Aromatherapy is a relatively new holistic modality that uses certain scents like medicines to affect the body on a biochemical level. They are made from highly concentrated plant substances that are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds that come from the seeds, bark, stems, flowers and roots of plants. The fragrant scents used in aromatherapy are absorbed by the mucus membranes in the nose and go directly to the brain to cause the therapeutic effect. In recent years, essential oils have become more and more popular.

Natural, however doesn’t always mean safe. There are serious risks associated with using essential oils to treat dogs, but also ways to use them safely. It is important to remember that the essential oil blends and aromatherapy that human beings can handle and enjoy, might not produce the same reaction in our pets. In fact, some oils can be quite dangerous.
Many pet owners today are turning to essential oils for a variety of health concerns in their pets, including flea and tick prevention, skin issues, and behavior problems like anxiety. It’s important to know which oils are safe to use, how to use them, and to remember that, like people, each animal is different and may react uniquely to a specific essential oil.

Best Oils for Dogs:

 

Lavender

1. Helps with pet odor
2. May help allergies, burns, ulcers, and insomnia
3. Car ride anxiety and car sickness

Peppermint Oil

1. Helps get rid of fleas
2. Cools sore muscles
3. Soothes upset stomach

Chamomile Oil

1. Anti-inflammatory
2. Helps with skin irritations, burns, wounds, and ulcers
3. Can calm stress

Frankincense Oil

1. A potential cancer fighter
2. Combats germs and boosts immunity

Cedar wood Oil

1. Pest repellent
2. Aids lungs and circulation
3. Supports hair health

Cardamom Oil

1. Digestive aid
2. Helps ease heartburn
3. Stimulates appetite

Fennel Oil

1. Assists the adrenal cortex and helps break up toxins and fluid in tissue and thyroid and pineal glands

It’s important that you choose 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade and certified USDA organic essential oils free of adulterants and additives for use with your pets. Dogs have very sensitive senses of smell so essential oils should always be used in extremely small amounts and diluted with a carrier oil. It’s also important to remember what oils you can and cannot use in an oil diffuser around your pet. When using aroma tools like a diffuser, make sure to provide an escape route so your dog or cat doesn’t feel trapped. It’s also not recommended to force the use of any oils on pets when they clearly do not like them.

NOT recommended for Dogs:

 

Clove
Garlic
Juniper
Rosemary
Tea Tree
Thyme
Wintergreen

Prevention is the best medicine in limiting essential oil toxicities in dogs. Many of the exposures that vets deal with are from well-meaning pet owners that have used an essential oil without knowing the consequences or risks involved with these types of volatile oils. It’s recommended that you discuss any use of essential oils with your veterinarian prior to use. If they do not have experience with essential oils, they will likely know someone in the veterinary profession that they can refer you to get the information that you need for safe use of essential oils.

How to apply:

Essential oils can be applied topically to your dog. Dilute the essential oils—approximately three to six drops of oil in an ounce of carrier oil, or about 20 drops in eight ounces of shampoo, or 0.1%-1% oil to water ratio. Use less for small dogs than for big ones. You can also use a spray bottle with a few drops of oil mixed with water to apply topically.

Apply/massage your diluted oil to the area where it’s needed. The oils are quickly absorbed. You can also apply by “petting”—rub the diluted oil in your hands, then pet your pooch with both hands.

Use a diffuser for aromatherapy or put a drop of oil on your dog’s collar or bed.

Keep away from your pet’s eyes, nose, inside of his ears, and private area.

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