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:
Safe Oils for Dogs
- Lavender: Diffusing lavender has a calming effect on the central nervous system, and dogs experiencing separation anxiety may benefit from it.
- 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 peppermint topically or orally. It's anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and analgesic.
- Sweet Orange: According to the Happy Healthy Pup Blog, Sweet Orange is deodorizing and deters bugs. Massage it on the stomach to relieve constipation symptoms in older puppies.
- Vetiver: The Whole Dog Journal suggests that Vetiver may reduce stress by calming dogs afraid of loud noises.
The Bark suggests that these oils are also great for Fido: Cardamom, Chamomile (Roman and German), Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Niaouli, and Helichrysum.
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.
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.) 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.