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Does cbd oil work for dogs with allergies

Does cbd oil work for dogs with allergies

Posted by Ian Koontz on Aug 4th 2020

Like humans, our furry friends also suffer from allergy symptoms of an allergic reaction like itching, discomfort, and swelling. We all know how annoying these symptoms can be, and your pets probably feel the same way.

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are triggered by allergens from plant protein, insects, other animals or food. Pollens, mold spores, dust mites, shed skin cells, and insect proteins such as flea saliva are proteins that cause dog allergies. When affected by substances from these allergens, a state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of the immune system will occur inside your pet’s body. Exposing you or your dog to these allergens sensitizes their immune system and if exposed frequently, it will cause an over-reaction. Although allergies are caused by proteins of different sorts, it is also possible for allergies to be inherited from your pet’s mothers. It may seem like allergies are a simple thing but it can cause distress in your dog. The immune system normally protects your dog from infections or diseases but when an allergy is in full effect, the immune response may be harmful to the body.

Allergies in dogs are quite complex. Ever wonder how allergic reactions cause inflammations like redness, swelling and itching? These are caused by allergen protein molecules combining with antibodies in the blood, attaching itself to a type of cell called a mast cell. Mast cells are found in numerous parts of the body. Histamines are potent chemicals released by antigen and antibodies reacting with mast cells that cause these allergic reactions.

Different Types of Dog Allergies

Dog allergies may all have the same symptoms, but what causes these allergic reactions are from a wide array of classifications. Here is a list of examples that a responsible dog owner should know about:


Flea allergy dermatitis is the allergic reaction to fleabites. Fleas are tiny parasites that feed off of blood from dogs. These tiny parasites cause fleabites, an itchy sensation that occurs on the skin which causes extreme itch on different parts of a dog’s body, especially the base of the tail. Their skin may become red, inflamed or scabbed from these fleas which you can see hiding on on your dog’s hairs or attached to their skin. Some symptoms of flea bites are severe scratching and itching, biting and chewing of the skin, hair loss, scabs and skin irritation. It Is best to look out for theses symptoms as flea bites are not as visible to dogs compared to humans. Fleas like to infest the neck, ears, lower back, abdomen and base of the tail in dogs. These fleas are extremely hard to find when a dog’s hair color is a dark shade but somewhat easier to find on lighter colored dog hairs. It is very important to pay attention to your dog. Catching fleas on the earlier stages are easier to terminate and will most likely stop the parasites from spreading from your dog’s body. Keep in mind that not only will this bring discomfort to your dog, but fleas will also cause anemia and tape worms.


Dog allergies are also caused by your dog’s food intake. It is important to experiment with all types of food so that you are aware of the food your are allowed to give to your pet dog. If your dog suffers from food allergies symptoms of all kinds may show. Skin conditions like hives, facial swelling, and itchiness and gastrointestinal problems like vomiting or diarrhea are the most common symptoms of these food allergies.

It is true that food allergies are not as common in dogs as it is in humans. When dog owners say their dogs have allergies, it typically means that their dogs are experiencing food intolerance. Food intolerance do not involve an immune response and are instead a reaction to an offending ingredient in your dog’s food. These food intolerances cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea and may also cause dermatological problems such as itchiness, poor skin and coat, and chromic ear and foot infections.


Dogs are adventurous beings. It doesn’t matter where they are as long as they get to play and run around. Running around has its perks but it may also cause allergic reactions caused by their surroundings. Dust, mold, pollen and grass are the most common causes of environmental allergens. Rolling around the grass or even your house floor may lead to your dog to experiencing discomfort. More often than not, exposing your pet dog to these environmental allergens may become severe if not treated immediately. Your dog may be suffering from environmental allergens when a lesion on the underside or top of the feet, itchy skin , sore runny eyes, sneezing, and inflammation occurs. Be careful where you take your dog and make sure it is safe for them to run around as to prevent from these allergic reactions to happen.


Allergies may not be alarming to some, but acute allergic reactions are the most alarming type of allergies in dogs. Bee stings and vaccine reactions can cause dangerous allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock. These kinds of reactions are fatal and may cause a dog’s death if not treated immediately. Keep a close eye on your dogs, especially when they are outside as bees may come and sting them. Bee stings may lead to the development of hives or facial swelling of the face, throat, lips and eyelids.

Symptoms to Look Out For in Allergies in Dogs

Symptoms may vary depending on the cause of your dog’s allergic reactions. However, there are symptoms that commonly show up once it is triggered. It is best to look out for these so that you may give your dog immediate medical attention. Bring your dog to a vet so that a veterinarian may give your dog a check up!

  • Sneezing
  • Excessive scratching or licking of the affected area
  • Hives
  • Skin inflammation
  • Itchiness of the affected area
  • Sore, runny eyes
  • Swelling around the eyes or ears
  • Change in appetite
  • Ear infections
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Unpleasant odors from the skin or ears
How to Help Relieve Allergic Reactions

Allergy symptoms are inevitable once your pet dog experiences reactions to allergens. Do not fret once your dog is experiencing allergies. There are ways to treat your dog’s discomfort. When you notice your dog is experiencing symptoms stated above, it is best advised to take your furry friend to the vet. A veterinarian may prescribe medications that contain chemicals that are not good for your dog in the long run. Chemical based medications may lead to side effects. While this is something that may concern you, there are other ways to treat your dog’s allergic reactions, and it is best to discuss this with your local veterinarian.

Most veterinarians opt for a more natural approach of treatment. The use of hemp oil for dog allergies is the most common form of natural remedies recommended by veterinarians. CBD has many useful purposes, especially in treating and strengthening the immune system and easing your dog from pain and discomfort. Hemp oil may help relieve your dog in reducing inflammation, easing pain, and bringing comfort to your dog. This natural substance is heavily recommended by health professionals as compared to other medications as CBD oil claims to focus on the treatment of the allergy. Dog owners may have a few concerns regarding giving dogs CBD but it is proven to not be psychoactive, which mean it will not make your dog “high” after consumption. CBD comes from hemp unlike THC which comes from pot. The issue issue with chemical based drugs is that it weakens the dog’s immune system. CBD oil affects the cannabinoid receptors of the brain to help reduce allergic reactions. It does not suppress the immune system, but it works by managing the allergy symptoms experienced by your dogs. CBD or hemp oil is one of the best natural substance to be given to dogs. It comes in various forms such as doggy treats, soft chews and creams. Ir promises to give minimal side-effects and supports your dog’s overall health. Not only does it give your dog healthy skin but it also reduces pain and helps your dog to stay calm and anxiety-free. So the answer is, yes. CBD oil is effective in dog allergies. We recommend that you provide your dog the best oil for it to take immediate effect. This is a natural and healthy option that will make your furry friend happy and healthy in the long run!

CBD vs. Apoquel for Dogs

Looking to relieve your dog’s itching, scratching, redness, and rashes, but hoping for an Apoquel alternative?

Allergies and the uncomfortable symptoms they cause are some of the most common problems facing pet parents today. It’s often hard to pinpoint the cause of the itching and scratching and the last thing we want to see is our pets suffer.

That’s why pet parents everywhere are running to their veterinarian for help. And what do these vets prescribe? Apoquel. This powerful pharmaceutical boasts the ability to alleviate allergy symptoms in as little as a few hours and get your dog back to feeling normal.

Here at CBD DOG Health, we always believe in finding the root cause of an issue, to see if we can get rid of it or find a more natural way to relieve the symptoms. Although Apoquel is fast acting and treats surface level symptoms, it does not get to the root of the problem.

In contrast, CBD from the cannabis plant has well known anti-inflammatory benefits as well as the ability to encourage communication in the body’s various systems. These characteristics, as well as many of the other associated benefits, make cannabis medicine a promising Apoquel alternative in the fight against pet allergies and the symptoms they cause.

Table of Contents

Why Is Apoquel Prescribed in the first place?

The most common use of Apoquel is in the treatment of Pruritus. Pruritus is the medical term for itchiness. It’s simply the uncomfortable sensation that makes your dog want to scratch. This feeling may be caused by environmental allergens, parasites, infections, food sensitivities, or chemical irritations such as fertilizers, fragrances or flea medications.

The last thing we want is to see our dog or cat in a state of discomfort but for many, the battle with pruritus is lifelong. We all know how awful it feels to be itchy for prolonged periods of time, and this constant discomfort has even been linked to behavioral problems in dogs. When our dogs are in a state of prolonged stress, it makes sense that eventually their mental health would suffer and begin to affect their behavior. No wonder pet parents are eager to find a solution to their pet’s chronic itching.

How Does Apoquel Work?

Apoquel is just the latest drug to gain favor among veterinarians in the attempt to curb an ever growing trend of allergic dogs. Before Apoquel came along, vets most often prescribed steroids or drugs like cyclosporine , a chemical originally developed to stop organ transplant rejection in humans.

All you have to do is look at the ways Apoquel stops the itch to know that you’re in for trouble down the road. You may be treating one symptom in exchange for unwittingly exposing your pet to all sorts of opportunistic diseases and infections.

That’s because Apoquel functions by suppressing your pet’s immune system in order to mute the symptoms of an allergic reaction. It does not cure the allergy.

Let’s Get Clinical

Apoquel is an immune suppressant drug, in the JAK inhibitor class. This means it works to inhibit the function of JAK compounds. JAK stands for Janus Kinase. It is a signaling compound used by cells to communicate with each other and direct immune function.

Some of the known functions of JAK compounds:

  • Destroying and preventing tumor growth
  • Forming red and white blood cells
  • Controlling inflammation
  • Signaling new cell growth
  • Ensuring proper function of immune cells (B-cells and T-cells)

By turning off the function of the JAK receptors, Apoquel effectively powers down the immune system throughout the body. This greatly reduces our pet’s natural defenses against disease and chronic illness. This leaves them vulnerable to ailments they might naturally have avoided. It’s no wonder pets using Apoquel for extended periods of time start to have major problems.

Why Do We Need An Apoquel Alternative?

The main problem with Apoquel is if you want to keep the symptoms at bay, you have no choice but to continue medicating your pet with this drug indefinitely. Unfortunately, the longer your pet is on an immunosuppressive drug, the higher the likelihood is that they will develop serious side effects and health conditions as a result.

In one long term study published by Apoquel’s manufacturer Zoetis, they studied 247 dogs over the course of two years. Of those 247 dogs, they removed 26 dogs from the study for one reason or another and 18 were euthanized.

Apoquel Side Effects

The most common side effects were:

  • UTI or Cystitis – Bacterial infection of the urinary tract, affected 11.3% of test subjects
  • Otitis – Bacterial infection of the ear canal, affected 9.3% of test subjects
  • Pyoderma – Bacterial infection of the skin, Affected 9.3 % of test subjects
  • Vomiting – Chronic GI upset, affected 10.1% of test subjects

Do you see the trend?

Bacterial infections and poor gut health. The immune system is harbored primarily in our pet’s gut, making gut health a central pillar of proper immune function. When the immune system is suppressed, the gut is unable to properly deal with pathogens that cause infections throughout the body.

The ironic thing is that many of the opportunistic infections caused by Apoquel lead to itchy ears or itchy skin! Isn’t that what we were trying to get rid of in the first place?

Neoplastic Growths and Cancer

Based on what I’ve seen at our animal rescue, Fire Flake Farm , as well as the evidence presented in this study, the other common side effect of Apoquel is the formation of lumps, bumps, tumors and other cancerous growths.

The list of instances in Zoetis’ study where dogs developed neoplastic or cancerous conditions is long and extremely varied. Without the immune system policing cancerous cells and abnormal growth, dogs treated with Apoquel are at a much higher risk for cellular mutations and other cancerous conditions.

Here’s a sample of the reported neoplastic (cancerous) conditions during the two year trial.

  • Mast Cell Tumor Grade 1
  • Mast Cell Tumor Grade 2
  • Anal sac adenocarcinoma
  • Apocrine gland adenocarcinoma
  • Low grade b-cell lymphoma
  • Spindle cell sarcoma
  • Primary malignant bone Neoplasia
  • Splenic neoplasm
  • Intracranial neoplasm
  • Frontal sinus neoplasm
  • Dermal pigmented viral plaques

Not listed are the numerous masses that did not receive a specific diagnosis during the study. Here is a note from the study:

“In addition to the known or suspected neoplasms, 47 dogs developed new dermal, epidermal or subcutaneous masses that did not have a specific diagnosis established.”

Remember, these experiments only included 247 dogs, so the proportions of pets that developed new dangerous conditions is unacceptable.

AND YET, the conclusion of the study stated:

“Improved the quality of life for dogs in this study?”

Clearly, these conclusions are skewed to downplay the seriousness of the conditions that can develop as a result of using this drug. This is not surprising since the company that makes the product is the same company that funds and oversees the testing. Luckily we are able to look at the facts presented in the document and see the truth about its effects.

Apoquel Alternative – CBD

CBD and the other compounds found in a full-spectrum hemp extract help to bring the body’s systems into homeostasis. That’s just a fancy way of describing a state of balance.

There are tons of cannabinoid receptors throughout the organs that control our pet’s immune systems. Instead of completely turning off the immune responses, as Apoquel does, CBD instead increases communication between cells in the immune system. This encourages a more moderate and targeted response to allergy symptoms.

At CBD Dog Health, we designed the Ease tincture to specifically target allergies in pets. A great Apoquel alternative, Ease contains the essential oils of powerful medicinal herbs. Including frankincense and turmeric, whose anti-inflammatory and immune supportive properties work synergistically with CBD. Plus, our dogs love the taste.

Giving full disclosure, holistic pet care and natural plant medicine may not produce the instant gratification that Apoquel produces. Holistic medicine seeks to treat each animal as an individual with respect to the complexity of their specific needs.

CBD Side Effects in Dogs

In contrast to the dramatic and often life-threatening side effects of pharmaceutical drugs like Apoquel, full-spectrum hemp extract is extremely safe for both short and long term use .

The potential side-effects that can occur with a full spectrum hemp extract are mild and usually temporary. In most cases, the worst side effects are mild diarrhea or lethargy during the beginning phase of the treatment. There are also plenty of great herbal remedies to support these symptoms, and as the body gets used to a new dietary supplement, these occurrences fade away.

CBD to Treat Side Effects of Apoquel

Not only does a full-spectrum hemp extract offer supportive and effective relief from allergies and their symptoms, but many of its healing properties also produce the opposite effect of Apoquel’s side effects.

Switching to An Apoquel Alternative

I’m not here to tell you that dealing with allergies is as easy as switching from one product to another. That’s kind of the problem with drugs like Apoquel. Sure, it’s a quick fix to stop the scratching. However, the long term effects of disabling your pet’s natural defenses can be very serious.

If you’re looking to transition to an Apoquel alternative, like CBD, consult with a holistic veterinarian or medical cannabis professional.

Aside from using CBD as an Apoquel alternative, to support a healthy immune response, there is a lot you can do to alleviate your pet’s allergies naturally .

Consider sensitivities to particular foods or chemicals in their environment. In addition, look for ways to encourage the proper functioning of the body’s natural immune responses. In other words, there is so much that goes into the proper functioning of our pet’s body and their immune system.

W e recommend a strategic approach, not a quick fix.

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 CBD Dog Health.