Essential Oils: Is it Right for Your Dog

Originally posted 3-27-18

This weekend I had the opportunity to learn about essential oils for humans and dogs. I’ve always been interested in other ways to improve the physical and mental health of our furry family members so this was right up my alley. We all have heard of benefits of natural solutions, but I was quite shocked to learn that cats and other small pets don’t appear to benefit from essential oils as dogs do. Please note, essential oils are not a replacement for veterinary recommended solutions or prescriptions, but can be complementary to training and vet recommendations.

Essential oils are aromatic, naturally occurring chemical components of plants that are usually extracted by distillation. ( Some of the most recommended essential oils include lavender, peppermint, and frankincense.

According to The Whole Dog Journal:
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Used by the makers of pet aromatherapy products more than any other essential oil. Gentle, antibacterial, antipruritic (anti-itch), stimulates rapid healing, acts as a central nervous system sedative, very relaxing, deodorizing.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita). Digestive aid; stimulates circulation for injuries, sprains, strains, arthritis, dysplasia. Insect repellent. Relieves pain and itching. To prevent nausea and motion sickness, mix one tablespoon vegetable oil, seven drops ginger, and eight drops peppermint; give three drops orally.

In my personal experience, I’ve used peppermint for headaches and pain. As for lavender, I have used plug-ins for my reactive* dog but I’ve seen some improvement, along with training and management. I believe it can be a good compliment to training.

*dog selective 😉

Things to Remember:
Dilute, dilute, dilute… Highly concentrated oils can be dangerous for dogs. Whether it’s directly applied or diffused, always allow the dog an exit strategy. Dogs have a stronger sense of smell than humans and some essential oils may be aversive to them. Your dog should always have an opportunity to leave the room if a diffuser is in use. This will prevent agitation and the possibility of ingestion.

My recommendation would be to look at what the oils are made up of. Is it pure or synthetic? Trust me, there is a difference. Consider the source, the price, and if the label says 100% pure. There are ways to test it. With the exceptions of sandalwood, patchouli oils and German chamomile (due to color and heavier in consistency, simply place a single drop onto a piece of white paper and then allow it to dry. If an oil ring is left behind, it’s not a pure essential oil. With the exceptions discussed previously, there may be a slight tint left behind but it shouldn’t be greasy.

As with anything regarding your dog’s health, please consult with your veterinary.


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