• Several external factors or underlying medical diseases like allergies, infections, or parasites may cause a canine’s itchy skin(1). 
  • An allergic reaction arises when the body’s immune system sends antibodies to fight foreign substances like allergens or microorganisms that may potentially harm the body. This immune response may result in inflammation(2). 
  • CBD (cannabidiol) contains pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties(3). These benefits make the compound a popular choice for pet owners to reduce or soothe their dog’s itchy skin. 
  • CBD works with the ECS or endocannabinoid system and its cannabinoid receptors. These components activate the body’s anti-inflammatory response. Humans and mammals, including dogs, possess the ECS(4). 
  • However, further clinical studies are needed to verify the efficacy of CBD in alleviating canines’ itchy skin. Dog owners should first seek the advice of a veterinarian regarding their pet’s health before giving their pet CBD oil for dogs.

How CBD Can Help a Dog With Itchy Skin

Canines usually feel pruritus (the medical term for itchiness). Dogs with pruritus may scratch, bite, rub, or lick the affected area of their skin, which causes discomfort(5).

Moreover, the itchiness is not limited to a specific area. Dogs may feel this uncomfortable sensation all over their bodies. This condition may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. 

Some common causes of itchy skin in dogs include infections, parasites, and dog allergies

Canine allergies are a prevalent illness in dogs due to the various factors that may act as possible allergens (the cause of an allergic reaction)(6).

The most common type of dog allergy is atopic dermatitis(7). Dust mites, fleas, and food allergies may trigger an allergic reaction in dogs(8)

Seasonal allergies are another type of allergic reaction caused by pollen. This condition may induce itchy skin, runny nose, and sneezing(9).

Allergic reactions are caused by the immune system releasing antibodies to fight foreign substances, like allergens, that enter the body. This immune response may cause inflammation, itching, and breathing issues(10).

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for regulating various bodily functions, and the body’s homeostasis or balance. This system is prevalent in humans and mammals, including dogs(11).

The ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 or CB1 and CB2 receptors(12).

CB1 receptors are predominantly present in the brain and central nervous system. Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are mainly present in the immune system.

CBD interacts with the ECS and its cannabinoid receptors. This interaction may induce the therapeutic effects of CBD that may be beneficial to humans’ furry friends(13).

A study conducted on humans and published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics indicated that CBD activates CB2 receptors, which may reduce the effects of allergic contact dermatitis(14).

Allergic contact dermatitis in humans may cause rashes and severe itchy skin(15).

Meanwhile, one study noted that atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition, is one of the causes of prolonged itching in a dog’s skin(16).

This disease may be caused by bites from parasites, like mites, or seasonal allergies due to pollen(17).

CBD may possess anti-pain (analgesic) and anti-inflammatory benefits(18). These effects may help reduce a dog’s skin conditions, like itchy skin

There is still insufficient conclusive scientific evidence on the effects of CBD, specifically on dogs with itchy skin. However, the purported benefits of CBD may help reduce itching sensations in the dog’s body. 

Still, pet owners must consult with their veterinarian regarding their dog’s skin condition to promote healthy skin and overall wellness in canines

What Else Can CBD Oil Help With?

Anti-inflammatory steroids are drugs prescribed by veterinarians that may help manage dogs’ itchy skin or allergy symptoms. However, these medications may induce detrimental side effects, like extreme thirst and hunger(19).

Meanwhile, a 2019 study indicated that CBD is generally safe and absorbed well by healthy cats and dogs(20).

However, pet owners are highly encouraged to speak with a veterinarian before using CBD as a potential alternative to manage or relieve their dogs’ itchy skin.

Usage of CBD for Dogs Itchy Skin

Various CBD oils and CBD pet products exist in the market which may best help manage dogs’ itchy skin(21).

CBD oils and CBD topical products like creams, balms, and salves can be directly given to pets for their skin-related issues, such as allergies and irritations. These products may relieve itchiness due to these skin conditions(22).  

CBD can be ingested by pets through products like CBD dog treats and soft chews. These products are an easy way to give CBD to dogs, especially if they are picky eaters(23).

On the other hand, CBD oil tinctures offer the best control in giving a measured dose of the compound. Pet owners can give a more precise dosage through the dropper that comes with the product. 

Dog owners may directly administer the CBD oil tinctures under their pet’s tongue or mix it with their food. 

Tinctures are usually infused with carrier oils, like MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride oil), coconut oil, or hempseed oil, to dilute the concentration of the CBD extract. 

Hempseed oil is rich in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, which may contain anti-inflammatory effects on skin conditions and promote canines’ overall skin health(24).

Choosing the Best CBD Oil

When looking for the best CBD oil for dogs itchy skin, pet owners should consider the following pertinent information: 

  • The AKC or American Kennel Club suggests that broad-spectrum CBD oil is a better choice than full-spectrum CBD oil(25)

This recommendation is based on how full-spectrum CBD oil or full-spectrum hemp oil contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which may be toxic for dogs(26).

THC is the main psychoactive compound of cannabis plants

  • Pet owners should also check the quality of CBD oil products and hemp extracts. It is best to opt for high-quality CBD products made from organic and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms). 

CBD pet products should also be free from additives like pesticides, which may be harmful to dogs when ingested. 

CBD Dosage for Dogs

The Food and Drug Administration, also called FDA, has not authorized the use of CBD to treat and manage any medical issues of dogs. 

Thus, there is no standard CBD dosage for dogs’ itchy skin

However, a recent study published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research examined the effectiveness of CBD when administered orally to healthy canines(27).

The researchers discussed that 1 to 12 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of the dogs’ body weight was well tolerated by the canine subjects. The compound was administered to 20 adult beagles once a day in a span of 28 days. 

Moreover, a study in 2019 noted that a 2mg dose of cannabidiol per kilogram of the animal’s body weight may not induce any detrimental side effects in healthy cats and dogs(28).

Nevertheless, dog owners should exercise caution when giving higher doses of CBD to their furry companions. A high CBD dosage may cause side effects like dry mouth, sleepiness, and low blood pressure(29).

Moreover, it is vital to note that CBD oil containing THC may be toxic to dogs at certain doses(30)

 The animals have a more severe reaction to the psychoactive compound and may experience lethargy, incoordination, urinary incontinence, vomiting, and agitation(31).

The size and weight of the dog may also determine the CBD dosage. For instance, larger dogs may require higher doses compared to small dogs. 

Still, it is essential to consult a veterinarian if an individual’s pet is experiencing skin irritation and itchiness. These medical professionals can give pet owners the proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment options. 

CBD Side Effects in Dogs

Dogs may experience some side effects of CBD, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting. Moreover, when taken in large doses, the compound may induce ataxia, which impacts the canine’s coordination and balance(32).

Meanwhile, a recent study published in 2020 explored the safety of administering higher doses of CBD in healthy dogs. Researchers hypothesized that dogs may tolerate approximately 640.5mg or around 64.7mg of CBD per kilogram of the dogs’ body weight(33).

The research also noted that CBD oil formulations that contain higher CBD concentrations are safer and more well tolerated than formulations with higher THC content. 

Moreover, pets are sometimes prescribed medications to treat various diseases(34). Pet owners need to remember that CBD may inhibit some of these medications(35)

Cannabidiol is an inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 enzyme, which metabolizes some drugs. The inhibition of this enzyme may cause some medication to remain unmetabolized in the system. 

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), when giving dogs a new supplement, pet owners should begin with small amounts and closely observe the substance’s effects(36).

It is also essential for pet owners to seek professional advice from a veterinarian about the dog’s medical issues and medications before giving their pets CBD products

Is CBD Meant for Dogs?

Research indicated that high doses of CBD may induce cannabis intoxication in pets like cats and dogs(37)

Thus, pet owners should exercise caution when giving dogs CBD products containing high levels of THC.

Cannabis intoxication may cause hyperactivity, disorientation, excessive drooling, and vomiting(38).

Individuals should seek a veterinarian’s medical advice before giving their dogs any CBD products.

Should pet owners decide that CBD may be a plausible alternative for their pets, research the current federal and state laws. Most state regulations prevent veterinarians from suggesting, prescribing, or administering cannabis products to animals(39)

It is highly recommended that dog owners research more information on which brand offers the best CBD for dogs before using the product on their pets. 

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Dogs With Itchy Skin

According to a doctor of veterinary medicine, antihistamines are drugs usually prescribed to manage itchiness in a dog’s skin(40).

However, the efficacy of these medicines in treating itchiness in canines’ skin is highly inconsistent.

Glucocorticoids, which are anti-inflammatory steroids, are often considered the most effective drugs for managing pruritus(41). However, these medications may induce adverse side effects in dogs like excessive thirst, hunger, and urination. 

Meanwhile, clinical studies suggest that oral doses of CBD may not cause any detrimental side effects in healthy dogs(42).

A study stated that skin conditions may result in damaged skin barriers, which may cause dry and irritated skin(43).

CBD is a plant extract obtained from hemp plants. Some CBD products may contain carrier oils like coconut oil

This particular oil may help manage dogs’ skin conditions, such as itchy, dry skin, and hot spots(44).

One specific study noted that topical formulations of CBD and argan oil may effectively reduce symptoms of different types of dermatitis, like skin inflammation due to insect bites and dry skin(45).

Still, pet owners should remember that CBD is not a cure-all for dogs’ allergies, skin conditions, or infections.

What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol, more popularly known as CBD, is an active compound derived from cannabis plants(46).

CBD is also a nonpsychoactive compound(47), unlike another cannabinoid, THC. When ingested, THC causes the feeling of euphoria or a high

As a result, CBD may retain the various medicinal properties of cannabis plants without the plants’ psychoactive effects, which may be harmful to dogs. 

Why Would Dogs Be Itchy?

There are various reasons why canines may itch, bite, scratch, and lick their skin. However, veterinarians suggest that it is best to identify the cause of the irritation(48)

While scratching an occasional itch is normal for canines, when the condition occurs more frequently, it may suggest a medical issue that can worsen over time if not treated. 

Allergic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes itchy skin. This disease is one of the most typical reasons dog owners take their dogs to the vet(49)

Allergies may also cause itching. This medical condition suggests that dogs react to an allergen that originates from their environment. Some potential allergens include(50)

  • Fleas: tiny blood-sucking parasites that may reside on dogs’ skin. Most dogs are allergic to flea bites, which may cause severe scratching, red skin, hot spots, and hair loss(51)

Flea bites can be found on several parts of the dogs’ bodies, like on their tail base, rear end, or hind legs. These places are some typical locations for fleas to hide. A single bite from fleas may lead to itchy skin(52).

  • Ear mites:  small parasites that can only be seen under a microscope. These parasites usually live inside dogs’ ear passages. Dogs with ear mites may often scratch their ears or excessively shake their heads. 

These mites may also cause the build-up of ear wax and debris on dogs’ ears, which can cause bacterial and fungal infections when left untreated(53).

  • Environmental allergens:  examples such as mold spores, pollen, or dust mites can cause itching all year-round or during certain seasons. Dogs may scratch, rub or lick their bodies due to these allergens. If pet owners notice any skin changes in their pets, like hair loss or redness, these conditions may be due to allergens in the dog’s surroundings(54)
  • Dry Skin:  a condition that can make a dog’s skin itchy. This issue may be caused by extremely cold or dry air during the winter season. Moreover, if dogs swim in pool water during summer, their skin may react to the chemicals in the water, resulting in intense itching. Some pet products like shampoos and soaps may contain ingredients that can lead to dry skin(55).
  • Food allergies:  reactions that can cause itchy skin, particularly on dogs’ feet, faces, bellies, or armpits. Some canines may be allergic to common ingredients in dog food, like beef, dairy, and chicken. 

It is vital to speak to a veterinarian if pet owners suspect that their dogs may have a food allergy, as dogs may require an adjustment in their diet(56).

  • Skin Infections: conditions that are technically not an allergy. However, bacterial and yeast infections may cause intense itchiness and uncomfortable sensations in dogs. Infections may cause red and greasy skin and unpleasant odors(57)

Yeast infections usually occur in areas with folded skin, such as the neck, ears, under the tail, or around the dog’s toes. Meanwhile, bacterial infections can happen anywhere and may result from damaged or irritated skin due to intense scratching(58).

Treatment Options for Dog’s Itchy Skin

Pet owners may try home remedies or over-the-counter treatments to manage their dog’s skin problems. However, these treatments may only offer short-term relief and may not be the right option if the dog needs a more long-term solution(59).   

Some over-the-counter treatments include:

  • Over-the-counter oils and shampoos. These topical treatments may only provide temporary comfort and may not target the main cause of the dog’s condition. Moreover, every canine’s skin is different, and if it is allergic to some ingredients in these over-the-counter products, the allergy may worsen the irritation. 
  • Antihistamines. Studies showed that antihistamines may not effectively manage or control itchiness from skin allergies in dogs(60). The researchers noted that the results were inconsistent. Hence, their conclusion.

Moreover, these drugs can cause side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and excessive drooling(61).

  • Prescription steroids. Steroids are usually prescribed by a veterinarian and may be effective in decreasing dogs’ itchiness caused by allergies. 

However, canines that use prescription steroids may experience unpleasant side effects, such as excessive urination, thirst, and weight gain. Dogs may also undergo shifts in behavior like increased aggression(62).

It is vital to remember that treating a dog’s itching via home remedies or over-the-counter medications may not be enough since these treatments do not effectively target the root cause of the medical condition. 

Consulting a veterinarian regarding the dog’s skin condition is still the best course of action. 

What Can Be a Result of Itching in Dogs?

If left untreated, the dog’s itching may lead to new issues. Canines licking or scratching infected areas may create a condition called a hot spot(63)

Hot spots are red, inflamed, itchy, and painful skin. Constant licking may only aggravate this issue, and treatment from a veterinarian is required to address this particular condition(64)


  1. Will CBD oil help stop dogs’ itching?


    Some common causes of itchy skin in dogs include infections, parasites, and dog allergies

    Typical reasons for a dog’s itchy skin are parasitic bites, infections, and dog allergies

    Allergic reactions occur when the dog’s immune system releases antibodies to deal with allergens that enter the system. This immune response may trigger itching and inflammation(65).

    Studies show that CBD contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties(66). These benefits may help reduce symptoms of dogs’ skin conditions, like itchy skin

  2. Can dogs have an allergic reaction to CBD?


    CBD is safe to administer to healthy dogs. A 2021 study from the American Journal of Veterinary Research indicated that healthy dogs tolerated CBD well. The study involved repeated daily oral CBD administration for one to three months at dosages ranging from 0.5 to 1.2mg of CBD per kilogram of the dog’s body weight once daily(67)

    Minor side effects of CBD in dogs may include drowsiness, lower blood pressure, and diarrhea(68).


  1. Itching (Pruritus) in Dogs
  2. Allergies
  3. Transdermal Cannabidiol Reduces Inflammation and Pain-Related Behaviours in a Rat Model of Arthritis
  4. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
  5. Itching (Pruritus) in Dogs
  6. The Most Common Allergic Diseases in Dogs
  7. Canine Atopic Dermatitis
  8. Atopic Dermatitis in Domestic Animals: What Our Current Understanding Is and How This Applies to Clinical Practice
  9. Pollen Allergies in Humans and their Dogs, Cats and Horses: Differences and Similarities
  10. Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment
  11. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
  12. Evolutionary Origins of the Endocannabinoid System
  13. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
  14. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis
  15. Allergic Contact Dermatitis
  16. Behavioural Differences in Dogs with Atopic Dermatitis Suggest Stress Could Be a Significant Problem Associated with Chronic Pruritus
  17. Canine Atopic Dermatitis: Detailed Guidelines for Diagnosis and Allergen Identification
  18. Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment
  19. Itching (Pruritus) in Dogs
  20. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats
  21. Healing With CBD, page 182.
  22. Healing With CBD. page 210.
  23. Healing With CBD, page 182.
  24. Hemp Seed Cake as a Novel Ingredient for Dog’s Diet
  25. Does CBD Work for Dogs?
  26. Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs
  27. Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, 28-Day Safety and Pharmacokinetics Evaluation of Repeated Oral Cannabidiol Administration in Healthy Dogs
  28. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats
  29. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  30. Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With Epilepsy?
  31. Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs
  32. FAQs About CBD Use in Pets
  33. Preliminary Investigation of the Safety of Escalating Cannabinoid Doses in Healthy Dogs
  34. Your Pet’s Medications
  35. Healing With CBD, page 114.
  36. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
  37. Cannabis (Marijuana) Intoxication in Cats and Dogs
  38. Ibid.
  39. How to Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD Oil for Dogs
  40. Itching (Pruritus) in Dogs
  41. Ibid.
  42. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats
  43. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils
  44. Coconut Oil for Dogs: Is it Really Good for Them?
  45. Formulation of Argan Oil and Cannabidiol
  46. Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Dog Anxiety
  47. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
  48. Why Is My Dog So Itchy? Possible Causes & Treatment
  49. Ibid.
  50. Ibid.
  51. How to Get Rid of Dog Fleas
  52. Why Is My Dog So Itchy? Possible Causes & Treatment
  53. Ear Mites In Dogs: What Owners Need To Know
  54. Why Is My Dog So Itchy? Possible Causes & Treatment
  55. Dry Skin on Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
  56. Why Is My Dog So Itchy? Possible Causes & Treatment
  57. Ibid.
  58. Ibid.
  59. Ibid.
  60. Itching (Pruritus) in Dogs
  61. Benadryl for Dogs
  62. Why Is My Dog So Itchy? Possible Causes & Treatment
  63. Ibid.
  64. Treating and Preventing Hot Spots on Dogs
  65. Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment
  66. Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment
  67. Randomized, placebo-controlled, 28-day safety and pharmacokinetics evaluation of repeated oral cannabidiol administration in healthy dogs
  68. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
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