How To Use Essential Oils To Help Your Dog

Aromatherapy is the use of scents derived from plants to influence mood, cognitive, physical and emotional well-being.  Dogs can benefit from aromatherapy as much as humans can to aid with health and behavior and mood.  

A lot of dogs have emotional issues, such as general or separation anxiety, fear of things like sounds (thunder), fear of people or other dogs, low confidence and self-esteem, etc.  

To apply Aromatherapy, purchase an essential oil or candle which contains the scent that has been discovered to influence a particular element of health or emotion.  An essential oil is an oil that is collected through distillation of a plant.   You can purchase it at health food stores, grocery stores, holistic and metaphysical stores.   It’s best to do research on the brands of essential oils that are organic and most ethical.  

Essential oils have been studied to be safe for dogs, however, it’s important to have them diluted correctly and only use for short-term treatment (about 2 weeks).  It is very much about the quality of the oil and dilution ratio.  Some oils can possibly damage the liver, so do research and check with your vet.  You can also consult aromatherpycounsel.org to discover more about using essential oils and which ones could possibly be cause harm if used too much.

Preparation of Essential Oils

First you will always dilute the oil,meaning combine it with a “base” oil like olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, argan oill. Never dilute it with water.  For large and medium dogs, mix 1 drop of essential oil (when you buy the oil it will come with a mini suction tube, so you can squeeze in the oil, and let only one drop fall out) with 10 drops of base oil.  For small dogs, mix one drop of essential oil with 25 drops of base oil.  You can seal this mixture in a jar, and save it for future use.

Application of Essential Oils

Essential oils can be applied directly to your dog’s skin, or left nearby to fill the air.  It is not recommend to let your dog consume essential oils.

Before applying to skin, always test on your own skin.  Then rub on your palms and gently wipe down your dog’s body.  

When leaving out to permeate the air, a transmitter of wood or other natural material can be propped in a jar, with the oil at the bottom of the jar.  

Below are some descriptions of the different issues that dogs face, and the oils that can help them.

Arthritis – Benzoin, Fennel, Juniper, Lemon

Allergy Relief – Niaouli, Peppermint, Lavender, Helichrysum, Chamomile

Confidence Building –  If your dog has low confidence, she will often shy away from people and other dogs, as well as loud noises.  She will be picked on by other dogs frequently. She will be scared of new environments and situations – such as a new house, or riding in a car,  or being at an outdoor patio where people are eating and other dogs are present.  Oils: Bergamot, Coriander Seed,

Dry Skin – Geranium, Sandalwood, Niaouli,

Diarrhea – Peppermint

Ear Infections – Bergamot, Geranium, Niaouli,

Fleas – Cedarwood, Lavender, Sweet Orange, Peppermint,

Generalized Anxiety and Fear of Noises – Clary Sage, Valerian, Lavender

Indigestion – Aniseed, Chamomile, Peppermint, Fennel

Pain Relief – Helichrysum, Roman Chamomile,

Separation Anxiety – If your dog cries or is destructive or uses the bathroom inside when you leave him alone, try using Chamomile, Ginger, Lavender, Rosewood, Vanilla, Clary Sage, Valerian

Travel Sickness – Ginger

Please don’t rush out and buy a bottle of essential oil and douse your doggie with it!  Do a bit more research on how to mix and apply them.

You can also make a candle from your oils, or purchase candles which have the scent you want already.  

Pro Tip: try different ways of administering the oils before you conclude that they are not helping.  

Important: The oils you use should be manufactured for the sole purpose of using for aromatherapy.

Different dogs will respond in different ways.  If you are searching for something that will help you dog, try essential oils.