Essential oils for dogs is a popular topic. Everyone’s quick to recommend them for almost any ailment … from arthritis to separation anxiety.
Aromatherapy can help with your mental, physical and emotional well-being. But the essential oil blends you use might not produce the same reaction in your pets.
In fact, some oils can be dangerous.
And that’s what I want to talk to you about today … which essential oils are safe for your dog and which aren’t.
The Scary Side Of Essential Oils
I’ve heard some horror stories about essential oils … like one woman who caused liver failure in her dog by diffusing tea tree oil daily.
Veterinarian Dr Richard Palmquist says this about essential oils and your dog:
“Essential oils contain a host of biologically active and powerful compounds. Used correctly, they are an indispensable part of integrative medical care. However, they can cause undesirable and even dangerous side effects. This is why people using oils medically should seek specialized training.”
So don’t think essential oils are safe because they are “natural.” Before you use them on your dog, you need to know which oils you can use … and how.
Understanding Essential Oils
Have you ever asked why plants contain essential oils?
One reason is that they can’t move to escape threats. Instead, they produce compounds to repel predators and pathogens.
The body can absorb essential oils into the bloodstream through various methods:
- Ingestion (eating or licking)
- Through the skin
Once the oils get into the bloodstream, they can travel to various tissues.
Different chemicals in the oils have a biological affinity for certain tissues. So knowing your oil’s components is the first step in choosing the right oil for your dog.
Essential oils are very powerful, especially for animals. Even tiny amounts can have powerful biological effects on every system of the body.
For example, lavender oil can be calming for the brain. You can use small amounts of lavender oil when traveling to calm your dog or make him sleepy.
Safe Essential Oils For Your Dog
Before you treat your dog with essential oils at home, it’s a good idea to talk to your holistic veterinarian. It’s especially important to get a diagnosis if your dog has severe or persistent symptoms.
Also, make sure your vet knows what other natural products you’re using for your dog. This will help you avoid any interactions with other supplements.
Here are some oils that are safe for short-term or first-aid use:
Lavender is a universal oil that you can use pure or diluted. It’s useful if you want to condition patients to a safe space. It may also help with …
Cardamon is a diuretic and anti-bacterial. It helps normalize appetite and can also be used for …
Helichrysum is anti-bacterial and can reduce bleeding after an accident. It’s a skin regenerator and can help repair nerves. It’s also useful in cardiac disease.
Frankincense has helped some cases of cancer and works on the immune system. It can reduce tumors and external ulcers as well as increases blood supply to the brain … although it can worsen hypertension so use caution.
Spearmint helps to reduce weight and helps balance metabolism and stimulate the gallbladder. It can also be used for …
How To Use Essential Oils For Dogs
Remember, essential oils can help with your dog’s physical and mental issues but … they’re also very powerful.
Be sure to use safe handling principles … or consult an aromatherapy expert so that you don’t risk making your dog sick.
Because essential oils are so popular, there are some bad manufacturers. Some oils can contain contaminants or adulterants. This means they can cause a more serious adverse reaction.
Always use high-quality oils from reputable companies. It’s best to verify the quality of oils before using them. A good company will be happy to answer questions about their product.
Keep in mind that your dog’s sense of smell is hundreds of times more sensitive than yours. So use diluted oils … and provide him with an escape route. He’ll let you know if he doesn’t approve.
Here’s a little teaser from our new Canine Essential Oils course. Isla talks about the ways your dog will let you know he doesn’t approve.
So if your dog shows you he doesn’t like an oil, don’t force it on him.
When you use essential oils for dogs … follow canine herbalist Rita Hogan’s recommendation:
Use a 0.5 percent to a one percent dilution. This means 3 to 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of a carrier oil. She recommends using almond, coconut or apricot kernel oil.
This recommendation is for topical use. For internal use, read Rita’s cautions here.
Remember Your Dog Is A Dog
Dogs metabolize and react differently to essential oils so … you need to know which oils are safe to use for your dog.
Always be cautious with so-called “hot” oils like …
Use special care around your dog’s eyes. And always wash your hands after handling oils. That will prevent you from getting them into your own eyes too!
When Less Is More
Dr Palmquist finds that pet owners can run into trouble with good intentions …
“One problem we see in our clinic involves people overusing oils. A person discovers essential oils and begins to diffuse the oils into their homes leading to an unintentional overdose for their pets. Some essential oils can cause liver and kidney toxicity in sensitive species.”
“To reduce the chances of sensitivity and organ toxicity, we generally use an oil for no more than two weeks and then provide a rest period.”
“Under certain circumstances … like in the treatment of cancer … we will use oils for longer periods, but this is something best left to those trained in the use of oils.”
You can read Dr. Palmquist’s entire article here.