Pet allergies and CBD therapy

Updated: Aug 1

Itchy, scratchy pets not responding to standard and conventional prescribed drugs?

We all know that itchy, scratchy pets are a big issue right now, with season changes and pollen counts on the rise. Some pets even develop OCD scratching tendencies after suffering with a chronic scratch for a very, very long time - while you, the pet parent, struggles to get it under control with the help of food changes, antibiotics and corticosteroids - but what if those don't work anymore?

I know most of us think (or have thought) "wishy washy" when homeopathic or natural alternatives are mentioned as a form of treatment, but for desperate pet parents, this is often a last resort after years and years of trials, chemical drugs and unsuccessful vet visits that have not improved the pet's quality of life. The pet still struggles, often now resistant to antibiotics and routine drugs usually given by vets are proving ineffective.

Studies and data have shown that the use of full-spectrum (a little of ALL the compounds in a cannabis plant) has had wonderful results for a host of inflammatory conditions - allergies included.

To understand how it works, we must understand what cannabis and the endocannabinoid system is, so let's break it down.

What is cannabis, and it's oils?

We all assume cannabis, is well, cannabis. The stuff you smoke to get high and see the colours of the rainbow - but it isn't just that.

The name "cannabis" refers only to a genus of plants - which belongs to the family Cannabaceae. The cannabis plant is a flowering plant, and yields hundreds of amazing medicinal compounds within the family group.

Cannabis oils come from this plant and some of it's amazing compounds. Some companies and their products contain only one of these compounds for use, usually just CBD, and this is called an isolate.

When combining an isolate with a few other select compounds, or terpenes, it is then called a broad-spectrum product. This can look like CBD, CBG and CBN with a few terpenes.

Using a product that has all the compounds, the complete plant, is called a full-spectrum product, and it is usually much more expensive. This holds specific amounts of each and every compound in the cannabis plant - which includes CBD, CBN, CBG, THC and all the others. This option is the best for chronic and long-term treatments.

These are all called CBD oils. CBD means "Cannabidiol" which is one of the many (and most famous in the medicinal and cosmetic world) cannabinoids or chemical compounds found in cannabis plants.

How does it work in the body?

Much to the surprise of most pet parents, your pet has a built in Endocannabinoid System (or ECS) which is a major lipid-signaling system in your pet that is known to be linked to, and affect your pet's; appetite, sleep patterns, mood regulation, memory and cognitive function, pain receptors and general immunity - among other things.

The ECS is supposed to remain homeostatic* to ensure a happy, normal pet. When the ECS is unbalanced due to a lack of endocannabinoids, it will negatively affect your pet with physical symptoms being GI upsets (gastro, upset tummies), poor appetite, sleep pattern issues and irregularities, pain and inflammation, lethargy or lack of activity, negative behavioural outputs like aggression and anxieties etc.

*(homeostasis - stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes)

What is an endocannabinoid?

An endocannabinoid refers to molecules that are made by your very own body, and pets are not exempt from this.

According to Neuropsychopharmacology, the two most well-studied endocannabinoids are the arachidonic acid derivatives, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).

These endocannabinoids are found in all tissues, organs and bodily fluids thus far investigated and recorded.

So allergies - what is the usual go-to?

Most of the conventional treatments for skin allergies in pets are usually a corticosteroid (oral or topical Cortisone or Prednisolone), antibiotics (not always, but often and commonly Ranceph here in South Africa), food changes and trials on kibble brands claiming to help allergic skin conditions OR some form of long-term immuno-suppressant drug like Cytopoint injections or Apoquel and Atopica oral medicines.

While the above may work quickly, the allergy is most likely going to become a recurrent and ongoing problem for your pet long-term, especially if the drug changes the bacteria population in the gut (antibiotic) or suppresses the bodies response system (immuno-suppressants) - thus not allowing the pet and pet owner to explore other ways to ensuring preventative methods to controlling the inflammatory response in the body, WITHOUT changing the fundamental parts, like gut health, that are so vital to how your pet absorbs their nutrients and processes their foods.

Long-term use of all the above have harrowing side effects for pets quality of life down the line, with antibiotic resistance (for antibiotic patients), increased infections, and organ failure being among the common ones.

Leading international veterinarians, Dr Erik Amazonas and Dr Casara Andre, along with their other esteemed colleagues have launched into clinical research and treatment on pets with severe and chronic disease and are actively using CBD products in treatment of their patients overseas.

Okay - so CBD for allergies. What do I need to know?

While full-spectrum CBD is considered a preventative method - best to start early - it is also incredibly effective and safe acutely and chronically, when used during a flare up - and works even better with other homeopathic remedies or Chinese medicine blends.

CBD should be started "low and slow" when it comes to your pet - working your way up to the ideal dose over the course of a few weeks. Once you reach the optimal dosage levels for your pet and their needs, flare up responses and inflammation in the body should be well managed and maintained.

So many pet parents are concerned that their pet becomes "high" from CBD therapy, and it is very important to know that that is not possible when using a medical graded and customised oil for your pet. The high, experienced by humans, comes from smoking the cannabis plants that are high in THC or using unfiltered and extracted FECO oil.

CBD oils are not THC focused, especially full-spectrum oils. These oils are made to harness the complete medicinal properties and power from all the compounds in the plant.

Full-spectrum CBD oils work as an amazing anti-inflammatory within the body. This means that any and all inflammatory conditions - allergies included.

CBD also interacts with the ECS system in the body, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) which makes it a great, powerful and effective medicine that is also incredibly safe long-term.

Side effects of CBD therapy;

While there are no adverse, harsh side effects of full-spectrum CBD yet to be noted and recorded in studies released up until today - raised Hepatic Enzymes may occur on the isolate products (CBD only) when used long-term BUT this also occurs on long-term and chronic use of steroids in conventional veterinary medicine.

How to know if you should include CBD into your pet's wellness regime:

So now with all the extra information about CBD therapy, it's time to decide if we should include it in our pet's regime. Here are a few things you should think about when deciding;

  1. What type of allergy is it? Environmental, food sensitivity or genetics (non-pigmented dogs) etc? Is it causing daily itching, scratching and inflammation?

  2. Have all the other drugs prescribed by your vet, not been effective?

  3. Is my pet on an immuno-suppressive drug and am I concerned about the long-term side effects?

  4. Do we want to try the natural route, CBD included?

  5. Are you prepared to dedicate the time to the transition and communicate with your practitioner throughout the process?

  6. Am I aware that my pet and their food allergies may be linked, and a diet change would be recommended to something more species appropriate?

If you answered yes to these, you and your pet will be on the road to much less itch - and a happier, healthier system in no time.

Finding your holistic practitioner;

Starting this journey alone is scary and overwhelming but that is why it is INCREDIBLY important to find the correct holistic practitioner to partner with on this journey.

Finding your nearest holistic veterinarian or holistic pet practitioner would be ideal - but in South Africa, there aren't very many and you would need to research.

Luckily - we offer holistic and nutrition consultations with our qualified nutritionist and holistic practitioner. We offer it remotely - so we can be welcomed to your home with the click of a button - aiding you and your pet on this amazing, personalised health journey.

Choosing your pet's CBD products

The market is saturated with CBD products - and pricing and pretty labels should never be your deciding factor on purchasing your pet's CBD ranges.

Always ensure it is full-spectrum and organic, free from pesticides and herbicides and in a safe base oil (hempseed oil, fish oil, select seed oils or coconut oil) and that the product is traceable.

If your pet needs help with this journey, book a holistic consultation for your pet here or email us on to request a slot, or if you want to shop our CBD ranges, click here for our online shop.

We hope that this was informative - and that your pet will be well on their way to a safer, more sustainable way of living soon!

(for pet companies - we offer bulk and wholesale on our in-house ranges. If you would like us to blend and prepare hybrid products for you, we can do that as well. Please contact us to order CBD for your company. Our email is

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