Aromatherapy is particularly hot these days, but is it something that you can consider for your four-legged friend?
There are quite a few experts that recommend using aromatherapy and essential oils for dogs, but there are some precautions that must be noted. Keep in mind though, this may not be the ideal treatment for all dogs, especially some older dogs with respiratory problems.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that makes use of essential oils (volatile plant materials) as aromatic compounds. These essential oils date back to the first century, at least, and have been used in distilled form as medicines since the 11th century. You can learn more about how we used essential oils for our dog Jenna’s arthritic pain here.
The word “aromatherapy” was first noted in print in 1937, while there was word about it being used as an antiseptic by a French surgeon in the Second World War.
Aromatherapy is generally applied in three different ways: aerial diffusion, direct inhalation and topical application.
As far as how aromatherapy could be administered to your dog, that would certainly depend on what it was being used for in the first place. Sometimes a topical application is best for soothing the skin, for instance, while the broader aerial diffusion can benefit your dog’s state of calm.
How Do You Use Aromatherapy for Dogs?
Aromatherapy has been used by groomers and pet salons to treat mild skin ailments, while therapists have turned to essential oils for their calming effects.
In terms of home therapy, you can treat your dog to aromatherapy with relative ease. To start with, ALWAYS make sure you dilute the essential oil to eliminate risks of skin irritation or other difficulties. If you are applying essential oils to your dog’s skin, it is especially important that you dilute them. Start by mixing about two or three drops of essential oils in with an ounce of almond oil, for instance, as that should give you a good idea of the ratio you can turn to.
Almond oil is what is known as a base oil in that it serves to help you dilute the other essential oils. Olive oil and jojoba oil can also be used as base oils.
Another option is to dilute essential oils in a spray bottle and use the mist on the pet’s bedding for a dose of aromatherapy (and a sweet smell). In this instance, you would dilute a few drops in distilled water or use a mix of water and something like aloe or witch hazel with about 20 to 30 drops of oil for every eight ounces of water.
Remember that your dog’s sense of smell is more acute than your own. Use too much aroma and you may find your dog scratching or running his or her head along the ground to escape the scent. Sneezing, pacing and whining may also result.
*Also, never apply an essential oil directly to an area your dog can lick unless you’re sure it’s safe for consumption.