What Are Hemp Seeds?
You may be wondering: what exactly is a hemp seed? Technically, hemp seeds are a type of nut. They come from the hemp plant and are often referred to as hemp hearts. Although they are related to the cannabis plant, they have little to no THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana). This means that eating hemp seeds will not make you or your dog high.
Hemp seeds are a good source of iron, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They can be by themselves or as hemp seed oil.
Benefits of Hemp Seeds
The nutritional benefits of hemp seed lead to plenty of health benefits for your dog. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids provide nourishment to your dog’s skin and coat. These fatty acids are essential for keeping your dog’s skin moisturized and preventing a brittle coat. There are other benefits, such as reducing inflammation and allergies and slowing the spread of cancer.
Hemp also has a high concentration of arginine, an essential amino acid. Arginine works with oxygen to produce nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. This is instrumental to protecting your dog’s heart health and preventing heart disease.
Other benefits of hemp seeds include boosting the immune system, brain processes, fertility, and general organ function.
Is Hemp Safe for Dogs?
Due to the many benefits, hemp seeds are generally considered safe for dogs to consume. However, you should consult your vet before making hemp seeds a regular part of your dog’s diet. In fact, you should consult your vet anytime you plan to make large changes to your dog’s diet, period.
If any issues occur with feeding your dog hemp seed, they might be due to an improper dosage. The phrase “everything in moderation” applies especially to your dog’s diet. Too much of one thing, even a good thing, can cause problems. With hemp seed, the largest issue you could encounter with an overdosage is gastrointestinal upset.
Also, never give your dog hemp seed oil that is designed for humans. If you plan on giving your dog hemp seed oil, make sure that you purchase a canine variety. Human dosages are too potent for pets.
What You Need to Know About Hemp Seeds Before You Give Them to Your Dog
Hemp seed and hemp seed oil may be safe for dogs, but it is still important to feed them to your dog properly to avoid issues. If you plan on feeding your dog hemp seed oil, avoid serving it alongside chicken. Both hemp seed oil and chicken have a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid. If your dog has too much, it could cause an imbalance in his fat intake. It is best to feed your dog hemp seed oil alongside beef or the meat of another ungulate mammal.
How to Give Your Dog Hemp Seed
Hemp seeds can be served alone, but it’s better to mix them with your dog’s food. You should speak to your vet to determine how much you should mix into your dog’s food. For a general idea, small breed dogs can consume 1 teaspoon, while large breed dogs may get up to 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds in their food.
1. Find the Right Dosage for Hemp Seed Oil
Like the seeds, you can consult your vet to determine how much hemp seed oil is right for your dog. The amount will be largely based on your dog’s size, so make sure to weigh your dog to determine the exact weight.
2. Test for Allergies
Before feeding hemp seed oil to your dog, ensure that he is not allergic. Place a drop of hemp seed oil on a patch of your dog’s skin and cover it so your dog cannot lick it off. Monitor the spot for at least 24 hours for signs of burning, redness, or irritation.
If your dog shows no signs of irritation from the hemp seed oil, start giving him small doses in his food that can gradually increase to his proper dosage amount. If you see signs of an allergy, such as diarrhea, vomiting, swelling, hives, sneezing, or itchiness, stop feeding him and take your dog to the vet immediately.
Hemp seed and hemp seed oil are known for their health benefits, such as nourishing the skin and coat, boosting the health of your dog’s heart, and providing support for his entire body. Although hemp seeds can benefit your pet, some dogs may not like the taste and choose to avoid them. Regardless of which supplements you add to your dog’s diet, always stay in regular contact with your vet and closely monitor your dog while introducing new things to his palate.