Summer can be a scary time for dogs.
I know from experience with my own fearful dogs … there are plenty of things to cause dogs to be anxious over the warmer months.
- Block parties or street fairs
- More people out and about
- Kids in the park
- Strangers at your house for a barbecue
… it’s not surprising some dogs get a little stressed!
Luckily there are ways to keep your scared dog relaxed. And today I’ll share one great tool to have in your toolbox … essential oils.
Essential Oil Safety For Dogs
Today I’ll give you some recipes that can help with your dog’s anxiety. But first, let’s talk safety!
Essential oils can help calm and build confidence in your anxious dog. But are they safe?
Because they’re derived from plants, many people assume they are … but dogs are very sensitive. So these powerful concentrated oils can be overpowering. They can even be harmful if used at full strength or ingested.
Make Sure It’s Good Quality
Always use the very best quality essential oils you can find. Higher quality oils come from smaller companies … ones that are happy to answer questions about their products. And look for products in tamper-proof amber or cobalt glass bottles.
With essential oils, you get what you pay for. If you see an essential oil that’s much cheaper compared to the same oil from other brands, don’t buy it either. There’s a reason it’s much cheaper and it’s probably because the oil isn’t adulterated!
Kelly Holland Azzaro runs a Holistic Healing Center in North Carolina. She’s a Registered Aromatherapist and Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner. At the 2014 Natural Canine Health Symposium (NCHS), she offered the following cautions …
- Animal aromatherapy is different from human aromatherapy.
- Avoid use of essential oils with cats, birds, reptiles and fish.
- Don’t let pets/animals ingest the oil.
- Don’t apply essential oils “neat” (undiluted) to the skin.
- Don’t apply essential oils to the nose/muzzle, inside ears, or near eyes or genital areas.
- If irritation occurs, apply a plain carrier oil then wipe off residue.
For more information on essential oil safety, visit holisticanimalassociation.com.
How To Use Essential Oils For Dogs
So, if you shouldn’t use essential oils undiluted or let your dog ingest it, what are you supposed to do?
Carrier Oils or Base Oils
First of all, use a carrier or base oil to dilute your oils. Good examples of carrier oils are …
- Sweet almond
- Apricot kernel
Kristen Leigh Bell is a Certified Master Aromatherapist. She also published a book called Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals. In it she recommends adding 10 drops of essential oils to ½ oz of carrier oil.
You can apply essential oils in different ways.
Always be aware that some dogs may not like certain oils. If your dog turns away or avoids you when you try to apply the oil, be very cautious with it.
It’s a good idea to let your dog sniff the oil before applying it. And start with very tiny amounts of the essential oil.
If your dog pants, whines or rubs her face on the carpet, the oil you chose isn’t a good fit for your dog.
In general, Kristen Leigh Bell says you don’t want your dog to ingest the oil but … don’t worry if your dog licks some oil from his fur or paws.
Here are some easy ways Kelly Azzaro suggests to apply oils to your dog …
- Direct inhalation
- Diffusion (atomizer diffuser)
- Mist sprays (topical or environmental)
- Topical (compress, bath, message or energy therapies)
So, now that you know how to use essential oils, which ones should you use for your anxious dog?
I promised you recipes, and now, here they come … thanks to Kelly Holland Azzaro.
1. Essential Oils For General Anxiety
For general fear, try this recipe. It contains neroli, petigrain and lavender.
Use it in a carrier oil for topical use:
Carrier Base For Topical Blends:
- Two ounces jojoba (Simmonsdia chinensis)
- OR Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) gel
- OR Lavender Hydrosol (Lavandula angustifolia) for a spray mist
Suggested Essential Oils:
- 8 to 10 drops of Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
- 6 to 8 drops of Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
- 4 to 6 Drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
2. Essential Oils For Sound Sensitivity
For a dog who’s hypersensitive to sound, try lavender, melissa or neroli oils.
Essential Oils To Consider:
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Melissa (Melissa Officinalis)
- Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
- Inhaling (during)
- Diffusion (before/during/after)
- Topical message (before/after)
3. Essential Oils For Separation Anxiety
If your dog has separation anxiety when left home alone, try this blend. Here’s a situation where a diffuser might work well to calm your dog while you’re out!
- 8 to 10 drops of Sweet Orange (Citrus Sinensis)
- 4 to 6 drops of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- 4 to 6 drops of Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
When used properly, essential oils can be a powerful way to help your dog feel calm when he has anxiety or fear.