Since the Farm Bill of 2018 was passed, it seems we are in no short supply of “all things hemp” and hemp related. The pet care industry, too, has seen an influx of hemp supplements, chews, tinctures, and toys.
If this whole hemp thing is confusing, you aren’t alone. In fact, in a 2019 Gallup report, 35% of Americans reported unfamiliarity with hemp and CBD products, and only 14% of Americans reported usage of them.
For a product that is now being commercially mass-produced and marketed to the general public, those numbers aren’t great. Hemp oil, or CBD oil derived from industrial hemp, is an incredibly beneficial supplement that more people would likely use if they understood what it is and what it can do.
VETCBD wants to be a source of education to dog owners, and pet owners in general, about hemp products, including hemp oil. We feel hemp oil has a plethora of benefits for your dog, and that when used as a supplement, can help support your dog’s overall health and wellness.
If you’ve wondered what hemp oil is and if it could be right for your dog, we have 10 things you must know to help you feel more confident with your decision to give your dog these supplements.
#1: What Hemp Oil Actually Is
Hemp oil is a catch-all term that can actually be used to reference two completely different oils, both of which come from a particular species of the cannabis-sativa plant.
The cannabis-sativa plant has multiple varieties and is most well known for producing marijuana, which is now used for medicinal purposes in many states.
The particular species of the cannabis-sativa plant that is commercially grown to produce hemp oil and hemp products is rich in plant-based chemicals called cannabinoids, like cannabidiol, or “CBD.” It produces low amounts of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC,” which is the cannabinoid in marijuana that produces an intoxicating reaction.
“Hemp oil” can refer to oil extracted directly from the leaves, flowers, and/or stems of this commercially grown cannabis-sativa plant, or oil that is extracted by cold-pressing the seeds of this plant.
It’s very important to know the difference since hemp oil and hemp seed oil have different properties and uses:
Hemp oil extracted from leaves, flowers, and stems: This is more commonly referred to as CBD oil. Full-spectrum CBD oil is rich in vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, terpenes, protein, fatty acids, and other cannabinoids contained in the plant. CBD oil has many benefits for your dog including supporting digestive health, supporting normal brain function, supporting joint mobility, and promoting calmness and relaxation.
Hemp oil extracted from seeds: The proper terminology for this oil is hemp “seed” oil. Hemp seed oil is extracted from cold pressing the seeds of the hemp plant in much the same manner as sunflower or sesame oil is produced. While this oil contains some great fatty acids, it’s not much better than cooking oil in terms of health benefits for your dog. Be careful of companies who market hemp seed oil products as “hemp oil” products. This can confuse even the savviest of shoppers into purchasing a product that contains no cannabinoids. If a product is marketed as hemp oil, it is best to check the ingredient list to ensure it contains CBD, and not just cold-pressed seed oil.
For the purposes of this article, we will use the term “hemp oil” to refer to CBD-containing oil.
#2: Hemp Oil is Not Intoxicating
Hemp oil is non-intoxicating for your dog. The cannabinoid responsible for giving a marijuana user a “high” is called tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC.” Legally, a hemp oil product may only contain .03% THC, which is not enough to produce any kind of intoxicating effect on your pet.
#3: How To Give Your Dog Hemp Oil
Hemp oil is available for your dog in three different extraction types: isolate oil, broad-spectrum oil, and full-spectrum oil. Isolate oil refers to a hemp oil that contains only CBD; no other plant parts, vitamins, minerals, or cannabinoids are extracted with the CBD. You’ll sometimes see this marketed as “pure” CBD or “pure” hemp oil, but in reality, the fact that it contains no other plant parts make it less effective at providing benefit to your dog than full-spectrum oil.
Full-spectrum hemp oil contains CBD and all other usable plant parts, including trace amounts of other cannabinoids like THC, which allows the parts of the plant to work together congruently to provide maximum benefit to your dog. When giving your dog hemp oil, you should always look for a full spectrum oil to ensure your dog is receiving maximum CBD benefit.
Broad-spectrum is sort of a mix between the two--it contains all of the usable plant parts except THC, meaning it still doesn’t have quite everything it needs to be able to exert the entourage effect.
The easiest way to give your dog hemp oil is by using a tincture.
A tincture is a formula of hemp oil dissolved into another “carrier” oil, like extra virgin olive oil, which can then be administered to your pet orally, or placed on their food.
VETCBD uses only two ingredients in formulating our tinctures: CBD oil and organic extra virgin olive oil. Your dog may take a CBD tincture directly from a dropper; many dogs enjoy the taste! However, if your dog is resistant to this method, you can add hemp oil to their food, which can actually help the CBD to better absorb.
#4: How Much Hemp Oil You Should Give
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for hemp oil supplementation in canines. Every dog and every breed is different, and their need for hemp supplements will vary based on their own body chemistry, size, weight, and breed.
Even so, a good way to begin dosing our hemp oil is to start with .2mg of hemp oil per pound of body weight. As such, a dog that weighs 10 pounds would get 2mg of hemp oil.
Some dogs may need more hemp oil at different times and for different reasons. A dog that normally takes hemp oil daily to support mobility may need an extra dose 12 hours later to help calm them in an environmentally stressful situation.
#5: Hemp Oil Can Reduce Environmental Stress
It’s difficult to see your dog suffer, and a dog that is experiencing an environmentally-induced stress response can make his owner feel stressed, too. Symptoms of a dog experiencing environmental stress can include panting, pacing, drooling, excessive barking and/or whining, destruction of property (i.e. chewing shoes, carpet, etc.), and digestive disruption like vomiting and diarrhea.
Hemp oil can promote feelings of calmness in your dog, relaxing their environmental stress-response, easing their restlessness, and improving their overall quality of life by giving them temporary comfort from their state of agitation.
#6: Hemp Oil Can Help Ease Occasional Joint Stiffness
Just like humans, dogs can pull muscles, strain their joints, and end up feeling uncomfortable.
Hemp oil can ease joint stiffness and discomfort caused by everyday strenuous activity, and can provide temporary alleviation for tension and support normal muscle recovery after an especially active day such as long hikes, rambunctious sessions at the dog park, or a vigorous game of fetch.
#7: Hemp Oil Can Help Support Healthy Brain Function
Occasional seizures can be a troubling scenario not only for the canine who experiences them but for the pet owner who observes her beloved pet in this condition. The FDA approved a CBD medication for treating epileptic seizures in humans, and research is underway that is promising for treatment in canines. What we do know is that hemp oil is full of benefits that can support healthy canine brain function at all ages, with or without epilepsy in the picture.
#8: Hemp Oil Can Support Bone Health
A natural part of our dog’s aging process is the loss of mobility and stiff joints. Dogs that once jumped on and off furniture, climbed flights of stairs with impunity or ran outdoors for hours may find themselves moving less. As a pet owner, you may notice your dog’s loss of mobility. Hemp oil supports your dog’s bone health and can help support normal mobility so they can do all the things they enjoy for longer.
#9: Hemp Oil is Legal, For Most States
While the Farm Bill of 2018 legalized the commercial production and distribution of hemp oil federally, there are still state-specific laws and guidelines to hemp oil manufacture, distribution, and usage. As such, it is important to check your state’s legislature to determine the legality of hemp oil usage where you live.
#10: Possible Side Effects of Hemp Oil
Every dog is different like every human, so side effects will vary from animal to animal. However, hemp oil appears to be very well tolerated by canines, with very little in terms of negative side effects. Some dogs may experience slight gastrointestinal discomfort, but these issues are normally very mild, and only last after the initial dose. It’s important to remember to go low and start slow when dosing your dog with hemp oil; start with small doses and increase as needed and as tolerated.
Understanding hemp oil and how beneficial it can be for your dog is important, especially if you’ve already discussed the potential for supplementing your dog’s health stack with a hemp oil product.
VETCBD offers specially formulated animal CBD tinctures that are perfect for supporting your dog’s overall health and wellness, developed by a board-certified veterinarian. We always triple test each batch with an accredited third-party lab to ensure quality, not only testing for the pureness of the oil but also ensuring there are no pesticides or other contaminants.
So come explore what hemp oil, i.e. CBD oil, can do for your beloved pet’s health and wellness today!