How to use essential oils on dogs

How to use essential oils on dogs  has been a common concern for my animal lovers recently as more and more of them are asking for alternatives to western medication. My mission has always been to use nature as medicine and to inspire, educate and empower people to “be their own medicine”.

If you’ve been afraid to use oils around your dogs, you’re not alone. But you should feel empowered to introduce essential oils as long as you go about it safely.

Here are some safe and effective ways to use essential oils with dogs. Remember, the number one rule is to trust your instincts. When in doubt, don’t do it. Listen to that wise voice inside your head and don’t take a risk with your dog’s health or well being.

So how do you ensure that the Essential Oils you use are safe For Dogs

1. Let your animal companion’s powerful sense of smell guide her healing.

Your dog/ horse has amazing innate wisdom. Use that wisdom as a guide. Give your friend the freedom to inhale or avoid essential oils. This can be as simple as leaving the door open when you’re blending, formulating or diffusing so that your dog/ horse can leave if she wants to.

essential oils safe for dogsThis simple act is the process of self-selection and empowering your animal. Essential oils are powerful and meaningful and work effectively via the inhalation route of absorption for animals. Often inhalation is all they need to heal.

Don’t feel like you’re losing effectiveness by sticking to inhalation. Dogs have one nose but three routes of administration. A dog has about 300 million olfactory receptors as compared to humans who have 5 million or so.

When your dog breathes in, her airflow is split into two paths. One for breathing and the other for smelling. The aromatic molecules are absorbed through the mucous membranes in the olfactory tract while the lungs enable molecules to enter the lungs and therefore the bloodstream. And then there is the Vomeronasal organ. You can see when an animal is using this because her mouth will hang slightly open. Aromatic molecules activate the VNO receptors which send signals to the emotional centers of the brain.

2. Do not use essential oils on skin or fur.

You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) use essential oils as remedies directly on your dog’s skin or fur.

Your dog has an incredibly powerful sense of smell, which makes essential oils all the more effective, but this also means you should be all the more respectful of your dog or horse’s wishes. You must have an advanced education in both essential oil chemistry and animal care to use essential oils on skin. Pet guardians should never use essential oils in this way and when you do they must be diluted right down in a ratio of 1 drop to 20 of a carrier oil to begin with but always consult a professional as the body chemistry is different for each animal and I always use bio feedback to get an individual and wholistic prescription.

Avoid listening to advice from people who don’t have a strong background in clinical aromatherapy or animal wellness. You’ll find people online recommending using certain “safe” oils on their pets’ skin, ears or fur. It’s easy to jump online and post about essential oils, but usually these lists don’t take into account dosing, dilution or an individual animal’s health concerns.

3. Offer essential oils gently and respectfully.

The method of inhalation for dogs is incredibly simple. Open a bottle of essential oil and hold it out where your dog can approach. A good distance is no closer than 1 meter or 1-2 feet from her nose. Let her experience the oil from this respectful distance.

If she likes it, she’ll lick her lips, or blink rapidly or mouth. Don’t let your dog/ horse touch the bottle or lick the oil.

Pay attention to your pet’s signals. When you offer an essential oil to your animal friend, offer one at a time. Be patient if your pet is inhaling the oil. Don’t chase your pet with it or force your dog to smell it. Then offer the next essential oil. You’ll know when your pet no longer wants any more.

The signs that your dog or horse is done with the oils are:

  • Lack of interest
  • Backing away from the remedy
  • Going into a deep sleep
  • Turning her back to you for a long time

That’s it! Wash your hands when you’re done.

Always avoid using essential oils, especially undiluted, on your own skin where your animal friend may lick you or where you might rub against her fur.

4. Try using gentle hydrosols.

The only exception to the “no skin or fur” rule is to use plain hydrosols (also known as essential waters) instead of essential oils. Hydrosols don’t contain concentrated essential oils. They’re the byproducts of distillation, and they’re safe for dogs or horses (and even babies), but you should still let your pet choose the hydrosol. Never hold her down or force her to be sprayed by a hydrosol.

Instead, spray onto a clean cloth and let your dog or horse give it a sniff. If she rubs up against it or licks it, she likes it. Spray onto your hand and pet her.

5. Use a diffuser to enjoy the same remedies that help your beloved animal companion.

An aromatherapy diffuser can be found in most stores and online for a very small investment. It creates a thin stream of mist, diffusing the aroma and tiny droplets of essential oils into the air.

Make a stock blend and add a few drops to your aromatherapy diffuser or aroma stone. Using a diffuser has the added benefit of making the treatment enjoyable for everyone in your home.

You and your dog don’t have the same taste. Don’t assume that because you love the smell of a certain essential oil, your dog will like it as well. If your dog regularly leaves when you’re diffusing an oil, do not use it in your home or any of your dog’s spaces.

Read about the benefits of frankincense oil for treatment of cancer in pets here

The benefits of CBD oil for immune health and keeping your pet vital.

Here is a video on CBD oil.

And as always the best way to keep your animals healthy is to feed them a species appropriate live and raw food diet.

Buy my comprehensive guide on transitioning pets off kibble and onto raw and whole food species appropriate diet, Bach remedies to symptom specifics and recipes for treat –Paws for Raw – whole food for happy pets

Credit: Joy Musachio has a Master’s Degree in education and has been teaching for 28 years. Clinically certified in aromatherapy and licensed in massage therapy, she brings unique wisdom to her students at Stillpoint Studies in Sedona, Arizona where she teaches essential oil safety, chemistry, and energetics alongside Cynthia Brownley. Upcoming classes include workshops on using essential oils with animals. Her beloved poodle Bella Chica always joins her in the classroom.