Essential oils can help boost your dog’s immune system, calm itchy, irritated skin, reduce anxiety and much, much more. It is a very safe, natural and simple way to keep your pet happy and healthy over the years.
Introducing Essential Oils to Your Dog
We’ve all likely smelled at least a couple different essential oils over time. You’ve probably enjoyed the fragrant, floral smell of lavender or the purifying and potent scent of peppermint. Dogs have a very keen sense of smell, so these sometimes strong scents can be overwhelming at first. It is very important to slowly and gently introduce essential oils to your dog at their comfort level.
Dogs can pick up a scent from a good distance, so there is no need to come barreling in towards their face with an entire bottle of essential oil. I remember the first time I came near my dog with lavender in hopes of reducing his anxiety. I just walked right up with the open bottle and headed straight for his nose. He immediately reacted, tucking his ears behind his head and getting very nervous.
“What was wrong? Who doesn’t love lavender?”, I thought. But the smell was simply too much for him. Then, I learned the right way to respectfully introduce the oils to my dogs and, over time, I slowly warmed him up to it until he was totally comfortable and now he loves it!
How to Acclimate Your Pet to Essential Oils
- Determine which essential oil(s) would best suit your dog based on their health concerns.
- Introduce the oil to your dog over time at his/her comfort level. This may mean simply leaving an open bottle near their food while they eat and inching it closer over time, diffusing it throughout the home initially, or even wearing it yourself while interacting with your pet. You do not want to just take a couple drops and rub it on your dog right away. Sensory overload!
- Once your dog shows signs that he is comfortable with the oil, you may begin using it topically or internally. You want to always dilute the oils before using them topically because, again, dogs are highly sensitive to smells and it can be too pure if undiluted.
Before Getting Started
Before you get started introducing essential oils to your dog, there are just two simple, yet important rules to follow.
No Means No
Be aware of your dog’s reactions to each specific oil. They will tell you if one is not right for them. Don’t force the issue. If your dog tenses up or runs away or turns his nose even after an introductory period, that oil is just not right for them. Please honor that. Dogs are animals, remember. They have an innate sense of what is good and bad for them. We as dog parents don’t always know best and this is one of those instances.
There are many brands of essential oils out there that vary in both price and quality. If the bottle indicates that the oil is not safe to ingest, then I would steer away. This means you cannot give the oil to your dog internally. If that is the case, I wouldn’t want them absorbing it through their skin topically either! I will only use doTERRA essential oils for my dogs (and myself). They are organic, pure and safe to ingest.