Aromatherapy is an alternative healing technique with the use of essential oils extracted from plants, including lavender, rosemary, etc. Though studies are limited about the effectiveness of essential oils in treating diseases in pets, other research suggests they help manage pain, depression, and other illnesses.
Many dogs respond well to aromatherapy. They seem to enjoy the different scents many people find unpleasant or overbearing. But remember, how your dogs perceive an oil still depends on their tolerance threshold, just like humans. Also, it’s not unusual for dogs to ignore certain strong odors completely though they might enjoy more subtle scents.
What Exactly Is Animal Aromatherapy?
Nowadays, aromatherapy is widely accepted as part of holistic pet medicine. The essential oils used in veterinary aromatherapy are similar to those that are used in human aromatherapy.
Animal aromatherapy is helpful in veterinary settings to help animals recover from various conditions. Some examples include:
- Calming the pet before a car ride, during grooming, or similar services
- During visits by guests
- Anxiety related to storms and fireworks.
Note: Experts don’t recommend aromatherapy for all pets. So, it’s always best to ask your vets about safety considerations before using aromatherapy products on any animal, including dogs.
The Animal Wellness Magazine says that the best essential oils to use are lavender, frankincense, geranium, chamomile, and ylang-ylang. Always buy 100% pure essential oil that doesn’t contain any harmful additives or ingredients that are toxic to your dog. Additionally, check if there are warnings on the label saying it is unsafe for use around pets. Finally, avoid applying it directly to your dog’s fur where they might lick it off since some oils can have dangerous reactions when ingested by animals.
How Vet Aromatherapy Works
Dogs are known to have developed an incredible sense of smell over thousands of years of domestication with humans. Research shows that dogs can smell anywhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times more than humans. Meaning, dogs can detect scents 10,000 to 100,000 times fainter than what a person can smell. That’s why aromatherapy is utilized to help calm dogs during stressful situations or emotional stress.
How aromatherapy works with animals is simple. The odor of the essential oils goes directly into the nasal passage to receptors in the limbic system. This part of a dog’s brain is responsible for emotions and memories, giving aromatherapy an immediate impact on your pet’s mood because of their increased sense of smell.
Experts say cats have 200 million receptors in the nasal cavity, and dogs have 300 million. A human only has 6 million. In other words, we can’t even perceive a small part of what our dogs and cats do.
Some dogs might find it difficult to relax during stressful situations or emotional stress since their brains think they must be alert for any possible danger. Through smelling essential oils, aromatherapy can help them calm down by activating the brain parts responsible for mood regulation. This triggers an overall body response that results in calming your pet down.
You should be aware, though, that not all essential oils are safe for dogs smaller than 40 lbs because of the oils’ toxicity. Furthermore, aromatherapy is just a part of your pet’s overall health care. They also need medical interventions for specific diseases, such as cancer. You may check Limehouse Veterinary Clinic if you seek cancer treatment for pets.
Benefits of Aromatherapy for Dogs
Aromatherapy doesn’t affect all dogs to the same extent. While some may be extremely sensitive to scent, others could have no noticeable reaction. Try experimenting with various scents to see which ones work best for your dog. Most of all, consult with your trusted vet, such as Limehouse Veterinary Clinic of holistic medicine, before trying aromatherapy on your dog.
- Lessens stress and anxiety
- Promotes a positive mood
- Encourages relaxation and reduces pain
- Improves mental clarity and energy
- Supports respiratory health
- Enhance your dog’s sense of well-being
- Promotes overall wellness
- Promotes sleep