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CBD Oil for Dogs with Itchy Skin—Does it Work?

So, Max the Collie is scratching so energetically that his hair flies all over the place. And you're sitting hands in the hair because nothing seems to alleviate your poor canine companion's itchy skin, which is causing his frantic scratching. Fret not, because, with cannabidiol (CBD) oil, dogs' itchy skin is most often easily soothed.

With CBD oil, dogs' itchy skin is most often easily soothed.

RELATED: What is CBD Oil?

CBD Oil—Dogs' Itchy Skin Solution: What Does Research Say?

Research is making headway and indicates cannabidiol's medicinal utility and safety in humans. Veterinary research is a different story, though, and there still exist large gaps in our knowledge regarding exactly how CBD works, its toxicity, and its long-term efficacy in animals.

However, CBD has been shown to be very safe in humans, and this seems to be the case for animals too, even though their physiology differs from ours. Many pet owners swear by CBD for their animals. Yet, there are no formal, medical guidelines regarding dosage, administration, etc at the moment, which can be problematic when experimenting. Simply giving Max a hefty dose of high-CBD cannabis oil the neighbor swears by for his own eczema might not be a good idea. [1]

On the topic of cannabis oil—often this oil contains high doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cousin of CBD. This molecule has many healthful properties, but it is also known to cause toxic reactions in some animals. It can even be lethal in high doses. Researchers reckon that this has mostly to do with the difference between the human and the animal endocannabinoid system, the latter of which the receptors express differently. Therefore, it's very important to be sure of what you're giving your dog for its itchy skin, even if it says "CBD oil" on the label.

CBD Product and Administration Guidelines for Dogs with Itchy Skin

RELATED: Suffering from Eczema? CBD Oil Could Be Your New Best Friend

CBD Product and Administration Guidelines for Dogs with Itchy Skin

So, in terms of products, administration method, and dosage, pet owners are still left to their own devices—for now. Fortunately, using common sense and doing a bit of research, it's possible to find a good and safe product for your pet. Also, since CBD is generally considered safe, you can experiment with doses until you hit one that works well for dogs.

Itchy skin and dogs’ skin allergy are common ailments that can turn serious if not seen to appropriately. Dogs can develop sores and even serious infections if their relentless scratching breaks the skin. CBD oil is perfectly poised to not only soothe the itch but also see to any underlying inflammatory condition. [2]

In the case of especially serious skin conditions, it would probably be better to find a vet specializing in cannabis medicine. They should be able to not only advise you on how your dog is to take the CBD, but also refer you to a good shop if they don't keep products at their own clinics.

1. Find a High Quality CBD Oil

Hemp-CBD was only recently removed from the DEA's list of controlled substances, and regulators across the country are still buzzing crazily to put procedures and other controls in place after industrial hemp was declared legal. This means that there's very little product quality control and little to no regulation of merchandisers. Unfortunately, it's therefore easy to buy yourself a cat in the bag—or worse, marijuana oil (with a high THC content) that could be toxic to animals, as mentioned. [3]

In short, look for the following on the label or in the marketing material of the manufacturer.

Characteristics of a High-Quality CBD Oil

RELATED: How To Choose A High Quality CBD Oil

2. CBD for Dogs: Dosage

As mentioned, you will either have to rely on personal research and experimentation, or you could find a cannabis-specialist vet online or close to you. 

One such Oregon vet, Dr. Cornelia Wagner, owner of Hawthorne Veterinary Clinic in Portland, spoke to Forbes Magazine and strictly recommends beginning any pet’s treatment with the lowest amount possible—about 1 mg/ml a day. Slowly increase the doses by no larger than .05ml/mg per week till you can see that the oil is taking effect.

The upper dose limit for CBD products recommended is around 1 mg/kg/day orally, but one should start with a much smaller fraction of this dose such as 0.05 mg/kg/day,” Wagner says. [5]

Excessive sedation, disorientation, excitement, vomiting, etc. can all result from too high a dose, so reduce accordingly. If any of these symptoms get very serious or don't disappear, immediately stop administering the oil and take your dog to the vet.

Also, if the CBD oil doesn't seem to work so well after a while, your dog may have developed a tolerance for the product. Good CBD oil is not, as a rule, associated with tolerance development. This effect may be due to the THC in the oil, as the compound is known to cause tolerance. However, if the product works well for your dog, then simply increase the dose a little till it works again. Alternatively, stop giving it for about ten days so the dog's endocannabinoid system can normalize, and then start again on the usual dose.

CBD for Dogs: Dosage

RELATED: Can You Develop a Tolerance to CBD?

3. CBD for Dogs: Administration

Taking the oil directly or rubbing it on the site of the itching will give the best results. To administer, use a syringe to achieve the very small doses, and then inject this plus a bit of water quickly into your dog's mouth.

4. Don't Give CBD for Dogs on Medicine

Finally, a cautionary note. CBD is metabolized via the liver, which can cause interaction between the cannabinoid and drugs. This is not a common problem, and CBD is often prescribed together with other medication without any issues. Yet in some cases, concomitant use can affect the efficacy and toxicity of the prescription drug. Therefore, don't give CBD to Max if he's already on other meds without consulting with your vet first.

The same goes for replacing the medicine with CBD—rather, talk to the vet and find out about the wisdom of such a move. Also, ask whether the medicine administration can be terminated abruptly or over a period of time (to avoid withdrawal symptoms).

So, as stated, with cannabidiol (CBD) oil, dogs' itchy skin could soon be a thing of the past if administered correctly and in the right dosage.


  1. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
  2. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/cbd-for-dogs-how-it-can-help-these-5-common-conditions/
  3. http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/789610/food+drugs+law/The+Legalization+Of+Hemp
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurenterry/2018/09/27/the-right-way-to-introduce-cbd-to-your-pets/#28cc975e30c5

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