January 05, 2023


Every single pet owner shares one simple fact: our pets are our babies, and we want them to be as happy and healthy as any of our two-legged family members. On top of the routine vet checkups, many animal parents take a proactive approach to maintaining their pets' health, including regular exercise, a healthy diet, and consistent grooming.

That's why when issues do happen, the most common of which being issues with skin health, pet owners should know that new tools are available to help. Dry skin, poison ivy exposure, and inflammation can be addressed sooner and with greater efficiency using the latest products.

Skin conditions are some the most common issues pet parents take their furry friends to the vet for, and they tend to peak in the warmer seasons. Skin irritation can have a number of causes, which is why a broadly-soothing topical like CBD cream or balm can make all the difference in providing fast relief for your pet.

Products containing CBD are exploding in popularity, which is why you may be wondering if CBD creams are safe to use for your pet's itchy skin.

What exactly are CBD creams, and are CBD creams okay to use for pets? In today's blog post, we here at ALeaf answer all of these questions and more!

What is CBD cream?

CBD creams are any topical CBD product that is meant to be applied to an affected area to reap the benefits of CBD, such as its anti-inflammatory properties, pain relieving powers, and relaxant properties. CBD topicals are well-known for their ability to provide fast relief, and are being studied for their role in treating eczema, psoriasis, itchiness and broad inflammation of the skin.

Anyone who has tried a CBD product to address pain and discomfort issues have reported positive effects. While CBD is still being studied, scientists agree that it is a well-tolerated and safe product for addressing pain and inflammation.

Many CBD creams also include soothing oils to improve skin health and your skin's natural protective barrier like Vitamin E, olive oil, coconut oil, and essential oils. Nourishing ingredients that are free from heavy metals or other ingredients not needed are all things to look for in a CBD cream for dogs.

As an all-natural product, CBD creams are typically free of unnecessary ingredients and are formulated specifically to maximize CBD's inherent soothing properties. Using a CBD topical along with a dermatologist's recommendations is a reliable recipe to treat a variety of skin discomforts in humans.

CBD is well-tolerated by most individuals and has been reported to have beneficial effects like:

  • Better sleep quality
  • Pain relief
  • Itch relief
  • Reduce muscle soreness
  • Improve appetite
  • Stress relief

CBD's mechanism of action is still being studied, but recent evidence points to its regulation of the endocannabinoid system.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

CBD as a molecule acts by modifying the function of our endocannabinoid system (ECS), or the series of receptors and enzymes that respond to cannabinoid molecules.

Many animals have an ECS, and yes, this includes cats and dogs! CBD helps to maintain the balance of this system, which itself balances the rest of the body along with it, generally speaking.

While canine and feline ECS are similar to humans, they differ slightly. Luckily, this appears to make little difference when talking about CBD products, since the effects are generally the same. Cats do metabolize CBD differently from dogs, so special consideration as far as dosing and product purity need to be taken.

Is CBD cream safe for dogs?

According to recent evidence, a resounding answer to "is CBD cream safe for dogs" is a big fat, YES. CBD oil has been shown to be effective in dogs at alleviating the same complaints in us humans, such as joint pain and gastrointestinal discomfort. It is generally just as well-tolerated in dogs, with diarrhea being the most common side effect.

What about THC?

As far as research is concerned, hemp-based CBD products appear to be the best option and most widely-used CBD product since they contain the lowest trace amounts of THC. This leads us to say that while CBD is well-established as safe for pets, THC is not. This is because dogs metabolize THC differently than humans, as well as having more cannabinoid receptors throughout their ECS.

Since CBD only regulates this system, while not directly activating a large array of receptors, it doesn't have the same toxic profile in animals -- always double check that your product contains no trace amount of THC, just to be on the safe side.

CBD cream for dogs should never have a sizable amount of THC in its formula, especially since skin absorption is more rapid.

CBD Cream vs CBD Oil for Dogs

You may be wondering if CBD oils are just as effective for addressing skin conditions in dogs, and you're right to wonder -- with all the CBD products on the market, choosing the right one can be a daunting task.

When talking about skin health, CBD cream appears to be the better choice for dogs, and here's why:

CBD oil taken orally is broken down in the gut

A dog's stomach enzymes are different from a human's, and they can break down certain molecules (including, you guessed it, CBD) at a faster pace. This means that less of the CBD actually works throughout the body, requiring careful dosing to improve the bioavailability of the product. This isn't the case with a topical, which can produce desired results more quickly.

CBD cream can be used to target affected areas

CBD oil that is ingested with food or drink, besides being broken down faster, have a general effect across the body. In some cases, this is exactly what you want, but if your main concern is alleviating discomfort or itchiness due to skin allergies, bug bites, or atopic dermatitis in your pooch, a CBD cream is a better choice.

Your dog's skin is under a lot of fur, obviously, but that doesn't appear to affect how well CBD cream for dogs can be absorbed. Simply apply to the area, and let the skin do the rest.

You can apply to as large or small an area with greater control, and the relief comes faster than if you used the oral route.

For example, you can choose to only put a small amount on your dog's rough paw pads to help soften and soothe them while leaving the rest of the leg untouched. This soothes the paws, while keeping the topical cream away from areas that don't need it, giving you a better bang for your buck as the product should last longer.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining your dog's healthy skin and alleviating discomfort at hot spots are all possible with a high-quality CBD cream.