Caitlin UltimoFood & Treats / Nutrition

Benefits of Hemp Hearts for Your Pup

Can Dogs Eat Hemp Seeds?

If you have ever wondered, “Can dogs eat hemp seeds?” the answer is yes! However, this article doesn’t focus on whether dogs can eat hemp seeds; it focuses on why dogs should eat hemp seeds, otherwise known as hemp hearts.

Hemp is known to be one of the most nutritious superfoods in the world; not just for people, but pets, too, can reap the many benefits that hemp provides. Because of this, high-quality pet food producers are taking notice. “Recently, hemp hearts have been used as a complete novel protein source for pet foods,” says Jean Dodds, DVM, founder of Hemopet. “Derived from the hemp seed plant, it is considered by many to be the ‘safest, most digestible, balanced, natural and complete source of protein, amino acids, and essential fats found anywhere in nature.’”

Grandma Lucy’s is a high-quality pet food manufacturer that includes hemp in their Macanna products for more nutrition and protein. Their staple dog food blends are Macanna Beef and Macanna Salmon. These products are filled with hemp hearts and other whole ingredients your dog will love for an easy way to increase your dog’s nutrient intake.

What is Hemp? 

Hemp seeds are technically nuts, and they “have a mild, nutty flavor and are often referred to as hemp hearts,” says Dr. Dodds. These super seeds come from the hemp plant, Cannibis sativa, but only contain insignificant amounts of THC, the compound known to cause the drug-like effects of marijuana. “The reason that hemp seeds and hearts are very safe to consume as well as highly nutritious for people and pets is because they contain only tiny, immeasurable amounts of the psychoactive THC compound that can have marijuana-like effects,” says Dr. Dodds. “The THC level is actually well below the 0.04% required by AAFCO to approve products for pet food consumption.”

Dog Nutrition Benefits

Full of healthy fats, proteins and various minerals, hemp hearts are extremely nutritious. Therefore, they make an excellent addition to any dog’s complete and balanced diet. These super seeds contain over 30% fat and have the perfect ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (a good balance is crucial so the acids can effectively work interdependently within the body). Additionally, dogs can eat hemp seeds for the high sources of omega-6 fatty acid known as gamma linolenic acid. These have a ton of benefits for dogs, like cancer prevention and reduced joint pain.

Furthermore, hemp is a complete protein source, which means it has all the amino acids essential to a balanced diet. “Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom, as plants often lack the amino acid lysine,” says Dr. Dodds.

Skin and coat health. In addition to nutrition for a healthy diet, the polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids packed inside hemp hearts can help “relieve dry skin, improve itchiness and reduce the need for skin medication,” says Dr. Dodds. The perfect 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is the “optimal range” for reducing inflammation and skin diseases. Furthermore, if your dog suffers from allergies or excessive shedding, adding hemp to their diet is an ideal solution to get your pup’s skin and coat back to beautiful.

Reduces joint inflammation. The right amount of omega-6 present in a dog’s diet has been linked to reducing joint inflammation. While too much gamma linolenic acid in omega-6 can cause inflammation, the correct balance (like in hemp) can benefit joints. In return, this can reduce symptoms caused by arthritis and obesity.

Heart health. Just like humans, dogs are at risk for developing heart disease. Because of this, it’s imperative that proper steps are taken to help you pet maintain optimal healthIncorporating hemp into your dog’s diet can have a huge influence on heart health—for a multitude of reasons.

Hemp is packed with high amounts of arginine, the amino acid responsible for producing nitric oxide in the body, which helps dilate and relax blood vessels. A healthy amount of nitric oxide can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of contracting heart disease. Studies show that increased arginine intake is linked with decreased levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker linked to heart disease. According to Dr. Dodds, “Animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack.”

In addition, ingesting hemp is shown to strengthen the immune system, support healthy organ function, and have positive effects on brain function and fertility.

Finally, Grandma Lucy’s Macanna dog food includes a pre-mix that works great as a dietary supplement or combined with a protein. Simply mix in a cup or two of warm water to the freeze-dried formula, wait 5 minutes, and serve! For those times your dog is being a good boy, Macanna Starters have all the nutritious benefits of the superfood blend in a snack-size, freeze-dried meatball for the ultimate healthy treat.

We hope this article informs you about the benefits of hemp hearts, and that you’re no longer asking “Can dogs eat hemp seeds?” but, “When can my dog start?!” 

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