Handling Essential Oils Safely For Dogs


Excerpt of article by Julia Henriques.

Essential oils for dogs is a popular topic. Everyone’s quick to recommend them for almost every issue, from arthritis to separation anxiety. 

Aromatherapy can help with your dog’s mental, physical and emotional well-being. But the essential oil blends we use might not produce the same reaction in every dog.

Understanding Essential Oils

Have you ever wondered 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:

  • Inhalation
  • 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.

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:

1. Lavender

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:

» Allergies
» Burns
» Ulcers
» Insomnia
» Car ride anxiety
» Motion sickness
» And more

2. Cardamom

Cardamon is a diuretic and anti-bacterial. It helps normalize appetite and can also be used for:

» Colic
» Coughs
» Heartburn
» Nausea

3. Fennel

Fennel helps the adrenal cortex and can break up toxins and fluid in tissue. It also balances pituitary, thyroid and pineal glands.

4. Helichrysum

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.

5. Frankincense

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.

6. Spearmint

Spearmint helps to reduce weight and helps balance metabolism and stimulate the gallbladder. It can also be used for:

» Colic
» Diarrhea
» Nausea

Other Safe Essential Oils For Dogs:

  • Angelica Root
  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Black Pepper
  • Cajeput
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Carrot Seed
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon Leaf
  • Cistus
  • Citronella
  • Coriander
  • Cypress
  • Elemi
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel (Sweet)
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Helichrysum
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Citrus
  • Lemongrass
  • Mandarin
  • Marjoram (Sweet)
  • Melissa
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli
  • Niaouli
  • Nutmeg
  • Opopanax
  • Orange (Sweet, Blood)
  • Palmarosa
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Petitgrain
  • Plai
  • Rosalina
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Spearmint
  • Spikenard
  • Tangerine
  • Valerian
  • Vanilla
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang

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.

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 1 percent dilution. This means 3 to 6 drops of essential oil per 30ml 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 can be found 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:

  • Cinnamon
  • Oregano
  • Clove
  • Wintergreen
  • Thyme
  • Birch

Use special care around your dog’s eyes and always wash your hands after handling oils.

The Scary Side Of Essential Oils

Veterinarian Dr Richard Palmquist writes:

“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.

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.

Excerpt of article by Julia Henriques.

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