Benefits of Hemp Seeds and Hemp Oil for Dogs
Hemp is considered a superfood, meaning that is packed full of awesome nutrition that benefits not only humans but our canine companions as well. In this post, we'll dive into the benefits of hemp seeds and hemp oil for dogs and how to boost the nutritional content of your dog’s food by adding hemp.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man, with evidence showing that it has been used for thousands of years in the textile industry, including to make paper, rope, canvas, and clothing.
According to the Columbia History of the World, a piece of hemp fabric serves as the earliest relic of the textile industry, dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
Since hemp has been discovered as a superfood, it has become popular as a dietary ingredient, including as hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp protein powder, and even hemp milk. In fact, the dietary uses for hemp seem to be continually expanding. And the good news is that hemp not only benefits humans, but it’s also a superfood for our canine companions.
If you are put off by dietary hemp because it comes from the cannabis plant, which is famous as marijuana, don’t worry. There are many different varieties of cannabis. Dietary hemp sold at your health food store is known as “industrial hemp” and is a non-psychoactive (less than 1% THC) variety of Cannabis sativa L. Cannabis sativa actually means“useful hemp” in Latin. So, although hemp and marijuana do come from the same cannabis species, they are genetically different.
Top Benefits of Hemp Seeds and Hemp Oil for Dogs
- Excellent Source of Linoleic Acid: Hemp seeds contain high levels of the essential omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA), which is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Linoleic Acid is the most important omega-6 fatty acid for dogs because it is used to produce other omega-6 fatty acids. And, since dogs can’t produce it in their bodies, it must come from the diet. Linoleic acid is also especially important for the health of a dog’s skin and coat, as it allows the skin to become permeable to water. If your dog suffers from a dry or brittle coat, adding some hemp oil to their diet may solve the problem.
- Highly Digestible: The hemp plant is full of fibers. This is good news for dogs, especially those with digestive issues who already have a difficult time extracting and digesting nutrients from their diet.
- Provides a Protein Punch: Hemp is higher in protein than any other plant-based source, except for soy. However, hemp is a far better choice than soy, given the massive problems of giving soy to dogs, including food intolerances and the fact that soy is an endocrine disruptor that is also typically genetically modified and contains high levels of dangerous Roundup herbicide (unless using organic soy). Hemp contains an astonishing 33g of protein per 100 grams of seeds!
- Packed of vitamins and antioxidants: Hemp contains the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, vitamin E, B vitamins (including folate) and a variety of antioxidants. Hemp is also the only known plant food source to provide vitamin D3.
- Excellent source of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA): GLA is an essential Omega-6 fatty acid and it is natural properties have been proven to prevent inflammation and benefit conditions such as arthritis. In fact, researchers in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology found that the GLA found in hemp seeds reduced arthritis symptoms by 25% compared to the placebo at 4%. Once again, this is because the perfect balance of fatty acids helps to reduce inflammation naturally.
- Support the digestive system: Hemp provides beneficial fiber that can help remove toxins from the GI system and regulate the digestive process.
- Support heart health: Studies conducted on both animals and humans have found that hemp seeds can help promote a healthy cardiovascular system due to their plant-based fiber content, protein, and healthy fat content.
How Hemp Seed Oil Works
Your dog has substances in his body called prostaglandins. These are like hormones and they circulate around the body, helping to smooth muscle contractions, control inflammation, regulate the body temperature and other vital functions.
The GLA that’s abundant in hemp seed is a building block for prostaglandins. Researchers are looking at GLA supplementation today as an important component of proper hormone health and development.
How Much To Give
So, our dose recommendation is related to your dog body size. For example, if your dog is a small dog we suggest starting with 1/4 dropper, for medium size dog half dropper and for large size dog an entire dropper. It is better to start to one dose per day and increment to maximum two doses per day!
Try adding some to your dog’s diet and learn why this ancient superfood is making such a huge comeback!