Can Hemp Help your Pets Skin Issues?
Just like humans, the largest organ in our pet’s bodies is the skin. It plays a vital role in their overall health and is their first line of defense against injury and infection. Skin acts as a barrier to defend against things like:
- Critters / Pests
- Harmful chemicals
- Harsh Environmental Conditions
Research shows that the body’s endocannabinoid system or ‘ECS’, plays a key role in the healthy functioning of our pet’s immune system. It’s no wonder that the skin contains a large number of ECS receptors.
Dogs have three main layers of skin.
- Subcutaneous layer
Scientists at the University of Pisa in Italy published an important study which documents an abundance of the two main cannabinoid receptors throughout the layers of dogs’ skin.
According to that research, dogs’ skin differs from humans in a couple important ways. While humans have more individual layers of skin and fewer cannabinoid receptors in each layer, dogs skin is thinner and contains an abundance of both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
These characteristics make it easier for compounds like CBD, to penetrate deep and stimulate the skin’s local endocannabinoid system. That’s why topical CBD salves for dogs work so well on rashes, redness, dry spots, lumps, bumps and tumors.
Let’s look into some of the common skin conditions that can be treated effectively using a salve made with full spectrum hemp extract!
Tip: Apply your CBD salve at the same time you give your pet their tincture! Once a day is fine but twice a day is even better.
Lumps, Bumps and Unwanted Growths
Research shows that cannabis and CBD have numerous cancer killing properties. CBD has been shown not only to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells but to kill cancer cells that have already formed.
According to the National Cancer Institute:
How does it do this?
In numerous preclinical studies, CBD has been shown to:
- Preventing vascular development to tumors
- Inhibiting growth of malignant cells
- Increasing apoptosis (cell recycling, death of old cells)
Here on our animal rescue Fire Flake Farm, we see countless dogs with tumors, warts and gruesome growths.
Jolene is one of our rescues here and she is super prone to these kinds of growths. Jolene loves to run through the woods and play rough with the other dogs. Her happy go lucky personality is totally infectious and she hardly seems to notice if she gets scraped or cut while running in the woods. The problem is, these abrasions are often a perfect site for viruses to take root and cause unwanted growths.
We recently noticed a wart-like tumor growing on her left paw. The growth seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, taking up residence between her toes, and more than once, I caught her trying to nip at it. Suddenly, she found it uncomfortable to run, swim, and play – all of her favorite things.
Canine Papilloma viruses (cutaneous papillomatosis, warts, verrucae, squamous cell papilloma) are common skin tumors in dogs and can start with a bug bite, cut or scrape where the virus can enter.
Some veterinarians will recommend surgical removal of these kinds of growths, but that process is often painful and traumatic for our pets. Not only that but cutting the tumor off does not stop it from coming back!
What’s the alternative?
We started treating her with our Remedy salve, which contains 150mg of full-spectrum CBD as well as essential oil of eucalyptus, peppermint and arnica. Any time we see dogs who have warts, cancerous tumors or benign ones, we use this salve to get rid of them.
The tumor growing on Jolene’s paw went through several phases of decay. Over the course of about a month and a half, we watched it slowly die and decrease in size until it was completely gone.
Jolene has been tumor-free for almost three months now and is back to loving life outside. If and/or when a new one appears, we know how to deal with it!
New Paw, Who Dis?
Dry Skin, Dermatitis, and Eczema
For dogs that are prone to dry and itchy skin caused by conditions like dermatitis or psoriasis, CBD is an amazing option!
According to a study done in 2018 in association with the University of Colorado, cannabinoids enhance the production of fat molecules that help skin stay moist and protected.
This is great for breeds like Bulldogs or Pugs who get dry noses from having their tongue out and are constantly rewetting the skin.
In our pet grooming shop Beautify the Beast, we see pups come in with noses and paws so dry they actually start to crumble off – like Lola over here.
This often points to issues like chronic dehydration or sun damage which should be addressed directly and treated alongside a nourishing CBD salve.
Depending on the climate where you live, your dog or cat may be more likely to experience dry noses and paws.
In cold weather regions, snow and ice lead to the widespread use of salt that can get into our pet’s paws. This combination of extreme cold and salt is extremely drying and can cause intense dryness.
If you live in a place with a hot summer, sidewalks have their own set of challenges for our pets. Hot concrete can dry out the paw pads and even cause third degree burns in some cases.
Whether you walk your dog through the cold of winter or the heat of summer, their paws may be parched and in need of some serious moisture. For these cases, we recommend our Nourish salve, which contains 150mg of CBD as well as vitamin E and vanilla.
Another reason that cannabis is so effective as a topical therapy is because of its localized anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties.
Numerous studies have been done exploring the efficacy of topical application of CBD for arthritis pain. Because of the proliferation of cannabinoid receptors through the different layers of skin, CBD is able to penetrate deep into the skin and soothe osteoarthritis and joint pain.
Unlike other pain killers and analgesic drugs, CBD is completely natural and is not nearly as taxing on the liver as the NSAID’s commonly prescribed for this pain, especially when applied trans-dermally.
Allergies and other Environmental Issues
For dogs that have painful and uncomfortable allergies, topical CBD is one of the best ways to reduce redness and moderate the immune response, while taking away the discomfort that causes them to itch!
According to an Italian study conducted on dogs with atopic dermatitis,
“The endocannabinoid system and cannabimimetic compounds protect against effects of allergic inflammatory disorders in various species of mammals.”
Some of the most common issues that cause chronic redness, inflammation and dryness include:
- Bug bites
- Hot spots
When pets are exposed to these stressors it can trigger an aggressive response from our pet’s immune system, resulting in widespread inflammation and redness. The uncomfortable and itchy feeling associated with this effect is known as pruritus.
This discomfort is not only physically problematic, it is awful for our pet’s mental health, causing them a lot of stress and restlessness that can affect their long term behavior. This is why so many veterinarians end up prescribing drugs like Apoquel to deal with this problem.
We strongly recommend staying away from immunosuppressive drugs like Apoquel. For more information about the risks associated with this drug, check out this blog!
Healthy Immune Response
Unlike these pharmaceutical drugs, CBD salves actually support the immune system and encourage its proper functioning. That means instead of turning the inflammation response off, it encourages the immune system to react proportionally to the problem. This is a much better option than the total suppression of the immune system, making them vulnerable to more serious problems down the road.
Not only that, CBD and cannabis extract have strong antibiotic, antiviral and anti-microbial properties. This is one of the reasons it is so effective for treating issues like yeast and other skin infections.
Along with the painkilling effects of CBD, our Soothe salve contains ginger oil and calming honey to aid in cooling down the areas affected by these environmental aggravations.
As always, we chose to pair CBD with essential oils that complement and boost its healing properties.
Disclaimer: All CBD Dog Health salves are safe if ingested. They contain no toxic ingredients, so it’s safe, even if your pet licks them up. For greatest absorption, make sure they allow it to sit for 20 minutes before licking it off.
Healing from the Inside Out
Issues that show up on the skin often point to issues that lie beneath the surface. CBD Salves are a great way to treat various skin problems, but it’s important to find the root cause of these issues.
Things to consider that can affect skin health:
- Nutritional Deficiency
- Chemicals in the environment
- Genetic predisposition
- Pharmaceutical side-effects (flea/tick, antipruritic, etc.)
Using CBD Tinctures and Salves Together
Along with a great diet and immune supportive regimen, CBD given internally is a great partner to topical application. By using both a CBD tincture for dogs as well as a salve, you are treating the whole system as well as the physical site of the issue.
This approach has given us the greatest rates of success in naturally treating a variety of dog skin conditions.
By building up and maintaining the health of our pet’s skin, we can give them a solid first line of defense against anything that comes their way!
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.
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 Hemp 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.