Most people are familiar with the occasional skin irritant, whether it’s a bug bite, a rash caused by fabric softener or some sort of food allergy. However, there are some people that may not realize that humans aren’t the only ones to suffer from allergies.
Dogs, cats and other furry pets don’t just scratch themselves willy-nilly. Although shedding season is itchy, it doesn’t continue all year round. If your pet is itchy all the time, or constantly licking themselves, there could a more serious underlining issue happening with their skin and allergies.
- Allergies: Just like with humans, pets experience allergic reactions when their immune system views a substance (i.e. pollen, chemicals or insect saliva) as a threat and increases the production of histamines in the body’s systems. Dogs will either chew or lick at their skin or scratch themselves repeatedly. The most common body parts that are affected are the cheeks, belly, feet, the armpit region and ears. These allergies can develop over months or years as an animal becomes sensitized to something it encounters often, like foods, pollens, molds or dyes.
- Parasites: Any pet that goes outside increases their risk of picking up unwanted internal and external parasites than indoor pets do, but indoor pets are not invulnerable from becoming hosts to parasites, either. Parasites, allergens and other causes of allergies can be brought in by humans or any other miscellaneous item. A disease known as Sarcoptic Mange is caused by tiny mites that burrow through a dog’s skin and cause pain and itching.
- Skin Irritants: This type of allergy happens suddenly when a pet encounters a substance that sets of an immediate reaction. This could be caused by touching road salt, poison ivy, acids or other chemicals. Generally, the skin’s reaction will appear in places that have less fur, like the foot pads, the belly and the nose. Ulcers, blisters or red bumps are common signs of an allergic skin reaction.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Among many types of pets, hormonal imbalances may be caused by organ disease that can cause itchy, dry skin or hair loss. Sudden hair loss, weight loss, change in skin texture or sleep patterns should always be investigated by a vet as soon as possible.
Skin allergies are usually treated using medications, allergy vaccines, and topical solutions.
- Allergy medications
- Allergy vaccines
While these medications are effective, they can cause stomachs to be upset and other discomforting side effects. It’s important to remember that skin allergies can be treated but not cured. Hence, most pets will need to have regular check-ups with their vet to ensure they are responding. If you suspect your pet has an allergy or atopic dermatitis, it’s important you consult your vet early. Early detection and treatment can be imperative in reducing your dog’s symptoms.
How CBD can help
Another treatment that’s getting great attention lately is the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) made from hemp for the treatment of allergies in pets. Many CBD pet products contain no THC, which is the psychoactive component that causes the user to feel “high.” CBD has been gaining ground as an alternative form of medicine since it reduces allergic reactions through the entire body, calms anxiety and reduces obsessive behaviors like chewing and licking.
As an anti-inflammatory, CBD can help relieve systemic inflammation that causes hives, blisters and whole-body itching. CBD has no known interactions with other medications, but it can cause the liver to process other drugs more slowly, so be sure to inform your vet if you plan on administering CBD to your pet, so they can accurately adjust your pet’s dosage of any other drugs.
CBD has no side effects and is non-addictive and non-narcotic. Always consult your vet’s experience and start your pet with the lowest possible effective dose.
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