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Cannabis Oil and Dog Skin Problems: A True Case Study

Everyone knows how annoying a persistent itch can be. Well, pets suffering from skin allergies or dermatitis deal with these kinds of irritations daily. The only problem is that they cannot verbalise exactly what the issue is! Dogs are prone to skin irritations and infections, just like humans. The only difference is that dogs tend to be more sensitive when it comes to these skin problems, making them harder to treat.


Dog skin problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, bacteria or parasites, lifestyle issues such as diet or stress, and even the season. Hemp oil has numerous properties that make it an effective remedy for dog skin problems. In this article, we’ll get into all the possible causes and symptoms in just a moment. But first, to give you some peace of mind, know that hemp can help. Hemp seed oil, hemp CBD oil and hemp protein are three excellent natural products that can be very helpful in managing the symptoms of allergies and sensitive skin, whatever the cause.

First things first… What causes itchy skin in dogs? What are some symptoms?  


Skin Condition Dogs


The most common causes of itchy skin in dogs are:

  • Fleas
  • Dust mites
  • Contact Allergies (hypersensitivity to grass/tree/flower pollen or coming in direct contact with mould and toxic chemicals)
  • Food Allergies to an ingredient in their food (protein, soy, corn, food colourants, preservatives, etc.)
  • Acute allergic reaction to eating something they shouldn’t have – flies, mosquitos, spiders, ants, cockroaches, etc.
  • Atopic Dermatitis in response to bacterial overgrowth (microbial colonisation with Staphylococcus or Malassezia) or fungal infections
  • The dry indoor environment during cold/hot months is due to heaters and air conditioners.


Symptoms of itchy skin:

  • Alopecia (hair loss). 
  • Red and/or flaky skin. 
  • Excessive licking and/or scratching.
  • Lesions from scratching and/or licking.
  • Scabs.
  • Rashes or hives.


Suppose these symptoms are also accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea and unusually mellow or lethargic behaviour. In that case, you should see a vet immediately to ensure there isn't a more significant issue that needs immediate, fast-acting treatment.


Some common areas affected by allergies:

  • Face
  • Ears
  • Feet
  • Belly
  • Underarms
  • Ankles
  • Muzzle
  • Groin

How Can Cannabis Products Help?


The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Healthy Skin


ECS stands for the endocannabinoid system. Both you and I have one, and so do our much-loved pets! The ECS has receptors (CB1 and CB2). These receptors play a role in different processes in our bodies (including everything from memory to pain management). The newly discovered ECS is a biological system found in just about any living thing with a backbone. Receptors in the brain, organs, connective tissues and immune cells respond to cannabis and cannabinoid compounds in our bodies and bind to these receptors. Inside the tissue in our bodies, the cannabinoid system performs different functions, with the end goal always being the same: 


Homeostasis is maintaining a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment. This discovery has increased our understanding of health, disease and human biology. The ECS is arguably an essential biological system in our bodies to establish and maintain optimal health. Some of those processes directly involve and affect the skin.


research paper published in 2009 reviewed the growing literature on the relationship between skin health and the ECS. The study showed that recent research has found that the activation of both CB1 and CB2 receptors causes specific reactions in a variety of skin cells. CB1 and CB2 receptors have also been observed directly in keratinocytes, one of the epidermis's predominant cell types (the outer layer of the skin). Endocannabinoids have also been found in rodent skin and human hair follicles. These findings show that the ECS exists in various parts of the skin, making it a reliable target for skin treatments. In fact, the research discussed in the above paper suggests that the ECS plays a crucial role in maintaining skin "homeostasis." Studies indicate that the endocannabinoid system can help support this balance by regulating skin cell proliferation and survival, amongst other things. In fact, some studies go so far as to suggest that fine-tuning the ECS in the skin is key to stimulating healthy skin growth and development!


Read more about the ECS system here.


How To Choose A Cannabis Product For Your Pet?


Taking Care of Your Pet with Skin Conditions


While hemp products or CBD products that contain little to no THC can be beneficial to animals and, in particular, dogs - THC is not. THC can be very good for reducing chronic pain in humans. Still, a little goes a long way for animals, and it's hazardous to dose them with this particular psychoactive cannabinoid. Always check with your medical professional first, as there are no known drug interactions for cannabinoids that the industry is aware of, but this could change at any time.

Visible effects from cannabis toxicity in animals can be pretty severe, including lethargy, dilated pupils, drooling, being off-balance, muscle twitching, vomiting, involuntary urination and even unconsciousness. If this happens to your dog or animal, please take them to your vet immediately.


What Products are Safe for My Pet?


Hemp Seed Oil is a practical option - without the worries of THC or CBD content. Hemp Seed Oil will not make your pets' high' and is considered a nutritional health supplement. This oil has just enough cannabis-derived goodness to make a noticeable difference to your pet's skin & fur health while staying well within the Australian laws surrounding hemp products. 



Hemp Seed Oil


In human studies, the consumption of hemp seed oil was clinically proven effective in improving the symptoms of atopic dermatitis (itchy skin, sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis). The improvements resulted from the optimal balance and abundant supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-6 and Omega-3) in hempseed oil. As a natural, dietary anti-inflammatory agent, hemp seed oil can help reduce skin inflammation, modulate a healthy immune response to allergens and invaders that make your pet feel itchy and sensitive, and boost their first line of defence, the skin barrier. Hemp seed oil can also be applied topically to itchy areas, providing soothing relief.


Consider changing to 100% natural grooming products with hemp seed oil for sensitive or itchy skin. Note, though, that not every shampoo with hemp seed oil is automatically a natural product. Check that your hemp seed oil shampoo or conditioner product doesn't have sulphates (emulsifier and foaming agent) and parabens (chemical preservatives) on the list of ingredients, as they could irritate skin or trigger an allergic reaction and make things even worse. If your pet struggles with chronic itchy skin or sensitive skin, adding hemp seed oil to your dog's diet and grooming routine can help support their skin and coat health. We recommend Marley dietary supplements and 100% natural dog shampoo products like Poppy for dogs with itchy skin and Maise for dogs with sensitive skin.


For more information about the unique benefits of hemp seed oil for pets, and the basis of all products in the current BUDDYPET range, look at our Ultimate Guide to Hemp Seed Oil for Pets and read GLA - hemp seed oil's secret weapon to fight inflammation.


Hemp Seed Protein 


Nutrition plays a crucial role in overall skin health. What's on the inside is on the outside. Hence, improving gut health will improve skin health. One of the best things you can do to improve your pet's gut health is to increase the microbial diversity in their gut by feeding them foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms (friendly bacteria) that can help increase the diversity of the gut microbiome, and prebiotics is the food those microorganisms like to eat.


Hemp seed protein is a natural prebiotic that gut bacteria love to eat! It offers a significant amount of soluble and insoluble fibre. The carbohydrate content of the seed (about 27%) is primarily fibre; as such, hemp seed protein is an excellent source of dietary fibre to feed your dog's microbiome to promote healthy digestion and thus improve skin health. Consider adding BUDDYPET Cooper hemp seed protein to your pet's diet to support gut health to help calm itchy skin. For dogs that suffer from atopic dermatitis due to gut inflammation, we recommend BUDDYPET Milly. A delicious blend of hemp seed oil and turmeric in Milly can help tame the inflammation involved in intestinal inflammatory diseases, thus improving intestinal barrier function and, ultimately, skin function.


Hemp CBD Oil


CBD oil is derived from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant, hence why it's often called hemp oil. It is a natural botanical extract that works through the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of cannabinoid receptors located primarily throughout the brain, central nervous system and immune system that act in neural communication. ECS plays a crucial role in maintaining skin "homeostasis." Studies indicate that the endocannabinoid system can help support this balance by regulating skin cell proliferation and survival, among other things. Some studies go so far as to suggest that fine-tuning the ECS in the skin is key to promoting skin healing and regeneration.Pets have a highly developed ECS system; treating inflammatory skin conditions is very effective with hemp CBD oil. For more information about the health benefits of hemp CBD oil, please read the BUDDYPET Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil for Pets.


Please note that the only legal distribution of CBD products is by veterinarians under prescribing rights and for research purposes only. Any other supply of CBD products for animal use in Australia is illegal, except for S4 CBD oil products (medical cannabis) approved and registered with TGA for off-label use. Talk to your vet if you are looking for a high-quality TGA-approved CBD product for pets.


Check out the 5 star reviews on our product pages! Here is one below.




"My 4-year-old Collie X has had what my family and I call "puppy dandruff" on and off since he was a few months old. He has had this daily for the past two months, and his skin has been doing well! Not to mention his coat (so shiny!) My mum's dog, a Bulldog X, has skin issues, which has helped them so much!

Would highly recommend!" - Sarah, QLD.


For additional insights on skincare, please read the BUDDYPET article How to Treat and Prevent Itchy Skin.