Have you ever considered that your dog may find changes in his normal routine stressful? The hustle and bustle of festivities, house guests, or just changes in his schedule can be more than a little hard on your canine companion’s nerves.
A very effective way to help your dog combat stress is through aromatherapy. The essential oils used in aromatherapy were historically mankind’s first medicine, and are still used today for helping bring a sense of peace and harmony to people and their pooches.
Emotional help for your pet from essential oils
High quality therapeutic grade essential oils work on an emotional as well as a physical level within the body. On an emotional level, properly distilled and extracted essential oils work in a way similar to flower essences; they help the body release negative energy, allowing it to return to a state of harmony.
Essential oils can also help improve physical wellbeing.
They are the plant’s lifeforce or Qi (pronounced “chee” in Chinese), similar to our blood, so they work synergistically within the body to maintain, repair, and renew.
Here are some of the best oils for relieving stress and anxiety in both people and pups:
|Essential Oils for anxiety|
|Essential Oils for stress|
Before buying any essential oils, make sure you know their source. This is very important. Many essential oils on the market today have been extracted using solvents that can be potentially harmful to your dog. This is an unregulated industry, so just because a bottle is labeled “100% pure” that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily so. Before beginning your journey into aromatherapy, do your homework to make sure you’re getting the highest-grade quality of oils.
How to use aromatherapy
First of all, keep in mind that dogs have a very strong sense of smell and are profoundly affected by aromatherapy. Go easy with essential oils. A little goes a long way. Allow your dog to adapt gently and over time.
There are three distinct methods for using essential oils.
1. The British model:
The British model emphasizes heavy dilution, using a carrier oil such as almond or olive oil. This method involves adding several drops of essential oil into several ounces of carrier oil before application.
2. The French model:
The French model prefers applying essential oils “neat” or straight onto skin or fur without any dilution. Before using this method, make absolutely certain that you’re using a therapeutic-grade oil that you know won’t burn or otherwise harm your companion.
3. The German model:
The German model uses diffusion to apply the oils. I’ve found the best way to do this is by using a cold air diffuser rather than heating the oil; that way, you maintain the oil’s integrity and optimal effectiveness.
A cold air diffuser is my preferred method for de-stressing and making the entire house smell good. Many people have told me that their dogs will hang out nearby or even directly in front of the diffuser to get a good whiff of those healing and relaxing smells!
Since the essential oils enter every cell of the body within a matter of minutes, the stress can be gone very fast.
The nice thing about using a cold air diffuser is you can mix some of the oils together to make a pleasant holiday fragrance that de-stresses while setting the scene for your festivities. For example around Christmastime I prefer frankincense. I mix it with orange oil and it not only smells delightful it just seems to melt away the stress. My dog also loves this combination – he hangs out in whatever room I place the diffuser in!
What about cats and aromatherapy?
Essential oils can be toxic to cats, especially if you’re not using therapeutic-grade products.
If you have felines in your household, consider hydrosols rather than essential oils. Sometimes referred to as floral waters, hydrosols are created through the steam distillation of essential oils, and are much subtler and gentler in their effects.
Nix the nerves with aromatherapy
As enjoyable and exciting as holidays or positive life-changes can be, there’s no denying they can also be nerve-wracking at times.
When you or your dog start getting stressed out, reach for the essential oils and give the ages-old art of aromatherapy a try. It can help ensure a happy holiday for both you and your canine companion.
Dr. Kim Bloomer is a veterinary naturopath, and the creator and host of Animal Talk Naturally radio show. She hosts the show weekly with her like-minded colleague, Dr. Jeannie Thomason.
Dr. Kim is the co-author of the book Whole Health for Happy Dogs and author of the book Animals Taught Me That. Dr. Kim’s articles have been featured in various publications including Animal Wellness Magazine, Natural Horse Magazine, and Dogs Naturally Magazine. She is an adjunct professor with Kingdom College of Natural Health.
Dr. Kim is trained and knowledgeable in the preventive, holistic health care of dogs and cats through proper species appropriate nutrition and other natural modalities. She is available for consultations on natural nutrition and holistic health care for dogs & cats via phone or email.
Dr. Kim and her husband are owned by a rescued Neapolitan Mastiff named Shadrach.
Visit her website at: Aspenbloom Pet Care
Visit Shadrach’s blog at: A Dogs View
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