Just as aromatherapy can benefit humans both physically and psychologically, it can also benefit dogs. It is important to remember that the essential oils blends and aromatherapy that human beings can handle and enjoy might not produce the same reaction in our pets. In fact, some oils can be quite dangerous.
Dr. Richard Palmquist has the following to say about essential oils and your dog:
“Oils have been shown to have many possible desirable effects such as reducing anxiety and inflammation, fighting oxidative processes, battling toxins and fighting infections by inhibiting bacteria, fungi and viruses. Oil odors can also be used to affect mental states and memory. Modern doctors are looking for agents that will assist in management of resistant infections and cancer, and these natural products may well hold the key to several major advancements.
Essential oils contain a host of biologically active and powerful compounds. Used correctly, they are an indispensible part of integrative medical care. However, they can cause undesirable and even dangerous side effects, and people using oils medically should seek specialized training.
Plants manufacture oils for many reasons. Plants cannot move and escape predators and infectious threats, so they produce compounds that neutralize or repel pests and pathogens.
Essential oils are absorbed by inhalation, ingestion and contact with the skin. They rapidly enter the body and the blood stream and are distributed to various tissues. As with all compounds, some chemicals have a biological affinity for specific tissues, and doctors — or those knowledgeable about oil use — can use this property to select oils that will target specific tissues.
The compounds present in these healing oils are powerful. Very small amounts of these substances can have powerful biological effects on every system of the body. For example, lavender oil has powerful effects on the brain and creates a calming sensation. Small amounts of lavender oil can be used when traveling to calm pets or make them feel sleepy.
Some Safe Oils To Consider
Veterinarians are skilled in the diagnosis of disease in animals and should always be consulted — especially in situations where symptoms are severe or persist. Always tell your veterinarian what natural products your pet is using and involve him or her in these decisions. The following oils can be used in first aid and are safe for short-term use:
• Lavender: Universal oil can use pure or diluted. Useful in conditioning patients to a safe space. May help allergies, burns, ulcers, insomnia, car ride anxiety and carsickness, to name a few.
• Cardamom: Diuretic, anti-bacterial, normalizes appetite, colic, coughs, heartburn and nausea.
• Fennel: assists the adrenal cortex, helps break up toxins and fluid in tissue. Balances pituitary, thyroid and pineal glands.
• Helichrysum: Anti-bacterial, reduces bleeding in accidents, skin regenerator, helps repair nerves. Also useful in cardiac disease.
• Frankincense: Has helped some cases of cancer. Works on the immune system. Has reduced tumors and external ulcers. Increases blood supply to the brain (although it can worsen hypertension so use caution).
• Spearmint: Helps to reduce weight. Good for colic, diarrhea, nausea. Helps balance metabolism, stimulates gallbladder. When diluted and used short term, this oil is helpful for many gastrointestinal issues in cats.