If you’re one of the lucky ones that were blessed with allergies than you know all too well how miserable, awful, and torturous they are. If you don’t get allergies, well then you can just get right the heck out! Actually, come back; because we aren’t talking about human allergies in this article. Today we are going to learn all about dog allergies, and all the others reasons your dog can’t stop scratching.
We’ll cover traditional treatments, as well as, CBD hemp pills and other CBD products. Why those you ask? Easy, it’s because CBD is on everyone’s tongue — no pun intended — and when you consider how popular it’s becoming, this supplement might be in the majority of our houses soon. There are lots of big claims about CBD and reducing itchiness is one, so let’s get to the bottom of it all.
Reasons Your Dog is Scratching
There are many reasons why your dog could be scratching, and a scratch here or there isn’t a big deal. Instead, you want to look for them obsessively scratching. So what makes your dog itch?
Fluff nugget, ball of fluff, the fluffiest of fluffers — we all have a name for our dogs that relates to their furry exterior. Usually, we call them these names when it’s shedding season — oh joy!
Shedding will bring along scratching, but it should stay mild — dogs with thicker coats that lose a god awful amount of hair may scratch more. Make sure to watch out for itchy hot spots hiding within their fur, as well, make sure you are giving them baths. 1-3 a month during summer months and 1-2 every other month in the winter is a good rule to follow — over-bathing can dry out their skin causing them to itch as well.
Fleas and Ticks
Flea and Ticks are the first things you’ll want to look for when you see your dog excessively scratch. It’s recommended to have your dog on a veterinarian approved flea and tick regime if these parasites are an issue in your area. You have many options including natural flea and ticks controls. Look for ingredients like lemongrass, citronella, and peppermint as they are fantastic all-natural pesticides for dogs.
Stress is a known culprit for scratching that leads to hot spots. These ugly red lesions occur when your dog keeps scratching an area over and over again ripping up their skin — often becoming infected. When treating these nasty-looking lesions, veterinarians will have you monitor your dog for stress factors and even signs of boredom.
Atopic Dermatitis is chronic inflammation of the skin due to allergies that has no cure. It’s usually first seen within the first year, but it may present only mild symptoms at the time.
Like other forms of allergies they are caused by grass, dander, dust mites, mold, pollen, etc. so expect spring and summer to be the worst seasons for your pupper.
Besides scratching, dogs with allergies will display all the classic symptoms: sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, etc.
Skin Allergies (Contact Dermatitis)
Skin allergies are a common condition seen in dogs, and like humans, they occur due to an overactive immune system. These occur when a foreign irritate like poison ivy comes in contact with the skin.
Unlike Atopic Dermatitis, the skin will only be red and irritated around the point of contact.
- Plants (poison ivy, poison oak, etc.)
- Fabric Dryer Sheets
- House Cleaning Products like air fresheners, window cleaners, furniture polish, and toilet disinfectants
Traditional Methods For Treating Allergies
If you suspect that your dog has allergies of any nature, it’s important to take them to your veterinarian for diagnosis. You can also discuss treatment options which will vary depending on the type of allergy.
There are both over-the-counter and prescription drug options. Vets often recommend an OTC antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin), and cetirizine (Zyrtec). Prescription options include corticosteroids — can be given orally or injected — which are effective in management over long-term allergies.
While allergies are currently incurable, with a combination of medications they are easily managed in the majority of cases.
How Hemp Can Stop That Itch
There are two separate oils that are derived from hemp plants — hemp are non-psychoactive varieties of the cannabis plant. You’ve likely heard of the psychoactive varieties of cannabis plants which is marijuana — marijuana plants contain extremely high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Without THC, hemp is very safe — it can’t produce a high or get you or your dog addicted in any way.
Hemp oil or more appropriately hemp seed oil is when the seeds of the hemp plants that have been cold pressed to produce an oily extract. This oil is rich in essential fatty acids like omega 3s and 6s which are known for their skin rejuvenation properties. There are hemp seed pills, oils, lotions, balms, etc. and you can find this hemp oil on grocery store shelves far and wide.
It’s common to see hemp seed oil used in CBD oil — by mixing CBD extract with a fatty oil, we improve its bioavailability ten folds.
CBD oil is derived from the flowers and stalks of the hemp plants and is rich with just not cannabidiol (CBD), but hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes like CBG that are known to benefit cells in the skin.
Research into CBD is revealing that it can help with a ridiculous volume of medical conditions, and much of this is due to the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
The Endocannabinoid System
Composed of self-produced endocannabinoids that attach to receptor sites on cells, the ECS plays a vital role in homeostasis. Homeostasis is any process an organism uses to improve and optimize physiological and cognitive functions despite environmental stress factors.
Because the skin is the largest organ and exposed to a host of germs, pathogens, etc. researchers were curious if the ECS was found in skin cells. The ECS is composed of two main receptors with CB1 receptors found heaviest in the brain and CB2 receptors found heavily in the immune system.
In one study it didn’t take long for researchers to find their answer. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors were found in the epidermis — composed of keratinocyte cells — along with the endocannabinoids: anandamide and 2-AG. These receptors and the cannabinoids that attach to them would not be in the skin if they did not have a purpose.
This study concludes with a potential answer as to why they are there.
Collectively, it seems that the main physiological function of the cutaneous ECS is to constitutively control the proper and well-balanced proliferation, differentiation and survival, as well as immune competence and/or tolerance, of skin cells. Pathological alterations in the activity of the fine-tuned cutaneous ECS might promote or lead to the development of certain skin diseases. Therefore, it is envisaged (this is also strongly supported by pilot studies) that the targeted manipulation of the ECS (aiming to normalize the unwanted skin cell growth, sebum production and skin inflammation) might be beneficial in a multitude of human skin diseases.
In layer person terms; the researchers believe the ECS plays a role in skin development and the health of cells that make up the many layers — how much so is still up for debate.
Will CBD Oil Help With Allergies?
What Research Tells Us
Above, we learned about one study which showed that self-produced cannabinoids attach to receptors in the skin — where they likely regulate skin proliferation and promote healthy development. This has been repeated in other studies, with one, in particular, looking at its role in allergies.
This study showed that mice lacking both CB1 and CB2 receptors were at a much higher risk of displaying exacerbated allergic inflammation. Not only did lacking these two receptors increase allergic inflammation, mice with increased levels of the endocannabinoid, anandamide, showed a reduced response to allergic responses in the skin.
This is all fantastic news because CBD oil increases the amount of naturally occurring cannabinoids like anandamide. As well, it influences the activation of CB2 receptors on its own.
So case closed? Not so fast. Research on CBD is still in its infancy, especially when it comes to its role in skin health. So let’s jump to anecdotal reports.
In truth, user experiences are mixed when it comes to how well CBD works for allergies. This is likely due to unique body chemistry, the severity of the endocannabinoid deficiency, as well as the type of allergy.
Some people and pets have surprising success with CBD products in controlling allergies — some report it completely obliterates them. From our studies above and our understanding of how crucial the ECS is in the immune system and inflammation, there is little reason to doubt them.
However, some see no success in CBD treating allergies. As well, it’s important to note that allergies are probably near the bottom of the list of reasons to use/give CBD. Until more studies come out, we won’t know for sure why we see mixed results. Fortunately, hemp CBD has a very safe and mild side-effect profile — rivaling the best — so there isn’t a reason to worry about giving it a shot.
Just look for a CBD company that offers a money back guarantee — even then CBD is fantastic for a host of other medical conditions and shows a lot of promise for preventive health. If their scratching is the result of stress and anxiety, CBD hemp pills would like to have a word with those conditions.
How To Give Your Dog CBD For Their Allergies?
There are lots of forms CBD comes in, but it’s really all the same stuff when it comes to pet CBD — Pet CBD needs to be full spectrum hemp, meaning it contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp.
- Hemp Pills — Hemp pills and capsules are great, easy to give, and inconspicuous. They have a one size fits all dosage that’s catered to medium and large breeds. For small breeds check out the tincture. PIlls take 30-60 min to pass through the GI tract and start working.
- CBD Treats — Hemp CBD edibles, chews, treats (whatever you want to call them) operate just like the pills. A nice thing about them is more and more companies are offering small and large dog versions for dosing.
- CBD Tinctures — CBD Tinctures are hardest to administer compared to other forms. Fortunately, tinctures malleable as you can place it in their food or drink. This allows for precise dosage since they come with a dropper. The longer the tincture stays in the mouth, the more it will be absorbed for a quicker onset of effects — 15 to 30 minutes.
- CBD Balms — CBD balms aren’t super popular for the majority conditions because of their directional surface level effects. However, they are great for migraines and, of course, skin conditions. So definitely check them out. Unlike other forms of CBD, dosing is super tricky, but not at all important.
How Much To Give?
CBD is non-toxic and has no unsafe limit. As dosages move up into higher tiers, its common to see a mild side effect like tiredness — some wouldn’t even consider this a side effect. Here is a hemp CBD calculator you can use to find which dosage tier is appropriate based on your pet’s weight.