I first learned about essential oils a few years ago. I was a new mother and din't want to use chemical filled bug sprays, medications or other treatments on my son. After consulting with our pediatrician, I decided to do some research and try essential oils.
What I thought would be an afternoon spent on the internet turned into weeks of research, internet surfing and multiple visits to our local library and book stores. What I found out about essential oils was amazing. They can be used to treat many human conditions, and essential oils for dogs are also extremely beneficial!
Now, before you just go jumping in, there are a few things you need to know about essential oils for dogs. If you've used essential oils before or you're familiar with their benefits for humans, don't assume that they can be used in the same manner with dogs.
Although some essential oils are very beneficial to pets, others can be toxic.
Proper research needs to be done, and you really should consult with a holistic veterinarian or canine health specialist before introducing an essential oil regiment to your pet. When used correctly, essential oils can be an indispensable part of your dog's medical care. They will aid in his overall health and well-being, and they'll save you hundreds of dollars in veterinary bills.
9 Reasons to Use Essential Oils for Dogs
1. Dogs Naturally Magazine
The first thing you'll need to understand is what exactly essential oils are. DogsNatually sums it up perfectly in this article. Most essential oils are a plant's natural response to dangers in the environment. They secrete the oils to fend off predators and pests that will eat them.
- Essential oils are absorbed by inhalation, ingestion and contact with the skin. They rapidly enter the body and the blood stream and are distributed to various tissues. As with all compounds, some chemicals have a biological affinity for specific tissues, and doctors — or those knowledgeable about oil use — can use this property to select oils that will target specific 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…
Once you do a bit of research, you'll wonder why you have never used essential oils before. There are countless benefits, and some of the top reasons are listed in this blog post on Experience-Essential-Oils.com.
- Not toxic to the body – Just like the human body, toxicity is a huge problem for our animals. Lets support our dog's emotional and physical wellbeing so they can live a long healthy life.
- Easy to use – Essential oils for dogs can be used exactly in the same manner as with humans. Dogs can inhale the oil directly from the bottle or from your hand. They can be placed directly on their body (see below).
- Perfect home remedies for dogs – I keep an essential oil bag with twelve to fifteen oils to help with car rides, trips to the vet, trainer or pet sitter; and to help ease stress. They work quickly, are effective and extremely versatile!…
3. TheWholeDog.org discusses diffusion
Essentials oils for dogs can be applied in multiple ways, just like oils for humans. The application will depend on the oil you're using and what you are using it for. Sometimes you'll need to apply the oils topically, which you can see in the video below. Other times you may need to diffuse the oils, which is more commonly known as aromatherapy for dogs.
This is easily done, but does require the purchase of a diffuser. They are essentially a small humidifier, and you can pick up a good one for less than $30. First you'll add water to the diffuser and then a few drops of the essential oil that your pet requires. The diffuser disperses the oils into the air along with the mist from the water.
TheWholeDog.org has put together a wonderful website that is a great resource for pet parents considering essential oils for dogs. This particular article talks about diffusing oils for dogs, but you should check out the entire site if you're looking for more information. I have it bookmarked as a reference and still refer to it from time to time.
- When essential oils are inhaled through the nose, tiny nerves send an immediate signal to the brain and go straight to work on the systems that moderate our minds and bodies. Inhalation can be the most direct delivery method of these incredibly nurturing components in essential oils, since the chemical messengers in the nasal cavity have direct access to the brain. Of course, inhalation of essential oils also are able to enter the bloodstream via the lungs, (The lungs govern the immune system)…
4. NAHA explains important safety precautions
Kelly Holland Azzaro has written this interesting article for the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). It explains some of the top safety precautions that you'll need to keep in mind. This is another reference that you should be sure to read thoroughly before beginning to use essential oils for dogs.
- Animals will often lick the area where essential oil blends/botanicals have been applied. This normally does not cause a problem – but watch to make sure that the animal does not have an allergic reaction, or negative response. If they do, wipe the area with a cool wet cloth and diluted mild soap, rinse and repeat. If necessary seek immediate veterinarian assistance. Other and more serious clinical signs to watch for with your pet that can result from ingestion of essential oils are: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lethargy, weakness, excessive drooling/salivation, mouth sores, seizures, tremors, increase in liver enzymes and temporary paralysis…
5. Young Living
Young Living is one of the many companies that manufacturers essential oils. They have a very helpful and informative blog on their website that gives beneficial tips on using essential oils for dogs and humans. In this post, they touch on how much essential oil you should use for your pet. This will be determined by his size.
- Your animal’s size affects the amount of oil you should use.
- For smaller animals like cats and small dogs, use 3–5 drops. Be sure to dilute 80–90 percent prior to application (for example, for every 1 drop of oil, use 4–5 drops of a diluting agent).
- For larger animals, like large dogs, start with 3–5 drops. Unless otherwise indicated on the product label, dilution is unnecessary…
6. Healthy Focus tells us what to look for when purchasing
Many companies sell essential oils, but you need to know what to shop for. Not all essential oils are the same quality. Angela Deckard has written this in-depth article Healthy Focus that explains what you should look for when purchasing essential oils for dogs.
- When it comes to buying essential oils, you get what you pay for. Discount oils bought at warehouses or health food stores are often filled with perfumes and filler chemicals, which can be harmful to your pet or decrease the beneficial effects. When shopping for 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oil, the bottle should have these characteristics:• The Latin name of the oil, for example: Lavandula Angustifolia
• Common name of the oil, such as Lavender
• Method of distillation…
7. Weed 'em & Reap – what can essential oils be used for?
So, what can essential oils for dogs do? Well, simply put, they can increase your dog's overall health and well-being in virtually every way possible. Weed 'em & Reap has created one of the most inclusive articles on essential oils for dogs that I've found. It has all the information you'll need to understand the benefits of essential oils for dogs and gain basic knowledge of which oils work for which health conditions.
According to this article essential oils for dogs can be used for common conditions such as:
- Skin care
- Digestive support
- Respiratory support
- Natural insect repellent
- Ear health
- Immune Support for Environmental & Seasonal Threats
- Joint and muscle support
- Brain and mood health
- Promote healthy cell growth
8. RawFedDogs.org shares recipes
RawFedDogs.org breaks it down a bit more and shares specific recipes that can be made with essential oils for dogs. Of course, you should consult your veterinarian before trying any of these recipes.
- HERBAL FLEA (& TICK) SPRAY:You will need:– Recycled spray bottle that has a nozzle that can handle oil without getting clogged
– 100ml Spring water (Devin, pink label bottle)
– 5 teaspoons Vodka (to disperse the oil)
– 10-20 ml Neem oil (depending on how strong you want it)
– 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil
– 5 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
– 5 drops Rose Geranium Essential Oil (if you want to make it an anti-tick spray as well)
Shake vigorously before spraying each time. Please note, this spray is NOT suitable for cats because of the essential oil content.
9. The vet's weigh in
Finally, this week I will leave you with an interview done by Dr. Karen Becker. I've shared Dr. Becker's tips in the past, and this time she calls on Dr. Melissa Shelton to share information about essential oils for dogs. In this article you will see the informative write-up that came from the interview, or you can watch the video below to hear the audio between the two veterinary specialists.
- I asked Melissa whether she thinks the information about essential oils and animals comes from those who are simply misinformed, or is there an element of fear mongering involved.She believes it’s a little of both. She’s done her own research on reports of toxicity from oils, hoping to learn why some people can successfully use them and others are so dead set against them.And from her research, she has determined it comes down to an issue of the quality of the essential oils used – just as many things in veterinary medicine come down to quality.