been exciting to work with the essential oils used in aromatherapy products. A
lot has changed since I started blending in 1992. Along with increased interest
in the healing power of essential oils, there is a greater understanding of
their potency and that “less is more” is the best approach to take.
sense of smell is remarkably better than ours. Dogs have about 40 times more
scent receptors than humans, allowing them to identify smells between 1,000 and
10,000 times better than us. Dogs also
have remarkable olfactory memory, and
world revolves around scent, aromatherapy is ideal for use with them.
As with any home remedy, it is important
to know the use and safety guidelines, and to recognize when it is time for
professional help from your veterinarian.
Use products containing pure essential oils.
The essential oils
used in aromatherapy are most commonly extracted by steam distillation from the rind, flower, leaf, bark, root or resin of aromatic plants. The
scent of essential oils can vary with each harvest because the chemical
composition changes with variations in growing conditions.
Fragrance oils are created in the lab to insure that each batch has a
These synthetic products are not therapeutic, and have been known to
cause problems such as headaches, agitation or allergic reactions.
include the botanical (Latin) names of the plants on labels. This identifies the exact plant
used in product. It’s important to note that there is no regulatory agency that grades
essential oils, and so “therapeutic grade” or “medical grade” are for marketing
Less is more – dilute, dilute, dilute.
both conservation and safety perspectives, diluting pure essential oils is not
only responsible to your wallet and the planet, but also to prevent
overwhelming your dog’s sense of smell, irritating the skin and mucous membranes,
or causing sensitization.
External use only.
are two methods of using essential oils safely and effectively in the home:
topical application and inhalation. Internal use (oral, vaginal or rectal) is
not advised unless recommended by a health care practitioner appropriately
trained in clinical or veterinary aromatherapy.
You can add your
favorite essential oil single or blend to an unscented product or base such as
vegetable and nut oils, gels, lotions or shampoos. Start with 2 drops per ounce for puppies over
10 weeks of age, senior dogs and those with compromised immune systems,
sensitive skin, or other serious health issues.
Using 4 or 5 drops per ounce is acceptable for most adult dogs with no
serious health issues.
Inhalation of essential oils vapors is used for emotional
or respiratory support and to create a calm healthy environment. Essential oils
can be inhaled by misting a water-based spray onto a favorite bandana or by
diffusing (diluting by air).
Be sure to diffuse in well-ventilated areas for short
time periods (15 minutes to 2 hours) away from infants, toddlers, and young
children, cats and birds. Longer
exposures to diffused essential oils in high concentrations could cause
headaches, vertigo, nausea and lethargy.
Create a bonding experience.
is the only one of our five senses that has an emotional response before a
cognitive one. This is because the olfactory bulb has a direct link to the
limbic system, the seat of emotion, memory and learning. For example, you don’t
need to see a skunk to know it’s a skunk!
Because of the
memoristic nature of scent, it can be beneficial to introduce aromatherapy at a
nonthreatening time. This allows your dog to associate the scent with a person
of comfort and safety rather than with an approaching storm or scary travel
experience. Sometimes an essential oil is chemically sedating, but because of a
bad memory associated with it, the scent actually causes agitation.
Sprays and massage or grooming products
containing pure essential oils, can be physically applied to create a bonding
experience and potential behavior modification. This can provide comfort for
dogs that are fretful during storms, fireworks, travel, competition, adoption,
bath time, veterinary or kennel visits, and holidays.
people have noticed that when the cupboard opens, the dog comes into the room
and sits or lies down, waiting for the aromatherapy experience to begin!