Hemp Treats For Dogs and Other Pets: Are They Healthy?

Christine Colbert October 15, 2020 0 comments

Hemp treats for dogs and other pets can be a nutritional boost.

Pet friendly hemp and CBD treats for dogs, cats, and other animals have become more popular than ever. However – multiple questions still surround them, and multiple aspects still confuse pet owners. Things like dosing, proof of health benefits, and more. For example, do you know the difference between treats made for hemp seed oil versus cannabidiol? To clear up that and more, here’s RxLeaf’s guide to hemp treats for dogs (and other furry friends, too).

These pet treats suffer a bit of a crisis of identity. CBD Treats for dogs are often referred to as “hemp treats” and vice versa. But are these really the same thing?  

Yes and no. You can find cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, in the hemp plant. But, not all hemp oil products contain the cannabinoid. In fact, oil made from hemp seeds doesn’t contain any CBD. That’s why it’s important to know which part of the plant was used in a particular product, and which potential health benefits these may have for a canine friend.

Hemp Seed Oil for Dogs

While it doesn’t contain any CBD, hemp seed oil does contain valuable nutrients, which are beneficial to the health of humans and dogs alike. It’s made through a process of pressing hemp seeds together until an oil is squeezed out. Again, there are no cannabinoids present in hemp seeds. However, these are a good source of protein, essential fatty acids (like omega-3 and omega-6), and amino acids. 

Basically, hemp seed oil can be regarded as a nutritional supplement that is safe for pets. It also doesn’t contain any THC, which is toxic to animals. It’s a great source of fiber and easy to digest. Amino acids are beneficial to a dog’s coat. Healthy fats, like omega-3 and omega-6, support the maintenance of an appropriate weight and a properly functioning immune system. Additionally, protein can help maintain a dog’s energy levels. Those fatty acids can also potentially help ease troubling skin allergies and conditions.

CBD Treats for Dogs

Now, if a so-called “hemp oil” is made using parts from the Cannabis sativa plant, it will likely have CBD in it. Be warned, however, that many of the pet treats on the market today are “hemp treats,” as described above. The term has become interchangeable with “CBD treats.” To make sure a particular product does indeed contain this anti-inflammatory cannabinoid, check the label. Look for words like “cannabidiol,” “phytocannabinoid,” or “whole plant.” 

CBD treats are safe for dogs, and there have already been a few studies into their efficacy.  A small study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science (2018), 1)Boesch, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Frontiers, 2 July 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full. found that a daily dose of CBD could increase comfort levels and activity in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.

Further, a study2)Randomized Blinded Controlled Clinical Trial to Assess the Effect of Oral Cannabidiol Administration in Addition to Conventional Antiepileptic Treatment on Seizure Frequency in Dogs with Intractable Idiopathic Epilepsy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association | Vol 254 , No 11, avmajournals.avma.org/doi/10.2460/javma.254.11.1301. published in 2019 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association sought to discover whether or not CBD could help dogs with epilepsy, since the cannabinoid has been so effective in treating humans. Researchers concluded that CBD oil could potentially reduce seizures in dogs without causing any harmful side effects.

And anecdotal reports are widespread. Pet owners laud CBD for easing inflammation, anxiety, nausea, and seizures in dogs. However, science has yet to fully confirm these findings. Importantly, it is of note that a study published in Toxicology Communications (2018),3)Greb, Alexandra, and Birgit Puschner. Cannabinoid Treats as Adjunctive Therapy for Pets: Gaps in Our Knowledge. Taylor & Francis, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24734306.2018.1434470?af=R.concluded that observations from pet owners are generally unreliable, as they are likely to be overly optimistic.

Nevertheless, the basic nutritional elements present in the Cannabis sativa plant and its seeds can benefit most dogs, and potentially even cats, too. At the time of publication, there were no conclusive studies on how CBD affects cats. Veterinary professionals generally consider hemp seed oil safe for felines. However, science has not yet delved into how cats metabolize cannabinoids, and administration of cannabinoids should be at the owner’s own risk. It is also important to consult a qualified veterinarian.

How to Safely Give Your Dog Hemp

When giving a dog CBD oil, it’s very important to consult a veterinarian first. Veterinary science is still playing catch up with cannabinoid research and CBD might not be the best option for some dogs or some conditions. Additionally, there can be contraindications with other meds, especially anti-seizure. 

Unlike THC, which is never safe for dogs, CBD does not cause intoxication. This is due to CBD’s inability to bind to, or activate, a dog’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, even though CBD can be safe for many dogs, that doesn’t mean that human CBD oil is. Pet-friendly CBD oil makers carefully manufacture it using ingredients that do not harm dogs. Human CBD oil, on the other hand, often comes with ingredients like grapeseed oil and xylitol. These are both toxic to animals.

By talking with a veterinarian first, pet owners can find out whether or not CBD oil is safe for their dog or cat. And in addition, a veterinarian can advise on the correct daily dosage. It’s possible that a dosage too high in CBD could be harmful for pets. A veterinarian can also give pet owners a list of possible side effects to look out for.

For pet owners sticking with hemp seed oil as a supplement, there are some simple recipes for making healthy, delicious dog treats at home. This way, conscientious pet parents can monitor exactly how much hemp seed oil goes into each cookie. For simple, safe, and easy hemp treats for dogs, check out recipes like this one.

References   [ + ]

1.Boesch, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Frontiers, 2 July 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full.
2.Randomized Blinded Controlled Clinical Trial to Assess the Effect of Oral Cannabidiol Administration in Addition to Conventional Antiepileptic Treatment on Seizure Frequency in Dogs with Intractable Idiopathic Epilepsy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association | Vol 254 , No 11, avmajournals.avma.org/doi/10.2460/javma.254.11.1301.
3.Greb, Alexandra, and Birgit Puschner. Cannabinoid Treats as Adjunctive Therapy for Pets: Gaps in Our Knowledge. Taylor & Francis, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24734306.2018.1434470?af=R.

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