Aromatherapy and natural alternatives to orthodox medicine have become increasingly popular, with essential oils ranging from lavender to peppermint. These powerful oils are supposed to help with anything from hormone balance to anxiety relief to skin problems.
There are several safe ways to utilize essential oils in dogs, but they should always be done under the supervision of a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about them. Essential oils can sometimes do more damage than benefit. When exploring alternative treatments for your pet, use caution. Certain essential oils can be therapeutic when used appropriately, whether topically or as aromatherapy in the surroundings.
Essential Oils and Dogs
Essential oils, which are made from highly concentrated plant compounds, have been demonstrated to provide a variety of health and wellness advantages for people. It's only natural that you'd want to share these advantages with your pet.
Essential oils are used by certain holistic veterinarians in their therapies. However, using essential oils to cure animal illnesses should be approached with caution. Pet owners should be aware that there hasn't been enough study done to determine if these powerful oils are beneficial in treating their dogs.
Essential oils can cause undesirable behavioral changes, central nervous system disorders, respiratory troubles, and other major health problems when used incorrectly. That isn't to say you can't use essential oils in your house; just make sure you know which ones are safe and which are dangerous.
Potential Dangers of Essential Oils
Some essential oils, whether eaten orally or in touch with the skin, can be hazardous to dogs. Melaleuca (tea tree), wintergreen, sweet birch, pine, pennyroyal, cinnamon, and some citrus oils are among the more hazardous oils.
Melaleuca/Tea Tree Oil: While diluted amounts of tea tree essential oil used in shampoos are considered safe, excessive concentrations of tea tree essential oil can cause substantial toxicity in dogs. Concentrated tea tree oil can produce irritation at the point of contact (skin, mucous membranes), vomiting, depression, drunken gait (ataxia), paralysis, and low body temperature, whether absorbed via the skin or consumed (hypothermia).
Wintergreen, also known as Eastern Teaberry, contains the active component in aspirin, methyl salicylate. This essential oil has been utilized as a natural flavoring in sweets and gum as well as a pain reliever. Aspirin poisoning occurs in dogs exposed to concentrated wintergreen oil. GI discomfort and ulcers are common side effects, but dogs can also develop liver and renal failure.
Sweet Birch: This essential oil is derived from the bark of the birch tree and shares many features with wintergreen, including the presence of methyl salicylate. Toxicity in dogs is similar to that of aspirin.
Pine Oil: These essential oils, derived from the Scots Pine, have been used to naturally clean, cleanse, and eliminate smells. Pine oil has also been used medicinally in humans to help with edema and circulation. Pine oil can irritate the skin, mucous membranes, and GI system when given to dogs orally or topically. It can cause problems with the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys if ingested. Vomiting, excessive salivation, ataxia, weakness, lethargy, and disorientation are all symptoms of poisoning.
Pennyroyal: Because this essential oil has been utilized as an insect repellent in the past, well-intentioned pet owners may attempt using it as a natural parasite preventative. Unfortunately, pennyroyal can cause liver issues in dogs when swallowed or absorbed via the skin. Lethargy, vomiting, and/or diarrhea are all symptoms. Pennyroyal poisoning can be fatal if left untreated.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon essence may be found in a variety of home goods, including scented candles, aroma diffusers, snacks, and beverages. Cinnamon may be harmful to dogs in any form, but the highly concentrated oil is the most hazardous. Cinnamon oil can cause low blood sugar, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, and heart rate alterations in dogs that consume it or come into touch with it. While inhaling any essential oil is hazardous, cinnamon in any form irritates the lungs, causing coughing and breathing difficulties.
This is not a comprehensive list. Be sure to educate yourself about which oils could prove toxic to pets.
If you diffuse oils in your home, you should avoid using the above oils for aromatherapy. The diffusion itself not necessarily harmful to dogs, but having these toxins in your home is a risk.
Another issue for dogs is essential oil inhalation. Inhaling the scent of diffusers is usually not an issue. However, if a pet sniffs the diffuser and gets oil in his or her lungs, it can be fatal. Essential oils, regardless of their nature, are all toxic to the lungs and airway if breathed directly.
Fortunately, there are some essential oils that generally considered safe to use around your pets as long as they are used properly.
Essential Oils for Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is said to have mental and emotional benefits for both humans and animals. Essential oils are generally safe for use around dogs as long as you take certain precautions.
Use high-quality, pure essential oils. Make sure the oils you are using come from a reputable source and are not just full of chemicals.
Always keep diffusers and oils out of reach of your dog. Clean spills thoroughly to avoid accidental ingestion.
Avoid dispersing essential oils near a dog's nose. Keep the odour to a minimum as well. Essential oils may be overpowering to dogs, even if they are non-toxic. Keep in mind that your dog's sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than your own. If you can hardly smell something, your dog may be suffering from sensory overload.
Make sure not to diffuse oils in every area of the home. Your dog should be able to get away from a scent if it's too overwhelming.
Lavender is an excellent aromatherapy essential oil. It is thought to have a calming impact on both people and animals. The use of diffused lavender oil as aromatherapy helped lessen dogs' activity and vocalization during travel, according to a 2006 research published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Use it carefully to avoid overwhelming your dog.
Can You Safely Use Essential Oils On Dogs?
If you want to use essential oils on your dog, do it only under the guidance of a veterinarian who is trained in their application. It's dangerous to apply essential oils to a dog's skin or coat. The oil may come into touch with sensitive regions like their eyes or mucous membranes by mistake. Oils applied directly to their skin might be unpleasant in some situations, especially for puppies with sensitive skin or other dermatological concerns.
Most dogs, most of the time, will want to lick anything you put on their skin or coat. Essential oils may be exceedingly harmful if consumed. Never allow your dog to lick or consume essential oils.
Make sure the essential oils you use are correctly diluted after consulting with a veterinarian about which oils might assist your dog. Never use an essential oil on a dog while it is completely potent. When diluting oils, bear in mind your dog's size, since smaller dogs are always more susceptible to possibly hazardous side effects. Essential oils are frequently diluted in olive oil, coconut oil, or other similar oils. Make sure the diluting oil is pet-friendly.
Unlike when utilizing essential oils on people, dogs are more inclined to lick the oils off their skin, which might cause stomach issues. That is why it is critical that pet owners receive education and guidance from their veterinarian on which oils are safe to use in pet-friendly environments. Above important, make sure they're kept in a secure location where an inquisitive and naughty dog can't get to them.
Many pet owners are probably aware that essential oils may be used instead of various commercial flea and tick preventives. While certain essential oils are good at deterring fleas and other insects, they are ineffective at killing them. Unfortunately, no natural flea and parasite control strategies have been proved. Pharmaceuticals are considerably safer than using natural therapies in this situation.
Always keep all essential oils, including those that are deemed safe, out of reach of dogs. If your four-legged pet ingests these toxic oils by mistake, call your veterinarian and poison control right away.