This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get, and the answer is yes...BUT!
There are 2 key factors when using essential oils with dogs:
Lets talk quality:
Not all essential oils are created equally! Currently essential oils are regulated in the cosmetic industry under the FDA. This means that, in my opinion, there is little regulation. A product does not have to contain 100% of the ingredient on the label. For example, you can pick up a bottle with the label Lavender essential oil, yet it may only have 5% Lavender in it.
Creating essential oils is a science and an art. There are many factors that include planting the plant, then harvesting the plant, then distilling the plant. Certain plants need harvested at certain times, or a certain way such as handpicking of flowers. Time in the distiller as well as temperature also make a difference.
This is why you can buy a pure essential oil from 2 different harvests of the plant material, and there can be differences in the aroma. Soil quality and weather even play a role. Due to this, some companies want to standardize an aroma and therefore alter the finished product.
What can you do? For starters, READ the label! This will give you an idea of what is in the product you are buying, and usage recomendations. Avoid any product that has the word fragrance on the label. This is not an essential oil and this simple word can mean the product could contain hundreds of chemicals that are contained in the fragrance.
Unfortunately, reading the label is a place to start, but not a fail safe. Trade secret laws in the cosmetic industry allow companies to not disclose all ingredients, and quality factors such as soil, distillation time, etc. are not reflected on the label. I recommend you buy premium essential oils from a company you trust. Here is a list of questions to ask your essential oil company:
I recommend Young Living™ Essential Oils. They give a Seed To Seal™ guarantee that you can read more about HERE. In fact, I will only use Young Living™ Essential Oils with my dogs because I never worry that I am not getting 100% pure premium essential oil. I've been to several of the farms..even one in Croatia! This open door policy allows you to see firsthand what it takes to make an essential oil and that Young Living™ is dedicated to a 100% pure and premium essential oil. They even have a product line created specifically for pets!
Now let's talk more about dilution:
There are 3 ways we can use essential oils with our dogs:
- As a supplement
If you are using a premium 100% pure essential oil such as Young Living™ you can use all 3 methods with dogs. I recommend you start with aromatically which is simply allowing your dog to inhale the aroma. You do not need to dilute because you are not putting the essential oil on.
To use essential oils aromatically, you can:
Wear as a perfume. It is the easiest way to get started using essential oils with your dog. Their sense of smell is much more than ours and this allows your dog to get comfortable with the different aromas.
Use a diffuser-ultrasonic diffusers are generally best as they do not use heat to disperse the essential oil and the diffuser dilutes the essential oil as it is misted into the environment making it a safe way to use. Always provide your dog an out if they choose to not be near the aroma, and keep in mind that some dogs will choose to stay with us even if the aroma is one they don't like or causing some irritation. Watch your dog for signs of discomfort such as itching, watery eyes, coughing, or sneezing.
If you do not have a diffuser, you can make a spritzer to mist the area. You can also drop several drops onto cotton balls or wooden clothespins and stash in strategic areas as well.
You can also let your dog smell from the bottle, you don't even need to open it....remember they have an amazing sense of smell!
Now let's talk about putting essential oils on our dogs. This is where dilution really comes into play. Why would we want to do that? Because essential oils are powerful extracts from plants and have properties that can be beneficial to health. The molecules are also very small meaning that they are quickly and easily absorbed thru the skin, making them ideal for use.
Since essential oils are so concentrated, after the initial investment of purchasing the essential oil, they can be very cost effective, as you only need a drop or 2 diluted to be effective. You want to start low and go slow. Applying a small amount more frequently rather than a large amount all at once.
If your dog is older, maybe a bit stiff, or recovering from an injury, essential oils can support the muscle and bones. Essential oils can be used for skin and coat care, or even for a minor owie or irritation. Applying essential oils along your dogs spine can be done to support general health. Essential oils are not a substitute for proper veterinary care and should never be used in lieu of veterinary services.
It is of the utmost importance that you are using a high quality premium essential oil and that you dilute it properly for application before you put the essential oil on your dog! How do you dilute? You simply mix the essential oil with a carrier oil (olive oil or coconut oil work well and you probably already have them in your pantry). For more info on carrier oils click HERE.
How much do you dilute? Depends on the essential oil being used, your dogs size, age, and health. Some dogs will need more dilution and with some dogs, you can use less. For my dilution guidelines, click HERE.
You can also use an essential oil products that are specifically labeled for use with pets and follow the instructions on the label, such as Young Living's Animal Scents™ product lIne. This product line includes essential oil blends and essential oil infused products created specifically for your pet. They are a safe solution that can be used for grooming, comforting, and treating your fur kids.
Not only is this product line specifically formulated for pets, a portion of all proceeds from the Animal Scents™ products goes to support Vital Ground, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the habitat of grizzly bears and other wide-roaming wildlife.
To learn more about the Animal Scents™ line, click HERE
Using essential oils with your dog can be safe, fun, and effective if you use a high quality premium essential oil, dilute, start low and go slow, and observe!
If you are ready to get started using essential oils with your dog, click HERE and grab my free guide to safely get started!