The Pet Parent’s Guide to Hemp Oil for Dogs and Cats
T here are countless dietary supplements out there for your pet, but one that’s quickly gaining trending status is hemp oil. Maybe you’ve heard of it and its versatile benefits in the human wellness space, but if you didn’t know that your fur baby could benefit from hemp oil for dogs and cats too, we’re here to give you the lowdown.
From its potentially health-boosting abilities to dosage information, here’s what pet parents need to know about hemp oil for dogs and cats.
First thing’s first: What is hemp oil?
Hemp oil is more of an umbrella term for oil—namely CBD oil and hemp seed oil—that is extracted from parts of the hemp plant.
CBD (cannabidiol) oil is derived from the stalks, leaves and buds of the hemp plant. It contains trace amounts of THC, although, no, it won’t get you or your pet high, as the 2018 Farm Bill only legalized CBD oils with less than 0.3% THC. It is used to help with various health issues, such as pain management.
Hemp seed oil, which we’ll be focusing on today, is made by cold pressing the seeds of the hemp plant, which do not have THC and have no more than just trace amounts of CBD. (So, again, no, it won’t get you—or your pet—high!) Hemp seed oil is FDA-approved and legal to buy and sell, and is used as a health-boosting supplement for both people and pets.
Hemp seeds, often referred to as hemp hearts, are technically nuts, and you’ve probably seen them in the grocery store, along with hemp sed oil. They’re super nutritious, being rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and are a great source of protein, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc, making hemp seed oil similarly nourishing.
So, what are the benefits of hemp seed oil for pets?
Not just a mainstay of your grocery store shelves, hemp seed oil is actually an up-and-coming ingredient in pet supplements: “When hemp seed oil is used as a supplement in a pet’s diet, pet parents may see positive changes,” says Dr. Lindsay Butzer, DVM, spokesperson for Zesty Paws. “Hemp seed oil has excellent sources of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are all good for your pet.”
Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, an associate veterinarian at the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre in Alexandria, Virginia, and Chewy’s resident senior veterinarian, says hemp seed oil is similar to fish oil in that it can be an immune-booster and help reduce inflammation caused by various skin and joint issues, as well as lessen allergy symptoms and improve your pet’s coat. You may also see hemp seed oil included in some calming pet supplements, alongside anxiety-relieving ingredients like chamomile.
But is hemp seed oil safe for pets?
Hemp seed oil is generally considered safe for pets, but you should get the green light from your vet before adding it to your pet’s diet. (And that goes for any additional supplement!)
Dr. Nelson says there’s really not a lot that can go wrong with hemp seed oil unless you’re improperly dosing it. (More on that further down!)
“The omega-3 [in hemp seed oil] can actually be pro-inflammatory, so too much omega-3 can have the reverse effect of why we’re giving it,” she says. “Too much of something can be just as detrimental as having too little when it comes to supplements.”
Dr. Nelson adds that too much hemp seed oil can also cause your pet to get an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Any hemp seed oil or product containing hemp seed oil that you give your pet should be formulated just for them. Never attempt to give your own (human) supplement to your pet. While you may share almost everything with your furry friend, it’s best to only give them supplements intended for their consumption and that have their entire ingredients list approved by your vet.
“When products are created for animal use versus human use there are usually different formulations used which would benefit animals specifically,” explains Dr. Butzer.
What’s the appropriate hemp seed oil dosage for pets?
When it comes to giving your pet hemp seed oil, Dr. Nelson stresses the importance of following the dosing instructions on the product label.
“Each product will have different concentrations [of hemp seed oil], formulations, and other things added,” says Dr. Nelson.
Since the dosage for most pet products is based on weight, Dr. Nelson says it’s very important to know how much your pet currently weighs. Don’t guess! If your pet’s weight is close to the top or bottom of the range listed on the back of the package, it could mean you’re accidentally giving them too little or too much of a product.
OK, but how can hemp seed oil help YOU?
If you’re considering using hemp seed oil yourself, you’re in luck—there are a myriad of ways to incorporate it into your daily life.
If you have high cholesterol, “hemp seed oil has been shown to decrease cholesterol markers, which can reduce the risk of heart disease,” says Dr. Brynna Connor, MD, a healthcare ambassador at online pharmacy NorthWestPharmacy.com.
You can buy bottled hemp seed oil online or in some grocery stores and use it in cooking to make salad dressing, smoothies, dips and more. (Just like you would for your pet, make sure to get the OK from your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet.)
Hemp seed oil is also found in some beauty products for its hydrating and anti-inflammatory qualities, and Dr. Connor says it can be used topically for skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. Of course, as with any new beauty product, always test a bit on a small area of skin to see if you have a reaction.
Sounds great! What are the best hemp oil products for dogs and cats?
The best hemp seed oil product for your pet will really depend on whether you’re looking to treat a condition, like allergies, or just want to add a nutritious supplement to your pet’s diet. Talk to your vet about the best option for your pet’s lifestyle.
Salmon and CBD Oils For Your Dog
Both salmon and CBD oils have great benefits for your dog. In order to have a healthy dog, they need more than just good food and exercise. Most dog foods just do not have all the needed supplements for your dog’s health. And puppies, injured or ill dogs, and senior dogs need some extra help. Salmon and CBD oils can provide the necessary assistance your dog will need.
What is salmon oil
Salmon oil is an oil derived from salmon, taken because it is high in omega-3s, EFA – essential fatty acids. It contains EPA & DHA, which are both omega-3 fatty acids. Dogs need these fatty acids and cannot produce them naturally. Most dog foods do not contain an adequate supply. You will need to provide your dog with a supplement of omega 3 in order to maintain his best health. Salmon oil for your dog is one of the options you have for providing omega-3 to your dog’s diet.
Choosing a salmon oil
Make sure you choose a brand that has a Good Manufacturing Practice seal of approval. This ensures the oil is protected from heat, light and oxygen. Salmon oil is extremely sensitive to these and will loose it’s effectiveness if not produced in this method. The best choice is wild raised, however there are some pros and cons to both wild and farm raised.
Why your dog needs to have omega-3
Dog foods usually contain high levels of omega-6. This is another fatty acid needed for your dog’s health. Your dog needs a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6. Since dogs cannot produce omegas, you have to supplement them. A lot of dog foods will contain enough if not too much omega-6. If there is not enough omega-3 to counter balance it, too much omega-6 can cause inflammation and other conditions linked to omega-3 deficiency.
What omega-3s in salmon oil do
Salmon oil contains EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. These are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are needed for good health. EPA can help diminish harmful conditions that impact the heart, kidneys, joints and skin. DHA is vital to the cerebrum and eye development in cats and puppies and it is needed for pregnant and nursing pets. AKC has good information on omega-3s and salmon oil.
Benefits of salmon oil for you dog
Improved skin and coat
Salmon oil, because of the omega-3s it contains, helps to improve your dog’s skin and coat. It can also help to reduce shedding. Skin allergies are also lessened when your dog has enough omega-3s.
Helps to reduce inflammation
Omega-3s found in salmon oil also help reduce inflammation in dogs. Inflammation can lead to arthritis, joint pain and other conditions that will cause your dog to hurt, have lessened mobility and be less active.
Helps regulate immune system
Dogs that have a compromised immune system due to autoimmune diseases will greatly benefit from adding salmon oil to their diet. Salmon oil helps to regulate the immune system and will calm allergies as well.
Puppies need omega-3 for their mental development. Salmon oil is a great way to aid in their mental growth. It also helps in older dogs that may be having cognitive issues. Omega-3s will help to keep your senior in good mental health.
Fights heart disease
Salmon oil does not just help fight heart disease in humans, it also helps do the same in your dog. It will also help to lower blood pressure in your dog. Thanks to the omega-3s that salmon oil contains, these issues can be better maintained if you give salmon oil to your dog.
Helps with cancer
Salmon oil, given as a supplement to your dog, can possibly help slow cancer cell growth. It can also be used as a preventative against some cancers.
Because of the benefits of omega-3 found in salmon oil, your dog will have improved stamina when you give it to your furry buddy. Dogs need omega-3s in order to be at their peak health. When your dog is in it’s best condition, his stamina and activity level will improve.
Slows the growth of yeast
Many dogs suffer from constant or recurring yeast infections in the ears and paws. Adding salmon oil will help to curb this problem. Salmon oil is known to slow or inhibit yeast growth.
Side effects of salmon oil
While salmon oil is good for you dog and even needed, too much of it can cause quite a few side effects. Slow healing, slow recovery from surgery or injury and the loss of more blood are just a few of the problems that can be caused by too much of a good thing.
Another issue is weight gain. Given in high doses, salmon oil’s high caloric count can really put the extra weigh on your dog. When you first introduce salmon oil, your dog may incur some gastric issues. These could also be present in the case of too much of the supplement.
CBD oil as an alternative
As good as salmon oil is for your dog, some people are turning to an alternative that may be even better. CBD oil is becoming more and more widely used in both dogs and humans. It’s benefits are numerous and side effects are practically nonexistent.
CBD oil can help fight cancer
CBD oil (and other cannabis products) have been shown to have anti-tumor effects. It has been shown to stop cancer from growing. Also there are signs it increases cancer cell death. CBD oil helps the immune systems cells to fight the cancer and kill the cancer cells. It will block the ability of cancer cells to produce energy and slow the cell growth. It will help increase the efficacy of conventional cancer treatments that your veterinarian has prescribed for your dog.
CBD oil helps with pain
Where salmon oil will help your dog with inflammation and the pain it causes, CBD oil also helps with them, but has several more benefits. It is effective in reducing pain of all kinds, including neuropathy and nerve pain. CBD helps with the inflammation and pain caused by acute pancreatitis and intestinal issues. Your aging dog will benefit greatly from the addition of CBD oil.
Aids your dog’s immune system
CBD oil has been shown to decrease the production of harmful chemicals in your dogs body that can cause allergies and issues with his autoimmune system. This can help to fight autoimmune diseases and prevent your dog from getting them. CBD is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to be more powerful than vitamins C and E.
Mental and cognitive improvement
CBD has been shown to be even more effective than salmon oil/omega-3 in helping dogs with cognitive issues. Your senior dog will greatly benefit from the addition. It actually protects the brain cells from toxicity.
As with salmon oil, CBD has been shown to improve heart health in dogs and humans. It protects blood vessels from damage and reduces heart rate and blood pressure.
Two added benefits your dog will get from CBD oil that they cannot get from salmon oil are the reduction of anxiety and helping to treat and control seizures. If your dog suffers from anxiety caused by noise, storms or other sources, this may just be the answer. Another great benefit is that it works for epilepsy and seizures. Humans and dogs are using CBD oil instead of more harmful drugs to control and treat epilepsy and seizures.
No side effects
One of the greatest benefits of giving your dog CBD oil is that there are no side effects. When you look at all the other medicines and supplements often recommended for your dog, the lack of harmful side effects from CBD oil is a pleasant surprise.
What it takes to have a healthy dog
When you have a dog, your main concern it to keep him healthy, happy and safe. Being well-informed and educated on what it takes to achieve that is a must. Your dog needs a good, quality food. It is best for his gut health and allergies to rotate the main protein. Dogs need exercise, some need more than others.
All dogs need plenty of clean water. Oils, such as fatty acids are essential for good health as well as probiotics. The most important is probably the easiest to give to your dog, love.
Salmon oil and CBD oil
The benefits of both salmon oil and CBD oil for your dog are impressive. Your dog needs the omega-3s found in salmon oil to counter balance the omega-6 found in most dog foods. Since your dog cannot produce omegas this is very important. Check with your vet on which salmon oil they recommend for your dog’s needs and the correct dosage.
CBD oil has many benefits that will keep your dog healthy, active and in considerably less pain. Salmon and CBD oils for your dog can work well together to keep your dog in his optimal health.