Before, we have tackled how people suffering from allergic reactions may use CBD to manage their symptoms and improve their defenses against allergens. But did you know that CBD may work just as well for your dog’s allergies?
In this article, we will discuss how CBD can be used to provide relief for pets. This post also covers some practical tips on picking the right CBD product for your dog and valuable reminders if you’re a first-time buyer.
Dog Allergies 101
Much like humans, dogs can have mild to severe reactions when exposed to certain substances in their environment or food. The primary classifications of dog allergies are as follows:
The probable causes for this type of allergy are pretty broad. It may be triggered when your dog heads outside and makes contact with pollens, mold, grass, or dust. Staying indoors won’t keep your dog safe either because certain perfumes, cleaning chemicals, or cigarette smoke have also been identified as potential allergens.
To recognize if your pet has an environmental allergy, keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Watery or reddened eyes
- Runny or congested nose
- Intense or frequent scratching of the skin
This may be considered a sub-type of environmental allergy. The difference is that your dog seems to only exhibit the signs and symptoms during specific times of the year. In general, seasonal allergies tend to be triggered during spring or summer.
Dogs can be allergic to their pillows or blankets, too. In this case, adverse reactions occur because your furry friend is allergic to particular textile materials. However, skin allergies may also be caused by flea bites.
Regardless of the reason, the signs and symptoms of a skin allergy among dogs include:
- Intense or frequent scratching
- Excessive licking of the skin
- Reddened or inflamed skin
- Wounds or scabbing of the skin
Among dogs, a food allergy is typically caused by corn, wheat, potato, peanut, soy, dairy products, or meats. If you have noticed, these ingredients are present in several dog food products.
Some of the common signs and symptoms that your dog has a food allergy are:
- Stomach upset
Once confirmed, your dog will likely receive a prescription for an allergy medication. While these conventional drugs can effectively reduce the severity of your dog’s allergic reaction, they can cause some adverse side effects. Prolonged use may also lead to liver damage or kidney problems. That’s why a growing number of pet lovers have turned to alternative remedies for their dogs.
What is CBD?
CBD for dogs has been around for a few years now. Though much of the supporting evidence stems from anecdotes and a few research studies, we believe that CBD can help manage your dog’s allergic reactions.
CBD—which is short for cannabidiol—is one of the hundreds of natural compounds found in the hemp plant. It bears some resemblance to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) because CBD can produce similar therapeutic effects. However, unlike THC, pure cannabidiol does not induce a “high” or “stoned” state of being.
Another advantage of CBD over THC is its legality in the US. At the federal level, CBD can be sold and consumed as long as it does not contain more than 0.3% of THC. However, note that the relevant state laws vary, so be sure to check the laws where you live first before giving CBD to your dog.
Due to the lack of solid regulations and scientific studies, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has given its statement about CBD in 2019. They urge the authorities to establish more precise rules and guidelines for both the manufacturers and consumers of CBD products.
Nonetheless, some animal care experts, especially those who have taken a holistic approach, have recommended CBD as an alternative wellness solution for pets. Though it is not guaranteed to work well for every dog, numerous CBD success stories and testimonies from pet owners can easily be found in pet forums and product reviews.
CBD and Canine Allergies
First of all, it’s important to note that CBD does not work the same way as anti-histamines or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Instead, this natural remedy helps by:
Providing Relief From Pain
Skin allergies can be highly uncomfortable for dogs. Due to excessing licking and scratching, their skins may become riddled with sores and wounds. A 2012 study demonstrated how CBD oil, spray or cream on the affected areas had decreased the itchiness due to the allergy. The researchers have noted that CBD has helped heal the dogs’ skin abrasions.
Inflammations happen as part of an allergic reaction. Various studies have been conducted to understand better the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. Only a few of these studies involve animal subjects, but the ones that do suggest that CBD can be effective in dealing with your dog’s inflamed body parts.
Strengthening the Immune System
CBD may improve the body’s defenses because of its interaction with the endocannabinoid system’s (ECS) receptors. The ECS isn’t limited to humans only, though. Almost all animals have an ECS, though the locations of the ECS receptors. Dogs have these receptors in their central nervous system, cardiovascular tissues, intestines, and immune system.
Other potential therapeutic benefits of CBD for dogs include preventing seizures and reducing the growth or spread of cancer cells. Again, limited research exists to support these claims. However, it’s promising to see the growing community of pet owners who believe CBD is an effective alternative for dogs with allergies.
Tips and Reminders on Using CBD for Dogs
If you want to alleviate your dog’s suffering from their allergies through CBD, below are five essential points to consider and keep in mind while CBD shopping for your dog.
Be Honest With Your Dog’s Veterinarian
Though the AVMA prohibits its members from prescribing CBD for any medical application, vets cannot stop you from proceeding with your plan to use CBD for your dog’s allergies. However, we recommend disclosing this information to the vet because of the probable negative drug interactions between CBD and the other medications your dog is taking or will take in the future.
Check the Products From Multiple CBD Brands
Several top CBD brands offer products specifically formulated for dogs. The most common types are CBD oils, edibles, and topical products.
CBD oil is the most flexible of the three. You can administer it directly to your pet’s mouth or add a few drops into generic dog food. Others rub CBD oil on their dogs’ gums or skin, too.
For a wider variety, opt for CBD edibles instead. They resemble typical dog treats, so they can be easy to feed your dog. Aside from being tasty, CBD edibles tend to be easier to administer because you won’t have to pre-measure or do extra prep work. The caveat, however, is the longer time it will take for CBD to take effect because your dog has to digest it first.
CBD topical products for canines include lotions, creams, balms, and sprays. They work better in addressing the itchiness, pain and inflammations due to skin allergy.
Don’t Give CBD Designed for Humans to Your Dog
Cases of cannabis toxicity among dogs mainly occur due to exposure to CBD edibles meant for humans. While such products will likely not harm you, they can cause severe damage to your pet because of certain ingredients, such as chocolate or xylitol, that are toxic to dogs.
Moreover, the dosage of CBD products for pets differs from that of humans. We have greater body mass than dogs, so the effects of CBD oil on you can be much more intense on your pet.
Read the Product Description or Label Carefully
Though strict regulations on CBD haven’t been established yet, the top CBD brands make it a point to provide clear and detailed product labels for their customers’ perusal. They indicate the potency, ingredients used, and dosage recommendations, so make sure you know how to read a CBD label.
Most CBD brands also give access to their products’ third-party lab test results. This can typically be found on the product page, while others set up a dedicated web page where customers can search through their database. Some brands go the extra mile by printing a QR code on the product label so that customers can scan the code to view the batch test results of the CBD product on hand.
Start Low and Slow
If your dog has not taken any CBD before, it’s best to start with a low dosage and observe how well it can help with your dog’s allergies. No two pets will respond in the same way, so avoid relying solely on other people’s advice.
In case the current dosage doesn’t seem to work, gradually increase the amount or frequency of application of your chosen CBD product. Continue observing and slowly increasing until you have attained the desired effects.
Remember that the effects of CBD will also vary depending on the size of your dog. The bigger your dog is, the higher the dosage it will likely take for the CBD product to work as promised.
The lack of FDA regulation and approval on CBD makes it challenging for consumers to find safe and quality products. However, if you’re determined to try CBD, remember these five tips and reminders to avoid putting your dog in unnecessary danger.
For more information and guides on evaluating CBD for you or your canine friends, we encourage everyone to go through our blog posts here at TheCBDGuru.org.