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Hemp Oil for Dogs: Vet-Reviewed Benefits & Uses

Written by: Beth Crane

Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog taking CBD hemp oil

Hemp Oil for Dogs: Vet-Reviewed Benefits & Uses


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Hemp and CBD (cannabidiol) oil for dogs are widely available, but their effects have not been studied enough to prove their effectiveness. Claims of anxiety relief, pain relief, and increased lifespan are commonly stated, but it can be difficult to determine what they can do for your dog. However, Hemp seed oil is different since it’s produced from the hemp plant’s seeds rather than the plant’s flesh and leaves. Hemp or CBD oil for dogs is produced using strains of hemp that are low in THC (typically Cannabis sativa) rather than those with higher levels. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component of cannabis and shouldn’t be given to dogs!

Hemp oils contain less than 0.3% THC concentration, making them suitable to give to most dogs. However, hemp oil does retain other cannabidiols, which can be beneficial for canines (and people), which we’ll cover below.

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Is Hemp Oil Good for Dogs? What Is It Used For?

Some recent studies have highlighted the possible benefits of hemp oil for dogs. Humans have been tapping into the cannabis plant’s medicinal properties for hundreds of years, but we are only just seeing its potential in modern medicine. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and hundreds of hemp and CBD products for pets now flood the market. Hemp oil may help alleviate pain and relieve inflammation.

husky taking hemp cbd oil
Image Credit: R+R Medicinals, Pixabay


One of the most studied effects of hemp oil on dogs has to do with pain. Dogs with arthritis were given doses of CBD oil twice a day, and researchers measured their pain activity levels after 4 weeks. The study showed a marked and significant decrease in pain and an increase in activity in dogs given the oil.1 This suggests that arthritic dogs, in particular, may benefit from hemp oil.


CBD may also help dogs with other inflammatory conditions (in theory). CBD is believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect on many dogs by interacting with receptors in a part of a dog’s body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is known to modulate pain signals and activation of inflammation. More research needs to be done outside of osteoarthritis to be able to say CBD and hemp oil can definitely help.

woman holding a dropper with an oil product
Image Credit: Matevz Kosterov, Shutterstock

Seizures and Epilepsy

Until recently, there was only anecdotal evidence that hemp and CBD oils worked to reduce seizures in dogs. A study conducted in 2022 saw promising results when dogs were given CBD oil, bolstering many owners’ claims that their dogs’ lives had improved after introducing the oil.2 However, this study only looked at the effectiveness of hemp oil when administered alongside other anti-seizure medication, so more studies need to be done to fully understand the effects cannabidiols might have on dogs with epilepsy and other seizure disorders.


Very few studies have investigated the effectiveness of hemp oil as an “anti-cancer” treatment. Cancer is a broad term that encompasses many types of cell mutations, so it’s likely that CBD would have different levels of effectiveness on each type of cancer. More studies need to be performed to confirm the effectiveness of hemp oil or CBD in treating canine cancers before veterinary medicine can use it further.

dog taking cbd hemp oil
Image Credit: Nuva Frames, Shutterstock


Recently, studies have looked into the behavioral effects of hemp oil on dogs. Dogs that are anxious or suffer from separation anxiety may benefit from a dose of hemp oil; studies have shown that even a single dose of THC-free CBD oil can positively affect a dog’s mood and anxiety levels.3 Many hemp treats and oils claim to have calming effects, but you should be cautious since different doses work differently on each dog, and there isn’t enough research to fully support these claims yet.

Are There Any Risks to Using Hemp Oil on My Dog?

While there can be benefits of using hemp oil, there are also risks you should be aware of. Like any medication (even if it’s natural), hemp oil can cause side effects. There are well-documented side effects of CBD use in people, which could also apply to your dog.

Side effects of hemp oil use may include:
  • Drowsiness
  • Drooling or dry mouth
  • Drops in blood pressure
  • Cardiac effects
  • Temperature changes

Before you give your dog hemp oil, always speak to your vet first to make sure it is suitable for them. Dogs with underlying health conditions may be more at risk of adverse effects, and they may interact with other medications.

Hemp and CBD oil are usually safe if given at the correct doses, and there has been some research on the safety of CBD and hemp products. However, the research indicated that there may be adverse changes to the liver when very high doses of hemp oil are given. If your dog suffers from liver problems, refrain from using hemp or CBD oils until you’ve run it by your vet.

Will Hemp Oil Get My Dog High?

Hemp oil cannot get your dog high! Hemp oil contains a very low dose of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. THC works slightly differently from CBD in the body. While both substances bind to cannabinoid systems in the body, THC binds to receptors in the brain that cause the “high.” CBD reacts differently and follows different pathways, which means dogs won’t get the heady, euphoric effects that THC causes.

smiling happy dog by the hand holding a bottle of hemp oil
Image Credit: Te9I, Shutterstock

Can I Give My Dog Cannabis?

You cannot give your dog cannabis. Cannabis contains high amounts of THC and is incredibly toxic to dogs. If a dog ingests cannabis, they will exhibit signs of toxicity between 30 and 60 minutes after it’s taken, and they’re all unpleasant. Dogs have more brain receptors that respond to cannabinoids than people, so their bodies respond more strongly to cannabis.

Most of the signs of cannabis toxicity are neurological and include:
  • Ataxia
  • Incoordination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Drooling
  • Vocalization
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Changes in respiration rate

Unfortunately, THC is stored in the body’s fat deposits, so the effects of cannabis toxicity can last for days. You should avoid giving your dog any THC products, including baked goods, teas, or inhaled cannabis. If you think your dog has ingested marijuana, medicinal or otherwise, they should be taken straight to the vet.


Final Thoughts

Hemp oil has many potential uses for dogs thanks to cannabidiols and their effects on the body. Hemp seed oil differs from hemp/CBD oil, and it’s pressed from the hemp plant’s seeds rather than taken from the leaves, flowers, and stems. Hemp oil can help dogs with pain, and there is promising research that it could help dogs suffering from epilepsy or anxiety problems, too. Before you try hemp oil on your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian. There are always dangers with any drug, despite hemp oil generally being safe for dogs to consume.

Featured Image Credit: iAmMrBenjamin, Shutterstock

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