If you’ve come across companies telling you to buy hemp or CBD oil products for your dog, you might be wondering what they are, what the difference is, and which is the best option for your pup (if any!).
To help you, here’s a full breakdown of the benefits and ingredients of hemp and CBD oil — as well as comparisons of which is better for anxiety, arthritis, and seizures in dogs.
- While hemp oil offers nutritional benefits for dogs, CBD offers comprehensive mental and physical relaxation and benefits for anxiety, inflammation, and more in dogs.
- Hempseed (or hemp) oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. CBD oil is a manufactured product composed of hemp-derived CBD and carrier oil.
- Hemp oil is best for ongoing nutritional supplementation, while CBD is better for specific conditions. However, neither substance is a substitute for medical attention if your dog is dealing with a serious condition.
Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil for Dogs: What’s the Difference?
Hemp oil and CBD (cannabidiol) both come from the hemp plant (a variety of the cannabis sativa plant). However, they’re quite a bit different.
Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, whereas CBD is extracted from the stems, leaves, and other parts of the plant.
Hemp oil is nutritionally dense — it’s high in healthy fats and proteins, including omega-3 and amino acids. You can find hemp seeds at most grocery stores.
CBD is not a dietary supplement — it’s one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. No one uses CBD by itself, rather, products contain CBD mixed with other ingredients to make it palatable.
Whereas hemp oil and hemp seeds can complement your dog’s diet, CBD is best used for acute conditions, like anxiety, sleep trouble, or pain (though to be clear, it isn’t a treatment).
Benefits of Hemp Oil for Dogs
Hemp oil has a variety of health benefits for dogs:
- Skin and coat health — Anecdotal evidence suggests hemp oil can improve a variety of canine skin conditions, including eczema, dandruff, dry nose, rashes, and dermatitis. A 2005 study demonstrated hemp oil’s efficacy in humans, and similar benefits can be seen in dogs.
- Immune health and organ function — Hemp seed oil contains a variety of antioxidants, including vitamin E, which boost immunity, cell renewal, and organ function in dogs.
- Gut health — The omega-3 acids in hemp oil can boost gut health. This can be especially beneficial if your dog has a sensitive stomach.
- Inflammation — Omega-3 acids have anti-inflammatory properties, and hemp oil contains lots of them. This can help your dog with both internal and external inflammation.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
Dogs, like humans, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a transmitter system that regulates most vital bodily functions (stress, sleep, inflammation, mood, the nervous system, and more) and keeps your dog’s body in a state of balance.
CBD is a cannabinoid that is, in a way, designed to work with the ECS. When you give your dog CBD, then, it helps regulate their bodily functions.
With this in mind, here are the main ways CBD can help your dog:
- Anxiety & aggression — CBD has calming properties that can help your dog with separation anxiety, travel anxiety, and aggressive behaviors. A 2021 study on shelter dogs showed reduced aggressive behavior in the dogs after they were given CBD.
- Fear of loud noises — CBD’s relaxing properties can help dogs stay calm in the presence of loud noises, such as from fireworks.
- Inflammation and pain — Research has shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties in dogs. Anecdotally, our customers find that CBD is good for arthritis, joint pain, and cancer pain in their dogs.
- Sleep — CBD’s relaxing properties make it very beneficial for helping your dog fall asleep and stay asleep for longer.
- Appetite — CBD can address situations that make your dog not want to eat (e.g. pain and anxiety), thereby bringing your pup’s appetite to normal levels.
- Skin health — CBD has benefits for skin health in dogs. Research has shown it has therapeutic potential for conditions such as eczema.
- Epilepsy — Research has shown that CBD may help with epilepsy in dogs, although more inquiry is needed.
- Heart health — Anecdotally, research on CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties also indicates that it can support heart health in dogs. However, there hasn’t been any research on CBD for canine heart health.
- Immunosuppression and allergy reduction — CBD has been shown to have immunosuppressant properties. While suppressing the immune system may not seem like a positive thing, it means CBD can prevent your dog’s immune system from overreacting and causing allergy symptoms
Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil for Dogs: Ingredients
Hemp oil doesn’t really have ingredients — it is the ingredient!
However, some hemp products made for pets may also contain flavoring or other ingredients.
On the other hand, pet CBD oils will contain a small handful of ingredients. As an example, here are the ingredients from our chicken-flavored pet CBD oil:
Organic hempseed and MCT oil, organic full spectrum hemp extract (CBD), chicken flavoring.
As you might have noticed, some products (such as ours) are deliberately made with both hemp oil and CBD oil. Combining these two substances renders amplified benefits for your dog.
Which is Purer?
In terms of purity, both hemp and CBD oil are great choices. The added ingredients in CBD are all-natural (at least in products from reputable CBD companies), and they’re included so your dog’s body can absorb and use the CBD.
Which is Better for Anxiety in Dogs?
If your dog is dealing with anxiety, CBD is the better choice because it offers mental relaxation, whereas hemp oil mainly focuses on physical benefits.
Which is Better for Arthritis in Dogs?
Though CBD typically renders more powerful physical effects, CBD and hemp both have benefits for dogs dealing with arthritis.
CBD oil can support the joints during acute discomfort, whereas hemp oil can promote general physical health for your dog.
Which is Better for Seizures in Dogs?
If your dog has seizures, CBD oil is the better option.
More research on CBD for canine epilepsy is needed, but we do know that CBD can help with some types of seizures in humans, so it likely has similar benefits for dogs.
There isn’t any evidence showing that hemp oil can help dogs with seizures.
How to Shop for CBD for Your Dog
The CBD industry isn’t heavily regulated, so you have to employ some careful shopping techniques to ensure you get only the best CBD for your dog. Here are some buying tips:
Understand That Dogs Can Have Human CBD
Despite what companies may claim, CBD oils for dogs are usually the same as those for humans, except that they contain flavoring and don’t contain very much THC (or are made with THC-free broad-spectrum CBD).
If it makes sense from a price standpoint, feel free to buy human CBD for your dog — just make sure it isn’t a THC-dominant product. THC hasn’t been researched much for dogs in comparison to CBD.
We sell both pet and human CBD oil, and the only difference is the flavoring. Our customers find that beef or chicken flavoring is often helpful for getting their dog to take CBD.
Read Lab Reports
Check the 3rd-party lab reports for products beforehand to ensure that they contain the amount of CBD they claim to, and that they don’t contain more THC than they should.
If a company doesn’t lab test its products or isn’t transparent with its lab reports, don’t shop with them.
This one’s a no-brainer. Read reviews from pet parents about the CBD product you’re interested in before you buy it — make sure it actually does what it says it will, and that it doesn’t cause any hard side effects.
Your pet deserves the best. Discover our collection of lab-tested CBD oil, treats, and bones for pets.
Conclusion: Hemp or CBD, Which is Better for Your Dog?
The best product for your dog will depend on what they need.
If your dog needs ongoing health support, hemp oil is a great option.
However, if your dog is dealing with specific conditions like anxiety or arthritis, CBD oil can provide the relaxation that hemp oil simply can’t.
No matter which product you decide to give your dog, be sure to check out our CBD dosage guide for dogs so you know how much to give them!
Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil for Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions we commonly get about hemp for dogs.
Is CBD veterinarian-approved?
Many veterinarians recommend CBD for dogs, while some don’t. In some states in the US, veterinarians aren’t permitted to discuss CBD.
Is it legal to give my dog CBD or hemp oil?
If you can legally purchase CBD or hemp oil, you can give them to your dog. Though CBD and hemp aren’t approved ingredients in pet foods, you, as the owner, have discretion over whether to give your dog hemp-derived remedies on the side.
Does CBD cause psychoactive effects in dogs?
No, CBD will not create a high feeling for dogs (or humans).