Hemp leaf

When it comes to treating various health conditions in dogs, many people are quick to jump to strong medications, but these can often have long-term side effects.

Fortunately, there are many natural alternatives out there, no matter the condition you are trying to treat.

If your dog has been suffering from cancer, seizures, anxiety, arthritis, or even just a rough and dull coat, there is one ingredient that can really help with all of this…

Hemp has been used medicinally for centuries, with the oil that the plant creates being able to help with all of the above conditions. Thanks to this, hemp oil for dogs has been growing in popularity, and is now much more widely available, and finally in Australia.

If you would like to give this a try with your pooch, here is everything you need to know about using this star ingredient.

What is Hemp? Is it the same as Cannabis?

Hemp is one of the most sustainable plants in the world, and actually contains the highest concentration of essential fatty acids compared to any other plant out there.

Is hemp the same as cannabis?

No. They both come from the same plant, but cannabis, as well as CBD oil, comes from the leaves, buds and stalks, whereas hemp oil is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant.

In terms of commercially-produced hemp oil, these come from the Industrial Hemp plant, which contains minimal amounts of the psychoactive substances that are usually associated with the cannabis plant.

So is hemp oil going to get your dog high? No! To get a bit more specific about CBD content, hemp oil contains about 25 parts per million of CBD, while CBD oil will feature around 15% CBD.

While the two may come from the same plant, the plant is grown differently depending on what it is being produced for.

For hemp, the plant is grown to be tall, similar to bamboo, while plants grown for marijuana are grown outwards like a bush.

The Nutritional Benefits of Hemp

Dalmation

Hemp can benefit your dog’s health in a number of different ways.

This is largely due to its extraordinary nutritional value, with hemp containing everything from essential fatty acids to antioxidants to protein.

A Fantastic Source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid

As mentioned above, hemp boasts a high concentration of essential fatty acids, with almost 85% of the oil consisting of these. These fatty acids cannot be produced naturally in your dog’s body, making it important for your pooch’s diet to provide these.

One of these essential fatty acids is called Gamma-Linolenic Acid, which is also known as GLA.

It is actually surprisingly common for dogs to be deficient in GLA, which can lead to the onset of several different health conditions. In fact, research shows that those who suffer from cancer, skin allergies and diabetes often don’t actually produce enough GLA themselves, which could be a reason as to why these conditions have developed.

By using hemp oil as a GLA supplement for your pooch, your dog could experience the following benefits:

The Perfect Balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Hemp seeds

Hemp seed oil contains the perfect ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Many owners turn to fish oil when it comes to supplementing their dog with these fatty acids. And whilst we promote the use of salmon oil, we are also impressed with the omega 3 and 6 ratios of hemp oil.

Fish Oil

So, why does your dog actually need these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids?
Because these essential fatty acids lower and control inflammation. This can then treat and prevent a number of different health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, arthritis, cancer, and allergies.

Rich in Vitamins A and E

Vitamins A and E are powerful antioxidants that are not only extremely beneficial for humans, but for dogs too.

Why does the body need antioxidants?

Well, each and every day, your dog will come across everything from pollution to UV rays to chemical toxins and more.

Have you ever wondered what these actually do to your dog’s body?

The same things that they do to yours…

They trigger the growth of free radicals in the body. To put it simply, free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron. In order to replace this missing electron, they end up attacking nearby cells and stealing their electrons, therefore turning those cells into free radicals.

The damage that is caused by this vicious cycle is long-lasting. As it builds up, it speeds up the rate at which your dog ages, while also contributing to the development of cancer.

One of the only ways in which you can fight this free radical damage is through the use of antioxidants. Antioxidants contain several extra electrons, which they then donate to free radicals, preventing them from needing to attack other cells.

While that may be the greatest benefit of vitamin A and E, there are a few other ways in which these vitamins can boost your dog’s health.

These include:

  • Boosting the immune system and preventing illnesses
  • Improving cognitive function, making hemp oil for dogs anxiety a great option
  • Improving the health of the eyes and skin

Packed With Minerals

Hemp oil boasts a wide range of different minerals, each of which can help your dog in multiple ways.

Here are just a few of the minerals that hemp oil contains:

  • Magnesium – directly maintains muscle health, while assisting with the absorption of other minerals
  • Potassium – helps the muscles, nerves and enzymes in the body to properly function
  • Calcium – essential for maintaining healthy teeth and bones, as well as for milk production for puppies
  • Iron – directly involved in producing red blood cells, while also assisting with a number of enzyme functions in the body
  • Phosphorus – necessary for your dog to make use of calcium
  • Zinc – helps with skin and coat health
  • Copper – helps with the formation of bones, connective tissues and collagen
  • Manganese – helps your dog to digest, absorb and make use of the proteins and carbohydrates that are eaten

Since hemp oil is so easily digested by dogs, these minerals quickly become available to the body once the oil has been eaten.

Hemp Contains 20 Amino Acids

Amino acids are often referred to as the building blocks of protein.

They are used by your dog’s body for several important functions, such as:

  • Forming the structure of hair and muscle
  • Acting as chemical messengers in the body
  • Aids in digestion

Your dog’s body makes use of 22 amino acids in total, with 10 of these being referred to as essential amino acids. This means that your dog’s body cannot produce them itself, making it vital for your dog to be able to obtain them through the food that you feed.

Hemp oil boasts 20 of the 22 amino acids that your dog needs in order to thrive, making this a great way to boost your pooch’s overall health and well-being.

Hemp Oil as a Source of Fibre

You likely already know that your pooch needs a regular source of dietary fibre in order to aid with digestion.

Although the fibre itself cannot be digested, it works by increasing the bulk of the contents in the intestine, controlling the speed at which it moves through the body.

Not only can dietary fibre help with constipation, but it also helps with diarrhoea, making it vital when it comes to keeping your dog’s bowel movements healthy and regular.

Do you know how much fibre your dog is currently consuming?

This all depends on the type of diet you are feeding.

If you are feeding a balanced, raw diet, and your pooch is producing firm and small stools, the it is likely that your dog is already getting the correct amount of dietary fibre.

However, if you feed a processed, commercial diet, you may want to consider using an additional source of dietary fibre. Many commercial diets make use of quite poor sources, so it is important to add in a higher quality source.

Wondering what a high quality source of dietary fibre would be?

Hemp  oil is a great one!  

Both soluble and insoluble types of dietary fibre can be found in hemp oil, giving your dog’s body the perfect balance.

Looking for more reasons to use hemp oil? Check out this article by Dogs Naturally.

Hemp Oil for Dogs with Seizures

Dog lying down

Did you know that around 5% of dogs suffer from seizures?

This can be extremely frightening to watch, and it’s only natural for owners to urgently seek out ways to prevent these seizures from occurring.

Unfortunately, many of the medications that are commonly prescribed for this can have severe side effects and in some dogs they may not guarantee an end to seizures.

If you have been looking for a safer, natural alternative to try, hemp oil could be the answer…

Although research into this area is still ongoing, the way in which hemp oil has the potential to prevent epileptic and seizure symptoms looks to be highly promising.  

Hemp Oil for Puppies

puppy

Since puppies are still developing, it is so important for you to be careful about what you feed.

The wrong foods, or even too much of the right foods, can cause numerous issues.

Wondering if you can give your pup some hemp oil?

The answer is yes, so long as you follow the dosage guidelines stated below.

Hemp oil is actually fantastic for growth and improving brain function, meaning that it could really give a huge boost to the way in which your puppy develops.

Is Hemp Oil Legal?

There is such a growing amount of research confirming the benefits of hemp oil, which is why many countries are now choosing to legalize it.

Here is a quick guide to the legalities of hemp oil in a few countries:

Australia – legalized in November 2017, while CBD oil remains illegal

UK – hemp oil with a maximum of 0.2% THC is legal

USA – legal in all 50 states, with some states even creating laws to promote the growth of industrial hemp

Canada – legal over-the-counter, while CBD oil is legal with a prescription

While hemp oil may be legal in the above countries, you may still have trouble getting your vet to discuss its usage with you. If you experience this, but are keen on giving the oil a try for your dog, it may be worth seeking the advice of a holistic vet.

Purchasing Hemp Oil

When it comes to buying your very first bottle of hemp oil, you will likely see a few different variations out there.

It is important to understand these, so that you only purchase the highest quality hemp oil for your pooch.

Cold-Pressed or Refined?

The biggest difference between the many brands of hemp oil out there is the way in which they have been processed:

Refined Hemp Oil – this goes through quite a complicated process, including being treated with chemical compounds and high temperatures. Unfortunately, this then destroys the majority of the oil’s beneficial compounds

Cold-Pressed Hemp Oil – this uses a form of mechanical extraction with low temperatures, and does not make use of any chemicals. This preserves all of its beneficial properties

As you can see, cold-pressed is definitely the way to go.

However, keep in mind that cold-pressed hemp oil does have a shorter shelf life, so you will need to store it in a cool, dark place.

How do you know if your oil has gone off?

The first sign will be a strange odour, after which you will likely notice a change in the vivid green colour of the oil.

Hemp Oil Quality

Now that hemp oil is becoming legalized in more countries, and its benefits are becoming more widely known, it will not be long before the market is flooded with new hemp oil products.

Just like with every other product out there, these will not all be created equally.

So, how do you know which one to buy?

When considering purchasing any hemp oil product, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where has the hemp been sourced from?
  • Is the hemp organic?
  • Has the oil been tested by a third party?
  • Is the hemp oil non-GMO?
  • Has the hemp been sustainably farmed?
  • How local is the product?

Many hemp oils actually contain additional ingredients, which is something you don’t want. Make sure that the oil you purchase is 100% pure and natural.

It is important for you to be able to fully trust the oil that you buy, as well as the company that has produced it.

How to administer Hemp Oil to your Dog & How Much?

Feeding your dog

Hemp oil is available in a number of different forms.

While you can purchase a bottle of pure oil, you could also look into the following:

  • Hemp oil dog treats
  • Hemp oil capsules

When it comes to administering hemp oil for dogs, dosage is extremely important.

The amount of hemp oil that you should be feeding depends on your dog’s weight. Here is a rough guide per day:

  • 10 lbs – 1 ml
  • 20 lbs – 1.5 ml
  • 30 lbs – 2 ml
  • 40 lbs – 2.5 ml
  • 50 lbs – 3 ml
  • 60 lbs – 3.5 ml
  • 70 lbs – 4 ml
  • 80 lbs – 4.5 ml

Want to know if you can increase your dog’s dosage?

While there are no adverse side effects to consuming a little extra hemp oil, it would be best to speak to your veterinarian before increasing your dog’s dosage.

How do you actually feed the pure oil to your dog?

Simply sprinkle the oil over your dog’s food.

Tempted to try cooking for your dog with hemp oil?

This is something that you should avoid doing.

Hemp oil actually becomes unstable at high temperatures, and this not only destroys its health-boosting properties, but can also cause the oil to turn toxic.

There is one more thing to know about before feeding your dog hemp oil…

Does your dog regularly eat chicken?

If so, you may want to consider a change in proteins before starting your dog on hemp oil.

Both hemp oil and chicken meat are high in polyunsaturated fats. While these in themselves are not bad for your dog, too much of these fats can lead to an imbalance in the fat ratio in your dog’s body. If your dog is on chicken at the moment, opt for flaxseeds and flax oil instead, which balance the fats and omegas in chicken well.  

The best meats to feed along with hemp oil are ruminant animals, such as beef, lamb and venison.

Wondering if you can share your dog’s hemp oil?

Of course!

When it comes to taste, hemp oil has a subtle nutty flavour, similar to that of chopped walnuts. In terms of health benefits, the majority of those that will be experienced by your dog will also affect you, helping with everything from arthritis to cancer to cognitive function.

Just remember to use it raw, rather than cooking with it, for maximum benefits.

Using Hemp Oil Topically on Your Dog

puppy and owner

In addition to feeding your dog hemp oil, you can also use it topically.

Of course, this ingredient isn’t cheap, so it is best used topically when you are trying to treat a specific skin issue, such as:

  • Itchy areas
  • Hot spots
  • Wounds caused by biting, scratching or licking
  • Allergy flare-ups

There are many topical products out there that have been formulated with hemp oil, along with other skin-soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut oil and manuka honey. Not only will you find ointments and balms, but also sprays, making it so much easier to apply.

Alternatively, you could always mix up your own homemade topical hemp oil solution, using some of the above ingredients.

How often should you use this on your dog?

Topical products that you purchase will come with dosage instructions to tell you how often to apply the product.

If you have made your own, it is best to begin with using it once a day. This will give you the chance to properly assess the results before adjusting the dosage.

Don’t forget…

Make sure to distract your dog in some way after applying hemp oil topically, otherwise your pooch may just end up licking it all off.

Other Forms of Hemp that Your Dog can Benefit From

Dog lying in grass

While hemp oil is the best way to ensure that your dog is gaining the maximum health benefits from hemp, there are other forms of hemp available that your pooch could benefit from.

The most common is hemp protein, which is also known as hemp powder, hemp seed meal, or hemp seed cake.

Wondering what this is?

It’s basically the remnants that are produced after hemp seeds have been crushed in order for the oil to be extracted. This is then milled and sifted, creating a fine powder.

This powder consists of 25% protein, and also boasts the same essential fatty acids and amino acids as the oil, except not in the same concentration.

If you cannot find a suitable hemp oil for your dog, hemp protein could be a possible alternative.

There are more than three million edible plants in the world, and none of them come close to comparing with hemp seeds in terms of nutritional value.

While there is still plenty of research being carried out when it comes to hemp oil for dogs, current studies show the oil to be extremely beneficial, and there is also plenty of anecdotal evidence to back this up.

With there being no side effects to using hemp oil for your dog, this is a great supplement to begin adding in to your dog’s diet.

Do you feed hemp oil to your dog? If so, what are some of the benefits you have noticed?

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