Is Hemp Seed Oil Good for Dogs with Seizures?

Hand giving dog CBD oil by licking a dropper pipette,

As a pet parent, witnessing your beloved furry friend go through a seizure can be an emotionally draining experience. Seizures in dogs can occur due to a range of causes, including epilepsy, head injury, and certain diseases. But, what can you do to help your dog if it suffers from seizures? Enter hemp seed oil, a natural remedy that has garnered much attention in recent years. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of hemp seed oil for dogs with seizures and provide insights from scientific research and expert opinions.

Understanding Seizures in Dogs

Before diving into the potential benefits of hemp seed oil, it is essential to understand what seizures are:

  1. Causes: Seizures can stem from various factors, including genetic predispositions, head injuries, metabolic issues, or even certain diseases like distemper.

  2. Types: Not all seizures look the same. There are grand mal seizures, focal seizures, psychomotor seizures, and more.

  3. Post-Seizure Behavior: Dogs often seem confused or disoriented after a seizure. This phase is known as the postictal period.

Seizures are sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain that can cause a range of symptoms, including loss of consciousness, muscle spasms, and abnormal behavior.

There are many potential causes of seizures in dogs, including:

  • Underlying health conditions such as liver disease or kidney disease

  • Electrolyte deficiencies

  • Exposure to toxins, such as pesticides or certain medications

  • Head injuries

  • Idiopathic epilepsy is a term used when no specific cause for the seizures can be identified.

Two happy and healthy dogs with a shiny coat

What Is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Unlike marijuana, which is known for its psychoactive properties, hemp contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for the “high” effect. Instead, hemp seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients that can offer various health benefits.

How Can Hemp Seed Oil Help with Seizures?

Rich in Essential Fatty Acids: Hemp seed oil contains high levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are vital for brain health. These fatty acids may help reduce inflammation in the brain and improve neuronal function, potentially reducing the frequency and severity of seizures.

  • Antioxidant Properties: Hemp seed oil is rich in vitamins E and A, which have antioxidant properties that can help protect the brain from oxidative stress, a factor that can contribute to seizures.

  • Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA): Hemp seed oil contains GLA, a fatty acid known for its anti-inflammatory properties. GLA may help reduce inflammation in the brain and alleviate seizures.

  • Phospholipids: Hemp seed oil is a source of phospholipids, molecules essential for cell membrane integrity. Phospholipids may help improve brain health and reduce the risk of seizures.

hemp seed oil and hemps seeds, sunlit

Potential Side Effects of Hemp Seed Oil

Every dog is unique, and while many can benefit from hemp seed oil, some might experience side effects. These could include:

  • Digestive upset or diarrhea

  • Changes in appetite

  • Fatigue or drowsiness

  • Itching or mild skin irritation

Always monitor your dog closely after introducing a new supplement to their diet.

Choosing the Right Product

With the increasing popularity of hemp products for pets, the market is flooded with options. Here’s how to select a reliable product for your furry friend:

  • Check for Purity: Opt for products that are free from additives, preservatives, or unnecessary ingredients.

  • Third-party Testing: Choose brands that offer third-party lab results to ensure the product’s quality and safety.

  • Reviews: Read product reviews to get insights from other pet owners’ experiences.

Other Natural Remedies for Seizures in Dogs

While hemp seed oil might offer potential benefits, there are other natural remedies that some pet owners consider for managing seizures:

  • Dietary Changes: Some believe a ketogenic diet, which is high in fats and low in carbs, may help reduce seizure frequency.

  • Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice has been suggested to help manage seizures in some pets.

  • Herbs and Supplements: Ingredients like taurine, magnesium, and chamomile may have anti-seizure properties.

white orange colored cat looking out at the wndow

Scientific Research and Expert Opinions

Scientists have been conducting experiments on dogs to find out whether a compound called CBD can help with seizures. CBD comes from the cannabis plant, which is the same plant that produces marijuana. But CBD doesn’t make you feel high. In one experiment led by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, 89% of dogs that received CBD had fewer seizures. It’s important to note that the study was on CBD, not specifically hemp seed oil, which is a little different. But both come from the cannabis plant, so it’s encouraging to think that hemp seed oil might also help.

What Experts Say About Hemp Seed Oil

Leading veterinary professionals have weighed in on the potential benefits and drawbacks of using hemp products for pets:

Dr. Gary Richter, a renowned veterinarian, has suggested that while hemp seed oil can be beneficial for several conditions due to its nutritional content, it’s the CBD in the hemp plant that holds more promise for conditions like seizures.

Dr. Jerry Klein, the Chief Veterinary Officer of the AKC, states that while preliminary studies on CBD show promise, pet owners should always seek advice from their veterinarians, especially since the FDA has not approved any CBD products for pets.

Dos and Don’ts When Using Hemp Seed Oil for Dogs

  1. Do research brands thoroughly to ensure product quality.

  2. Don’t expect instant results. Natural remedies might take time to show effects.

  3. Do combine hemp seed oil with a balanced diet and regular check-ups.

  4. Don’t administer hemp seed oil without monitoring your dog’s reaction to it.

  5. Do consider other complementary treatments, like physical therapy or dietary changes, in conjunction with hemp seed oil.

Dos and Don'ts When Using Hemp Seed Oil for Dogs

Conclusion

Hemp seed oil may offer potential benefits for dogs with seizures, but it is essential to approach it with caution and consult a veterinarian for a proper treatment plan. While hemp seed oil may be a promising natural remedy, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment. As responsible pet parents, it is our duty to prioritize our furry friends’ health and well-being.

FAQs

Do vets recommend hemp seed oil?

While many veterinarians recognize the potential benefits of hemp seed oil for its rich nutritional profile, the recommendation varies among practitioners. The stance often depends on individual assessment, the specific health issue being addressed, and the vet’s familiarity with holistic treatments. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new supplement to your dog’s diet

How often should I give my dog hemp seed oil?

The frequency depends on the purpose of administration and your dog’s size. Generally, for overall health and dietary supplementation, hemp seed oil can be given once daily. If treating a specific condition, your veterinarian might suggest a different regimen.

How quickly does hemp oil work for dogs?

The effects of hemp seed oil, when given for dietary and nutritional purposes, can be gradual. You might observe improved skin health or a shinier coat over several weeks. For conditions like anxiety, some pet owners report seeing a calming effect within hours. However, individual results can vary.

 How many times a day can I give my dog hemp oil?

For general wellness, once daily is typically sufficient. If you’re addressing specific health concerns, consult your veterinarian. They might recommend splitting the dose into two, especially if you’re giving a larger quantity.

Does hemp calm dogs?

Hemp seed oil is known for its nutritional benefits rather than direct calming effects. However, the cannabidiol (CBD) from the hemp plant has shown potential in managing anxiety and inducing calmness in pets. If you’re seeking a calming effect, ensure the product you choose is designed for that purpose and contains CBD.

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