostasis. This is why CBD may have such a wide range of effects from calming stress to helping with occasional discomfort.
Consider hemp seeds to be more like a multivitamin food source. While some of the effects of hemp seeds and CBD may be similar, e.g. both may help give your dog a shiny coat and may ease skin irritations, they do these things differently. While CBD is acting with and supporting the nervous system, hemp seeds are providing the body with nutrients like essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. These compounds help the body operate healthfully because they are feeding it.
6. Is hemp good for dog joints?
About 25% of dogs deal with joint issues. Hemp seeds contain high levels of essential fatty acids, omega-3, and omega-6. The amounts of these fats are in balance, so they work well together in the body. These fats may reduce inflammation, which is part of why they are so beneficial for humans who need to support their heart health. There have not been any studies done on hemp seeds and dogs with joint issues, but there are a lot of anecdotal reports that hemp seeds might help ease joint inflammation. While nutritional supplementation should never replace proper veterinary care, hemp seeds can be beneficial and nutritious. What if your dog is healthy? Part of maintaining good health includes proper nutrition, so if you want to give your dog hemp seeds, go for it!
Enjoy the Benefits of Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD
Curious about the other big hemp product, CBD? Pet Releaf makes their CBD from the whole hemp plant, which is called full-spectrum CBD. Because of how CBD works with your dog’s body’s nervous system, CBD may be able to help with a wide range of health issues or help support overall optimal wellness. When it comes to behavior and mood, CBD may have a calming effect on the nerves. When it comes to stress from traveling, hospitalization, or moving, CBD may help ease the stress those events cause your dog. For digestive issues, CBD may promote proper digestion and bowel health. It also may help maintain proper gut flora! CBD may help support your dog’s immune system, which is why CBD may be beneficial for pets of all ages. Is your dog a little stiff after that romp in the park? CBD may ease joint stiffness due to normal daily exercise and activity. It also may enhance connective tissue pliability, which can help prevent injuries.
Pet Releaf’s hemp is grown here in the US with sustainable and regenerative farming practices. Many of their products are certified USDA organic, including their hemp oils! Or maybe your dog would like to try one of their Edibite CBD supplement chews. They aren’t treats, but your dog will think they are! Edibites come in different flavors with a wide range of benefits, including Sweet Potato Pie Digestive chews and Immunity chews which are blueberry and cranberry flavored. Whatever you decide, you and your dog are sure to love Pet Releaf CBD!