Know The Difference: Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil for Dogs - My Blissful Pet

Know The Difference: Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil for Dogs

TL;DR: Key Takeaways for Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil for Dogs

  • Hemp oil for dogs: Hemp oil is a nutritional powerhouse, offering a blend of fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to support your dog's general wellness, maintaining a shining coat, and skin health. It has no intoxicating or psychoactive effects.
  • Therapeutic CBD: CBD oil has many therapeutic applications for issues like anxiety, joint pain, and inflammation without intoxicating and psychoactive effects.
  • Safety First: Neither hemp oil nor CBD oil should induce psychoactive responses in dogs. THC levels are expected to be below the legal 0.3% threshold, or even better, what you give your dog should be THC-free.
  • Quality Matters: Double-check the purity and safety of either oil by choosing products from reputable brands that show third-party lab testing. No lab testing = no go!
  • Veterinarian Involvement: Always consult your veterinarian when starting with new supplements like, especially if your dog is on other medications.
  • Dosage Diligence: Proper dosage is critical; start with the lowest recommended dose and adjust as necessary based on your vet's guidance and your dog’s responses.


I have four pets, and I can assure you that when it comes to their wellbeing, I want to know what's going on and be informed. You probably heard buzzwords like CBD oil and hemp oil, but a common mistake is using them interchangeably, since they are different things. After you read this, there will be no more wondering about the hemp oil vs. CBD oil for dogs debate.

Could they be the panacea for your dog's anxiety, joint pain, or age-related issues? Or is it simply more health food hype? Let's focus on facts and focus on their similarities, differences, uses, benefits, and more importantly, their safety. It's vital to grasp the differences between hemp oil and CBD oil, as each has unique components with distinct benefits and indications. From the organic hemp fields to the meticulous extraction processes, you’re looking for peace of mind and a happier, healthier doggy.

What Is Hemp Seed Oil for Dogs?

Hemp oil is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, and it is a health supplement of increasing popularity among pet owners. It’s not to be confused with CBD oil, which is obtained from the plant's leaves, flowers, and stems. Hemp oil comes packed with an array of nutritional benefits. Firstly, it’s rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, in a ratio considered optimal for your pet’s health. Omega fatty acids play crucial roles in reducing inflammation, supporting skin and coat health, and could even boost cognitive functions.

The Origins and Nutritional Profile of the Hemp Plant

The origins of hemp oil lie in the agricultural cultivation of the hemp plant, known scientifically as Cannabis sativa. Unlike its close cousin marijuana, hemp contains only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound associated with the 'high' in humans. For this reason, hemp oil doesn’t have psychoactive effects and is legal in many places where marijuana is not.

In terms of the nutritional profile of hemp seed oil, it's not just the fatty acids that make it favorable; the oil also serves as a source of important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Moreover, it contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that has been linked to anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits Hemp oil vs CBD oil

Is Hemp Safe for Dogs?

Hemp, or hemp oil, is very safe as it offers a cocktail of benefits without the risk of intoxication. Given its non-psychoactive nature, it can enrich your pet’s diet naturally. It's extracted through a cold press process, retaining most of its nutritional content and without solvents or additives that could harm your pet.

When selecting a hemp oil product for your dog, it's essential to consider quality and purity. Opt for organic, non-GMO products that provide a full breakdown of their nutrient composition. Given the expanding popularity of hemp-based supplements, it's crucial to select reputable brands that engage in third-party lab testing to verify the product contents and purity.

In the grander health canvas of your dog’s life, hemp oil could be the supplemental touch that supports their well-being. However, it's not a cure-all and should be a part of a comprehensive health plan discussed with your veterinarian.

What Are The Benefits of CBD Oil?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over a hundred phytochemicals called cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. CBD is not psychoactive, unlike THC, and is primarily extracted from the hemp species of cannabis because of its high CBD and low THC levels. Scientific research on CBD's benefits for dogs is still in its early stages, but existing studies and anecdotal evidence suggest it can help with chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and seizures.

CBD works by interacting with several receptors, where the most common ones reside within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Present in all mammals, the ECS is a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that helps maintain balance in the body, known as homeostasis. 

One of the most significant areas of CBD research in veterinary science revolves around its anti-inflammatory properties and its role in pain management. A study published in the Journal of Pain Research suggests that CBD could offer a new class of treatment for chronic pain, which could also apply to managing discomfort in pets.

While the science is promising, the unregulated nature of the CBD market can pose challenges. It's critical for pet parents to look for high-quality, pure CBD, preferably organic and sourced from reputable growers. Always ensure the product has been tested by a third-party laboratory to confirm its cannabinoid profile and verify the absence of harmful contaminants like heavy metals or pesticides.

“[...] results fit with prior studies suggesting anti-stress effects of CBD. Ratings were higher for the broad spectrum as compared to the isolate product, which is consistent with prior data suggesting that cannabinoids can work synergistically to maximize benefits. Nonetheless, more controlled studies are needed to explore these effects in nonclinical and clinical populations." Med Cannabis Cannabinoids . 2023 Nov 6;6(1):138-147

Key Takeaways:

  • The ECS in pets is a target for the therapeutic effects of CBD.
  • CBD is non-psychoactive and may help manage various health issues in pets.
  • High-quality, third-party tested CBD is essential for your pet's safety.


Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate: Which One is Best for Your Dog?

You'll notice that every product is labeled as full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate. Understanding which product is suitable for your dog is central to ensuring they reap the potential benefits safely and effectively.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains a wide range of naturally occurring compounds from the cannabis plant, including THC, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. As mentioned earlier, this combination may create the entourage effect, whereby the therapeutic impact of the whole plant is greater than its individual parts. Full-spectrum oils can provide a more comprehensive approach to targeting the ECS, potentially aiding in more complex conditions such as chronic stress or anxiety, immune issues, and severe pain. Yet, THC is toxic for dogs and cats, so your best option is not to use it for your pet unless necessary.

Broad-spectrum CBD mostly differs from full spectrum because it has no THC. Broad-spectrum CBD contains a wide range of cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds found in the cannabis plant, but it has been refined to remove all traces of THC. This means that you (or your pet) can still experience the potential benefits of the entourage effect, where the various compounds in the cannabis plant work together synergistically, without the psychoactive effects of THC. This makes broad-spectrum CBD a safer and more popular choice for pets. 

On the other hand, CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol, free from other cannabinoids, terpenes, and additional plant compounds. This option might be the go-to for dogs with specific dietary sensitivities or for those cautious about introducing a broad array of compounds. Even though isolated CBD may lack the entourage effect, it can still provide significant benefits, especially for conditions requiring a precise CBD dosing, like certain types of seizures.


Key Takeaways:

  • Full-spectrum products offer the holistic benefits of the cannabis plant, but have THC.
  • Broad-spectrum products have all compounds but THC
  • CBD isolate contains pure CBD solution without additional compounds.
  • The entourage effect of full- and broad-spectrum CBD may enhance its therapeutic benefits.
  • Choosing between them should be based on your pet's specific needs and health goals.


Feature Hemp Oil CBD Oil CBD Isolate
Source Extracted from hemp seeds Extracted from leaves, flowers, and stalks of the hemp plant Pure CBD isolated from the hemp plant, with no other compounds
Main Components High in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins E, minerals Rich in cannabinoids, particularly CBD Pure cannabidiol (CBD) without other cannabinoids or terpenes
Primary Benefits Nutritional support, promotes skin and coat health, anti-inflammatory properties Therapeutic effects, potential relief from anxiety, pain, and inflammation Targeted CBD benefits without the effects of other cannabinoids
Psychoactive Effects None, as it contains little to no THC None if containing less than 0.3% THC as legally required for pet products None, as it is purely CBD without THC
Legal Status Widely legal as it is considered a food product Legal under the 2018 Farm Bill if it contains less than 0.3% THC Legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, similar to CBD oil
Usage Recommendation It can be used daily as part of the diet. Often used for specific health concerns, should follow veterinarian advice Recommended for precise dosing and specific conditions, best used under guidance

What's the Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?

While both oils are derived from the same plant – Cannabis sativa – they are distinct products with different applications for your dog. 

Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant without including flowers or leaves. It is primarily a nutritional supplement, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in hemp, vitamins, and minerals, offering general wellness benefits. Importantly, hemp oil contains negligible levels of cannabinoids like CBD or THC.

Contrastingly, CBD is extracted from hemp plant's flowers, leaves, and stalks and contains higher concentrations of cannabinoids, including CBD. 

Non-Psychoactive Components: In line with federal guidelines, both hemp and CBD products should contain less than 0.3% THC, ensuring they are non-psychoactive and won't cause a 'high'. However, due to its low cannabinoid content, hemp oil virtually lacks any risk of psychoactive effects, making it a safe nutritional supplement for your dog.

The Role of THC in Hemp and CBD Products: It's crucial to ensure that the products you choose contain minimal or no THC to protect your dog. Both hemp oil and hemp-derived CBD supplements are generally safe because they are meant to have THC levels below this threshold, yet, as we always say, no THC is better.

"This retrospective observational study suggests CBD-rich treatment has a beneficial impact on pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms as well as overall wellbeing only for patients with moderate to severe symptoms; however, no observed effect on mild symptoms." J Cannabis Res. 2021; 3: 19.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hemp oil or capsules is a nutritional supplement, while CBD is used for its therapeutic potential.
  • The primary difference lies in the parts of the cannabis plant used for extraction.
  • Both oils should not cause psychoactive effects due to low or no THC content.

Can CBD Oil Alleviate Joint Pain in Dogs?

Cannabidiol has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help in reducing joint inflammation, a common cause of pain in conditions like arthritis. Unlike traditional pain medication, CBD does not have the same risk of side effects; it offers a more natural approach that can improve mobility and pain management in dogs.

Research in veterinary science supports these claims. A study from the Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine showed that CBD can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. The study also noted that over 80% of the dogs showed a significant decrease in pain and improvement in mobility (ref 1).

benefits hemp oil vs cbd oil - dosage


However, it's important to start with a low dosage and consult your veterinarian, particularly because dogs vary in size, weight, and health status. Your vet can help you determine the correct dosage and monitor your dog's response to CBD. Additionally, when selecting a product, ensure it's specifically designed for pets to avoid any harmful additives or inappropriate THC levels.Dr. 

 [...] Veterinarians can now recommend and discuss CBD oil with all clients, says Joseph J. Wakshlag, section chief and professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University

Do The Benefits of Hemp Oil Also Include Joint Pain Relief?

When it comes to joint pain, hemp oil may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Unlike CBD, hemp oil primarily offers its benefits through its rich nutritional profile. In particular, the balanced presence of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hemp oil may indirectly benefit joint health.

The anti-inflammatory properties of these fatty acids suggest that they could play a role in managing the symptoms of conditions like arthritis and osteoarthritis, albeit more subtly than direct intervention with cannabinoids like CBD. Indeed, omega fatty acids help maintain cell membrane structure and produce prostaglandin, which reduces inflammation (ref 2,3).

While there is no direct conclusive research confirming hemp oil alone as a remedy for joint pain in dogs, its overall contribution to a nutritional diet can support joint function. It may contribute to a holistic approach to managing canine joint health. As with any supplement, considering your pet's individual health status and discussing with your veterinarian will ensure the safest and most beneficial use of hemp oil.

This does not recommend that hemp oil is a cure for joint pain, but rather a potentially beneficial component of a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet that can support joint health and overall wellness in dogs.


Choosing the Right Product for Your Dog

Quality and Purity

Start by looking for third-party lab test results, which should be readily available from reputable brands. These tests analyze the CBD content and screen for the presence of pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents that could prove harmful to your pet. Products that don’t provide these results should be approached with caution.

What's the Source of Hemp?

Consider the source of the hemp used in the CBD or hemp products. High-quality products often come from local farms that cultivate non-GMO, organic hemp, reducing the likelihood of contaminant exposure. A clear statement about the sourcing of hemp indicates transparency and quality assurance from the manufacturer.

What Was The Extraction Method?

CO2 extraction is considered the industry standard, as it doesn’t rely on solvents that could leave harmful residues in the final product. Ethanol extraction is another safe method, provided that it's done correctly.

What Carrier Oil Was Used?

The carrier oil used can affect the digestibility and efficacy of CBD. Common carrier oils include hemp seed oil, coconut oil (MCT), and olive oil – all known for their own health benefits and aids to enhance CBD's bioavailability.

Find The Right Dose

Reliable products clearly label dosage recommendations, tailored to different pet sizes and weights, alongside the concentration of cannabinoids per each dose. Steer clear of brands with vague dosing instructions, as precision is crucial for your dog's safety.

"I recommend choosing CBD products for pets that have clear labels, transparent sourcing, and come from companies that prioritize quality at every stage," states a leading pet CBD researcher.

Key Takeaways:

  • Third-party lab testing is essential for verifying product safety and content.
  • Quality oil is made  with non-GMO, organic hemp.
  • CO2 extraction method is preferred for safety and purity.
  • Carrier oils are critical for CBD's absorption and efficacy.

How to Safely Introduce CBD to Your Pet

  • Vehicle: There is no single way to give your dog supplements. For example, you don't need to use oils, dog treats with CBD can work magic too.
  • Start Slowly: Start with a low dosage of CBD and observe your dog's reaction to the supplement. Keep an eye on any positive changes or on any signs of sensitivity or adverse reactions. Gradually increase the dosage as needed or as recommended by the dosage guide or your veterinarian.
  • Consistency: Administer CBD at regular intervals, better if with food.


FAQs on CBD oil and Hemp oil:

What are the potential side effects of giving my dog hemp oil or CBD oil?

  • What are the potential side effects of giving my dog hemp oil or CBD oil? Hemp oil is generally considered safe for dogs and typically does not cause adverse reactions due to its nutritional nature. However, in some cases, CBD oil may lead to side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, or slight changes in appetite or gastrointestinal upset. Always start with a low dose of CBD oil and monitor your pet's response.

Can I give my dog CBD oil or Hemp oil if they are already on other medications?

  • Can I give my dog hemp or CBD oil if they are already on medication? It's crucial to consult with your vet before combining hemp oil or CBD oil with any other medications. While hemp oil is predominantly a nutritional supplement, CBD oil can interact with some medications, either enhancing or diminishing their effects.

Are there specific breeds or sizes of dogs that benefit more from one or the other?

  • Are there specific breeds or sizes of dogs that benefit more from one or the other? The benefits of hemp oil and CBD oil are generally consistent across breeds and sizes, with the main consideration being the dosage, which should be adjusted based on the dog's weight and individual health needs.

How long does it typically take to see the improvements in my dog?

  • How long does it typically take to see improvements in my dog? The timeframe for noticing improvements can vary depending on the dog and the condition being addressed. Some owners report seeing benefits from hemp oil within a few days to weeks due to improved coat quality or general wellness. For CBD oil, effects can be seen as soon as 30 minutes to an hour for acute issues like anxiety, while chronic conditions like joint pain may require consistent usage over several weeks.

Are these products for dogs regulated by any government agency? 

  • Are these products for dogs regulated by any government agency? In the U.S., hemp oil is regulated more like a food product, while the FDA has yet to issue specific regulations for CBD products. This means it's up to the consumer to ensure they are purchasing from reputable brands that adhere to quality and safety standards.

In the end...what oil is best for my pet?

  • What oil is best for my pet? This will depend greatly from what your pet needs. One of the main differences is that hemp oil can help with overall wellness and inflammation, while CBD oil is best for dogs that have a more interventional need, like dogs with anxiety or joint pain. 






Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.