Have you seen an increase in hemp products for dogs lately, and wondered, “What would hemp do to my dog?” or even, “Will hemp get my dog high?!”.
Let us put your mind at ease - as though research is in its early days, many have found hemp for dogs to have a range of useful, natural benefits - and no, it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects (more on that later!).
Read on for more information about this relaxation aid of the natural world, and how supplementing your dog’s diet with hemp could boost their health and wellbeing.
Hemp can be made into an endless array of products, from lip balms to fabrics to paper - and it can also be made into beneficial supplements or foods that dogs can safely eat.
In its most natural form, it’s a plant (part of the cannabis family) and one you’ll probably recognise - with long, serrated leaves in a shape resembling a star. Hemp oil, seeds and flour are derived from the hemp plant, all of which can be used in consumables. So, what’s the difference between them?
Hemp seeds come from the hemp plant, and can be used to form hemp oil or hemp flour. They are small and nut–like, and can be eaten as they are. Humans may munch on them as a health food, or sprinkle them into salads. Though they can be fed to dogs as raw seeds, it’s important to give the correct dosage, so ask a vet before doing so. You might feel safer giving your dog a hemp-infused product like hemp dog chews, for which dosage has already been considered.
The seeds of the hemp plant are safe to use in hemp-infused products as they contain very low levels of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol); the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. More of these compounds are present in the leaves and buds of the plant, rather than the seeds.
Hemp oil is derived from hemp seeds, and can be easily added to food for dogs. It has a mild, nutty flavour which is pleasant to taste, and it has zero psychoactive properties. Basically, hemp oil absolutely won’t get your dog high - but they’ll hopefully receive a host of health benefits (read on for those).
Hemp flour is another derivative of hemp, made by grinding up hemp seeds. It contains many of the same nutritional benefits of hemp seeds and hemp oil, and it has no psychoactive effects. An added perk of hemp flour is it’s also gluten-free, making it ideal for dogs on a gluten-free diet.
Now to the crux of the issue - why would you feed your dog hemp at all? Though hemp is often linked to cannabis and marijuana, and therefore seen as a woozy relaxation aid, hemp seed oil and hemp flour actually contain slim to zero CBD (cannabidiol) or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) so they definitely won’t give your dog any feelings of being ‘high’.
The research on hemp and CBD is still relatively new and lots is still to be discovered, but for lots of people who have tried it, hemp has been shown to offer a host of health benefits for dogs.
Hemp contains vitamin E, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron - all part of a well-rounded, nutritious diet for dogs. It’s also a great source of protein.
There are fatty acids in hemp such as omega-3 and omega-6, which help contribute to a soft, glossy coat and lovely skin.
A good amount of fibre in hemp seeds means it can contribute to gut health and smooth bowel movements in dogs.
The anti-inflammatory properties in hemp mean it can help pooches with painful conditions such as arthritis, or offer natural pain relief for dogs who need it.
Hemp and CBD products are soaring in popularity at the moment, for humans as well as pets - and it can be really confusing not knowing whether they are different names for the same thing. Though they both come from the same plant family (Cannabis sativa), hemp and CBD aren’t the same - their properties and uses are slightly different.
If you’ve got your hands on some hemp dog treats or hemp food for dogs and can’t wait to give it your pooch, you may have a few questions. Here is our advice on feeding hemp to your dog…
Before giving your dog any hemp products, it’s a good idea to consult your vet. They’ll be able to tell you, based on what you tell them about your dog, how much is a good idea for them to have. If you have hemp products for a dog such as chews or hemp treats, there should be some loose guidelines on portion sizes on the packaging, so read it carefully.
There’s lots of variables to consider when waiting for your pooch to feel any considerable effects of hemp. When it comes to hemp dog treats, there shouldn’t be any instant behavioural changes - more of a gradual boost to wellbeing as the benefits of the hemp start to take effect in the body. Keep an eye on your dog in the hours and days after feeding them hemp treats, and take note if there’s anything both good or untoward that may be different about them.
Hemp treats are likely to be made with the parts of the hemp plant that contain low to zero CBD and THC - in fact, you’ll often see THC-free on the pack. This could mean the treats are made with hemp flour or hemp seed oil.
We can’t speak for every dog food brand, but at Pooch & Mutt our hemp-infused treats are made with hemp flour derived from hemp seeds. There’s our Calming Probiotic Meaty Treats with Hemp & Turkey, our Hemp & Sage Dental Sticks, and our newest range of satisfying Hemp Chewies for your dog to get their teeth into.
Hemp can be given to dogs in all kinds of ways. Hemp dog treats are one of the easiest ways to get your pooch a dose of the good stuff, however you can also sprinkle raw hemp seeds into food, burn some natural hemp oil in a diffuser, try a specialist hemp shampoo for dogs, or try a bowl of calming, hemp- infused dog food. There are also doggy dental sticks with hemp for added calming effects when your pooch ‘cleans’ their teeth.
Once again, be sure to get in touch with your vet before feeding your dog anything new, such as hemp, in case they suffer any allergies or side effects. Hemp can be a perfectly beneficial supplement in a dog’s diet - and result in a happy, contented and clear-headed pooch.
Final word from Vet Linda:
“More studies are needed before we can be sure how hemp can best benefit our furry friends - but there are long lists of anecdotal benefits and some fascinating potential uses for hemp.
“Hemp products can promote calmer behaviours and may form part of a treatment plan for canine anxiety and hyperactivity.
“Scientists are also looking into its use as a sleep promoter, a tool in the management of seizures and as a potential pain relief and anti-inflammatory for those with chronic pain such as arthritis. The possibilities are exciting!”
If you’re keen for your dog to feel the benefits of a hemp supplement in their diet, we have a range of hemp dog treats - including our brand new Hemp Chewies, for a calming anti-inflammatory tablet that tastes delicious.