cbd oil for dogs on apoquel

Can my Dog take CBD Oil While Taking Other Medications?

With the pet CBD market industry exploding globally, it’s no surprise that we need to look out for any drug interactions. What many people don’t know is that dog CBD oil can interact with other medications by either enhancing the effect, or by interfering with the metabolism of some.

In this blog, we’ll discuss why it’s important to consult with your veterinarian first before using CBD pet products.

Not only is this important so that you can get a proper diagnosis for a medical condition, but your veterinarian will be able to discuss any possible side effects if CBD is used together with other pet meds.

Here’s what you need to know to fully protect your pet, and to make sure that there are no drug interactions.

CBD can alter the way your dog processes certain medications

Yes, although cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural supplement that is beneficial for numerous health conditions in pets, as well as for chronic pain, insomnia, depression , and anxiety, CBD does have the potential to interact with certain medications.

CBD is derived from the hemp plant, yet it can also come from the marijuana plant. CBD hardly ever contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound that gives marijuana its “high” effect. High-quality CBD is non-toxic and considered safe for pets and humans alike.

There are almost no side-effects, apart from those coming from a low-quality CBD oil that may contain contaminants. It’s always best to look out for the compromised quality of some CBD oils.

You’ll need to discuss with your veterinarian all supplements, over-the-counter meds and prescription meds that your pet may be taking. Today research continues to demonstrate how effective CBD oil is for pets, yet one still needs to examine how it can interfere with the metabolism of pet meds and other supplements.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs

Cannabidiol (CBD) extract is quickly gaining popularity as a natural alternative for managing pain, inflammation, and a variety of medical conditions, including epilepsy. However, recent reports have called into question the safety of CBD when used together with other pet meds. It’s also good to note that using a compromised quality or low-quality CBD oil raises the risk of side effects.

A recent 2019 study by the University of Korea, demonstrates that the CBD anti-cancer protein shows potential in killing tumor cells. The researchers tested the synergistic effect of CBD with a cancer destroying protein called TRAIL. (TNF related apoptosis- inducing ligand.)

The study concluded that TRAIL and CBD created apoptosis separately in colorectal cancer cells. The researchers also found that together, both reduced cancer cells a lot. “ To the best of our knowledge,” they wrote, “this is the first report that cannabidiol induces significant TRAIL-induced apoptosis of colorectal cancer cells,” noting that earlier reports suggested that a different protein response was responsible for cancer-cell death.” via MDPI Journals.


The FDA has also tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to have. We have also heard reports of CBD potentially containing contaminants (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals); we are looking into this.

Some cannabis products are also being marketed as pet food and health products for animals. The FDA has not approved cannabis for any use in animals and recommends pet owners talk with their veterinarians about appropriate treatment options for their pets.” via FDA, 2019.

Blood Pressure and CBD Oil

High doses of CBD oil may potentially drop blood pressure resulting in lightheadedness and possibly dizziness in people. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian for the best advice prior to purchasing a CBD product. That said, the positive side of CBD oil use is that it may be good for patients with high blood pressure. CBD together with regular exercise and a healthy diet help to regulate hypertension.

A 2017 study by Dr. K Jadoon on CBD and its effects on blood pressure demonstrated the following:

“CBD reduced resting systolic BP (-6 mmHg; P<0.05) and stroke volume (-8 ml; P<0.05), with increased heart rate (HR) and maintained cardiac output. Subjects who had taken CBD had lower BP (-5 mmHg; P<0.05, especially before and after stress), increased HR (+10 bpm; P<0.01), decreased stroke volume (-13 ml; P<0.01), and a blunted forearm skin blood flow response to isometric exercise. In response to cold stress, subjects who had taken CBD had blunted BP (-6 mmHg; P<0.01) and increased HR (+7 bpm; P<0.05), with lower total peripheral resistance,” via PubMed.

The study concludes that “acute administration of CBD reduces resting BP and the BP increases stress in humans, associated with increased HR. These hemodynamic changes should be considered for people taking CBD. Further research is required to establish whether CBD has a role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders.”

CBD Oil Interacts with Anti-Seizure Meds

A study researching CBD interactions with seizure meds in people added that “ Because all of the participants are also taking other seizure drugs while they are receiving the investigational therapy, investigators checked the blood levels of their other seizure drugs to see if they changed. “With any new potential seizure medication, it is important to know if drug interactions exist and if there are labs that should be monitored while taking a specific medication,” said lead author Tyler Gaston, MD,” via Science Daily.

Dr. Gaston and her colleagues found that there were significant changes in levels of the drugs clobazam (and its active metabolite N-desmethylclobazam), topiramate, and rufinamide in both adults and children, and zonisamide and eslicarbazepine in adults only.

Except for clobazam/desmethylclobazam, however, the drug levels did not change outside of the normally accepted range. In addition, adult participants in the study taking clobazam reported sedation more frequently.

Additionally, when seizure patients were using valproate, they added that “Tests also showed that participants taking valproate and CBD had higher ALT and AST (liver function tests) compared with participants not taking valproate.

Very high ALT and AST indicate abnormal liver function, but significant ALT and AST elevation occurred only in a small number of participants (4 children and 1 adult), and the levels returned to normal after discontinuation of valproate and CBD.”

The study concludes that “The findings emphasize the importance of monitoring blood levels of antiepileptic drugs as well as liver function during treatment with CBD. “

A perception exists that since CBD is plant based, that it is natural and safe; and while this may be mostly true, our study shows that CBD, just like other antiepileptic drugs, has interactions with other seizure drugs that patients and providers need to be aware of,” said Dr. Gaston.”

Cytochrome P450

CBD as a natural supplement does not cause a “high” in pets, but may cause a reaction when used together with anti-seizure meds. Cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes by using up these enzymes, and by inhibiting how other enzymes work.

When cannabidiol oil is consumed by dogs in large amounts, a large group of enzymes may be altered in the same way that grapefruit alters enzymes.

Most pet meds are metabolized in the liver via certain enzymes that are made in it. CBD works in the same way that grapefruit does, and may use up all the enzymes and also alter the effectiveness of pet meds.

NSAIDs and Corticosteroids

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of drugs commonly used to control pain and inflammation in dogs. NSAIDs help many dogs lead a life that is more comfortable for them, but what about interactions with CBD oil? CBD oil has the potential to make pet meds less effective.

That said, pet parents should take every precaution to ensure that there are no interactions with any of their pet meds or supplements, and even NSAID’s, corticosteroids, pet herbal supplements and vitamins. The potential for adverse reactions will also depend on the body chemistry of your pet and the dose of the prescription or supplement.

Administer CBD oil 2 hours before or 2 hours after giving pet meds or supplements.

NSAID’S include the following:

  • Rimadyl
  • Metacam,
  • Deramaxx,
  • Etogesic

Meds like Gabapentin when taken together with CBD can cause lethargy in pets. It’s important to discuss CBD use with your veterinarian prior to administering.

Common corticosteroids include the following:

  • Prednisone
  • Triamcinolone,
  • Dexamethasone,

The most common symptoms when using these are gastrointestinal issues like lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and even ulcers. We all know that pets cannot take both NSAID’s and corticosteroids at the same time, but what about cannabidiol oil and NSAID’s and corticosteroids?

CBD oil can also enhance the effectiveness of certain drugs and one may be able to lower the dose of pet meds or therapy when using CBD oil. Pet meds that are used for pain relief need to be administered carefully when using them together with CBD oil.

CBD vs. Apoquel for Dogs

Looking to relieve your dog’s itching, scratching, redness, and rashes, but hoping for an Apoquel alternative?

Allergies and the uncomfortable symptoms they cause are some of the most common problems facing pet parents today. It’s often hard to pinpoint the cause of the itching and scratching and the last thing we want to see is our pets suffering.

That’s why pet parents everywhere are running to their veterinarian for help, who will then often prescribe Apoquel for their dog. This powerful pharmaceutical boasts being able to alleviate allergy symptoms in as little as a few hours and get your dog back to feeling normal.

Here at CBD DOG Health, we believe in finding the root cause of the allergen to see if we can get rid of it or find a more natural way to relieve the symptoms. Although Apoquel is fast acting and treats surface level symptoms, it does not treat the root of the problem.

In contrast, CBD from the cannabis plant has well known anti-inflammatory benefits as well as the ability to encourage communication in the body’s various systems. These characteristics, as well as many of the other associated benefits, make cannabis medicine a promising Apoquel alternative in the treatment of pet allergies and the symptoms they cause.

Table of Contents

Why Is Apoquel Prescribed?

The most common use of Apoquel is in the treatment of Pruritus. Pruritus is the medical term for itching, it’s simply the uncomfortable sensation that makes your dog want to scratch. This feeling may be caused by environmental allergens, parasites, infections, food sensitivities, or chemical irritations such as fertilizers, fragrances or flea medications.

The last thing we want is to see our dog or cat in a state of discomfort but for many, the battle with pruritus is lifelong. We all know how awful it feels to be itchy for prolonged periods of time, and this constant itching has even been linked to behavioral problems in dogs. When our dogs are constantly in a state of stress it makes sense that eventually their mental health would suffer and begin to affect their behavior. So it’s no wonder pet parents are eager to find a solution to their pet’s chronic itching.

How Does Apoquel Work?

Apoquel is just the latest drug to gain favor among veterinarians in the attempt to curb an ever growing trend of allergic dogs. Before Apoquel came along, vets most often prescribed steroids or drugs like cyclosporine , a chemical originally developed to stop organ transplant rejection in humans.

All you have to do is look at the ways Apoquel stops the itch to know that you’re in for trouble down the road. You may be treating one symptom in exchange for unwittingly exposing your pet to all sorts of opportunistic diseases and infections.

That’s because Apoquel functions by suppressing your pet’s immune system in order to mute the symptoms of an allergic reaction. It does not cure the allergy.

Let’s Get Clinical

Apoquel is an immune suppressant drug, in the JAK inhibitor class. This means it works to inhibit the function of JAK compounds. JAK stands for Janus Kinase. It is a signaling compound used by cells to communicate with each other and direct immune function.

Some of the known functions of JAK compounds:

  • Destroying and preventing tumor growth
  • Forming red and white blood cells
  • Controlling inflammation
  • Signaling new cell growth
  • Ensuring proper function of immune cells (B-cells and T-cells)

By turning off the function of the JAK receptors, Apoquel effectively powers down the immune system throughout the body. This greatly reduces our pet’s natural defenses against disease and chronic illness. This leaves them vulnerable to ailments they might naturally have avoided. It’s no wonder pets using Apoquel for extended periods of time start to have major problems.

Why Do We Need An Apoquel Alternative?

The main problem with Apoquel is if you want to keep the symptoms at bay, you have no choice but to continue medicating your pet with this drug indefinitely. Unfortunately, the longer your pet is on an immunosuppressive drug, the higher the likelihood is that they will develop serious side effects and health conditions as a result.

In one long term study published by Apoquel’s manufacturer Zoetis, they studied 247 dogs over the course of two years. Of those 247 dogs, they removed 26 dogs from the study for one reason or another and 18 were euthanized.

Apoquel Side Effects

The most common side effects were:

  • UTI or Cystitis – Bacterial infection of the urinary tract, affected 11.3% of test subjects
  • Otitis – Bacterial infection of the ear canal, affected 9.3% of test subjects
  • Pyoderma – Bacterial infection of the skin, Affected 9.3 % of test subjects
  • Vomiting – Chronic GI upset, affected 10.1% of test subjects

Do you see the trend?

Bacterial infections and poor gut health. The immune system is harbored primarily in our pet’s gut, making gut health a central pillar of proper immune function. When the immune system is suppressed, the gut is unable to properly deal with pathogens that cause infections throughout the body.

The ironic thing is that many of the opportunistic infections caused by Apoquel lead to itchy ears or itchy skin! Isn’t that what we were trying to get rid of in the first place?

Neoplastic Growths and Cancer

Based on what I’ve seen at our animal rescue, Fire Flake Farm , as well as the evidence presented in this study, the other common side effect of Apoquel is the formation of lumps, bumps, tumors and other cancerous growths.

The list of instances in Zoetis’ study where dogs developed neoplastic or cancerous conditions is long and extremely varied. Without the immune system policing cancerous cells and abnormal growth, dogs treated with Apoquel are at a much higher risk for cellular mutations and other cancerous conditions.

Here’s a sample of the reported neoplastic (cancerous) conditions during the two year trial.

  • Mast Cell Tumor Grade 1
  • Mast Cell Tumor Grade 2
  • Anal sac adenocarcinoma
  • Apocrine gland adenocarcinoma
  • Low grade b-cell lymphoma
  • Spindle cell sarcoma
  • Primary malignant bone Neoplasia
  • Splenic neoplasm
  • Intracranial neoplasm
  • Frontal sinus neoplasm
  • Dermal pigmented viral plaques

Not listed are the numerous masses that did not receive a specific diagnosis during the study. Here is a note from the study:

“In addition to the known or suspected neoplasms, 47 dogs developed new dermal, epidermal or subcutaneous masses that did not have a specific diagnosis established.”

Remember, these experiments only included 247 dogs, so the proportions of pets that developed new dangerous conditions is unacceptable.

AND YET, the conclusion of the study stated:

“Improved the quality of life for dogs in this study?”

Clearly, these conclusions are skewed to downplay the seriousness of the conditions that can develop as a result of using this drug. This is not surprising since the company that makes the product is the same company that funds and oversees the testing. Luckily we are able to look at the facts presented in the document and see the truth about its effects.

Apoquel Alternative – CBD

CBD and the other compounds found in a full-spectrum hemp extract work to bring the body’s systems into homeostasis. That’s just a fancy way of describing a state of balance.

There are tons of cannabinoid receptors throughout the organs that control our pet’s immune systems. Instead of completely turning off the immune responses, as Apoquel does, CBD instead increases communication between cells in the immune system. This encourages a more moderate and targeted response to allergy symptoms.

At CBD Dog Health, we designed the Ease tincture to specifically target allergies in pets. A great Apoquel alternative, Ease contains the essential oils of powerful medicinal herbs. Including frankincense and turmeric, whose anti-inflammatory and immune supportive properties work synergistically with CBD. Plus, our dogs love the taste.

Giving full disclosure, holistic pet care and natural plant medicine may not produce the instant gratification that Apoquel produces. Holistic medicine seeks to treat each animal as an individual with respect to the complexity of their specific needs.

CBD Side Effects in Dogs

In contrast to the dramatic and often life-threatening side effects of pharmaceutical drugs like Apoquel, full-spectrum hemp extract is extremely safe for both short and long term use .

The potential side-effects that can occur with a full spectrum hemp extract are mild and usually temporary. In most cases, the worst side effects are mild diarrhea or lethargy during the beginning phase of the treatment. There are also plenty of great herbal remedies to support these symptoms, and as the body gets used to a new dietary supplement, these occurrences fade away.

CBD to Treat Side Effects of Apoquel

Not only does a full-spectrum hemp extract offer supportive and effective treatment for allergies and their symptoms, but many of its healing properties also produce the opposite effect of Apoquel’s side effects.

Switching to An Apoquel Alternative

I’m not here to tell you that dealing with allergies is as easy as switching from one medicine to another. That’s kind of the problem with drugs like Apoquel. Sure, it’s a quick fix to stop the scratching. However, the long term effects of disabling your pet’s natural defenses can be very serious.

If you’re looking to transition to an Apoquel alternative, like CBD, consult with a holistic veterinarian or medical cannabis professional. They can guide you through the process of taking your pet off prescription medications.

Aside from using CBD as an Apoquel alternative, to support a healthy immune response, there is a lot you can do to prevent and treat your pet’s allergies naturally .

Consider sensitivities to particular foods or chemicals in their environment. In addition, look for ways to encourage the proper functioning of the body’s natural immune responses. In other words, there is so much that goes into the proper functioning of our pet’s body and their immune system.

W e recommend a strategic approach, not a quick fix.

About Carter Easler

Carter is a cannabis educator and holistic practitioner with certification in the use of Cannabis Therapies for Veterinary Medicine by The College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies. He continues to study and share his knowledge of cannabis therapeutics through written articles, educational videos and live speaking engagements across the country.

Growing up in a family of veterinarians, Carter developed a deep love for animals and saw first hand how holistic medicine could change both their lives and his own. As Director of Education for CBD Dog Health, Carter now travels North America educating pet parents, business owners and veterinarians about the benefits and science behind cannabis therapeutics and holistic medicine.

About Angela Ardolino

Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets.

Apoquel for Dogs – Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & Alternatives

Allergy season is always right around the corner for some of us, considering we have year-round symptoms. Well, the same goes for your pups; some dogs may experience an allergic reaction to food once in a great while, while others will be allergic to certain environmental factors all year. Whatever the case may be, there’s a solution.

Here, you’ll learn about two of those solutions; one will be a prescription medication, the other a natural remedy. See which one best fits you and your dog’s lifestyle, then get started on improving your dog’s lifestyle by eliminating annoying allergies.

What is Apoquel & what can it be used for?

Apoquel was created to alleviate symptoms associated with canine pruritis, a condition that produces allergy reactions such as itching and inflammation. All types of allergy reactions can be treated with Apoquel, including but not limited to food allergies, environmental allergies, and atopic dermatitis. If your dog is experiencing any of these allergy symptoms, he or she may be exhibiting signs of red and inflamed skin; such circumstances can be very uncomfortable.

We know that as humans, we can’t stand dealing with our allergies. This makes it that much harder to see our beloved pup’s deal with their allergies. If your dog starts to exhibit any of the following symptoms, try using Apoquel to provide allergy relief:

  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Paw chewing
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Constant scratching
  • Balding areas
  • Runny eyes
  • Scabs and sores

Luckily, if your vet does prescribe Apoquel, the medication will start to take effect in your dog after four short hours. Typically, Apoquel will work anywhere from 12-24 hours once administered.

What is the correct dosage to administer to my dog?

When veterinarians prescribe Apoquel, they tend to write the prescription for 0.4 – 0.6 mg twice a day. After 14 days, they ask that dog owners start administering the allergy medication only once a day.

Keep in mind, it is not FDA-approved to give your dog this medication after the 14 days, as it is known to suppress the immune system. What’s more is that Apoquel may not even work on your dog, as it just doesn’t agree with some dogs bodies.

Are there side effects associated with Apoquel?

Unfortunately, Apoquel has serious side effects that you’ll have to watch out for, especially considering it can suppress the immune system during treatment. The following is a list of adverse reactions that are likely to happen to your dog:

  • Vomiting with or without blood
  • Diarrhea with or without blood
  • Appetite loss
  • Lethargy
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Skin infections
  • Ear infections
  • Lumps
  • Pneumonia
  • Aggression
  • Susceptible to infection
  • Bone marrow suppression

Before choosing Apoquel as an allergy relief treatment, think about and discuss all of your options with your vet and family members to make sure you’re making the right decision.

Is there an alternative I can turn to?

Instead of going with a prescription medication that can cause harm to your dog, try something a little bit more natural: CBD oil for dogs.

CBD oil is known on the market today for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because of that, and cbd products seem to be a perfect treatment method. That’s not the only benefit that CBD products can offer, though; try it out and see how it can change your furry friends’ life!