Aromatherapy for pets? No we haven’t gone mad! The same way certain essential oils help calm us down, relax us or wake us up, so do certain oils assist our pets. Aromatherapy has been shown to have remarkable effects on both dogs and cats – from dealing with stress, to itching and odour. Here we give you an introduction to treating your pets naturally with essential oils.
One of the reasons essential oils are a great alternative to medication is that they are non-toxic. Our pets, as well as us, are prone to thyroid problems, issues with their bowels plus liver and kidney worries, so the more you can limit the amount of toxins in the body the better.
So what can these oils assist with? Firstly they are great for emotional issues such as during training where they can enhance focus and reduce anxiety. They can calm and reassure during moments of stress or shock – perfect for bonfire nights and thunder storms. Finally they can uplift the mood when dealing with separation, loss, depression and even dementia in older dogs.
Essential oils can calm and reassure during moments of stress or shock – perfect for bonfire nights and thunder storms.
Secondly, essential oils can treat other more standard health issues such as skin problems, including itching, rashes, fleas or ticks. Stomach complaints such as constipation, motion sickness or if they have eaten something they shouldn’t have. Essential oils are also great to assist with pet odours (thank goodness) as well as joint problems in our older friends like arthritis or rheumatism.
When it comes to selecting which oils to use, always try to pick the best quality oils – they will work better on your pet. Do note that some essential oils that work for us can unfortunately be harmful to our pets – so always read the specific instructions. We urge you, as with anything you decide to use to treat your beloved pets, to do your own research and double check with your vet if you aren’t sure before going ahead with treatment. If you are a cat owner be extra careful as cats do tend to be especially sensitive when it comes to essential oils – for example they have quite adverse reactions to citrus based essential oils.
Once you’ve chosen the right oils for your furry friend, you’ll need to work out the appropriate dilution. The best way is to go by the weight of your pet. A small dog (say 20 pounds and under) can be treated like a child or toddler, so the oil should be diluted by about 30-90%. For bigger dogs (over 25 pounds) you could probably give an adult dose. If in doubt, just start small and work up.
Finally let’s look at the best way to use these essential oils. Firstly you can apply the specific oil straight onto the location that needs the attention. A great idea is to use a spray nozzle on the bottle for ease with treating your pet. For more general issues you can apply a couple of drops to their paws or belly (as this is often the thinnest part of the skin). Letting letting them smell the oil straight from the bottle may be too potent so why not pour the oil onto your palms and let them have a sniff.
Here is a quick guide to some of the main oils that will assist with treating your pet in a natural, non-toxic and relaxing way.
CALMING, GROUNDING, SEDATING
Lavender, Ylang Ylang , Patchouli, Sandalwood, Orange Blossom, Frankincense, Spruce, Blue Tansy.
UPLIFTING & RELIEVING:
Rosemary, Jasmine, Orange, Citrus, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosewood, Basil, Geranium, Cardamom – great for older dogs with dementia.
DOG GONE GIRL-CRAZY
Marjoram, Valerian, Lavender, Chamomile, Angelica.
Peppermint, Lemongrass, Ginger, Tarragon.
Birch, Juniper, Rosemary.
Lavender, Lemon, Geranium, Bergamot, Lemongrass.
Lavender, Chamomile, Tea Tree, Geranium, Mint.
Have you tried using essential oils to benefit your pet? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!