Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil for Dogs: What’s the Difference? Which Is Better?

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Oils like hemp and CBD are excellent medicinal aids that can work for a variety of illnesses. Many pet parents have discovered the advantages of using these oils for their dogs, but what is their difference and which is the better option?

Hemp and CBD are both made from the hemp plant, and both are considered types of hemp oil. But hemp oil is made from hemp seeds, whereas CBD oil is made with hemp flowers, stalks, and leaves. Which type you give your dog depends on the issues you’re trying to address.

We’re going to look at the differences between these two types of oil and why you would give them to your dog. We’ll also discuss which oil is better for your dog and why. 

What Is Hemp?

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Hemp is a type of cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.). However, it is not the same as marijuana (another form of cannabis), which is often used for its intoxicating purposes.

Even though hemp has low traces of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which gives the intoxicating effects associated with being “high,” hemp is primarily for manufacturing purposes.

Hemp has been used to produce various goods as far back as 50,000 years (clothing was one of the first uses). This plant has a quick growth cycle and is a renewable raw material versatile enough to use for thousands of products.

Types of uses include:

  • Paper
  • Textiles
  • Clothing
  • Insulation
  • Biofuel
  • Construction materials
  • Food
  • Animal feed
  • Biodegradable plastics
  • Paint

Laws Regarding Hemp

Although hemp does not contain enough THC to get you intoxicated, hemp is still considered illegal in most of the United States due to the Marijuana Tax Act, established in 1937, which regulates the growth and sale of cannabis plants (including marijuana and hemp).

In 1970, all types of cannabis, including hemp, became a Schedule 1 drug under The Controlled Substances Act. This law makes it illegal to grow any form of cannabis in the U.S., as well as prohibiting the import of cannabis products.

Due to the limits of hemp, it’s understandable why there isn’t more widespread use of this product. But as long as the THC content is below the limits of 0.3% (which is the regulation in Europe and Canada), hemp can be imported from other countries or manufactured in the States.

But new laws such as The Industrial Hemp Farming Act and the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill changed the rules, and some states are now allowing the growth of hemp for research and development purposes. Some states have even obliterated the federal restrictions of cannabis.

THC/CBD Levels

Since hemp is a cannabis plant, it contains trace amounts of THC, a psychoactive agent that can give the feeling of intoxication.

But it also contains higher concentrations of CBD (cannabidiol), which counteracts the intoxicating effects of THC, making it less psychoactive.

Manufacturers extract this CBD from the plant to create oil, which has multiple health benefits. Dogs do not need THC, so it’s better to give your dogs hemp or CBD oil instead of THC oil. The lower the THC and the higher the CBD, the better for your pet.

Hemp oil, on the other hand, comes from hemp seeds and includes CBD oil. Be careful when purchasing hemp oil, as many manufacturers label CBD oil as hemp oil due to CBD sales restrictions.

Hemp Oil

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Hemp oil comes from pressed hemp seeds. Once removed from the hemp plant, these seeds are put into an oil press machine (or a hand crank seed press for home use).


Producing hemp oil can require expert knowledge, such as making sure the seeds have the proper moisture content, ripeness, understanding whether you need “cold-pressed,” and storage.

Hemp seeds with too much or too little water can result in seeds that don’t produce the desired oil. Not enough moisture can increase pressing temperatures, which can rise above 120°F or 49°C (too high for cold-press).

The ripeness of the seeds matters more than anything. With non-ripe seeds, the quality of the oil will suffer and have a different smell. Moldy seeds or seeds improperly stored can also lead to inadequate oil production.

There’s also a specific science to the press method that requires you to understand the relationship between the press head and the screw end. Other technical factors go into production. But the process is simple.


Hemp seed oil can be refined, which is clear, colorless, and has little flavor; or cold-pressed and unrefined, which makes it dark or clear light green, with a nutty flavor. Darker oil has more of a nutty flavor.

Hemp oil has high polyunsaturated fat (76%), 5% to 11% monounsaturated fats, and low saturated fat (5% to 7%). There are 9 kcal/gram, making it a great low-calorie option.

It is frequently used as a food oil although it does not have a high smoke point, so it’s not useful for frying. It can also be used as a nutritional supplement. Add a small amount to your pet’s dry dog food daily.

Fatty acids found in hemp oil include linoleic acid (L.A.) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), both Omega-6’s, as well as Omega-3’s like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and stearidonic acid.

Dogs need balanced omega fatty acids as part of their proper diet. Omegas improve your pet’s heart and brain health and give them healthy skin and a shiny coat. They can also help control inflammation, which is excellent for senior pets or dogs with joint problems. 

But hemp oil does not contain cannabinoids, which provides medicinal purposes such as stress and anxiety reduction, improved appetite, and reduced pain. If you need these benefits, your dog will do better with CBD oil instead.


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CBD oil has multiple health benefits, and it is now widely available for use for animals and humans. Conditions that CBD oil can treat for dogs include:

  • Immune problems (allergies/cancer)
  • Seizures/epilepsy
  • Joint problems
  • Inflammation
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Digestive problems
  • Dysbiosis
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea
  • Chronic pain

CBD gets extracted from the hemp plant and is usually mixed with another oil substance to create CBD oil.

However, you do want to watch using CBD oils extracted using solvents, as some of these can be toxic to your pet. Avoid ethanol or olive oil extractions. Petroleum, butane, or propane solvents are safe. These products also have lower CBD levels.

CBD oil can also be made using CO2 extraction, so it’s more beneficial for your dogs. These products have a higher CBD concentration, so your pet gets more benefits.

How Does CBD Oil Help Your Dog?

CBD is a cannabinoid that affects your dog’s endocannabinoid system, controls the hormone and nervous system.

Once in your dog’s system, CBD stimulates the receptors in your dog’s body, including the immune, digestive, and nervous systems, as well as those in the brain.

Your pet will feel better and be in less pain by using CBD oil. It also reduces inflammation in the joints, improving your pet’s pain levels and mobility range.

Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Which Is Better?

Now that you know the differences between hemp and CBD oil, it’s time to figure out which oil is better for your dog’s needs. Picking which oil to give your dog will depend on your dog’s needs.

If your dog has allergies that result in a dull coat or needs more balanced omegas, you will do better to use hemp oil, which has a high concentration of fatty acids.

But if your dog has health issues such as inflammation or decreased appetite, he would get more value from CBD oil. The good news is that you can give your pet both types of oil without concern.

Your pet cannot overdose on either oil, which is why it’s preferred over using medications for the treatment of conditions such as pain management. Of course, before using either on your pet, it is always recommended to consult your veterinarian.


Hemp oil and CBD oil both have beneficial benefits that make them high supplements for your dog. As we’ve explained, both oils have different properties that can help improve their health. Your dog’s needs will determine which oil you choose to add to your pet’s diet. However, make sure the oil you select is THC-free or has less than 0.3% THC.



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