Hemp for Pets: A Guide for Pet Parents

by Angela Ardolino

If you're a proactive pet parent, chances are you've been reading the same book as millions of pet parents around the world, the New York Times #1 Best Seller, The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Shaw Becker. I was excited, as so many other holistic experts were, about the release of this book to help educate pet parents everywhere on how to help their dogs live their best life. Both of these holistic experts have joined me in the past, to discuss pet wellness, supplements, diet, and hemp for pets. I did a special Facebook Live edition of The Rodney Report with Rodney Habib, where we discussed the benefits of full spectrum hemp for dogs and the medical research supporting it.

In The Forever Dog, Rodney and Dr. Becker included a quick introduction on hemp for pets in their chapter on supplements for your dog's wellness. The book lists some of the known benefits of hemp for pets, including anti-inflammatory properties, pain management, calming the nervous system, as well as aiding with anxiety and even cancer. However, Rodney and Dr. Becker also caution pet parents that hemp products, in addition to being subject to quality control and potency issues, are not a cure-all. After reading this best selling book, I knew many pet parents were likely left wondering, 'Is hemp right for my pet?'

Which is why I created this guide, to help pet parents decide if full spectrum hemp is the right supplement for their pet, as well as sharing my tips in choosing the safest and highest quality hemp for pets.

Hemp for Pets

Hemp has recently gained popularity as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals, which are notorious for their negative side effects. While it is not a panacea, or cure-all, hemp for pets has numerous benefits and interacts with your pet's endocannabinoid system to restore balance to your pet's body. Among other ailments, the cannabinoids in a full spectrum hemp extract have been shown to help with chronic pain, anxiety, seizures, inflammation, cancer, autoimmune disease, and neurological conditions in pets, according to research.

There are several important factors when choosing a hemp product for your pet. such as making sure your hemp product is formulated with a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, extracted using CO2 extraction methods, from organic, domestically grown hemp, and of course third party lab testing, with a COA to prove purity and potency. 

What is Full Spectrum and Why is it Important?

Full Spectrum means that all of the naturally occurring bioactive components in a hemp extract have been left in their natural state. The cannabinoids and terpenes all work together to boost each other, which is one of the main reasons full spectrum is so crucial. This action is known as the Entourage Effect, and it allows multiple cannabinoids to interact in order to obtain maximal benefits and results. The advantages of the plant are lessened and the prevalence of negative effects increases when these synergistic chemicals are processed further.

What is a COA? 

Unfortunately, the hemp for pets industry is still mostly unregulated. This means that no one, including the FDA, evaluates the labeling accuracy or safety of hemp products sold in the United States. Some products have been discovered to have heavy metals, toxins or no cannabinoids at all! As a result, we stress the importance of conducting thorough research before purchasing a hemp product for your pet. The only way to know for sure that the product you're buying is safe and includes the necessary cannabinoids without any toxins or heavy metals, is to read the third-party Certificate of Analysis (COA). 

A certificate of analysis, or COA, for a hemp product is a document that contains lab results that show you exactly what's in the hemp product you're buying for your pet. This report will show you the exact amount of each cannabinoid in the product. A third-party lab should always issue a COA. That is, a business that is not linked with the hemp product's manufacturer. Check the logo and contact information on the paper to see if it's from a third party. You can also get in touch with the lab to confirm the COA results for your product.

Is Hemp Right For My Pet?

Hemp is gaining recognition for its many reported health benefits, and recent research is revealing how it can help animals too. Studies are showing how the cannabinoids in a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract may be able to help your pet, from managing pain to reducing seizure frequency. If your pet suffers from arthritis, chronic pain, anxiety, allergies, skin conditions, cancer, tumors, autoimmune disorders or seizures, a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract may be the best choice for your pet. 

Full Spectrum Hemp for Your Pet's Arthritis & Joint Pain

senior dog odie in a bowtie arthritis

Hemp is extremely effective at reducing arthritis and joint discomfort pain and inflammation. This is one of the most extensively explored aspects of cannabis treatment for pets. The components contained in a full spectrum hemp extract have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.

The discomfort that our dogs experience in most cases of arthritis is caused by inflammation in their joints. We can address the origin of the problem while also preventing the pain by reducing inflammation.

NSAIDs are frequently prescribed by traditional veterinarians, however they can cause joint and soft tissue damage. They can harm your dog's liver and kidneys as well. Hemp is a safe anti-inflammatory option that doesn't have the adverse side effects that medications often have.

Full Spectrum Hemp for Your Pet's Seizures

daisy senior dog with seizures

Amazingly, hemp has been used to treat seizures in humans for years, with remarkable effectiveness in both animals and humans. Hemp was patented as a neuroprotectant by the US government in 2003.

Most conventional veterinarians prescribe anti-epileptic drugs like phenobarbital to treat epilepsy and seizures. One of the most serious side effects of phenobarbital is stress and liver damage, in addition to drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and neurotoxicity in young animals. Hemp has been shown to reduce seizure frequency, with minimal mild adverse effects. 

Full Spectrum Hemp for Your Pet's Cancer

Nina update osteosarcoma resting on the couch

According to research, hemp can help with cancer in a variety of ways. Hemp has shown to not only have properties that are helpful against cancer, but it can also help your pet's quality of life. The cannabinoids in a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract contain anti-nausea, pain-relieving, and immunomodulatory characteristics in addition to its anti-cancerous properties.

To see how I use Full Spectrum Hemp Extract for cancer, visit my website for my protocols and updates on Nina's progress after her Osteosarcoma diagnosis. It’s now been 15 months since my doberman Nina's initial cancer diagnosis and Nina is still thriving thanks to her protocol.

Full Spectrum Hemp for Your Pet's Anxiety

linda cbd for anxietyHemp has been used to manage anxiety and depression in humans, and is a great natural alternative for your pets as well. Clinical studies have shown hemp can aid in the expulsion of aversive memories.

Some conventional veterinarians recommend children’s Benadryl, as a sedative for pet anxiety. It's crucial to remember, though, that this medication isn't intended for animals and can have adverse side effects. Benadryl, for example, can create stress for a dog's liver and kidneys, especially if those systems are already compromised.

Full Spectrum Hemp for Your Pet's Cushing’s Disease

Full spectrum hemp can benefit dogs with Cushing's Disease by restoring internal homeostasis, which it does by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system. Hormonal imbalances, such as cortisol imbalances from the adrenal or pituitary glands, fall within this category. Hemp can also slow the progression of tumors that cause Cushing's disease by preventing the formation of blood vessels that feed the tumor's growth.

Surgery to remove the tumor is the conventional treatment for dogs with Cushing's Disease. Hormone-regulating medicines may also be prescribed by veterinarians. However, surgery, especially in older dogs, can be intrusive and risky, and prescribed medications can have serious adverse impact.

Full Spectrum Hemp for Your Pet's Allergies

Hemp is an ideal choice for pets with allergies because it reduces inflammation, regulates the immune system, and supports the gut, which houses 70% to 80% of the immune system. 

For dogs with allergies, conventional veterinarians frequently prescribe Apoquel or Benadryl. The way these drugs work is by suppressing your pet's immune system, which conceals the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, the longer your pet is on an immunosuppressive medication, the more likely they are to develop major side effects and health problems. The cannabinoids in a full spectrum hemp extract, rather than shutting down immune responses like medications like Benadryl and Apoquel do, enhances communication between immune cells. This promotes a more controlled and targeted response to your pet's allergy symptoms.

Full Spectrum Hemp for Your Pet's Skin Conditions

Topical Full Spectrum Hemp Salves are a fantastic alternative for dogs suffering from skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, allergies, infections, or even tumors, lumps, and other unpleasant growths. A significant study conducted by scientists at the University of Pisa in Italy found that the two primary cannabinoid receptors are abundant across the layers of dogs' skin. As a result, compounds in a full spectrum hemp extract are able to stimulate the skin's local endocannabinoid system pathways.

The compounds stimulate healthy cell growth, inhibits malignant cell growth, and prevents tumor vascular development. Topical hemp salves are ideal for relieving skin irritation caused by allergies, as well as easing inflammation and redness. 

Final Thoughts

Although hemp is not a panacea, research and experience have shown that the benefits it can have for your pet are truly incredible. Full Spectrum Hemp Extract is not the right supplement for every ailment or every pet, but it may just be the best natural supplement for your pet's ailments. Unfortunately, hemp for pets is still a largely unregulated industry, leading to quality control and potency issues. That's why I put together this guide, to help you decide if Full Spectrum Hemp Extract is the right supplement for your pet, and help you find the safest and highest quality Hemp for pets. 



About Angela Ardolino


Angela Ardolino Author Photo with Odie the Schnauzer
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years. She operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. In addition, she owns Beautify the Beast,  a natural pet salon and shop. Moreover, Angela got her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine. Next, she founded Hemp Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. 


Accordingly, she uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day since 2016. Angela has five dogs. Odie a 15-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina a 9-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 9-year-old mutt, Maza a 9-year-old mutt, and Rhemi a 9-year-old poodle. In addition, she has 4-10 more any time she is fostering or boarding. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and the Veterinary Cannabis Association. In fact, Angela has educated hundreds of medical doctors and veterinarians on the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals.