essential-oils-for-dogs

Find Out How Essential Oils Can Help Your Dog

Essential oils for your dog are a simple, safe, and healthy solution to many issues. And, they can help your dog live a longer, happier life.

Research has shown essential oils have the ability to relieve conditions ranging from itchy skin to digestion problems. From anxiety to depression. And, so much more.

But… there’s still some uncertainty here.

Essential oils for dogs (and humans) are a relatively new idea. As with any new idea, we (as humans) must do our own research to come to our own conclusions about how effective they are.

They kind of seem too good to be true… don’t they?

If these ‘solutions’ have the power to do everything they claim… why are we just now finding out about them?

Do they really work? And, what can they be used for? We’ll discuss this and more in today’s article.

How Do Dogs Use Essential Oils?

Before we dive in to what various oils may be used for, lets discuss how they can be applied safely to your dog.

When you scroll down to the oils, you’ll notice they may say ‘can be applied topically, ingested, or inhaled. You might also hear it phrased as ‘can be applied topically, aromatically, or internally.

Just as with anything else that’s new, the introduction of essential oils should be gradual and slow. Start with a small amount of an essential oil and watch your dog’s behavior. If the response is neutral but you aren’t seeing much an effect therapeutically, you can generally add more essential oil or increase the frequency of application. Be sure not to start out with a huge amount immediately, though. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Aromatic Application of Essential Oil

When talking about aromatic or ‘inhaled’ application, we’re talking about the use of a diffuser. That could be a nebulizing diffuser or water diffusion.

Nebulizing diffusers pull oil directly from the bottle and disperse the oil through the air. If you’re using a nebulizing diffuser in your home, make sure your dog has a place to escape the ‘air’ from the room if she wants to.

With water diffusion, you start with 1-5 drops of oil in a diffuser. If you have never used oils before, professionals recommend using the water diffusion method rather than the nebulizing diffusion.

Applying an Oil to Your Dog Topically

If we say an oil can be applied topically, that means the oil can be placed on your dog’s skin in certain places.

The most common area to place oil is along the spine of your dog. It’s the area the oil is usually best tolerated.

Some professionals recommend applying oil to the tips of a dog’s ears. Some dogs are okay with this, but most don’t prefer this method. You should avoid using this method if your dog has long ears. Dogs with long ears can shake their head and get the oil in their eyes accidentally.

The skin along the paw pads can sometimes tolerate essential oils… but make sure the oil is diluted if you’re placing it here. This area can easily become irritated.

Finally, certain oils can be placed in your dog’s shampoo. Dogs who have itchy skin usually benefit from this application.

Internal Application for Dogs?

And… internally. Be sure before you provide your dog with any essential oil internally, you fully understand the oil is designed for this (and find out whether the oil should be diluted and how).

Some essential oils can be placed in food and/or in drinking water. A general recommendation is 1 drop per 2 cups of drinking water for dogs.

Calming Oils: Oils to Reduce Anxiety and/or Irritability

Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis): This oil helps to provide a calming ‘mood’ for dogs who are feeling anxious or nervous. Roman chamomile can be inhaled, ingested, or applied topically to your dog.

Hops (Humulus lupulus): Hops can help calm a dog who is anxious, nervous, or irritable. This oil can be inhaled, ingested, or applied topically on your dog.

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis): Valerian root is a relaxant and mild sedative. It offers calming and soothing support for your dog when she is experiencing anxiety, panic or some sort of tension.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans): Nutmeg can help a dog who is anxious or hyperactive with scattered energy. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): This oil has many uses, but most commonly, lavender can be used to soothe and comfort a dog who is experiencing distress and/or anxiety. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog. (P.S.- This oil can also be used for allergies, burns, ulcers, and insomnia).

Oils for Fearful Dogs: Dogs Who are Feeling Stressed Out

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii): On its own, or with the support of other essential oils that help reduce a dog’s fearful emotions, Frankincense can help reduce extreme stress. This oil is used in severe cases of fear to help a dog ‘come back to the ground.’ This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Violet Leaf (Viola odorata): If a dog is shocked or hesitant toward a situation, violet leaf can be used to reduce feelings of nervousness by providing a feeling of comfort and safety. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Linden Blossom (Tilia cordata). Linden blossom can assist in providing a sense of safety and trust. This oil is commonly recommened for dogs who have a history of abuse. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Sandalwood (Santalum austrocaledonicum): Sandalwood provides support on a physical and emotional level. Dogs who have emotional imbalances, worry, or uncertainly of situations are among those who can benefit from this oil. It can be very effective on its own, or in combination with other essential oils. And, can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Oils for Aggression: Let’s Provide Some Comfort

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia): Vanilla has comforting and nurturing qualities for dogs who experience nervous tension, irritability, and/or anger. Dogs who have been known to bite are among those who this oil is recommended to. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea): This oil is generally recommended for female dogs but can also be used for male dogs who are experiencing feelings of anger, frustration, and/or mood swings. This oil has been found to have soothing effects. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Yarrow has not only shown the ability to heal physical imbalances, but emotional imbalances as well. This could be a dog who has experienced trauma, neglect, and/or abuse… or a dog who is over-sensitive. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Rose Otto (Rosa damascena). Rose Otto is recommended for dogs who have a history of neglect, abuse, or suffering of some kind. This oil is also recommended for dogs who are displaying any sort of aggression. It’s important to note that alternative veterinarians have a disclaimer with this oil… a dog may continue to display aggressive behavior in the beginning of the use of Rose Otto but you may see positive results once your dog has been exposed. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides): Vetiver provides comfort and reassurance for an anxious dog showing aggression. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Oils for Sadness: Relieving the Depression

Neroli (Citrus aurantium): There are many dogs who do not particularly care for this oil. But, if your dog will accept this oil, it can be used to support a dog who is experiencing depression, grief, or loneliness. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog (only if your dog selects its use).

Peppermint (Mentha piperita): Peppermint has been known to have a calming effect on dogs (and humans!). And, can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Oils for Flea and Tick Prevention: Make Your Own

Essential oils can be used to prevent fleas and ticks from living on your dog’s body without exposing your dog or your family to those dangerous chemicals from traditional flea medications.

Lemongrass Oil: Insecticidal

Peppermint Oil: Peppermint oil doesn’t kill fleas and ticks, but it does work as an effective repellant to fleas and ticks.

Citronella Oil: Citronella isn’t a surprising candidate on this list. After all, we do use this to protect ourselves against mosquitoes. But, it is also highly effective in repelling fleas and ticks.

Cedarwood Oil: Insect repellent

If you don’t want to make an essential oil ‘flea and tick killer’ yourself, you can investigate Richard’s Organics Naturally Gentle & Safe Flea & Tick Spray which contains a mix of peppermint, cedar, clove, and rosemary essential oils to kill fleas and ticks… and repel mosquitos for up to 4 weeks following application.

Approach with Caution: Follow Some Rules

While oils can be extremely helpful, just as with anything else, we must be cautious. Essential oils are powerful and can produce adverse effects.

‘Principles of Safe Use’ must be in place.

If your dog doesn’t like an oil, don’t force her to use it.

In cases where an oil must be dilated, one drop of essential oil per 50 drops of ‘carrier oil’ (Like grape seed oil) is generally enough.

It’s also possible to overuse oils. Make sure you’re not one of those people who starts using essential oils, and then unintentionally overdoses yourself or your dog.

Be sure not to get essential oil around or near the eyes. And, wash your hands after using any type of oil.

To reduce the chances of your dog (or you) becoming sensitive to an oil or unintentionally overdosing on an oil, a general recommendation is using an oil for no longer than two weeks and then take a rest period. Come back to using that oil later on.

There’s More to Learn… Start Studying Today

This article just brushes the surface of essential oils.

It’s not meant to be a ‘you’re ready to do this’ type of article. You must do your own research before using any essential oil on your dog.

Print this out for reference- and ask a holistic or alternative veterinarian if your individual dog would benefit. Remember, every dog is different. And, depending on the health of your dog, some may be acceptable whereas other aren’t recommended.

And, not all oils should be treated equal… make sure the oil you are purchasing is of high-quality.

There are hundreds of ‘fake oils’ out there. You want your first impression to be as good as it can be. If you try out a ‘bad’ essential oil first, you won’t know if it’s really helpful for your dog (or for you).

You should never place an essential oil on your dog’s skin (or let them inhale/ ingest) without first fully understanding the oil you’re using.

Bottom line… be sure to do further research before implementing essential oils into your dog’s routine.

Top 3 Calming Exercises for Anxious Dogs

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Many dogs are sent to shelter home due to their anxiety problems that develop due to hyperactivity. On the other hand, dogs that are brought home from animal shelters have behavior issues like barking, digging, destructive chewing, etc. The problem, in both cases, is not with dogs but with the owners who fail to provide enough opportunities to their Fido to invest their pent-up energies positively.

Did you ever think of trying out some calming exercises for your pooch? Here are three ways to tone down the excessive energy of dogs:

  1. Doga:

Doga has calming effects on both the dog owner and the pooch. Although dogs are not able to imitate the stretches and poses of their yogi owners, still they feel calm at the end of a yoga session. The bonding between the owner and the dog gets stronger. The owners are able to better understand their Fido’s body language. They will be able to train the pooch in a more calm and controlled manner.

Doga helps dogs invest their energies in calming exercises. Your pooch will feel relaxed after doga class. Try it out for your anxious and hyperactive dog.

  1. Routine and Familiarity:

Unfamiliar situations and environments, as well as haphazard routines, are known to create confusions in the pooch’s mind. It may create anxiety that will lead to destructive chewing and excessive barking, etc.

Dogs enjoy following routines. They feel uncomfortable when their set schedule is not followed. Routines help a dog wait for the play, walk or exercise time patiently. Consistency in daily routine activities will keep the pooch relaxed. Are you following the routine of your dog?

Sometimes dog owners do not maintain routine of giving food to the pooch. Whether you serve raw dog food or dry kibble, maintain a fixed time. One day giving food via treat dispensing toys and the other day in food bowls can also upset the little pooch. Dogs need surety about everything. Or else, they stay anxious whether they will have it or not!

If you are an adventure lover, your dog can feel anxious in unfamiliar places. To maintain the familiarity, take the Fido’s favorite chewing cloth that has your scent and of home. Give him a chew toy, familiar bowl, familiar bed, and blanket to stay calm and comfortable at unknown places or new home.

  1. Music or Smart Toys:

Some dogs are not hyperactive but are rather intelligent dog breeds. They need something for their mental stimulation. Find out some puzzles, buster cubes, interactive toys, Kongs to keep the pooch busy during your absence. Stuff them with their favorite treat so they may stay motivated to solve the puzzle.

Whether it’s a thunderstorm or fireworks that makes your pooch anxious and restless, it will not worry your Fido anymore. Simply, turn on some soft music in the room. A study conducted by Physiology and Behavior says that dogs feel relaxed and calm when the sound of soft rock or reggae fills the room. During unfamiliar situations or stressful ones, playing the soothing soft rock music will definitely improve your dog’s behavior.

Before you decide to leave your cute cuddle ball in an animal shelter, consider trying these tricks to calm his nerves. Sometimes, medications work for toning down dog’s anxiety.

Would you like being left alone for your bad behaviors that developed due to certain circumstances other had created for you?

Thundershirt Eases Anxiety

The Thundershirt applies a gentle, but constant, pressure to your dog’s body to ease her anxiety throughout different situations. Of course, the Thundershirt often helps dogs get through thunderstorms (which is why it’s called the thundershirt)… but it can also help decrease separation anxiety… or anxiety in general.

The Thundershirt is often recommended before you begin trying any kind of medication. After all, if the Thundershirt helps, why would we want to medicate our dogs?

To read more about the Thundershirt, click here.

 

D.A.P. for Dogs: Reducing Anxiety

As a Canine Behaviorist, I have recommended D.A.P. to reduce anxiety levels for dogs often with high success rates. Those who have tried D.A.P. return to me happy to see an improvement in their dog’s anxiety levels while at home.

The hormone contained in the diffuser is similar to the one released to puppies from their mother. Research has proven this product to be beneficial within 15-20 minutes of implementing.

Remember, all dogs are different so what works for one dog may not work for another. And, it may take a little more time for the calming pheromone to work on some dogs.

DAP

Separation Anxiety

One of the most common problems a canine behaviorist handles is separation anxiety. It is easy to become frustrated when your dog has separation anxiety, and that frustration can be sensed by your dog making the situation that much more difficult.

Separation Anxiety

What is separation anxiety, exactly? Separation anxiety is often thought to be simply as a dog who becomes upset when their guardian leaves the house. This is not always the case, though. A dog can experience separation anxiety, in severe cases, by their guardian just leaving the room.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety has a variety of symptoms but most commonly involves:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Excessive vocalization (whining, barking, howling)
  • Chewing items in the house
  • Urinating/defecating in the house
  • Scratching the walls and floor in an attempt to escape
  • Depression-like behavior

How Crate Training Can Help

Crate training can help significantly in reducing feelings of separation anxiety. If your dog is not familiar with their crate, they should not be placed in the crate for an extended period of time immediately. Instead, they should be placed in the crate for short periods of time to become comfortable. Be sure to place their favorite blanket and bone with them during their time in the crate.

Many times, dogs soon learn this is their ‘safe’ place. Be sure to leave the door open in case your dog wants to escape to his crate if there’s company, or even if he’s just tired.

The crate should be large enough so he is able to stand all the way up, and he should be able to turn around and get comfortable easily.

The Zen Crate

Recently, there has been a new development in the field of separation anxiety known as the Zen Crate. The Zen Crate is extremely impressive and has been shown to reduce separation anxiety, and anxiety in general, significantly. Read about the Zen Crate in the ‘Recommended Products’ page or search for Zen Crate in this blog.

Other Options

Another option involves leaving your dog alone for short periods of time. This is a time-consuming option so be sure to set some time aside for the next couple of weeks if possible. If your dog has severe separation anxiety, start by just leaving the room for short periods of time, then go back to the room where your dog is.

Once he is comfortable with this, you can then move to leaving to another side of the house completely or even step outside for a moment, then come back in. You can then increase the amount of time you spend away from the home little by little. This will allow your dog to understand you will always come back and instill a sense of trust with you.