Essential oils have many benefits: stress-reduction, boosted energy levels, better sleep, improved focus and an overall sense of calm to name but a few! It is only natural to imagine that essential oils would have similar benefits for our animals. Aromatherapy for dogs in particular is an emerging natural solution increasingly growing in popularity.
While essential oils can support our furry friends, they can only do so when used in an appropriate way, time, place and in the correct dosage. Due to the complexity of plants, their parts and extracts, we recommend taking extra care if you are using any plant extracts and essential oil products in the home around pets.
A common questions we get here at deDANÚ is whether essential oils are safe for dogs. There is a misconception that all essential oils are bad for dogs. In fact, the use of aromatherapy with dogs is time-tested with studies monitoring the medical effects of essential oils on animals and humans being quite advanced. by the mid-1800s. The practice of veterinary aromatherapy was not uncommon by the mid-1900s and since then, the data is strong, showing benefits of particular oils on both canines and humans.
You’re all too aware that your dog is attracted to new and interesting odours. What you might not know is just how strong his sense of smell is. Your furry companion possesses up to 300 million olfactory receptors in his nose, compared to only six million in your nose. The part of his brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than yours, making him way more aware of his surroundings and much more sensitive to new scents. When your dog inhales essential oils, the effects are much greater. As a result, aromatherapy is fast-acting for dogs and is the reason why it can support the treatment of certain conditions so effectively.
Research shows that these essential oils and the practice of aromatherapy can support preventive health maintenance, particularly with keeping a dog’s liver, immune system and digestive tract healthy. While there are great benefits to using oils with your dog you must ensure that you’re using the correct oils and dosages for your individual animal.
Here are some general safety points to consider to ensure correct use of essential oils in the pet parent’s home.
- Behavioural Change
- Be mindful of any change in your pet’s behaviour.
- If you notice discomfort or agitation, discontinue use and move your pet to a well-ventilated space.
- Leave doors and windows open. They should able to leave the room at will and move to a different space. (Pay particular mind to animals who cannot move as freely. Birds in a cage for example).
- If distress continues, contact your veterinarian or trusted animal practitioner as soon as you can. They will be best-equipped to advise you as to how to proceed.
All essential oils are harmful if ingested by pets. If you suspect ingestion, it is important to contact your veterinarian or trusted animal practitioner without delay. The following points can also be useful to ensure your pet is fully protected:
- Wait for topical products to fully absorb into the skin before handling or spending time with pets.
- Keep products safely stored, their lids securely fastened, high up away from prying noses and paws. ☺
- Keep diffusers and diffuser cords secure to avoid accidental spillage or ingestion.
- Topical application
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to topical application. Many variables need to be considered: the plant species of origin, the product, the dose administered… not to mention the weight, size (and species!) of your particular pet.
If in doubt, we recommend you consult your veterinarian or trusted animal practitioner ahead of application, or exposure to any of our products, particularly if considering application to your pet’s fur or skin.
- Diffusing in the home
Using a high-quality diffuser is a wonderful way to freshen your home environment! If doing so around pets, you might wish to consider the following steps:
- Think “Less is More”. Use small amounts. We recommend no more than 1 to 5 drops to begin.
- Diffuse for shorter periods of time. You might consider a diffuser with an intermittent setting, to diffuse at separate time intervals.
- Ensure good ventilation and freedom of movement for your pet.
- If you notice agitation and or resistance to a particular aroma, discontinue use and move your pet to a well-ventilated space.
- Contact your veterinarian or trusted animal practitioner if distress continues.
- Products to consider
The following notes are considered good starting points if you are considering diffusing essential oils or blends around pets in the home.
(**Don’t forget to keep the space well-ventilated, ensure freedom of movement and use no more than 1-5 drops to start!)
- Clary Sage
- Eucalyptus (dog-safe, not cat-safe)
- Lavender (dog-safe, not cat-safe)
- Mandarin & Orange (dog-safe, not cat-safe)
- Palmarosa (dog-safe, not cat-safe)
- Roman Chamomile
- Sandalwood (dog-safe, not cat-safe)
- Vetiver (dog-safe, not cat-safe)
- Products to avoid
Experts generally agree that the following notes should be avoided where pets and animals are concerned.
- Tea Tree
Carrier oils that are considered safe for topical application on animals;
Borage Seed Oil
Apricot Kernel Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Kukui Nut Oil
If you would like to learn more: Robert Tisserand’s article on cats and essential oil safety is a great place to start. Other trusted safety experts we recommend include Valerie Worwood and Peter Holmes, though there are many more. Bear in mind each pet is unique, no pun intended! If in doubt, consult your veterinarian or trusted animal practitioner. They are fully equipped to support you and your beloved furry friends. As long as you proceed with care, deDANÚ products can fully support the health and happiness of you and your pets!
If you're ready to shop for some oils that both you and your pet will benefit from then click here: https://dedanu.ie/collections/pure-essential-oils