How Does CBD Help With Pet Allergies?
What are Allergies?
Allergies are caused by a disproportionate response by the immune system to something that is not innately dangerous to our pets.
Our pets’ bodies have a built-in network of defenses meant to keep them safe from a wide variety of hazards found in the world around them. When these defenses are functioning properly, the body is able to detect a threat and respond efficiently in order to minimize any potential danger. In a perfect world, the responses are proportionate to the threat at hand… however things don’t always work out that way.
When the body over reacts to a perceived threat, the immune system activates a number of functions that can be unnecessary and extremely uncomfortable.
CBD and The Immune System
The main therapeutic action of CBD is to encouraging balance in the body. You’ve probably heard the word homeostasis thrown around a lot. This refers to the state in which our pets’ bodies are functioning in an optimal way that isn’t over or under active: it’s just right.
Think of it like the ‘goldilocks zone’ of pet health.
It does this by increasing communication between the body’s various systems and moderating the function of the immune system. The cells of the immune system are covered in receptors that are activated by cannabinoids like CBD;
Mast cells for instance, which release pro-inflammatory chemicals like histamines and cytokines have been proven to be effectively moderated by CBD for dogs.
According to a recent study from Naples, Italy, CBD inhibits the release of those pro-inflammatory chemicals which end up causing the symptoms we know as allergies. These scientists conclude that, “The endocannabinoid system possesses a protective role both in acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.”
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Common Allergy Symptoms
If your pet suffers from allergies, then I don’t have to tell you what it looks like. You can probably tell right away when your dog is about to have an outbreak. We can tell it’s allergies because of a combination of symptoms that point to this auto-immune issue.
The typical symptoms we see with our pets who suffer from allergies:
- Excessive Scratching
- Excessive Biting
- Swollen paw pads
- Swollen eyes
- Irritated Bowels
- Breathing Problems
At the root of most allergy symptoms is one thing. Inflammation.
Inflammation is designed to protect the body and help eliminate contaminants and toxins. By increasing blood flow to a problem area, the body is rushing oxygen and resources to fight off whatever is putting the body at risk. Unfortunately, the body can become confused and ‘send out the troops’ without due cause.
Inflammation is not only the cause for many of the symptoms listed above, which are uncomfortable, exhausting and (admittedly) irritating for everyone around. When inflammation becomes a chronic state, it can have serious negative effects on our pet’s health.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer and degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.
Physical Symptoms – Emotional Consequences
It is awful to see our pets experiencing the discomfort and even pain associated with allergies. Not only that, chronic itchiness and discomfort can take a toll on their mental health. Studies show that dogs who are chronically itchy and uncomfortable are more likely to act out and be aggressive.
Common Triggers for Pet Allergies
Determining the specific trigger for an allergy outbreak can be challenging. Oftentimes the root cause is a combination of allergens as well as environmental factors like summer heat and humidity, all of which come together to create a perfect storm.
If you are able to figure out what allergens your pet may be responding to, you can do much better to avoid them in order to reduce the frequency and intensity of future outbreaks.
As always, our philosophy when dealing with chronic health problems like allergies, is to take a holistic approach. By this, we mean considering your pet’s entire condition, including their health status and environmental factors.
Some of the most prevalent types of allergy triggers include:
- Dietary Intolerances
- Poor Gut Health
- Environmental Stimuli (eg. Pollen)
- Bug Bites and Stings
- Cleaning Products
- Antibiotics and certain prescription medications
The more we are able to ensure our pet’s direct environment, the better their immune system is going to be able to recognize the good from the bad as they go about the world.
Some animals are just genetically predisposed to allergies, meaning they are naturally more prone to allergy outbreaks. Take for instance our very own mascot, the french bulldog. This breed along with many others have a tough time regulating their inflammatory response and end up suffering disproportionately from allergies.
Don’t be too disheartened though! By taking a proactive approach to their response to these stimuli we can give them the tools to moderate the body’s natural response to harmless triggers.
For more information about the specific foods, chemicals and products you should avoid check out this blog by holistic pet expert, Angela Ardolino.
Pain and Discomfort
One of the promising benefits of using a full spectrum hemp extract that is rich in CBD for allergies is how it is a powerful analgesic. The pain killing properties of the cannabis plant are well documented and can help reduce the sensation of itchiness and pain, while at the same time as reducing the inflammation that causes it.
Dosing CBD for Pet Allergies
The benefit of using an oil tincture is the benefits of CBD and the other active compounds found in a full-spectrum hemp extract will be available throughout your pet’s body.
This is the best way to get the most out of the immunomodulatory effects of CBD and help rebalance your pet’s ability to respond appropriately to outside threats that may not be so threatening after all.
For dogs and cats prone to allergies, we recommend a dosage ranging from 9-18 mg a day, applied directly to the gums in two to three separate applications. CBD should be dosed using a trial and error method in order to determine optimal dosage based on your pet’s unique condition.
Our Ease tincture is specially formulated so that one full dropper is one standard dose. It also has the powerful synergistic benefits of turmeric and Frankincense extracts, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
The skin is most often the first place allergy symptoms show up and the place where they feel the greatest discomfort. For localized relief of these acute allergy symptoms, there is nothing better than a topical CBD product, like our Soothe salve.
By using a topical CBD salve for dogs, you can penetrate deep into the layers of their skin and provide relief from inflammation, pain and itchiness.
Apply whenever you see a flare up happening and as needed until it goes away. It’s amazing to see how quickly it works and with the complimentary calming power of ginger and honey, it smells great too.
Full Spectrum or Bust
It is important that whatever CBD oil or hemp extract you are using is full-spectrum. This means that all the extract does not go through unnecessary processing, which would remove some of the naturally occurring cannabinoids and therapeutic compounds. Any product which claims to be ‘THC free’ or 99% CBD is going to be less effective and more prone to side effects.
The Allergy-Free Pet
For some, allergies are bound to be a lifelong guest, for others you may get pretty darn close to pushing them out for good; Either way, there is a lot you can do to stop them from ruining your pet’s life and yours.
No matter your dog or cat’s condition, the best offense is a good defense. When our pets are healthy with a keen, functional immune system, it’s harder for the triggers I’ve mentioned to set off an auto-immune fiasco.
- Feed your pet a fresh, freeze-dried, or raw, species-appropriate diet.
- Remove toxins and chemicals that may trigger allergies.
- Encourage healthy immune function using topical and systemic CBD therapy.
- Stay away from drugs like Apoquel. They are not a viable long term solution.
- Don’t be discouraged. You can do this!
About Carter Easler
Carter is a cannabis educator and holistic practitioner with certification in the use of Cannabis Therapies for Veterinary Medicine by The College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies. He continues to study and share his knowledge of cannabis therapeutics through written articles, educational videos and live speaking engagements across the country.
Growing up in a family of veterinarians, Carter developed a deep love for animals and saw first hand how holistic medicine could change both their lives and his own. As Director of Education for CBD Dog Health, Carter now travels North America educating pet parents, business owners and veterinarians about the benefits and science behind cannabis therapeutics and holistic medicine.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.