Disclaimer: This information is not intended to provide or substitute for any medical advice. If you believe your dog has a health condition that CBD could help with, please consult your veterinarian before administering any CBD product to your dog or before replacing any vet-prescribed medication for CBD.
When your dog is suffering from an ear infection or inflammation, it’s no fun for anyone. Both conditions are not only very uncomfortable, but can also lead to permanent hearing damage if left untreated. Thankfully, studies show CBD can help to reduce painful inflammation and that CBD has antibacterial and antifungal benefits.
So, how exactly can CBD help a dog with an ear infection or inflammation? First, let’s review the difference between the two:
The Difference Between Ear Inflammation and an Ear Infection
Inflammation is caused by an immune system response to a perceived invader, usually a bacteria or fungus. While a little inflammation is good if it’s trying to fight an infection, chronic inflammation is never good. It often means that the body is overacting. Inflammation can happen anywhere in the body and can be very painful and degenerative, eating away at healthy cells. The tiny hairlike cells in the inner ear that make hearing possible aren’t like other cells; in fact, when a dog’s ear inflammation is left untreated, these cells could die and never grow back, which may lead to deafness.
While an ear infection is different, an infection and inflammation often appear together and the symptoms may be similar.
Here are some physical signs that your dog has an ear infection and/or inflammation:
- Sweet-smelling odor in the ears.
- Brown or red discharge.
- Crust or scabs.
Your dog may be:
- Obsessively rubbing its head on furniture or the floor.
- Scratching around its ear.
- Shaking or tilting its head.
Why Traditional Anti-inflammatory Treatments Are Lacking
Veterinarians commonly treat dog inflammation of any kind with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). While human NSAIDs include Aleve and Advil, examples of NSAIDs for dogs include:
In both humans and animals, short-term use of NSAIDs impacts the ability of the blood to clot. So, if your pup were in an accident or fight, it could bleed out easily if it was on an NSAID. Additionally, NSAIDs can have other adverse effects from long-term or high-dose use, such as:
- Stomach damage.
- Kidney damage.
- Hearing loss.
- Skin rashes.
How CBD Can Help to Manage Dog Ear Inflammation
CBD has demonstrated both safety and effectiveness in treating inflammation in dogs, including osteoarthritis inflammation, which is very damaging to joints. To date, there are no studies specifically addressing CBD for ear inflammation, but there is anecdotal evidence, and the mechanisms that cause inflammation are the same throughout the body in both dogs and humans.
Studies also show how CBD reduces inflammation. CBD activates the Cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptor in the body, which reduces the body’s production of “monocyte chemotactic protein-2 (MCP-2) chemokine in polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly-(I:C)]-stimulated human keratinocyte (HaCaT) cells.” Not sure how to pronounce that last part? Don’t worry—the scientists conducting the study do, and they found that this is a clear “demonstration of the anti-inflammatory properties” of CBD.
But can CBD actually help with an ear infection?
How CBD Can Help to Combat a Dog Ear Infection
CBD is among five natural substances found in the cannabis plant with antibacterial properties. Researchers are currently investigating whether CBD can be used to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA, and initial results are promising.
Another study found that CBD is “bactericidal” toward strep and staph bacteria, two bacteria commonly found in and on humans and dogs. Studies also show that CBD has antifungal properties, including the ability to fight yeast (sometimes referred to as “thrush”) as well as other fungal infections.
How to Use CBD to Naturally Manage the Symptoms of Ear Infections & Inflammation
Before starting your dog on any CBD regimen, it’s important to first consult a veterinarian—preferably a CBD-friendly vet. At the moment, most vets aren’t technically allowed to recommend CBD. But finding a holistic vet knowledgeable about CBD for pets will be a huge help in determining the dosage and precise details for giving CBD to your pet.
Generally, CBD can be applied topically to an external infection or area of inflammation. But you may choose not to put CBD in your dog’s ear. It’s not that it’s harmful—there just aren’t enough studies to show that it’s not harmful. So, it’s your call. That said, CBD doesn’t have to be applied topically to have anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial benefits. Simply administer a drop or two into your dog’s mouth, preferably under the tongue so that some absorbs through the soft skin there.
You can also mix a small amount of CBD oil with a small amount of coconut oil, as both have antibacterial properties when consumed orally. But be careful: Large amounts of coconut oil can give a dog diarrhea. For a medium-sized dog (around 25 pounds), start with one drop (a dropper holds 10 drops). Make sure not to touch the dropper to your fingers or your dog’s tongue to avoid contamination. If symptoms persist, increase to two drops. Within four to seven days, your dog should show improvement. But continue twice daily for two weeks to be sure your dog is back to normal.
And while the aforementioned studies are promising, please return to your vet if symptoms do not improve.
Why Quality Counts When Choosing a CBD Product for Your Dog
We can’t stress this enough: Quality matters when choosing a CBD oil—for you or your dog. A 30 ml CBD tincture could only contain 150mg of CBD diluted in a lot of carrier oil. A higher-quality CBD oil may have as much as 250 mg in a 30 ml bottle. If you choose a lower potency, realize that you will need to use much more, which often negates the money you saved by buying an inferior product. Your best bet is to buy from a company that conducts third-party testing to verify the contents of their products to ensure that you're getting what you paid for.
Our advice: Be cautious, be conscious and choose Curaleaf Hemp. Our pet CBD products are formulated especially for pets using pure hemp-derived CBD and 0% THC. We also use only 100% natural ingredients, and test every product via a reliable third-party to confirm its purity.