Essential Oils and Your Dog

Since I became an aromatherapist, I’ve been intrigued about using essential oils with and around our dogs. During my training, we did not discuss the use of oils with animals. This was outside the realm of expertise of my teacher so she chose not to educate us on it. However, since the interest appears to be growing, they have started to offer some additional training on the subject. So you got it, I was like, heck yeah – sign me up!

So I did my first introductory training. As with learning about safely and effectively using essential oils with humans, it’s the same with our furry friends. It’s going to take more time than one 90 minute training. So I’m going to be continuing my education and research on this topic and will continue to update you as I learn. But since I have learned some interesting facts on the matter, I wanted to share what I know so far.

First of all, you will want to select oils for dog the same way you would for yourself. You base it on the symptoms at hand, ie: anxiety. You will want to introduce the oil to your dog in a certain manner as to not overwhelm them. Here are some good guidelines.

  1. Be in a quiet room, away from distractions and talk in a soothing voice.

  2. You want your pet to be calm during this process.

  3. Move back away from them a few feet.

  4. Remove the cap from the oil you have chosen and watch for any reaction they may have.

  5. If they are not interested, they will walk away or cringe, etc.

  6. If they like it, they will come closer, make eye contact, lick their lips, etc.

  7. Let them inhale the scent if they come closer.

  8. You can put a few drops on a towel, washrag, etc and leave it near their bed so they can go back to it and inhale it at their leisure.

Dogs will self-medicate through their sense of smell. A successful treatment requires that they feel safe and are in a quiet environment. They also need to be trusting of the person they are working with. You want to allow them the freedom to walk away from you.

If your dog comes over and takes a whiff of the oil, this was not on accident. They did it on purpose because the scent is pleasing to them. Let’s go over a few facts when it comes to dogs sense of smell. Humans have 50 million olfactory receptors, dogs have over 278 million.  Let’s look at it another way as described by Alexandra Horowitz. Humans can detect 1tsp of sugar in a cup of coffee. A dog can detect 1tsp of sugar in 1 million gallons of water. Just like humans, inhale is absorbed via the lungs and directly into the bloodstream.

Dogs have two ways of detecting odor.

  1. Casual Smelling – across the room, this can reduce the adrenaline levels up to 30%

  2. Deliberate Inhaling – such as walking up to something and intentionally whiffing, this is immediately sent into the bloodstream

A few safety things to discuss.

  1. If you are diffusing oils in your home, ensure that the area is well ventilated and that you pet can leave the space if they are not enjoying the scent, it’s also recommended to use a lower dosage in your diffuser when you have pets in the home.

  2. Dogs can have a phototoxic reaction to certain oils the same as humans – citrus oils such as lemon, lime and bergamot are all known to cause phototoxic reactions.

  3. If you are applying a blend or oil to your dogs skin, ensure that you are diluting it in a carrier and to use a very low dosage. If your pet has a skin irritation or redness, it’s recommended to try applying Green Clay to the area before oils.

  4. Do not ever apply essential oils to your dogs stitches as they can dissolve them. Instead use Green Clay.

  5. Hydrosols are a very safe alternative to use with your pet vs the essential oil.

  6. Do not put essential oils directly onto your dogs skin. Never on paw pad or in ears.

  7. Avoid oils high in Ketone constituents such as Peppermint, Rosemary, Spike Lavender and Vetiver

  8. Avoid oils high in Phenol constituents such as Clove bud, Oregano and Thyme ct thymol

I mentioned Green Clay above for use on stitches, skin irritation and redness. There are two different ways to use this. Just as the dry power it comes in, rub it onto the affected area. You can also make a paste out of it by adding in a bit of water and applying it that way. It’s very safe for dogs. You can buy it from Starwest Botanicals by clicking here.

As I said at the start of this post, this is just the beginning. I’ll be continuing my training on the safety of using essential oils to help treat our pets and I’ll bring you information as I get it.

Until next time, Much AromaLove.

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Disclaimer: Post may contain affiliate links. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. My products and posts are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases. They are not a replacement for doctor prescribed treatment and medication. Not intended for use on small children unless otherwise noted. If you are pregnant, nursing or under the care of a physician for chronic issues, please consult them prior to trying any essential oil products. All products/recommendations are for external use only.

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