Wait, can dogs have hemp?
Whether it’s lounging on the couch or styling a turtleneck sweater, many of our dogs are more than, well, dogs. They’re like sophisticated furry humans.
Buuut does that mean they can share the same diet as us, too?
Well, not always.
Many foods considered safe for humans may not be safe for your doggo. So, it’s wise to stop and ask, “can dogs have hemp?”
And in this case, the answer is a big yes — hemp is good for dogs.
Alright, it’s more than good — it’s incredibly nutritious, with the potential to boost your doggo’s immunity, digestion and mobility, as well as nourish their skin and coat.
But before we go into that, let’s take a few steps back…
- What is hemp?
- What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?
- Can dogs eat hemp?
- Will hemp get your dog high?
- How to give hemp to your dog
What is hemp?
Used for thousands of years, hemp is a nutritious, sustainable and useful plant from the Cannabis Sativa family. Today, it comes with a range of uses, including food, medicine, skincare, biofuel, bioplastic, paper, soap, insulation and so much more.
And just so we’re clear, hemp has been legal in Australia since 2017 and it’s *not* the same thing as marijuana.
Hold up, what’s the difference between hemp, cannabis and marijuana?
When we talk about cannabis, we’re talking about a broad species of flowering plant from the Cannabaceae family. It may help to think of cannabis as an “umbrella term” which different plant varieties fall under. Enter, hemp and marijuana.
Hemp and marijuana are like close cannabis relatives, rather than the same plant.
The main difference? Marijuana contains higher concentrations of THC (the psychoactive compound that gives you the giggles). Whereas non-psychoactive hemp strains contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, which isn’t enough to have any giggly effects.
So when we’re talking about giving your dog hemp, we’re strictly talking about non-psychoactive hemp varieties.
Can dogs eat hemp?
Yes! Many vets, nutritionists and animal specialists will tell you dogs can eat hemp.
See, these tiny but mighty seeds are packed with so much goodness your four-legged friend will love, including minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, protein, fibre, amino acids and the ideal ratio of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids (3:1).
So, it’s little wonder why hemp supplements for dogs have hit supermarket shelves around the world.
3 benefits of hemp for dogs
Skin and coat
Want to see your dog’s enviably glossy coat bouncing through the dog park? Look no further than hemp. When topically applied or consumed in their diet, the antioxidants and omega fatty acids in hemp can alleviate dry skin, strengthen their fur and help cracked paws. Fur on fleek.
Hemp seeds are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre, which can help regulate your doggo’s digestion and promote gut health. This is good news for poop-scoopers like you (did someone say no more scooping up a sloppy droppy?)
Want your doggo to be as nimble as a youthful Yorkshire?
Well, thanks to the impressive ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, hemp seeds can help reduce joint pain and inflammation.
One study found that dogs consuming a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids had improved performance in their daily activities, compared to those that had a regular diet. (1)
But wait, will hemp get my dog high?
Non-psychoactive hemp won’t get your dog high, and that’s because it only contains minuscule traces of THC (the naughty compound we spoke about earlier). Even if your dog was to get free rein over a bag of hemp seeds, they’d be sober as a judge.
Can dogs have too much hemp?
Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil won’t get your dog high. It’s incredibly safe.
Buuuut like most things, we wouldn’t recommend giving them free rein over a bag of hemp seeds because they’re bound to feel sick. Self-control isn’t a common trait amongst doggos.
So yes, they can have too much hemp. But only in the same way that can have too many treaties in one go.
How to give hemp to your dog
As you can see, hemp is overflowing with health-giving nutrients for your doggo. So naturally, the next question many paw-parents have is how do I give hemp to my dog?
And if you’re getting images of them nibbling hemp leaves, well, you’d be wrong.
Today, you’ll find a range of hemp supplements for dogs on the market, including…
Hemp seeds (or hemp hearts)
Hemp seeds have a hard outer shell, with a soft inside known as hemp hearts. Hulled hemp seeds (or hemp hearts) is what you often find on the supermarket and pet store shelves. They can be sprinkled on your doggo’s food just as they are — simple!
Hemp seed oil
When you cold press hemp seeds, you get hemp seed oil. This is ideal for drizzling over your doggo’s food or you can apply it directly to their skin and paws.
Whether it’s a balm, shampoo or ointment, there are so many topical hemp products for dogs on the market. It’s like a superfood for their skin and coat.
Have you heard of Natura’s furry little love child? Dog’s Defence create a range of dog supplements using medicinal mushrooms and nutritious ingredients to turn tail wags into full body wiggles. Our powders and extracts are made using a range of medicinal mushrooms, as well as other nutrient-dense foods like sweet potato, kale, blueberries, and of course – hemp.