small brown and white dog looking up

What Does Hemp Do for Dogs?

Posted by Lianne McLeod D.V.M. on

small brown and white dog looking up

This article is not a substitute for veterinary diagnosis or treatment of any condition, symptom, or disease. Please consult with your veterinarian before using hemp seed oil products on your pet.

At Lolahemp, we prioritize empowering our customers with knowledge about CBD and its potential health benefits. This article serves as your comprehensive guide to understanding this natural product, its mechanisms, and the three decades of scientific research backing CBD.

If you're interested in learning more about CBD for Catsclick here.

Understanding Dog Hemp Oil


Understanding Hemp Oil for Dogs

CBD, short for cannabidiol, represents one of over 80 "cannabinoids" present in the cannabis family. CBD for pets is specifically derived from the hemp plant, a subset of cannabis strains legally mandated to contain less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another prominent cannabinoid.

For pet owners, the low THC content in hemp is crucial. THC is the psychoactive compound abundant in medical and recreational marijuana, responsible for the associated "high." Interestingly, our furry friends exhibit heightened sensitivity to elevated THC levels. Research suggests this may be due to an increased number of endocannabinoid receptors in the brain.

understanding cbd, active ingredient in hemp for pets

In contrast, substantial amounts of CBD do not induce psychoactive effects. Decades of research have focused on exploring the potential health and wellness benefits of CBD. Notably, CBD is deemed safe to include in your dog's diet.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a pivotal role in balancing numerous natural processes within the body, influencing aspects such as mood, sleep, immune system function, digestion, skin health, pain, inflammation responses, and more.  

As illustrated in the chart below, there are three distinct classes of cannabinoids. Among them are endocannabinoids, which the body produces as part of its endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Next, we have pythocannabinoids, which occur naturally in the hemp plant. Finally, we have synthetic cannabinoids which are developed in a lab to mimic the action of natural cannabinoids.

Three Classes of Cannabinoids Infographic

The Difference Between CBD and Hemp Oil

The distinction between CBD and hemp oil lies in their composition, extraction methods, and primary uses. Let's take a look at both to get a better idea of their differences.


cbd oil, how it's made

CBD oil is typically produced to feature cannabidiol as the sole active ingredient. CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant, although the CBD is synthesized out in most cases. It is then mixed with other ingredients such as carrier oils and possibly flavoring agents.

These additional ingredients are important to understand when choosing a product for your pet. It's a good idea to have your veterinarian take a look at the ingredients before you make a selection.


CBD is derived from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the hemp plant, specifically cultivated for high CBD content. It contains cannabidiol (CBD) as the primary active ingredient.

Extraction Method 

CBD extraction involves various methods such as CO2 extraction or ethanol extraction, focusing on isolating CBD from other cannabinoids and compounds.

Primary Uses 

CBD is valued for its potential therapeutic benefits and is commonly used for managing conditions like anxiety, pain, inflammation, and certain neurological disorders. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body.

Hemp Oil

hemp oil, how it's made

Hemp oil is produced from the hemp plants grown to be high in CBD and low in THC. By law, hemp plants cannot contain more than 0.3% THC or else they fall into another category and cannot be sold as "hemp."

Hemp oil contains CBD in addition to a host of other potentially beneficial non-psychoactive cannabinoids. The presence of these additional compounds contributes to what is known as "the entourage effect," which suggests that multiple cannabinoids work together to produce more significant results.


Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. It contains negligible amounts of THC, but significant amounts of CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Extraction Method

Hemp oil extraction typically involves a process where seeds are cold pressed to extract the oil while preserving its nutritional and phytocannabic profiles.

Primary Uses

Hemp oil is primarily used in pets for the same purposes as CBD oil. Hemp oil is also a polyunsaturated fat rich in essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 (gamma-linolenic acid), vitamins, and minerals. 

If you want to learn more about the differences between various oils associated with hemp & cannabis, read the following article: 

Hemp Seed Oil, Hemp Oil, and CBD Oil for Dogs: What's the Difference?

How Does CBD Work?

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological functions. Here's how CBD works in dogs, along with relevant links to veterinary research on each subject.

lolahemp for pets, endocannabinoid system details
  1. Promoting Relaxation: CBD helps promote relaxation by influencing serotonin receptors in the brain, which can help reduce stress and anxiety in your furry friend. Studies have shown up to 83% of dogs showing a measurable benefit.

  2. Skin Conditions: CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate symptoms associated with uncomfortable skin conditions like itching, redness, dry nose, and atopic dermatitis. (1)

  3. Inflammatory Response: CBD interacts with receptors in the ECS to help regulate inflammation throughout the body, which is beneficial for dogs with inflammatory conditions and issues with their gut health. (2)

  4. Liver Function: CBD has been shown to affect liver enzymes involved in drug metabolism, so it's essential to monitor liver function when administering CBD to dogs, especially if they are on other medications.

  5. Heart Disease: Preliminary research suggests that CBD may have cardio-protective effects and could potentially help manage symptoms associated with heart disease in dogs.

  6. Joint Pain: CBD's anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate joint pain and improve joint health in dogs with conditions such as arthritis. (2)

  7. Psychoactive Properties: Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it won't make your dog "high" or produce any intoxicating effects.

  8. Overall Health: CBD may be beneficial for managing a variety of health issues in dogs, including chronic pain relief and inflammation, and supporting cognitive function and overall well-being.

the benefits of hemp oil, cbd oil for dogs

Is CBD Legal?

Yes. The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp products legal in all 50 states. And, CBD for pets is available without a prescription. 

That being said, there are strict regulations on the legal classification of hemp, farming, and labeling of hemp-based products. Many of these regulations are still being worked out as states transition from the prohibition of all cannabis products to the federal legalization of hemp, a special class of cannabis with less than .3% of the psychoactive compound THC.  

What Does “Full-Spectrum” Mean?

When it comes to dogs and CBD, there are two main classifications: Full spectrum and CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate

Unless a CBD product is labeled as full-spectrum, it's usually based on a CBD isolate formula. During extraction, chemical and mechanical processes are used to refine and isolate the specific compound CBD, usually into a powder, before adding this purified powder to tinctures, edibles, and topicals. 

Products based on CBD isolate usually contain zero THC. This is often used as a selling point. However, critics of CBD isolate products point out that they lack the supportive healing effects of a whole plant cannabinoid profile, known by researchers as “The Entourage Effect.”

Full-Spectrum CBD

On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD products carefully refine the whole hemp plant with gentle methods to preserve the delicate balance of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes found in hemp.

Broad spectrum is the same as full spectrum in most cases, although some companies might use the term “broad spectrum” if they've removed one or two compounds from their product.

There is research to support the idea that full-spectrum oils are more effective because, even in trace amounts, the other compounds found in hemp seed oil have a synergistic healing effect.

That said, not all full-spectrum products are the same. Be sure to view a third-party lab's examination of any CBD before you buy. Here at Lolahemp, our hemp seed oil for dogs is a robust full-spectrum oil that contains a wide range of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that are naturally occurring in the hemp plant. 

Want to be sure? Check out our Lab Tests

Are CBD and Hemp Oil Safe for Dogs?

CBD and hemp seed oil are generally considered safe for dogs when used appropriately and in moderation. However, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian before administering any new supplement or treatment to your furry friend, especially if your pet has pre-existing health conditions or is currently taking medications.

That being said, major longitudinal clinical tests are still lacking. Many vets and pet parents alike need to weigh the risks and benefits in context. For example, many commonly prescribed veterinary medications have known side effects, some debilitating and severe (see table below). 

In addition, CBD can interact with other medications, similar to other foods and medications classed as CYP450 metabolic pathway inhibitors. 

We go into greater detail in our article CBD Oil for Dogs: Potential Drug Interactions

Side Effects of Commonly Prescribed Medications For Dogs Infograph

How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog?

The appropriate dosage of CBD for your dog depends on various factors, including their size, weight, age, overall health, and the specific condition you're addressing. According to research, CBD has a wide range of safe dosing parameters.

For example, a starting dosage for a small dog weighing about 10 pounds is typically around 0.05 to 0.25 milligrams of CBD per pound of body weight, administered once or twice daily.

The general rule of thumb is to start low and increase slowly until the desired results are achieved. 

Lolahemp Regular Strength Dosing Guide

How Do I Give It To My Dog?

CBD can be administered both topically or orally

For example, if you purchase a CBD oil tincture then you can place the drops on your hand for your dog to lick up, or add their dose to some food so that they ingest it. 

You can also administer tinctures or specially formulated CBD topicals directly to the skin to possibly reduce inflammation from allergies or hot spots. 

At Lolahemp, we want only the best for your pet. Our CBD-infused balm starts with our full-spectrum organic hemp seed oil with the following natural ingredients added to boost the skin healing support:

  • Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil
  • Beeswax
  • Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
      topical cbd for pets, lolahemp balm

      Can CBD interact with other medications?

      Yes. CBD can interact with pet medications.

      If your pet is taking other medications, you must discuss using CBD with your vet first.

      CBD, like many other foods and medications, is known as a CYP450 metabolic pathway inhibitor. That is, it can interfere with the metabolism of pharmaceuticals that use the Cytochrome P450 family of enzymes found in the liver. 

      For example, if you take heart medications, you may have been told by your doctor to avoid eating grapefruit within a few hours of taking your medications. This is the same kind of interaction we need to be aware of with CBD for dogs. 

      To understand more about CBD and drug interactions, be sure to check out our full article on the subject here: CBD Oil for Dogs: Potential Drug Interactions.


      CBD oil drug interactions, lolahemp for pets information

      What if My Vet Won't Discuss CBD with Me?

      If your veterinarian is unwilling to discuss CBD with you, there are several steps you can take:

      1. Seek a Second Opinion: Consider seeking a second opinion from another veterinarian who may be more open to discussing CBD as a potential treatment option for your pet.

      2. Consult a Holistic Veterinarian: Some veterinarians specialize in holistic or alternative medicine and may have more experience or openness to discussing CBD and other natural remedies such as nutraceuticals.

      3. Educate Yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about CBD and its potential benefits and risks for pets. Look for reputable sources of information, such as scientific studies and veterinary resources, to better understand how CBD may impact your pet's health.

      4. Respect Your Veterinarian's Decision: It's important to respect your veterinarian's decision if they are not comfortable discussing CBD with you. Remember that they have your pet's best interests in mind and may have concerns about the lack of regulation and research surrounding CBD for pets.

      Reach Out to Lolahemp

      We hope to have answered all of your questions about CBD for dogs in this comprehensive guide. However, we are here if you still have some questions left unanswered. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions. We are here to help!


      1. Río, C. D., Millán, E., García, V., Appendino, G., DeMesa, J., & Muñoz, E. (2018). The endocannabinoid system of the skin. A potential approach for the treatment of skin disorders. Biochemical pharmacology, 157, 122–133.

      2. Gamble, L. J., Boesch, J. M., Frye, C. W., Schwark, W. S., Mann, S., Wolfe, L., Brown, H., Berthelsen, E. S., & Wakshlag, J. J. (2018). Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Frontiers in veterinary science, 5, 165.

      3. Izzo, A.A., Muccioli, G.G., Ruggieri, M.R., Schicho, R. (2015). Endocannabinoids and the Digestive Tract and Bladder in Health and Disease. In: Pertwee, R. (eds) Endocannabinoids. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, vol 231. Springer, Cham.

      4. Petrosino, S., Verde, R., Vaia, M., Allarà, M., Iuvone, T., & Di Marzo, V. (2018). Endocannabinoids and related lipids: From medicinal chemistry to physiological role in systems and diseases. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 365(3), 652-663.

      5. Azzollini, M. (2021, May 11). What Are Nutraceuticals?


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      Lianne McLeod, DVM, is a former writer for The Spruce Pets, contributing articles for 11 years. Before Dr. McLeod began writing about pet care, she worked several years in small animal practice. She has written extensively about the care and keeping of exotic pets and pet health care. She now researches water quality and chronic disease at the University of Saskatchewan. Lianne McLeod earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Simon Fraser University. She continued her education and received a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Now, she splits her time between her family, research and writing about pet health for all the animal lovers out there.

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