Humans have been using Essential Oils longer than one can imagine. It is said that these oils were first used by the Egyptians. Ancient Egypt was said to be the real birthplace of aromatherapy, and there are real pieces of evidence that essential oils have been part of ancient people’s lives, way before the birth of Christ.
Egyptians produced essential oils by using enfleurage – a type of method wherein solvents are extracted. Around the same time, ancient Chinese and Indians have been using different plants -both herbs and aromatics as parts of their medical system.
The Greeks, on the other hand, adopted the Egyptian’s wisdom.
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Hippocrates was one of the firm believers that massages using essential oils are one of the best ways to treat patients holistically. The Romans, in turn, promoted health by adopting the beliefs if Greeks wherein essential oils were used in baths.
Although the Dark Ages arrived, aromatherapy found its way back into the spotlight in the Renaissance period. Plant extracts were used to cure illnesses.
In 1937, Rene Maurice Gattefosse first coined the term Aromatherapy. He was a perfumer and a French Chemist who was interested in essential oils.
There was an incident when he got into a minor accident where he burnt his hand. He used undiluted Lavender Oil and was surprised to find the benefits. Not only did the oil helped ease the pain, it also aided in healing the injury with scarring.
Thanks to Gattefosse’s experiments, many soldiers were treated thanks to essential oils.
Because of many environmental concerns and the popularity of essential oils, many have turned to use these natural oils in order to replace chemicals used in health and healing. Not only are essential oils used by humans. Because of the many benefits such oil possesses, now uses them for the benefits they offer on animals – specifically pets.
What are Essential Oils and its benefits?
As mentioned earlier, these are extracted from plants in order to produce oils used for its health properties. These oils are found in barks, stems, seeds, plants, roots, flowers and other parts of plants. These oils help protect plants and play a great role in pollination. They are also incredibly potent – giving plants a smell distinct to its kind.
The great thing about essential oils is that it is volatile enough to move through the air. It can directly interact with the odor receptors found in noses. With this, these can be used for aromatherapy.
Essential oils have amazing benefits that one can enjoy. Some are the following.
- helps fight symptoms of colds and flu
- relaxes your body
- helps ease sore muscles
- alleviate pain
- heal skin conditions
- boost immunity
- fight infections
- improve brain function
- improve digestion
- reduce stress and anxiety
- help balance hormones
- reduce wrinkles and cellulite
- helps with sleep
- massage therapies
- makes as a good natural deodorant
- aids in weight loss
- helps support bones and joints
- reduce symptoms associated with PMS
- reduce symptoms associated with motion sickness
- helps speed up healing of stretch marks
- prevents gingivitis
- promotes hair growth
- cleans your home
The items listed are only some of the benefits one can get from essential oils. However, does this apply to animals too, most specifically, pets like dogs and cats?
Are Essential Oils safe for animals?
Like any other remedies, some are safe while some are not for most animals like our beloved pets. Like in cases of dogs, they have an extra sensitive sense of smell. With this, extreme caution and expert advice are needed to ensure your pet’s safety.
So are essential oils safe for dogs? How about cats? The answer is simple. Yes, it is safe only if used the proper way. It is advisable to ask to seek the opinion of experts and your dog’s vet before using any essential oil as there are some oils that can cause more harm than benefits mainly because of the powerful compounds found in essential oils. So, make sure to involve your pet’s vet in making decisions regarding the use of essential oils before using anything.
When using essential oils, gradual steps are encouraged so as not to overwhelm your dog’s sensitive nose. After asking advice from your dog’s vet, and you’re given a go signal to use essential oils, the next thing you need to do is to dilute the oil just to see your buddy’s tolerance.
Choose three or four essential oils that are safe and pre-recommended by the vet. Make sure to check each of the oils’ indication in order to match the effects or to determine the best and most effective ones that will address the issue at hand. Again, ensure that the essential oil is diluted.
The Three Rules when it comes to using essential oils in dogs
Rule Number 1. Check your dog’s health status
Since your dong’s vet knows about his or her history, treatments used and being administered, as well as any issues in the past and in the present, check with your vet before use. It is very important to note that even dogs and animals have allergies so it would be best to check if your dog has any. Also, if there are any health issues addressed in the past, make sure to keep this in mind and let your vet know. He or she should be able to tell if your dog is good to try essential oils or not.
Rule Number 2. Apply the less is more rule
Start conservatively – meaning you need to take into account the size of your dog and their levels of sensitivity. It is also important to note that puppies and senior dogs need smaller amounts of essential oils. Hydrosol products of essential oils are a great way to kick start aromatherapy in dogs. Such products are water-based byproducts that resulted from the steam distillation of essential oils. Even though the dose is not as concentrated, they still contain the same therapeutic effects.
Rule Number 3. Always, always dilute.
You have read a couple of times already how dilution of essential oils is a must. Dilution of essential oils will make it more tolerable for your dog’s extra sensitive nose. One can dilute essential oils by diluting with cold-mist essential oil diffusers of by carrier oils typically used for topical applications.
The following are the basic guidelines every owner should know about using essential oils on dogs or any other pets.
- essential oils must never be ingested, and owners should not put any essential oil on dog’s food, water or treats.
- if your dog accidentally ingests essential oils, call your vet immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
- humans don’t dilute when inhaling essential oils, but for dogs, it has to always be diluted.
- essential oils should never be used to PREVENT a symptom of health issues
- essential oils must only be used on dogs in order to address issues.
- puppies and seniors should be given hydrosol products of essential oils only
- owners should also take extreme caution when giving essential oils to pregnant and nursing dogs
- choose three to five of the best an recommended essential oils that will address your dog’s problem
- Only allow your dog to sniff the essential oil in CLOSED BOTTLES – one essential oil at a time.
- once you find the one your dog likes or prefers, that’s the time you can let your dog sniff or lick the DILUTED essential oil on your hand.
- caution should be practiced when using essential oils to dogs in order to prevent a wide variety of adverse effects
- essential oils should never be used in prolonged periods of time
- dogs absorb and react differently to essential oils than humans do, which makes it very important to monitor them when giving such oils.
- essential oils should be kept out of your dog’s reach in order to prevent any untoward incidents.
- there are essential oils that when applied directly to the skin, can cause burns and pain so make sure to do thorough research and to seek for your vet’s advise
- adverse effects may occur after using essential oils on pets, and you should be able to tell if the symptom is a good one or not.
- dogs with or are prone to seizures and epilepsy should not be given essential oils
- Essential oils should never be used on your dog’s eyes, ears, nose, or genitals.
Many are arguing whether eating or ingesting essential oils is dangerous or not. According to our research, oral ingestion can cause rapid absorption in the liver. If your dog ingests some essential oils, these will be metabolized in the liver and potential toxic effects may occur.
Why use essential oils in dogs?
Like in humans, essential oils offer many therapeutic effects that dogs can enjoy. Although such oils are not advised to be used as prevention of certain conditions or symptoms in dogs, humans can enjoy using essential oils on their favorite pets in order to ADDRESS health concerns.
When essential oils that are safe for dogs are used, your canine buddy can take advantage of a number of benefits.
- acts as an anti-inflammatory agent
- acts as an antiseptic agent
- acts as an antifungal agent
- acts as an antiviral agent
- helps support your dog’s immune system
- helps get rid of ticks and fleas
- helps manage itchy skin and other skin allergies
- helps manage joint pains and arthritis
- helps treat ear infections
- helps repel mosquitoes
- helps alleviate or reduce anxiety levels and symptoms like car sickness and anxiety
- helps normalize appetite
- helps in reducing bleeding in accidents
- helps reduce weight
- increases blood supply to the brain
- helps ease symptoms of nausea and diarrhea
What are some of the essential oils that experts say are safe for dogs?
Known as the universal oil, lavender offers many benefits. it can help alleviate allergies, ulcers, burns as well as insomnia, car sickness and car anxiety. When diffused, it can help dogs with separation anxiety. Lavender is great in keeping your dog calm or in making him sleepy to reduce stress when traveling. Considered as a full-spectrum essential oil, it is also known for its antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antibacterial properties. One can apply lavender by diluting 2 drops of Lavender oil on 2 teaspoons of coconut oil. Mix mixture and apply on the area they are scratching.
Carrot Seed Essential Oils
Carrot seeds are known to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterials and rejuvenating properties that are effective in helping heal scars. It is also great for dry, flaky and sensitive skin prone to infection.
Sweet Orange Essential Oils
Sweet orange is used to deter bugs and deodorize odors among dogs. It also has calming effects great for easing anxiety in dogs.
Niaouli Essential Oil
Niaouli is also considered a must-have essential oil. It is good for dogs with irritated or infected skin. It can also be used for is powerful antibacterials and antihistaminic properties. This is more preferred than Tea Tree Essential Oils.
Ginger Essential Oils
Ginger should be administered in properly diluted and small amount only. It is a non-toxic and non-irritating alternative in treating motion sickness, pain relief against strains, sprains, dysplasia and arthritis.
Geranium Essential Oils
Geranium is a gentle and safe essential oil used as an antifungal. It is also used as an effective way to repel ticks and in treating skin and fungal ear infections.
Cedar Essential Oils
When used the right way, this can be an effective way to kill pests in dogs, as well as to keep dogs calm thanks to its analgesic effects. It can also be used to support healthy skin.
Chamomile Essential Oils
Roman chamomiles help calm a dog’s nerves and reducing pain caused by teething, muscle aches and cramps. On the other hand, German chamomile essential oils help reduce inflammation as well as allergies.
Frankincense Essential Oils
Because of Frankincense’s safe antibacterial and healing properties, it has become a frequent and favorite oil in pet care.
What are the other oils known to be safe for dogs?
Marjoram – antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, alleviate nerve pain and symptoms associated with depression
Vetiver – it helps reduce stress by calming dogs when they hear loud sounds
Cardamom – helps normalize appetite, is an antibacterial and antidiuretic agents and helps relieves cough, heartburn and colic
Spearmint – helps reduce weight among overweight dogs. Also good for car anxiety, nausea, colic, and diarrhea
Helichrysum – helps ease itchiness caused by skin diseases like eczema
Many others are said to be awesome essential oils that can help treat issues faced by man’s best friend. If there are safe ones, there are also some essential oils deemed harmful to canines.
The following are harmful essential oils that should be kept away from dogs.
- Bitter Almond
- Tea Tree Oil
If, in any case, you dogs ingest essential oils or have come across those that are harmful to dogs, one should take them to their vets or call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for advice.
Some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for when it comes to essential oil poisoning are the following.
- excessive drooling
- excessive salivation
- muscle weakness and tremors
- difficulty in walking and moving
- low body temperature
- excessive pawing at the mouth or face
- difficulty of breathing
- scent of fragrance on dogs’ coat or hair or in his breath or vomit
- redness or burns on the dog’s skin, lips tongue or gums
Rapid diagnosis and medical treatment should be implemented at the soonest time possible. If any toxic effects are seen, your dog’s vet will usually turn to aggressive and fast medical treatment or intervention in order to prevent any more toxic effects. Vomiting medications may be administered, antibiotics may be prescribed, and Intravenous fluid may be hooked up to prevent dehydration. Blood works will also be used to check your dog’s kidney or liver has already been affected.
Anything unsafe, given more than usual or is accidentally ingested should be avoided by owners to keep dogs and their pets happy and safe. If you do wish to use essential oils, make sure to use proper research, dilution and to seek your vets advise before use.
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