Do you have some essential oils and wonder if you can use them with your dog? Or perhaps you are new to essential oils and don't even know what they are? You might be waiting to use essential oils for yourself or with your dog because they seem complicated or difficult to use. If you're an essential oils beginner, have no fear, as you don't need to be a rocket scientist to use essential oils! Just an understanding of a few basics and you'll be ready to get started safely. Essential oils can be uncomplicated, easy, and safe.
Dont forget to go ahead and download my free guide to using essential oils with your dog, click HERE.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquid extracts from plants, often steam distilled or cold pressed from various parts of a plant. I like to think of essential oils as the blood of a plant and no, plants don't have blood, but in many ways, essential oils do for the plant what our blood does for us. They bring and exchange nutrients and help to protect the plant and keep it healthy. Essential oils give the plant its aroma, play a role in pollination, and have varying benefits for the plant depending on its needs. Essential oils are the life force of the plant like our blood. Using essential oils is plant therapy :)
HOW CAN ESSENTIAL OILS HELP ME AND MY DOG?
Essential oils are useful for the whole family in a variety of ways. One of my favorite things to use essential oils for is to help our moods. When we smell an essential oil, it goes to the emotional center of our brain very quickly. This means we can quickly use them to affect our emotions by inhaling the aroma. Have ya ever noticed that if you are in a bad mood, your dog knows! We are half the equation in the household and using essential oils to keep us happy, calm, and confident, transfers to our dogs.
A study found on researchgate.net involving shelter dogs "suggested that the welfare of sheltered dogs may be enhanced through exposure to appropriate forms of olfactory stimulation. Lavender and chamomile appear particularly beneficial, resulting in activities suggestive of relaxation and behaviours that are considered desirable by potential adopters."
Running a diffuser during fireworks or thunderstorms can be an invaluable tool, promoting calmness and relaxation. Becoming a walking diffuser for your dog by wearing an essential oil as a perfume, not only helps your dog, but it helps you too. You can pick an essential oil for grounding, calmness, balance, energy, or even focus.
Essential oils are a safer alternative to many chemical products on the market today. For example, air fresheners. Using an essential oil and a diffuser in your home can keep your home safely smelling amazing, even with pets! They can be useful for skin, breathing, and your dogs coat.
ARE ESSENTIAL OILS SAFE?
What you need to know is that not all essential oils are created equally. Essential oils are a science and an art. You need to start with quality plants, grow them properly, harvest them properly, and then distill them properly.
Essential oils is not a well regulated industry. Governed by the FDA, they fall under the cosmetic laws which allow for the companies to not disclose all ingredients as trade secrets. Also essential oils is a booming market and many companies do not want to take the time to properly distill an oil or wait the reqiured amount of time for the plant to produce the best oil yield. Companies also can add ingredients to standardize an aroma since essential oils distilled from different crops of plants can vary in aroma due to environmental factors. Companies want to sell more and have a lower bottom line, and unfortunately this leads to adulteration in the marketplace.
The first place to start is to read the label. while not a fail safe(remember those trade secret loopholes), that gets us started in the right direction. If the labels lists other ingredients or has the word fragrance or essence in it, definitely pass. Also the label may indicate to not use with pets or to not ingest.
Next find a company you love and trust. For me it's Young Living™ Essential Oils. They own their own farms. I've been to many of them and actually helped harvest and plant. Young Living™ has a Seed To Seal™ guarantee that you can read about HERE. If you want to qualify your own company, use the questions below and make sure you get a yes to each and every question like I have with Young Living™.
HOW ARE ESSENTIAL OILS USED?
Essential oils are typically enjoyed in 3 ways; aromatically, topically, and by ingestion.
Aromatically, which simply means to inhale the aroma. This is by far the easiest and safest way to start using essential oils for yourself and with your dog. Simply open the bottle and smell. Or use an essential oil diffuser that transforms the essential oil into a mist. It's best to use an ultrasonic diffuser that doesn't use heat. It will have a metal or ceramic plate that vibrates and disperses the essential in the water and creates a fine mist. This is very diluted and a safe way to use essential oils for yourself and your dog. Use the minimum number of drops called for in your diffuser manual and watch for any signs of discomfort like watery eyes, confusion, itching or scratching. Keep in mind, your dog may choose to be with you even if they are uncomfortable. Always leave a door open and never enclose your pet in an area where they can't escape the diffuser if they want.
If you dont have a diffuser or are in a hurry and don't want to take the time to start one. You can use items like:
Simply add a few drops of essential oil onto the item, stash in strategic areas, and refresh as needed.
You can also make a spray by simply adding essential oils and water into a glass spray bottle and spritzing the area. For a step by step guide to making a spray, click HERE.
Your dog has a much better sense of smell than you and you can simply offer the bottle to your dog for a whiff without even taking the lid off. You can also become a walking diffuser by using diffuser jewelry or adding a drop to your clothes in an inconspicuous area (keep in mind some essential oils stain clothes). You can apply an essential oil topically or make a perfume to wear, which leads us to topical use of essential oils, the second way we can enjoy our essential oils.
Topically, which means to put the essential oil on. Another good option if properly diluted and pure. First and foremost, make sure you are using a pure, premium quality, essential oil. Then you are going to want to dilute it. Some essential oils can be safe to use undiluted but if you are just getting started, or using them with your dog, you'll want to dilute them. This is a good thing...your essential oils will last longer, you will have less of a chance for a reaction, you will be able to use on large areas, and it will be safer for you and your dog. Be sure to download my free guide to using essential oils with your dog, that includes my dilution chart, HERE.
The third way is ingestion, which means taking the essential oil as a supplement. There is some controversy surrounding this, but the essential oil company I like to use has a complete line of essential oils labeled for ingestion. Also, you and your pets are already most likely ingesting essential oils in the food products you are consuming. Rosemary essential oil is a common preservative in many dog kibbles on the market and you will often see essential oils listed as a natural preservative in food products for people and dogs. You just need to remember essential oils are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way.
I recommend, especially if you are just starting out, that you get comfortable with using essential oils aromatically and topically first. Then if you'd like to use as a supplement, make sure you read the label and only use an essential oil labeled for dietary use like Young Livings Vitality™ line. It's also best to consult your veterinarian and work with a veterinarian trained in using essential oils in this way.
Some essential oils, notably most citrus essential oils that are cold pressed, can be phototoxic, which simply means they can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Bergamot is a citrus oil that can cause this sensitivity. Angelica, while not a citrus oil, is a phototoxic oil, so be sure to check the label. The label should tell you if the essential oil you have is a phototoxic essential oil. Citrus oils are fabulous and uplifting to use, so don't let that stop you, simply apply under clothing or at night time. Or use aromatically, instead.
HOW SHOULD ESSENTIAL OILS BE STORED?
Some essential oils will eventually degrade the plastic orifice that regulates the drops coming out, so store your essential oil bottles upright and with the lids on. Any essential oil you buy should be in a dark colored glass bottle and this will protect it from light. Store essential oils in a cool place as heat will degrade the essential oil as well.
DO ESSENTIAL OILS EXPIRE?
Essential oils do have a shelf life, contrary to popular belief. Depending on the essential oil, some seem to last for years, while others like the citrus oils, tend to oxidize and evaporate quicker, even stored properly. It's best to use those up within a year, and I keep my extra citrus oils in the fridge to help. I've reached for an older unopened bottle of Lemon before and found it half gone! Lavender essential oil seems to degrade the plastic orifice reducer rather quickly, while I don't notice a difference with other oils. Some essential oils become thicker and some thinner over time, as oxidation occurs. Are they still safe to use? I think so, but it does change the oil, so keep it in mind. Besides, the essential oils that don't work are the ones that aren't used, so get those oils off the shelf :)
WHAT ESSENTIAL OILS SHOULD YOU START WITH?
I recommend that you purchase a diffuser and pick a few essential oils to start with. My top 5 to start with for myself and my dogs are:
Lavender: A versatile essential oil, known as the 'Swiss Army Knife of essential oils', with a calming and relaxing aroma. A mild oil useful for skin, hair, muscles, and nerves!
Frankincense: I like to think of 'Frank' as the king of essential oils. Calming, grounding, and balancing. Many dogs love this mild oil. Good for skin and hair. Helpful with timid and shy dogs.
Peppermint: Can support virtually every body system from digestion to breathing. Makes a nice muscle rub or cooling spray in hot weather. Also useful for focus and energy.
Lemon: Perfect for focus, cleaning, and an uplifting aroma thats hard to resist.
Cedarwood: A mild, safe, inexpensive, essential oil that's great for the skin and coat. Has a calming, relaxing, and grounding aroma. Useful for outdoor annoyances.
The best advice is to start using essential oils now, before you have a problem. Especially if you are going to use them with your dogs. By using essential oils during a positive experience with your dog, you can anchor in those feelings so that when you need them during a stressful time , not only will the aroma help you but the feelings it evokes will too. Also start low, go slow, dilute, and observe. If your dog doesn't like an oil , keep going until you find one they do like.
If you're ready to dive in and start using essential oils for yourself and with your dogs, and you need some essential oils, I've put together a bundle of the 5 essential oils mentioned here and a diffuser from the world leader in essential oils-Young Living™. Simply click HERE and get started today. (This is an affiliate link and I earn a small commission from your order at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my small business! I'm so excited to help you get started, that I'll connect with you once you order and send you something special!)