Hemp & CBD

Hemp oil vs. CBD Oil For Dogs: What’s The Difference?

For both humans and animals, medicine tends to have a high-tech trend. And one of the most promising drug therapies incorporates ingredients derived from the Cannabis plant.

Given the recent positive publicity of medicinal cannabis in human medicine, it is a natural progression to want to provide the same benefits for ailing fur-babies, particularly those with painful illnesses.

So, we have put together an in-depth guide about the use of the cannabis plant for dogs for all the dog parents out there! First off, let’s clear some confusion about the Cannabis plant.

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Cannabis Plant: Marijuana or Hemp?

The Cannabis sativa plant has been used for millennia. Although most people think of the Cannabis plant as Marijuana, it is in fact, just a variety of the Cannabis plant. Another cannabis variety, the hemp, has also been used to produce clothing and rope throughout history, but now getting more popular in the medicinal industry.

Both plants contain CBD and THC among other cannabinoids, working on the endogenous cannabinoid receptor system. This system is responsible for helping the body to recover from stress and regulating muscle tension, blood pressure, and other physiological processes. Read Here: Full-Spectrum Hemp Oils vs. CBD Isolates – What’s The Difference?

What makes marijuana and hemp different are the CBD and THC levels. CBD is the non-psychoactive substance of the cannabis plant while the THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the substance that provides the high feeling that we attribute with marijuana.

Marijuana contains over 0.3 percent THC while the hemp variety only has less than 0.3 percent THC. CBD from the cannabis plant has shown evidence of efficacy in managing behavioral and medical disorders in both humans and dogs.

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Hemp oil vs. CBD Oil For Dogs: What’s The Difference?

Hemp oil vs. CBD Oil For Dogs

The next confusion would be between hemp oil and CBD oil. Although these terms are used interchangeably, they are slightly different than each other.

CBD oil and hemp oil come from the same cannabis plant– hemp. However, they come from different parts. Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of hemp plants while CBD oil is extracted from the leaves, stalks, and flowers of the same plant.

In addition, they have very different compositions. Hemp seed oils only contain a trace amount of CBD and are mostly used as a nutritional supplement. Meanwhile, CBD oil contains more cannabidiol in order to treat certain health problems.

This means that both oils are great for your pet. However, CBD oil is much better. While your dog can benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients of the hemp oil contains, CBD oil can provide far more health benefits for your doggo thanks to the more potent cannabidiol content.

CBD And Its Effects on Dogs

Human studies revealed that CBD can help in reducing pain, inflammation, and even tumor size while also lessening severity and seizure frequency. CBD influences numerous neurological and physiological processes within the CNS (central nervous system) of mammal via the endocannabinoid system.

While studies into how CBD can affect dogs are still lacking, humans and dogs have the same endocannabinoid system. So, in theory, CBD can work the same on dogs. Take note, however, that dogs may have more receptors which make them more sensitive to CBD than us, humans.

Is It Safe For Dogs?

CBD is now hailed as a wonder drug. But is it safe for your furry friend?

Well, CBD is generally considered safe for both animals and humans, and dogs respond in a similar way to humans. Initial studies have suggested that CBD is indeed safe for dogs, although further studies are required in order to establish a firm fact. AS mentioned before, dogs can be more sensitive to the effects of CBD, thus you will need to speak with your vet first.

Benefits of CBD for Dogs

So, now that we have covered the basics about CBD, it is time to find out what CBD can do for your pooch. Although studies into CBD as a treatment for dogs is limited, there are several benefits that can possibly be extrapolated from human studies.


Also, CBD or hemp oil is not yet approved by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) because of the lack of supporting scientific research. However, anecdotally CBD offered some strong positive results. Here are some of the benefits of CBD for your furry friend.

1) Treating Epilepsy and Seizures

One of the most common neurological illnesses that vets see in dogs is seizure with seizures being distressing for both fur-parent and dogs alike.

In 2017, the AKC or American Kennel Club and CHF or Canine Health Foundation launched a CBD research drive to improving knowledge in this area. Studies revealed that CBD can reduce the frequency of seizure.

In some cases, those suffering from epilepsy have entered remission from a seizure while taking CBD. A research group is currently investigating the use of CBD oils in epileptic dogs and obtaining positive initial results.

2) Relieving Pain

Probably the best uses for both medical marijuana and hemp is its pain-relieving attributes. CBD is an active component in the suppression of inflammation and pain. Human studies don’t have conclusive proof of the pain-relief in clinical cases yet.

However, the PCR or Phytocannabinoid rich CBD oil has been shown to reduce inflammation by reducing the inflammatory cytokines in your pup’s body. This less inflammation can help in reducing pain and preventing disease in your pooch.

In addition, pancreatitis can be a potentially fatal disease for dogs. One component of its treatment is pain control which tends to be challenging in severe cases. CBD can provide another pain-relief modality for vets.

A study in mice revealed that CBD treatment has reduced enzyme activity in cases of acute pancreatic inflammation. Despite the less positive clinical evidence supporting CBD, pre-clinical trials have seen promising results in both humans and animals.

3) Prevent and Fight Cancer

Cancer is another disease that proponents of medical marijuana and CBD claim can be treated. A 2016 study of cervical cancer therapy has shown that purified CBD can cause an increase in the death of cervical cancer cells.

This is coupled with the results from another study in 2014, showing that cannabinoids can increase the destruction of lung cancer cells, thus suggesting the possible anti-tumorigenic effects of CBD and other cannabinoids.

4) Reducing Stiffness and Arthritis

Probably the most painful and common diseases in aging dogs are arthritis. And most of the recommended medications for pain management can have a nasty side effect on dogs, especially on their kidney and liver.

In a recent study conducted by Cornell University revealed that CBD given two times a day can help improve the mobility and comfort of dogs with naturally occurring osteoarthritis. The same study showed that 55% of other studies involving NSAIDs caused adverse effects. While CBD reported no side effects, making them a better alternative treatment option.

5) Easing Anxiety

Some dogs tend to develop severe separation anxiety, leading to distress and behavioral problems when left alone. Human research in social anxiety disorder revealed that CBD has some anxiolytic properties with patients reporting lower anxiety levels after being treated with CBD or hemp oil.

Now, you can find CBD-infused dog treats that claim to have the same anti-anxiety effects, however, conclusive evidence has yet to be published.

6) Treating Auto-Immune Disease

Although studies have yielded positive results of CBD in cases of chronic pain and inflammation in cancer patients, more recent findings have shown that it can also be useful in treating auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

These studies may be in their infancy, however, there are some promising results being published that can help sufferers of autoimmune diseases including dogs.

7) Prevention of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Another common disease in both dogs and humans alike, gut inflammation can be helped with NSAIDs in reducing the associated inflammation and pain. However, in dogs, NSAID can cause diarrhea and upset stomach which is quite counter-intuitive.

Part of the pain-relieving attributes that these medicines offer is the anti-inflammatory properties, which CBD also possesses. A study in 2008 shoes the CBD can selectively reduce inflammation in mouse intestines, indicating another possible application of CBD in dogs.

8) Ensuring Cardiovascular Health

CBD has been shown to protect against damage to blood vessels in diabetic people. In fact, CBD has shown positive results in reducing acute damage caused by a heart attack in rats.

Further research is still ongoing but the positive initial results mean that it is more likely applicable to dogs and humans.

9) Protecting the Nervous System

Dogs tend to live longer now than their ancestors, thus we are seeing more cases of possible neuro-degenerative disorders or senility in aging dogs.

Prevention and management of such disorders need more extensive investigations in dogs. However, there are promising signs for using CBD in treating and protecting the nervous system.

For one, Alzheimer’s disease has been studied extensively with some research revealing the CBD offers protective activity on neuronal tissues.

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Side Effects of CBD on Dogs

1) Tremors

Some pets may experience tremors or extreme shaking after taking CBD. You will need to consult your vet is you see this sign, particularly if you’re using CBD or hemp oil to control your doggo’s seizures.

2) Gastrointestinal Distress

Diarrhea and vomiting are some of the most common side effects that you will see when feeding your pup CBD. This is particularly true if your dog has a sensitive stomach. If so, make sure to use the smallest dosage at first to see how your pup copes.

3) Dry Mouth

CBD has also been shown to reduce saliva production. Thus, you might find yourself always filling up your dog’s water bowl more frequently.

4) Drowsiness or Lethargy

Dog parents using CBD to reduce their dog’s anxiety have found that their pups become lethargic or sleepy at higher doses.

5) Low Blood Pressure

CBD in high doses has been known to cause a significant drop in blood temperature temporarily. In dogs, this could create a brief feeling of light-headedness even in small drops.

Tips To Choosing The Best Hemp or CBD Oil For Your Dog

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1) Go Organic

As possible, you need to go with organic CBD oil to make sure that there are no pesticides or herbicides that can harm your dog. If you cannot find an organic CBD or hemp oil, then make sure that there are no additives or artificial ingredients added to the supplement in order to reduce the risks to your pet.

2) Verification and Analysis

The CBD or hemp oil should have a list of all ingredients used in the product. Also, you should be able to check the manufacturing site for the certificate showing how much CBD levels are in the oil. Also, make sure to take a look at 3rd party, independent testing results to ensure that you are giving only the highest quality product to your fur-baby.

3. Palatability

Finding a high-quality product for your dog can be daunting, especially for the picky eaters. Commercially available treats may contain lots of additives for taste and very little CBD.

The good news is that you can find different forms of CBD available including tinctures which are potent and highly concentrated forms of CBD you can mix or add to your pet’s favorite treats or meals.

Introducing CBD and Hemp Oil To Your Dog

CBD and hemp oil for dogs come in various forms. These include:

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1) Oils and Tinctures

The most common form is in potent oil and tincture that allow you to control the dose by a single drop for your pup to ingest or mixed in your pup’s food. Your dog will not even notice the addition of CBD or hemp oil to their water bowl or kibble.

2) Capsule

Capsules containing CBD oils are another way to introduce your pup to CBD. These can be trickier, particularly for smaller pooches. Your dog can bite and break the capsules, creating mess and waste of the contents.

Also, getting your pet to take the capsule by actually placing it into your dog’s throat can be quite stressful for both you and your pooch.

3) Topicals

For painful skin problems, topicals infused with CBD oil is a great option. These massage and cream oils can be massaged onto your pet’s skin. Just make sure that the ingredients of the product are safe for ingesting since your pooch will most likely lick and get a taste of what you’re rubbing onto his body.

4) CBD Treats

Lastly, commercial treats can offer you an easy and convenient method of providing CBD oil to your dog.

These are tasty morsels that your dog will surely love and will often do anything to get a bite. If you have a picky pooch, then CBD treats can help entice them to try CBD, starting with one treat per day depending on your dog’s weight and size.

Finding The Right Dosage

It is always recommended that you speak with your dog’s veterinarian before giving your dog CBD oil or hemp oil. Research conducted to date has shown that dogs have more CBD receptors into their CNS, making them more sensitive to the effects of CBD. This means careful and accurate dosing is even more crucial for your pooch’s safety.

It is always recommended that you start at the lowest dose possible, working up to a dose that offers the desired effects on your pooch. Like humans, dogs react in various ways to CBD, so you also need to factor in your pup’s size and weight.


However, if you have a sensitive dog, then you do not even need to use too much dosage as it will immediately show results. Otherwise, you can slowly increase the dose that you are giving over a few weeks. If you notice any negative side effects then you need to reduce the dose or stop it altogether.

One company suggests that you give your dog 1mg – 5mg per 10 pounds of weight during the first week. So, if your pet has never tasted any CBD containing products, then you can start at the lowest end of this range. If there’s no ill effect after using it for a week, then you can increase the dosage.

Meanwhile, studies on using CBD for treating seizures and arthritis in dogs use between 2mg – 8mg per kilo of weight, with most papers using the lower side of that estimate, at least 1mg 2mg per pound of body weight, two times a day. This dosage is considered safe and effective for just the conditions studied.

Now, if you’re using CBD to treat painful conditions of your dog, then you can give it at least 3 times per day. However, you need to start with once a day dosing, taking up to a number of weeks to reach the recommended therapeutic doses for dogs.

The Dangers of CBD Overdosing in Dogs

There are many claims saying that it is impossible to overdose on CBD. However, it is actually possible to overdose on anything, including water.

FDA states that if you think you overdosed your dog with CBD or hemp oil, then you need to contact your vet immediately. THC and CBD can cause fatal toxicities in huge amounts, especially for your already-sensitive pooch.

 Thus, it is always recommended that you only use the non-THC containing hemp oil or less potent CBD oil when treating your pup.

Some of the signs you need to watch for that indicate an overdose include:

  • Tremors
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Strange behaviors like unusual aggression or staring at the walls
  • Vomiting
  • Increased drooling

Can Vets Prescribe CBD For Dogs?

A recent online survey conducted by the Veterinary Information Network found out that 2/3 of respondents said that clients ask about the use of CBD oil and hemp oil for pets at least once a month.

There’s quite the mystery surrounding cannabis products and their possible applications in animal therapy. This is mainly because cannabis is, federally speaking, an illegal drug. Access and funding to cannabis have been limited for research because of the legal minefield around it.

Thus, the AVMA or American Veterinary Medical Association can’t take a firm stance on CBD use in pets without such research with some vets risking their medical license by just discussing CBD’s possible therapeutic indications for dogs.

US vets are still forbidden from dispensing or prescribing CBD and can’t instruct or encourage clients to purchase CBD products for dogs.


They can now, however, freely talk to you about the potential benefits and risks of a treatment plan that you may have devised on your own. So, if you’re considering giving your pooch CBD, then make sure to speak to your vet as well to a vet with experience in CBD.


Also, in February 2019, the AVMA published a document entitled “Cannabis: What Veterinarians Need to Know”. This document help vets advise their clients if asked about CBD oil and hemp oil for pets. It also contains more information in treating pets who may have exposure or intoxication to CBD.

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Final Thoughts

CBD oil and hemp oil for humans are still at the early stages of research. And its application for dogs is farther away to conclusive evidence, providing g efficacy and safety in treating ailments. With that said, these early indications are all returning positive and there’s anecdotal evidence of CBD oil and hemp oil efficacy in both humans and dogs.

Further research is still required to provide more precise information for vets and healthcare professionals to advise their clients about their dog’s health and a solid role of CBD in treating a wide range of conditions and diseases. Check our shop now

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