Can Hemp Help My Pet’s Allergies?
What are Allergies?
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.
Allergies are caused by a disproportionate response by the immune system to something our pets have come into contact with.
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. For many pet parents, allergies can develop later in their pets’ lives and it can be hard to pinpoint the cause. 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
Inflammation and Allergies
It may take on various forms and numerous conditions, but at the root of most allergy symptoms is one thing. Inflammation.
Inflammation is caused by auto-immune signals designed to eliminate contaminants and toxins from the body. 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, there are a number of reasons that 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 is more than a temporary response and becomes a chronic state of being it can have serious negative effects on our pet’s health.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer and degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis.
Physical Manifestation – Mental Taxation
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. This makes sense by my own logic.
One thing I know for sure is when my pets are stressed, so am I.
What Causes My Pet’s Allergies?
Probably the most frustrating part of trying to deal with your pets’ allergies is how difficult it can be to pinpoint the specific allergens that are causing our pets to suffer. Oftentimes it is a combination of different triggers as well as environmental factors like summer heat and humidity, which come together to create a perfect storm.
As always, our philosophy when dealing with chronic health problems like allergies, is to work preventatively. 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.
Some of the most prevalent types of allergy triggers include:
- Dietary Intolerances
- 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.
CBD and The Immune System
The main therapeutic action of CBD is creating balance in the body. It does this by increasing communication between the body’s various systems and encouraging a more moderate response by the cells in the immune system. 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.
This applies directly to the way CBD works in our pets’ immune systems. The cells of the immune system are covered in receptors that work specifically with cannabinoids like CBD; for instance mast cells, which release pro-inflammatory chemicals like histamines and cytokines.
According to research, CBD inhibits the release of those pro-inflammatory chemicals which end up causing the auto-immune responses we know as allergies. The study goes on to say, “ The endocannabinoid system possesses a protective role both in acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.”
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.
How to Use CBD for Pet Allergies
CBD Oil Tinctures
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. You are not only treating the site of the outbreak, whether it be the paws or the ears or the gut you are able to give generalized relief from this condition.
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 9-12 mg a day, applied orally, or to the pinna of the ear. (That’s the soft skin on the underside of the ear, where the fur stops growing)
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 Boswellia extracts which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD Topical Salves
For localized relief of acute allergy symptoms, there is nothing better than a topical CBD salve, like our Soothe salve. The skin is most often the first place allergy symptoms show up and the place where they feel the greatest discomfort.
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 CBD or Bust
It is important that whatever CBD oil or hemp extract you are using is full-spectrum. This means that all the active cannabinoids and other therapeutic compounds have been left intact. 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. This could take some time.
About Carter Easler
Father of a bulldog, Moo, Carter is a life-long animal lover from Toronto, Canada currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. Growing up in a family of veterinarians, he grew up surrounded by animals. He had dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles — you name it, and Carter probably rescued it.
Carter’s passion for cannabis activism started when he was in high school. After learning about the senseless prohibition and incredible diversity of cannabis’s utility, he was inspired to get involved. When Carter met Angela, he was excited to learn that he could combine his passions: animals and cannabis.
Carter now travels North America to educate pet parents, retailers, and veterinarians about CBD. He is excited to bring his passion for pets to Hemp Dog Health.