Itchy skin is one of the most common ailments dogs face. One ingredient that everyone, including vets, seems to be talking about for itchy skin is hemp oil. Given all of the buzz around it, we wanted to see what some of our favorite vets had to say about using hemp oil to treat your dog’s itchy skin.
“Hemp oil is a source of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have proven anti-inflammatory effects. Omega 6 fatty acids help maintain the structure of cell membranes and can promote skin and coat health.” - Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, who serves on the advisory board for Pup Life Today.
“Using hemp oil for your dog has been shown to help decrease inflammation. When your dog itches its skin, your dog will cause a local inflammation at the spot that they are itching. Hemp oil products are shown to help repair the natural skin barrier and allow the skin to heal.” - Sara Ochoa, DVM, veterinary consultant for doglab.com
"There are a number of ways that hemp oil products can help your dog. Hemp oil products have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, relieve pain, and help increase overall comfort for your pet. When they itch, they will break the healthy skin layer; this can be very painful. Some dogs will itch their skin when they are very anxious. Hemp oil products will help decrease the pain associated with itching and help with anxiety." - Angel Flores, DVM
Be sure to consult with your vet to make sure you are addressing the underlying cause of the itchiness. For example, hemp products can be helpful in various ways for itchy skin, but some problems like ringworm cannot be treated with hemp alone. Finding out the actual cause will also help you find out what form of hemp will be the most beneficial for your pup’s itchy skin. For instance, if your dog has a mild case of fleas but seems to pace more than scratch, she may be more anxious than itchy. If so, perhaps hemp oil or treats would be more beneficial than a topical cream.
We all know what it’s like to have a bug bite or rash that starts with a tingling sensation that gradually gets worse as you continue to scratch and focus on it. This is true for dogs too! There are two specific ways hemp can be helpful for relieving itchiness or skin problems. It may soothe the skin as well as address the restlessness that comes with itchiness. Unlike other medications, hemp oil can help calm the nerves that come with excessive itchiness. Hemp oil may also bring relief by helping to break the vicious cycle of licking or scratching itchy skin, which can cause irritated skin or hot spots that lead to continued scratching and more painful skin reactions.
Once your pup is less focused on her skin, she will likely scratch less thus allowing her skin time to heal. This will help remedy one of the biggest problems that comes with itchy skin--excessive scratching and licking!
As for the direct benefits of hemp oil for skin issues, studies “indicate the endocannabinoid system, which is positively stimulated by hemp oil, can help to regulate the health of the skin.” Products such as hemp balms and creams can provide the typical relief that other balms and creams do, with the added benefit of having hemp to help with your dog’s overall skin health. Hemp oil can be a helpful addition to your dog’s usual regimen for itchy skin because it comes in a variety of forms and may address multiple symptoms at once.