CBD on its own may not be that helpful for allergies in animals, but a related supplement is effective at getting the problem under control.

by Robert J. Silver DVM, MS

Allergies are common in dogs and cats, and often due to certain food ingredients or inhaled antigens. Allergies usually manifest as itchiness and scratching; reddened skin from inflammation, often associated with crusts and scaling; and self-inflicted damage from excessive scratching. Inhalant allergies can cause respiratory symptoms. If the dog or cat has food allergies, then diarrhea, vomiting, straining and frequent stools can result. Can CBD help?

CBD May Stop Itching

A recently-reviewed Japanese study found that CBD can reduce itching in dogs with atopy or inhalant allergies. Yet a few of the animal parents I have spoken with were not sure their animals responded to the CBD given for allergic itching. Skin allergies are complicated problems and some dogs may not respond as well to CBD as others.

Effective for Inhalant Allergies

The study mentioned above measured the benefits of giving CBD to allergic dogs at dosages similar to those used for arthritis or epilepsy (1 mg to 2 mg per pound of body weight twice daily). It found that CBD at those dosages, without THC, can help dogs with diagnosed inhalant allergies. If your dog has this type of allergy, it would be worth trying CBD at that same dosage for several weeks to a month.

PEA and Allergies

There’s another supplement that is related to CBD, but which is not found in the cannabis plant. Called PEA (palmitoylethanolamide), it’s a naturally-occurring molecule found in certain foods, such as eggs, as well as in the bodies of all mammals.

PEA is part of the “entourage effect” that takes place in the body when CBD or other molecules of the cannabis plant are consumed.

Several well-conducted studies have found that, over a month or two of administering PEA twice a day, allergies can decrease in severity, and for some animals may go into complete or partial remission. Even cats with eosinophilic granuloma complex (rodent ulcers) have gone into remission with the use of PEA. Several companies offer PEA in soft chews and capsules. It’s worth considering if you want to get your dog or cat’s allergies under better control.

The dosage as determined from studies is 10 mg/kg twice daily for dogs and 15 mg/kg twice daily for cats (yes, cats receive more than dogs). It works well with CBD, CBG or CBDA, and can be given with fatty acids from fish oils and even medications such as prednisone or antihistamines.