Essential Oils For Dogs
Essential oils aren't merely a trend. They've been used since biblical times, and are either ingested* or applied topically. Essential oils also offer calming and invigorating smells via aromatherapy. While they provide health benefits to humans, did you know that the majority of oils can also be used for your canine friends, too? Here's the 411 on essential oils and your dog.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds that are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They are incredibly potent and fragrant giving plants their distinctive smell, such as a rose. They protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. For a long time essential oils have aided in natural healing for humans and animals.
Volatile aromatic compounds are small organic molecules that tend to change quickly from their solid or liquid state to a gas at room temperature. Volatile- meaning they change state quickly. The physical and chemical properties of the volatile aromatic compounds that compose essential oils allow them to quickly move through the air and directly interact with the olfactory sensors in the nose, which is why essential oil is commonly used for aromatherapy for dogs.
Over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds have been identified to date. The nature of an essential oil varies from plant to plant, within botanical families, and from species to species.
Even with pure essential oils the composition of the oil can vary depending on the time of day, season, geographic location, method and duration of distillation, year grown, and the weather, making every step of the production process a critical determinant of the overall quality of the essential oil product.
Essential oils can be used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness for dogs. They can be used as single essential oils or in complex essential oil blends depending on what your dog needs.
Are Essential Oils Safe For Dogs?
Absolutely if done right! However, dogs are more sensitive to essential oil than humans so you can’t just jump right in. It’s a gradual process. When you are first wanting to introduce your dog to essential oil it’s important to dilute the oil to test your dog’s tolerance to the oil. Here is some more information on safe dilution practices.
The information listed below are general guidelines and you should always consult your veterinarian before introducing essential oils to your dog. Never force essential oils into your dog's life. There are many controversies about whether or not it is safe for your dog to receive essential oils topically. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline can be reached at 888-426-4435.
A few tips to keep in mind from http://www.usingeossafely.com/is-it-safe-to-use-essential-oils-with-dogs/
- dogs are more sensitive to essential oils than humans are. Essential oils should always be used diluted, even when just inhaling. This is important to remember, as we humans don’t dilute when inhaling.
- most issues that dogs have can be addressed with the inhalation of diluted essential oils.
- only use essential oils with your dogs when needed to address a concern – not to “prevent” a health issue. An example is to have them inhale a digestive essential oil after they eat, when they don’t have any digestive issues. This is not recommended.
- do not add essential oils to your dog’s food or drinking water
- avoid using essential oils with puppies under 10 weeks of age – use hydrosols instead.
“When offering essential oils to your dog, you want to first pre-select 3-5 essential oils from the safe list which you believe to be the most effective for the issue that needs addressing. There are often several essential oils which can be beneficial, and allowing your dog to choose which one specifically will ensure you do not go wrong. Make sure the oils are diluted!
As explained in this free essential oil course, the essential oils are offered as closed bottles, one at a time. Allow your dog to sniff the closed bottle (remember, dogs have an incredible sense of smell and even when the bottle is closed, this is enough for them) and once you know which one(s) your dog prefers, you can then dilute accordingly. Nayana Morag shows in her video course offering her hand to her dog, with the diluted mixture on her hand. The dog can then inhale or lick.”
How Do You Use Essential Oils for dogs?
Use 3-5 drops and dilute it 80-90% in a carrier oil.
- skin issues such as eczema, bacterial or fungal infections
- flea control
Aromatherapy works really well for dogs, just like humans. If your pup is stressed, diffuse some lavender in the air. There are so many benefits to aromatherapy and it can be used for a multitude of reasons. You can either get a diffuser or just have your dog smell the essential oil straight from the bottle or place on your hands and have your dog smell your hands.
On occasion, you can give the essential oil to your dog internally. But consult a vet before you do this to be sure it’s the best solution for whatever your dog is needing the essential oil for. There is a lot of controversy on giving dogs essential oils topically or ingested and when in doubt, err on the side of not giving it to your dog.
Be sure that you are getting therapeutic grade essential oil as opposed to aromatherapy or perfume grade.
What Types of Essential Oils Are Best?
Safe Essential Oils for Dogs
- Lavender: Diffusing lavender has a calming effect on the central nervous system, and dogs experiencing separation anxiety may benefit from it. Universal oil, can use pure or diluted. Useful in conditioning patients to a safe space. May help allergies, burns, ulcers, insomnia, car ride anxiety and car sickness, to name a few.
- Marjoram: Marjoram is anti-fungal, anti-septic, and anti-bacterial. It may alleviate diabetes or depression symptoms, nerve pain, and assist with liver problems.
- Peppermint: Use of peppermint as an anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and analgesic.
- Sweet Orange: According to the Happy Healthy Pup Blog, Sweet Orange is deodorizing and deters bugs.
- Vetiver: The Whole Dog Journal suggests that Vetiver may reduce stress by calming dogs afraid of loud noises.
- Cardamom: Diuretic, anti-bacterial, normalizes appetite, colic, coughs, heartburn and nausea.
- Fennel: assists the adrenal cortex, helps break up toxins and fluid in tissue. Balances pituitary, thyroid and pineal glands.
- Helichrysum: Anti-bacterial, reduces bleeding in accidents, skin regenerator, helps repair nerves. Also useful in cardiac disease.
- Frankincense: Has helped some cases of cancer. Works on the immune system. Has reduced tumors and external ulcers. Increases blood supply to the brain (although it can worsen hypertension so use caution).
- Spearmint: Helps to reduce weight. Good for colic, diarrhea, nausea. Helps balance metabolism, stimulates gallbladder. When diluted and used short term, this oil is helpful for many gastrointestinal issues in cats.
Additional List of safe essential oil for dogs:
- Angelica Root
- Black Pepper
- Carrot Seed
- Cinnamon Leaf
- Fennel (Sweet)
- Lemon Citrus
- Marjoram (Sweet)
- Orange (Sweet, Blood)
- Ylang Ylang
What Types of Essential Oils Are Unsafe For Dogs?
Unsafe Oils for Dogs
According to The Bark, tea tree oil may be a bit too strong for dogs. NaturalNews reports that "There are some essential oils that should never be used for animals: Anise, Clove Leaf/Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen, or Yarrow, to name a few." If you're in doubt, call your veterinarian.
Here is a list of essential oils that could be unsafe for your dog.
- Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
- Birch (Betula)
- Bitter Almond (Prunus dulcis)
- Boldo (Peumus boldus)
- Calamus (Acorus calamus)
- Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
- Cassia (Cassia fistula)
- Chenopodium (Chenopodium album)
- Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Goosefoot (Chenopodium murale)
- Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
- Hyssop (Hyssopus sp. with the exception of Decumbens)
- Juniper (Juniperus sp. with the exception of Juniper Berry)
- Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
- Mustard (Brassica juncea)
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
- Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
- Red or White Thyme
- Rue (Ruta graveolens)
- Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
- Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
- Savory (Satureja)
- Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
- Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Terebinth (Pistacia palaestina)
- Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)
- Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
- Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Not all oils are equal. Purchase pure, therapeutic brands from reputable companies that don't possess added chemicals. Make sure these brands include the verbiage "for internal use" on their labels if your dog will be ingesting them. (*Ingestion of oils is still a controversial topic. Consult your veterinarian before using any essential oils, whether inhaled or not.) And, check the label for instructions on how to dilute oils. For example, a few drops of essential oil placed in water or a carrier oil often times is all you'll need.
Ask your veterinarian about using essential oils if your furry friend is under 10 weeks old or has a pre-existing medical condition. If you also own a bird, fish, or cat, be aware that these animals may have adverse reactions to oils (either immediately or over time).
Stop the use of essential oils if you notice your dog has an adverse reaction. For further information on using oils correctly and safely, read Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell.
Essential oils have so many benefits for dogs and work wonders! It’s important to do your research, and not go essential oil crazy. You can very easily overdose your dog on essential oils and that would not be good for Fido! It’s recommended to only use essential oils for dogs on a consistent basis for two weeks and then it’s important to give your pup a nice break from them.
Also consult a vet, and most importantly listen to your dog, watch out for signs that he/she doesn’t like the oil and monitor their behavior. Don’t force the essential oils on your dog.
Just be mindful, aware and most importantly love your dog!