CBD Oil for Dogs With Allergies – How to Help a Dog With Skin Allergies
Whenever we see our dog scratching the first thought is “he has fleas”. After inspection of his fur turns up nothing and he still keeps scratching we might start having some serious concerns about what is wrong. An itchy, constantly scratching dog is miserable and he makes everyone around him miserable as well. If he is not sleeping well or can’t even finish a meal without stopping to scratch, it may be time to take him to the vet for a full examination.
How Common are Dog Allergies?
Itching is the most common single symptom that brings a dog to a vet. With an estimated 150-200 different skin conditions ranging from mild to severe, it is not always easy to determine the cause although most can be traced back to allergies. There are three main types of dog allergies:
- Food allergies
- Environmental allergies.
Insect-related allergies are usually caused by the common flea. Even if you don’t see fleas on your dog, he may have been bitten recently. In some dogs, the allergy to flea bites is so strong that a single bite can cause a severe reaction which may last for several days. Other insects can also cause allergic reactions and can include mosquitoes, ticks and mites. If you live in an area with a lot of trees, bushes or high grass you should make sure that your dog is protected from these insects especially if he is allergic. High-quality collars, treating the yard itself and preventing fleas from getting a stronghold in your house are also important steps that you should take.
Food allergies are usually caused by a single protein in the foods your dog is eating. It can be hard to narrow this particular protein down and your vet will suggest the elimination diet so that you can find the problem and eliminate it. In the elimination diet you remove one food item or ingredient from your dog’s diet for a week and see if there are any changes. In a dog that is only eating one type of food with no supplements, treats or bites of human foods it may be even more difficult to figure out what is causing his problems. The vet may order some additional blood work to rule out exotic diseases that mimic food allergies and may also have some other suggestions to do in the meantime.
Food allergy symptoms can be far different than those from other causes. While you may still see some of the itching that is common with other allergies it may be focused on only parts of the body. Typically a dog with food allergies will itch his feet and his ears more than usual. This can cause recurring ear infections and may also cause him to have sore feet. He may limp because he has scratched and chewed at his feet until they are raw. He may also have problems with his stomach including diarrhea, vomiting and excessive gas. If the source of the allergy cannot be found, the dog may suffer a full loss of appetite and may lose weight. He may also become dehydrated which can make him at risk for serious and life threatening conditions. Even mild dehydration can cause irregular heart beats.
Environmental allergies may refer to all other types of allergies that do not fit in one of the other two categories. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to pollen, dust and mold in the air but may have more serious issues because of their super sensitive noses. Dogs with environmental allergies may have the itching but may also have constantly runny nose and eyes and may have frequent sneezing as well.
In addition to allergies, another condition called atopic dermatitis can cause nearly constant scratching and red, irritated skin. This condition may also cause other symptoms similar to allergies like runny nose and eyes and ear infections. Any excessive itching can cause a dog to lose his hair in spots which can lead to sun burn, skin cancer and infections. In some cases the skin may be so damaged that hair may not grow back in that area or may take a long time to do so. The hair that grows back may be a slightly different color and may have a dullness to it. This hair may also feel coarse compared to the other hair on the dog.
How Diet Can Affect All Types of Allergies
One of the easiest and fastest ways to help with any health condition is to improve the dog’s diet. The higher the quality of his food, the more nutrition he will have. More nutrition means that all of the functions of the body can work better and more efficiently. Some nutrients can help by directly addressing some of the symptoms of allergies like dry or flaky skin.
Omega 3 fatty acids is a prime example of this type of nutrient. Found in fatty fish and a few other food sources it promotes better skin health in two ways. First, it stimulates cellular turnover so that dry, dead skin cells slough off faster and are replaced by new, healthy skin. Second, it helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can cause skin and organ damage.
Everything that the body does requires fuel. That fuel comes from food. Food is broken down and used for energy for every single function. The better the food the better the energy. Dogs do not need certain ingredients in their food. Things like grains and other filler ingredients are low quality energy sources and are just wasted calories. Every dog should be given a diet that is high in quality protein and other beneficial nutrients with little else.
Even a healthy dog can benefit from a specialized diet plan. Speaking to your vet about recommended food types and brands can help you give the dog the absolute best nutrition he can get. Some people choose to use the raw food diet or may feed their dogs plain, boiled chickens, bone broth and other foods that they prepare at home without additives.
How Does CBD Oil Help With Allergies in Dogs?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound found in a family of plants called cannabis. Most people are familiar with marijuana and hemp, both members of this same family. Both have cannabidiols in varying amounts. Marijuana has another called THC which is the psychoactive agent that gets you stoned when you smoke or ingest it. Hemp has very little THC and what it does have is not the psychoactive type. You cannot get high from CBD in any way.
It should be noted that THC is dangerous for dogs with no safe level. CBD is safe for them and has no toxic level. There have been numerous studies that have proven how safe dog hemp oil is as well as additional studies that are showing how effective it is for treating a wide range of diseases and conditions. New studies are being done constantly as more and more people look for natural ways to treat their dogs and to give them optimal health.
CBD helps dogs deal with allergies in several different ways. First, it pushes the immune system to work better. Not only can that help the dogfight the allergen in his system but can also help him fight off any infections or other issues that he may also have. Second, it can stimulate new skin cells to grow. Third, it provides topical relief of any skin conditions stemming from allergies, atopic dermatitis, pruritus and hot spots. If you use sprays or balms the relief can be almost immediate. The faster you stop the dog from scratching, the faster he can heal. Distracting the dog can work in some cases but eventually, he will return to the itching and scratching. In severe cases, your dog may need to wear the cone of shame until all of his areas are cleared and healed.
Because there is not an upper limit of CBD you can give two sources, an internal and an external without harming the dog or fear of overdose. As an example, you can give him a dose of CBD oil once or twice a day and then use a CBD spray on his itchy spots, red or swollen skin or any other area that looks like it may benefit from treatment.
Hot spots are small areas on the skin that are not only cause intense itching but may also lead to infection. You might notice them as red, sticky sores on the skin usually on the dog’s back or near his butt. He may bite and chew at these spots for long periods of time which also increases his risk of infection. The sores cause pain and may feel warm to the touch. For these types of sores, a CBD balm is perfect because it is a thicker formula than the sprays and will stay in place better. It will provide the topical relief that may keep your dog from chewing at it and will also sink into the skin where it will work at a deeper, internal level.
Finding the Best CBD Oil Sources for Dog Allergies
Before starting CBD for any reason it is important to discuss it with your dog’s vet. It is also important that you get to the bottom of the constant itching and scratching especially if there is red, swollen or broken skin of if he is showing any signs of infection. Once he gets a clean bill of health you can start improving his diet plus adding CBD. The vet can offer only some recommendations in some cases but cannot prescribe anything related to CBD at this time. In some states, the vet cannot even offer suggestions or recommendations or he may face the loss of his license.
There are other resources to get good recommendations though. Pet owners love to discuss what they have used with their pets. There are quite a few animal communities that you can access through various social media and that can be a great way to get started on your research. Look for people who are open-minded and not pushing one particular product for every single thing. If you see that a person posts a similar comment on every single topic they may be paid by the company to promote a brand and will clearly not be able to give you an unbiased opinion.
There are several things you should be looking for when comparing CBD including whether or not it comes from hemp (it should), if it is organic or not, (very important) and if there is THC in it (no THC for dogs). The company should offer more than one type of product. The wider the range of products the more likely you will be to find something that works right for you. Dosing should be easy to follow and should be based on actual body weight and not listed purely by breed alone. The usual dose is 1 mg per 5-10 pounds of body weight. Every new dose should come five days after the previous one was started.
Good customer care and support are a huge bonus. If you can chat, email or call a company with a question and actually get an answer without waiting for several weeks, that is amazing. A company that cares about people and their dogs is even more amazing.
Once you find the right company and the right type, you can start dosing your dog. Make sure you are starting with the lowest suggested dosage and then gradually moving up as needed. If the dog is doing well on the lower dose, stay there. Make sure that you are giving him the CBD at around the same time each day so that it can be in the system consistently. You can use supplemental CBD like sprays and balms especially for the days when his itching and scratching is making you both miserable.