Aromatherapy For Dogs
Just as aromatherapy can benefit humans both physically and psychologically, it can also benefit dogs.
Essential oils are absorbed by inhalation via a diffuser or topically via contact with the skin. They rapidly enter the body and the blood stream and are distributed to various tissues.
The compounds present in essential oils are powerful. Very small amounts of these substances can have powerful biological effects on every system of the body. For example, lavender oil has powerful effects on the brain and creates a calming
sensation. Small amounts of lavender oil can be used when traveling to calm pets or make them feel sleepy.
Essential oils can be topically applied via massage, or via spritzers, sprays, oils can also be added to shampoos, conditioners, salves and balms. Remember, essential oils must be diluted before use. Carrier oils, such as olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, can be used. A guideline is to add about 3-6 drops of essential oils to 30ml of carrier oil, or about 18-25 drops of essential oils to 240ml of shampoo.
Petting is another way of applying oils topically to a dog. What you can do is, sprinkle the diluted essential oils on your hands, rub them together until a light film of the desired concentration is on the hands then pet your dog using both
hands. This is good for addressing canine emotional issues, such as anxiety, stress, depression, etc. The oils as well as the petting can calm the dog right down.
Diffusion and inhalation are other ways to practice aromatherapy for dogs.
A diffuser is used to evaporate the oils which are inhaled by the dog. Leave the diffuser on for about 20 to 30 minutes in order for the dog to inhale and absorb the oils. You should be able to see results if you repeat this procedure twice daily for five to seven days.
A small diffuser attached to your dog’s collar which can hold essential oils can also work well, place three to four drops of your chosen blend into the diffuser and attach it to your dogs’ collar, the diffuser can be refilled when needed. A few drops can also be placed on a bandana worn around your dog’s neck. Be aware that a dog’s sense of smell is much stronger than yours so don’t over do it with oils a couple of drops on a bandana is sufficient for your dog to benefit from the oil.
If you would like a diffuser that attaches to your dogs collar send us a message
Precautions When Using Essential Oils On Your Dog
- Always use 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils on dogs (and humans).
- Use only essential oils that are safe for dogs.
- Always DILUTE essential oils before using them on your dogs. A rough guideline is to add about 3-6 drops of essential oils to 1 oz. (30 ml) of carrier oil, or about 18-25 drops of essential oils to 8 oz. (240 ml) of shampoo.
- Use less amount of diluted oils on small dogs than on big dogs.
- Use less amount of diluted oils on puppies, senior dogs, and those whose health is compromised. When in doubt, start off with hydrosols.
- Check with a holistic vet before using any essential oils on pregnant dogs. In particular, do not use stimulating oils (e.g. peppermint, rosemary, tea tree) on pregnant dogs.
- Do not use oils on epileptic dogs or dogs who are seizure-prone. Some oils, such as rosemary, may trigger seizures (in humans too).
- Do not use oils in or close to the eyes, in the ears, directly on or close to the nose, on mucous membranes, or in the anal or genital areas.
- Do not give essential oils orally to a dog, this can be very dangerous.
NB. Herbal distillates, also known as floral waters, hydrosols, hydrolates, herbal waters, and essential waters, are aqueous products of hydrodistillation. They are colloidal suspensions of essential oils as well as water-soluble components obtained by steam distillation or hydrodistillation from plants/herbs.
Unsafe Essential Oils – Not To Be Used On Dogs
- Anise / Camphor / Hissop / Juniper* / White Thyme / Yarrow
Because of uterine stimulation or possible toxicity, avoid using these oils on dogs, especially on pregnant dogs.
*The oil of Juniper berry is perfectly safe, but the Juniper wood oil is toxic to the kidneys.
- Birch / Wintergreen
Some aromatherapy formulae found on websites suggest using the oils birch and wintergreen for joint pains caused by arthritis. However, dermal use of these two oils has been proven to be toxic as they contain high levels of
methyl salicylate. Ingestion can cause severe poisoning and death.
- Cassia / Clove leaf and bud
These oils can cause dermal irritation and possible toxicity to both people and pets.
- Horseradish / Mustard / Tansy
Due to the pungent properties of these oils, they are considered to be hazardous and may cause severe dermal irritation.
Although this oil is effective in repelling flea, it is also highly toxic to the kidneys and the nervous system. It is also a known abortifacient. Avoid using this oil on pets and yourself!
This oil is a terrible photosensitizer.
Both the herb and the oil wormwood are toxic to pets and should be avoided at all costs, even though some people suggest using wormwood for treating worm infestation. There has been reports of wormwood essential oil causing
renal failure in humans. It is also a known fact that wormwood causes seizures, and possesses very high oral and dermal toxicity.
DO NOT USE ESSENTIAL OILS ON CATS OR USE WHERE CATS CAN INHALE