Hemp, The Superfood For Every Pet’s Healthy Diet

Hemp is a luscious plant, one of the many species of the Cannabis sativa plant family. Unlike its infamous distant cousin, Marijuana, hemp is not psychoactive, and it is therefore legal and perfectly safe for humans and pets.

The seed of the hemp plant is a natural superfood, widely recognised and praised for its high content of three polyunsaturated fatty acids found in the seeds:

  • Omega-6 — pro-inflammatory linolenic acid (LA) and anti-inflammatory gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) — which regulate your pet’s immune response to viruses, parasites, infections, etc. and
  • Omega 3 -anti-inflammatory alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

The ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in hemp seed oil is 3:1, commonly accepted as optimal for healthy body homeostasis.

This ideal ratio or balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 promotes an adequate pro-inflammatory response to acute, short-term inflammation and an anti-inflammatory response to chronic, long-term inflammation.

Other abundantly present nutrients in the seed of the hemp plant that make it a superfood are amino acids, all essential minerals, high-quality fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and phytosterols.

Amino acids

Hemp seed oil contains all essential amino acids (building blocks of protein), including surprisingly high levels of arginine. Amino acid arginine is a metabolic precursor for the production of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule now recognised as a pivotal signalling messenger in the cardiovascular system that participates in the control of haemostasis, fibrinolysis, platelet and leukocyte interactions with the arterial wall, regulation of vascular tone, a proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, and homeostasis of blood pressure.

Fibre

Hemp seed offers a spectacular amount of soluble and insoluble fibre (preferred food for your pet’s gut bacteria) and thus helps support microbial biodiversity and promote digestive health.

Minerals

Hemp seeds are packed with all essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, and zinc. Both zinc and magnesium play a major role in the creation of DNA, the growth of cells, and supporting a healthy immune system.

Antioxidants

Hemp seed is rich in vitamin E, one of the best antioxidants to help fight oxidative stress that causes premature ageing and chronic inflammation in the body.

The all-mighty combination of the aforementioned nutrients makes the oil extracted (cold-pressed) from the seed (hemp seed oil) an excellent dietary health supplement to support and improve your pet’s health.

Another wonderful gift from nature is hemp CBD oil. Extracted from the leaves and flowers of the plant rather than the seed, hemp CBD oil is a natural botanical extract. High in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis resin, CBD oil is a medicine.

Unlike the hemp seed oil that helps fight inflammation and improve health through the combined action of fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols, CBD oil interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of neuro receptors located throughout the brain, central nervous system and immune system that are involved in neural communication. Hemp CBD oil is an effective treatment for epilepsy (reducing frequency and severity of seizures), advanced stages of arthritis, severe anxiety and PTSD, cancer and chronic pain management.

Currently, the only legal distribution of CBD products is by veterinarians under prescribing rights and for research purposes only. Any other supply of CBD products for use in animals in Australia is illegal, except for S4 CBD oil products (medical cannabis) approved and registered with TGA for off-label use.

For seizures, cancer, and strong chronic pain, if you are looking for a natural solution, nothing is quite a match to CBD oil. So, talk to your vet about a prescription for a TGA-approved off-label product.

For more information on the benefits of hemp CBD oil and its use in animal health, please read our Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil for Pets.

Health Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil

1. Joint Support and Arthritis

A natural anti-inflammatory agent and lubricant for joints, hemp seed oil helps fight inflammation in the damaged, arthritic joints, thereby reducing swelling and pain. It can take 2–4 weeks to see the full effects of supplementing your pet’s diet with HSO, so be patient.

For additional insights on arthritis and how to look after your pet’s joints, please read our article Hip and Joint Care.

2. Anxiety

In human studies, hemp seed oil has been shown to reduce anxieties and stress through a combination of effects of the anti-inflammatory actions of the omega 3 fatty acids, the antioxidant actions of Vitamin E and the anti-depressant actions of phytosterols and there is some evidence to support similar effects in our companion animals.

3. Skin & Coat Health

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp seed, an omega-6 fatty acid, is very beneficial for maintaining healthy skin and coat, hydrating and nourishing the skin and strengthening its natural defence, the skin barrier.

4. Atopic Dermatitis

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory fatty acids (Omega-3 and GLA) richly present in hemp seed oil can be particularly helpful in managing the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, over-reactive sensitive skin and allergies.

At BUDDYPET, we make 100% natural grooming products with hemp seed oil for pets with sensitive skin and dry, itchy skin and dandruff.

More on inflammatory skin conditions and the action of hemp seed oil in our article Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs: Causes and Treatment.

5. Digestive Health

Gut health is as important in our pets as it is in humans. Dogs especially can pick up harmful bacteria, parasites and infections, when outside on their daily walks.

Inflammation in the gut, if left untreated to become chronic, will reduce microbiome diversity, damage the gut lining, and reduce your pet’s ability to properly metabolise or absorb the nutrients, leading to dangerous nutrient deficiencies. Furthermore, chronic gut inflammation can lead to damage to the pancreas and liver, triggering a chain reaction of devastating effects on your buddy’s immune system. It is absolutely critical to main good digestive health for general health and immune support with regular anti-inflammation dietary supplements like hemp seed oil.

6. Hearth Health

Rich in linoleic acid, hemp seed oil helps reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Lowering LDL levels (bad cholesterol) reduces the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

7. Brain Health

Brains love fatty acids! Abundantly present in hemp seed oil, fatty acids help improve memory and slow down age-related brain function decline.

At BUDDYPET, we recommend Marley for adults and Milly for seniors.

Marley is 100% raw, cold-pressed hemp seed oil from Tasmania. Milly is a delicious blend of Tasmanian hemp seed oil with turmeric.

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Dr. Ailsa Rutherford

Dr. Ailsa Rutherford

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Senior practicing veterinarian. Member of the Australia and New Zealand College of Veterinary Surgeons in Emergency. Head of Animal Health at Buddy Pet P/L.