Hemp Seed Vs Hemp Oil For Dogs

hemp oil for dogs

Hemp oil and hemp seed oil are often used interchangeably … but there’s a difference. Both products from the hemp plant have many benefits for dogs … but you need to know which is which.

So, if you’re confused about hemp seed oil and hemp oil for dogs, let’s clear that up first …

What’s the Difference between Hemp Oil and Hemp Seed Oil?

First of all, both hempseed oil and hemp oil (better known as CBD oil) are 2 products from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa. But the hemp oil and hempseed oil come from different parts of the plant … and they each have totally different properties. 

  • Hemp oil (or CBD oil)  is also known as full-spectrum hemp oil or broad-spectrum hemp oil. It’s obtained from the whole hemp plant including stalks, leaves and flowers. Hemp oil for dogs can help manage a number of health conditions, including cancer, pain and seizures.
  • Hemp seed oil is only made from the seeds of the plant. Hemp seed oil’s benefits come from its nutritional content … so it’s even used in cooking.

We’ll get into detail about the benefits of hemp seed oil for your dog. But first, here’s a summary of hemp oil benefits for dogs. 

Hemp Oil For Dogs

Hemp oil contains cannabidiol, one of more than 60 chemicals that make up the hemp plant. Cannabis, a cousin to hemp, is also rich in another compound called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. The THC content of marijuana is usually between 10 and 15%. But hemp oil must have a THC content of 0.3% or less. 

So hemp oil, or CBD oil, doesn’t have a psychoactive effect for people or dogs. So you’ll be helping your dog without the intoxicating effects

Benefits of Hemp Oil For Dogs

Here’s why you’ll want to give your dog hemp oil. 

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Helps fight cancer
  • Helps manage seizures and epilepsy
  • Offers pain relief 
  • Helps with inflammatory bowel disease
  • Reduces chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease
  • Protects the nervous system
  • Increases appetite and helps with nausea
  • Aids heart health

New research (1) shows skin-related benefits of CBD or hemp oil that include a high level of antioxidants. Hemp or CBD has been shown as a powerful anti-inflammatory (2). So researchers now say that CBD oil also helps with kin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis and rashes. 

RELATED: Read more detail about the benefits and uses of CBD oil for dogs

Is Hemp Oil Safe For Dogs?

With so many studies showing the health benefits of hemp oil, the most encouraging result is that hemp appears to be safe, even when taken in high doses and over extended periods of time. The most common side effect is that it might make your dog sleepy.

However, it’s important to know that hemp oil can decrease the activity of liver enzymes used to metabolize many prescription drugs. So if your dog is on medication, you might want to check with your holistic vet before using hemp oil.

If your dog is on any of the following medications, ask your vet before giving your dog hemp oil:

  • Steroids
  • Allergy meds
  • Liver or kidney meds
  • NSAIDs
  • Heart meds
  • Anxiety meds

If your dog is on any of these meds, it doesn’t mean you can’t give hemp oil … but it’s safest to check with your vet first.

Now let’s look at hemp seed oil and the many health-promoting properties nearly every dog could use!

Hemp Seed Oil For Dogs 

Hemp Seed oil comes only from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Technically, it’s cannabis sativa seed oil. Hemp seed oil has been around for centuries.  

Seeds are cold-pressed to obtain the clear green oil that’s used in cooking or as a nutritional supplement. Hemp seed oil is rich with vitamins and trace minerals. It’s also got anti-inflammatory (3) and moisturizing properties, and it’s known for not clogging pores when used on the skin. It can be added to a product or just used on its own as an oil.

When a trusted extraction method is used (4), hemp seed oil may only contain trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or none at all. 

Is Hemp Seed Oil Good For Dogs? 

Yes it is! Hemp seed oil has an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids at 3:1. It contains essential fatty acids that your dog can’t produce and needs to get through diet. Hemp seed oil is an excellent source.

Plus hemp seed oil is also rich in the omega-6 fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). That’s important because there are some really good reasons to boost the GLA in your dog’s diet. 

Let’s see what GLA does.

How GLA In Hemp Seed Oil Works

Your dog has hormones in his body called prostaglandins. They circulate around the body to smooth muscle contractions, control inflammation, regulate the body temperature and perform other vital functions.

The GLA that’s in hemp seed is the foundation of prostaglandins. Researchers are looking at GLA supplementation as an important component of proper hormone health and development.

RELATED: Get more information about GLA for dogs …

4 Benefits Of Hemp Seed Oil For Dogs

1. Reduces Joint Pain

Researchers in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology (5) note that GLA found in hemp seeds reduced arthritis symptoms by 25% compared to placebo at 4%. This is a result of the perfect balance of fatty acids that helps to reduce inflammation naturally. 

2. Promotes Skin And Coat Health 

Hemp seed is used in cosmetic products and soaps because the oil can penetrate the inner layers of the skin and promote healthy cellular growth.

Hemp seed oil also moderates oil production. Dryness can cause skin to overproduce oil. Hemp seed oil can prevent dry skin and doesn’t clog pores.  

3. Soothes Inflammation

GLA is a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation and skin irritation and associated pain. The balance of fatty acids also plays an important role in reducing the inflammation associated with common skin issues including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, pruritic skin disease and granulomas. 

One randomized, single-blind crossover study (3) found that dietary hemp seed oil reduced the symptoms and appearance of clinical atopic dermatitis after 20 weeks.

4. May Prevent Cancer

Researchers at the American Cancer Society say those with cancer, diabetes and skin allergies don’t make enough GLA … and these issues are very common in dogs too. While GLA is considered a conditionally essential fatty acid (meaning most dogs can make enough of it, most of the time), there are many situations (hard exercise or stress) when dogs can’t make enough GLA. So supplementing can become important.

And again, because the GLA is perfectly balanced with omega-3 fats, hemp seed oil can help reduce inflammation in your dog and strengthen his immune system. There’s also research showing that GLA can help control malignant cancer cells (6)

Before you add hemp seed oil to your dog’s meals, here are a couple of things you should know.

Things You Should Know About Hemp Seed Oil

Hempseed oil is a polyunsaturated fat, which means it’s an unstable oil. If you cook your dog’s food, don’t add hempseed oil until you’ve finished cooking … otherwise it can become rancid and lead to health issues in your dog.

Avoid Feeding Hemp Seed Oil With Chicken

If you serve your dog mainly chicken-based food then you don’t want to add hemp seed oil. Chicken and hemp are both heavy in polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid. So hemp seed oil could cause an imbalance in your dog’s daily fat intake. 

So if you’re going to feed hemp seed oil, mix it with beef or other ruminants for the biggest benefits. According to Steve Brown, author of Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, flaxseed oil is a better choice for meals with chicken.

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How To Use Hemp Seed Oil For Dogs

Here are several ways to use hemp seed oil for your dog:

  • You can give your dog 1 tsp hemp seed oil per 1 1/4 lbs of food. That amount depends on your dog’s age, weight and breed. You’ll need to reduce the amount for smaller dogs. Add it to the food your dog already eats. If cooking your dog’s food, add the oil after the cooking process. 
  • Put hemp seed oil on a treat, especially if it can absorb the oil.
  • Use hemp seed oil directly on dog skin irritations to soothe them quickly. Apply it topically to any problem areas that are dry, red, scaly or flaky, especially if your dog is scratching. 
  • You can also feed your dog hemp seeds. Feed from 1 tsp to a small dog to as much as 1 Tbsp for large dogs. Start with a little bit at a time, mixed into his meal.

Is Hemp Seed Oil Safe For Dogs?

Yes, hemp seed oil is very safe for both humans and dogs. Like any food, there’s a small possibility of an allergic reaction. Or your dog could get diarrhea if he gets too much. 

You can test for allergies by testing some on a patch of his skin. Apply some to a small area and cover it for 24 hours, if you can. If there’s any redness, burning, itching, or other irritation don’t use it or feed it to your dog. Wash the irritated area with an organic soap or shampoo.

When adding hemp seed oil to your dog’s food, start with a small amount at a time. If your dog eats hemp seed oil and has an allergic reaction, you may see the following symptoms: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Facial swelling
  • Hives
  • Itchiness 
  • Sneezing

Hemp seed oil is readily available at health food stores and some supermarkets, as well as through online retailers. So you can pick up some today so your dog can start reaping the benefits of hemp seed oil.


1. Atalay S et al. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Dec 25;9(1):21.  

2. Witkamp R, Meijerink J. The endocannabinoid system: an emerging key player in inflammation. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Mar;17(2):130-8.  

3. Callaway, James, et al. Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis. Jour Dermatological Treatment. 2005. 16: 87-94.

4. Yang Y, et al. Cannabis sativa (Hemp) Seeds, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and Potential Overdose. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017 Oct 1;2(1):274-281. 

5. Zurier, Robert B, et al. Gamma-Linolenic Acid Treatment Of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 1996. Vol. 39, No. 11. Pp 1808-1817.

6. ME Bégin et al. Selective killing of human cancer cells by polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Medicine, Volume 19, Issue 2,1985,

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