Whether it’s a moisturizing hand lotion or a cleansing soap, you don’t have to stray far from your personal care products to catch a whiff of the soothing scent of lavender.
Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, is the purple flower we’ve most commonly come to associate with lavender (although there are other varieties). And in addition to a lovely fragrance, the plant has come to be known in the holistic world for its many health-benefiting properties, including as an itch-soother, natural sedative and antibacterial. Often used in oil form, this vibrant plant is clearly much more than a pretty flower. Here’s how it can help your dog…
Skin and Itch
Thanks to its antihistamine, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, lavender is frequently recommended in cases of allergies, for contact dermatitis and bug bites to help soothe irritated skin and itch. It can also soothe burns and act as a tick repellent.
Learn which essential oils can help relieve your dog’s allergies, here.
Rest and Relaxation
Lavender has long been used by aromatherapists for its stress-relieving qualities. (Ever been to a spa without smelling lavender? It’s an impossibility!) And studies are reflecting these mood-elevating, anxiety-reducing and sleep-inducing benefits. So, when dealing with an anxious or agitated dog – perhaps in the car on the way to the vet – this is a handy oil to have. It may even help cheer up depressed pets.
Because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, lavender can also be used to relieve inflamed and painful joints. You’ll definitely want to have some lavender essential oil in your first aid kit if you have an arthritic dog.
How to Use
A high-quality brand of lavender essential oil is key for use on dogs. Consult a holistic vet if you have any questions (cats are much more sensitive to essential oils, so definitely consult a qualified practitioner if considering use on felines).
According to Herbs for Pets by Gregory L. Tilford and Mary L. Wulff, this is how you can use lavender on your dog:
ANTIBACTERIAL SKIN RINSE
Make a tea using fresh or dried lavender flowers, leaves and stems and dilute it so that the water is only slightly tinted but still smelling of lavender. Then use this diluted tea as an antibacterial skin rinse to help relieve pain and itching from seborrhea, contact dermatitis or other skin problems.
Use the essential oil as aromatherapy to calm nervous dogs and lift the spirits of depressed pets by waving the open bottle under your dog’s nostrils or placing a few drops on a piece of cardboard that is then put near your dog’s bed or carrier.
Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil to an ounce of apricot kernel or almond oil for joint pain and inflammation. Massage the mixture onto your dog’s painful joint. This mixture can also be used on bug bites.
Mix 100 milliliters of lavender essential oil with 300 milliliters of olive oil, 500 milliliters of terebinth essential oil and 100 milliliters of St. John’s wort-infused oil as a tick repellent oil for dogs. The oil mixture can be massaged onto wherever the dog has ticks to encourage them to fall off. It can also be massaged in for use as a preventative.